Your School Has a Story to Tell

I believe that photography tells stories. Weddings, births, family gatherings, a quiet morning at home: each of these moments is an equally worthwhile and meaningful story to tell. A story's importance is not about its plotline, but instead it rests on the emotion that it makes us feel.


And your school has a story to tell, too. Each day in every one of your classrooms a perfectly unique story is unfolding. It might a story of cooperation and collaboration or perhaps one of exploration and discovery. Whatever the narrative, the story of your school and all its inspiring and beautiful particulars deserves to be told and shared.

As an administrator or a teacher, each school day may seem to be simply a variation on a set of carefully crafted and thoughtfully implemented routines. But from an outsider's perspective a day in a school or a classroom is a fascinating and emotionally poignant story waiting to be told. Your school's mission and guiding philosophy are what makes its day-in-day-out narrative compelling and worth documenting.


Using my years of experience photographing young children, I can turn your deeply considered and meaningful approach to education and childhood development into a heartfelt and impactful story that will resonate with parents, children and the community at large. You can give parents the gift of an intimate view into their child's life at school, provide a lasting memory for a child of what their school life was like as they grew from baby to kindergartener and have access to a catalogue of authentic marketing photos.


The structure and pricing of each school storytelling session is specific to the circumstances and needs of your school--just get in touch and we can talk about how to tell your school's story.

Why I Take Pictures

“Photographer in Madison WI” is more than my job title, it’s my passion.

photographer in Madison WI

My path to becoming a photographer in Madison WI was not the most direct one. But it’s also not a totally unexpected result of my background, life experience and interests. My grandfather was a professional photographer and had a portrait studio on Main St. in his northern California hometown. And he passed his love of photography down to his daughter, my mother, who was an avid amateur photographer for as long as I knew her.

Growing up, my family’s bookshelves were populated with beautiful books of photography and my mother enthusiastically documented all of the many adventures of our life as a family via her camera. In fact, I remember feeling acutely embarrassed by her insistence on photographing all of our big days and family vacations. And I very much recognize the irony of those feelings now that I am repeating that very same behavior in my own life as a mother.

As an adult, though, I treasure the photos that documented my life as a child. And that gift of remembrance that that she gave to my family became even more meaningful after her death in 2011. The deep meaning that I see in the way that these photographs preserved our life with my mother is exactly why I photograph my own my life and why I care so passionately about photographing other Madison families’ “ordinary” lives.

Documenting My Own Family

Madison WI family photographer

While being a photographer in Madison WI is the job that I love, my choice to pursue it as a career is a direct result of my deep belief that pictures of your everyday life as a family are priceless. And I hold that belief close to my heart in my own day-to-day life. I try to take out what my girls call my “big camera” as often as I can and I don’t think there is anything too mundane to capture. Our lives are made up of seemingly ordinary moments. It’s simply the sum of them that make a life well lived extraordinary.

I take pictures of my children eating breakfast, putting on their socks, playing in the front yard and riding their bikes. I bring my camera when we walk to the library, go to the doctor, go out for ice cream or take a hike. They tolerate me toting my camera around when have big adventures or we go on vacation, but also don’t mind if I take photos when we’re walking to school or drawing with chalk in our driveway. And it’s the cumulative story of our life that these photos tell that touches my heart and brings meaning to this pursuit.

I really love a good story. And the day-in, day-out record of my own life with my beloved family is the story that I want to tell for myself, my husband our daughters. Each photo I take of us adds to that story that I hope to share with my children as they grow. And it is in large part due to the photos my mother took before her death that I came to truly understand the vital importance of documenting my own family’s life and giving this visual story to my daughters. Being able to look back and see the details and beauty of life through her eyes made it clear to me that I wanted to give that same gift to my family.

A Photographer in Madison WI

Madison Wi family photographer

While the journey of telling my own story started well before we moved to Madison in 2017, becoming a professional photographer in Madison WI has felt like arriving at a destination. My family and I love this town and being able to work within this beautiful community and tell the stories of other families who also call it home, is a never-ending privilege.

My own life experiences and personal photographic work has made me come to believe so very strongly, that documenting families lives honestly, with authenticity, empathy, joy and humor is how I want to spend my days. Offering documentary family sessions as a photographer in Madison WI is my way of showing families that their regular lives are beautiful and amazing, imperfections and all. In fact, it’s the act of documenting all those “imperfections” that makes documentary photography so meaningful. Life is by nature imperfect and I believe that’s what makes it so incredibly special. I photograph your family as I photograph my own: with an eye for the little moments that make the ordinary extraordinary. Your real life is beautiful: let’s tell your story.

What Parents Think:

"After looking at Catherine's work, I immediately saw that she understood how to make people comfortable and capture small moments for their simplistic beauty. During the shoot, she lived up to expectations.


Casually chatting to make sure everyone felt at ease, while also blending into the background so our family could carry out our daily lives uninterrupted for her to document. The outcome of our session was lovely!


She provided images that made me laugh, choke up or see our family dynamic in a new, special way. I am grateful for this gift and this wonderful phase in our lives that is now frozen in time because of her."

"Catherine came into our home and captured our chaos perfectly in beautiful photographs. While we relaxed and chatted, Catherine snapped away and made us feel at ease while our kids danced and played.


I was completely blown away when we received the final product! My kids do not sit
still so I wasn’t sure how the pictures would turn out, but Catherine truly
captured their wild, crazy, wonderful essence!


These are photos we will cherish for the rest of our lives."

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Catherine Hilcove Photography: Family Photography, Madison WI