About Ilisa

Hello!  Thank you for your interest in Ilisa Ailts Photography!  It means the world to me to have you here in my home and an important part of my life.  And, equally honoring is having me invited in to your home, to be a part of your life!

(If you do not want to read my story, skip to the bottom to see current family photos taken my my friend Laura Carroll of Laura Carroll Photography, in 2016 – we are due for photos in 2018.)

Photography is a passion of mine and has been since I was a kid.  My Grandpa Ajer also liked taking photos.  I have some cute ones he took of my siblings and I. I also ran into a woman who said he photographed her family, which was so awesome.  He passed away in 1988, so that was now quite a while ago.  It would have been neat to connect over photos if he were still with us.

I always loved photos and cameras, but also doubted I would ever learn how to take photos and edit them the way I like, let alone have people want me to photograph them!  So, I do not take any of this for granted and want to cheer others on and teach them how to get great photos or use that nice camera they have.  If I am sitting with someone struggling to use their camera, I am happy to lean over and adjust settings (I did that last summer during the swine show at the St. Croix County Fair and a mom could not get clear -only blurry- photos in that dark barn).  I feel good passing knowledge along for others to use and enjoy, nearly as much as handing over a gallery for them to cherish!

Besides photos I am especially passionate about my husband, Joe, and our 3 boys Calvin, Nolan, and Evan.  Joe is a farmer at heart and you will see he is an avid gardener, striving to grow the largest pumpkin of them all!  He works hard to take care of his family, and I am proud to call him my husband.  Evan and Nolan are on the cusp of becoming teenagers and I love it, but my heart can hurt thinking of the short years I have left with them here at home.  

Evan is in middle school, is a constant thinker and analyzer (gets that from me I’m afraid), is in love with football, and is enjoying taking pigs to the fair for 4-H.  His story is developing and I am honored to be a part of it.  Then we have Nolan, our middle boy who is nearly done with elementary school.  He is our sweet and wild child!  My Nolan-isms are endless, his thoughts and comments amaze me (at the age of 7 he asked me out the blue, “Who taught the first teacher?”).  The only problem is I do not write them all down and then I forget.  But he is a joy regardless of my memory’s capacity!  And, he has always been our Calvin’s best buddy.  Calvin is our youngest and is our family’s live-in actor.  He also has Down syndrome, so he may have us wrapped around his little finger.  Just yesterday I received a video of Calvin putting together a 4-word sentence on his own with previous helping and prompting of his amazing team at school.  The joy I felt is like nothing I have felt when my other two boys were developing their language skills.  Having a child with a disability does that to you, as some of you can relate to.  I have learned more from having Calvin in my life than any teacher has bestowed.  And, his disability was a significant piece of the puzzle that has led me to becoming a photographer.  Telling his story in a blog when we received his diagnosis pushed me to couple my writing with captive photos.  So, I taught myself how.  You can still find that blog out there but I have not updated it, so I’m not 100% sure if it still functions properly.

I love stories, relationships, and people.  So putting it all together equals THIS!

Because of my personal experiences having a family I cherish, raising children, and loving a child with Down syndrome, I have a desire to photograph families and also people with disabilities or something unique in their family. I have gained tons of patience (read again family and disability!) and possess open-mindedness that allows me to see the moments as blessings.

I have a variety of personal and professional experience interacting with a variety of people and situations such as bereavement sessions to 60th Wedding anniversaries, sessions in -30 degree temps to sessions in the middle of the lake in the summer, to the typical Mom-Dad-2 kids family to all sorts of unique couples and situations!  It keeps my photography career interesting and fulfilling.  It also keeps me growing personally and professionally.

I have an undergraduate degree in Psychology from UW-River Falls and a graduate degree in School Counseling from UW-Stout.  I have ping-ponged in and out of positions since 2002, working with at-risk youth, to social work, to a few counseling positions in elementary schools.  At this very time I am also substitute teaching to balance out photography, my teaching soul, and my family life.  I love how my journey continues to evolve, including all the people I have met.

I think the bottom line is, no matter what I am doing it is clear I am passionate about people and our emotions, and love interacting with others.  Photography is such a joy for me. I often catch myself smiling while I edit as my cheeks begin to get sore!

But, we all need some down time to recharge and process life.  So, I also enjoy a great movie and tv series, an addicting book, traveling with my family, sitting in our infrared sauna, a simple workout, and excellent food. I repeat, excellent food!  However, I long ago gave up the M&M’s for some low carb goodies.  I was diagnosed with Lyme disease in 2014.  Interestingly all this has also impacted my life’s journey.  Recently, I have been embarking on more fermented beverages, kefir anyone?!  Health is equally as evolving as the rest of my life, you may read about that now and then…maybe I’ll show you my SCOBY!  Ha!

Also, I am a member of the New Richmond and Somerset Area Chambers.  I thoroughly enjoy being an active member of the community! I am also able to lead our local 4-H club, volunteer on the start-up committee for GiGi’s Playhouse in Hudson, and co-lead a youth group with teenage girls.  I am never bored, that is for sure! 

Most importantly, I believe Jesus died for the forgiveness of our sins and I work hard to learn more of God’s word and live a Christ-like life.  I often ask Him to let you see Him through me when I show up for our session.  You will find I value every person I meet and each session I conduct, photographing it to its fullest potential!

I’d love to answer any inquiries and questions.  As you can see on my site, I have experience photographing a wide variety of people and events.  Do not hesitate to contact me: ilisa@ilisaailts.com or 715-220-7412.

Photos credited to my friend Laura Carroll of Laura Carroll Photography, in 2016, the first year we raised pigs!