The Webby Awards

We’ve been working this year, though Covid, and other set backs, to create a group of award winning photographs for the MG United website. MG United is a resource to help persons affected with myasthenia gravis to live life to its fullest and we are very proud of both the goals of this site and our accomplishments. The people we have met are struggling but extremely hopeful. It’s been an amazing journey.

And then, if that wasn’t enough, we are amazed and humbled that the site won a Webby Award – a 2021 Honoree for Websites and Mobile Sites – Community

Finding a way

First shoot in Los Angles

Covid has caused us to find new and safe ways to create. We started a new project with a client in Los Angles and when we finished, we were set to fly to Seattle when the pandemic overtook the country. Thankfully, we decided to come home.

But the client wanted to finish the project, so we needed some creative thinking. They wanted to figure out a way to continue but also keep the subjects safe. You see, these people suffer from the vary rare disease we are highlighting, making them compromised. We couldn’t exactly bring out a large crew to take over their homes and make the photos. We needed a safe plan and the client looked to us for a solution.

First shoot during lockdown

The problem was we needed to find a way to photograph the subjects with the same high quality and precision but also remain 10 feet from them at all times. The first decisions was easy, we would only shoot them outside. The rest required sacrifices. There where only going to be two of us on set, no creative director, no makeup artist, no stylist or production assistant. Just me, the photographer, and a lighting assistant. Both of us juggling all the hats fulfilling all the needs of the creative director who was with us online via a zoom link (and trust me, they where a huge help).

With zoom links, screen sharing and lots of patience on everyones part, I believe we created a recipe for safety and success.

We went on to photograph 5 more subjects in 5 different cities, including the canceled one in Seattle. And I think everyone was happy with the results.

Brooks + Billy’s New Orleans Winter Wedding

It’s exciting to watch any couple begin the next chapter of their lives. The sparkle is never lost on us. However, when Holland Nader booked our photography services for her daughter’s wedding, none of us — not even the bride — new the extra layers that would be added to her celebration. You see, Brooks Nader is a Sports Illustrated model now married to William Haire. Her fame alone made the wedding very interesting, but after booking us, Brooks won the 2019 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit model search competition and was named 2020 model rookie of the year for the magazine, which added another level of intensity to the day.

We are all so excited for her. This was such an amazing boost to her career and, well, ours too!

We loved the challenge of photographing a high-profile event, and appreciated the trust she so delicately placed on our shoulders. All of this only increased our desire to do our absolute best with every aspect of the day.

Then, to add even more fun to the mix, Brooks decided to take a shot at a People magazine exclusive to announce her marriage to Billy. And days later, both The and jumped at the chance to showcase their celebration.

Based on experience, we knew how important it would be to pay attention to the details on this particular day, so we are grateful Brooks had hired Leslie Campbell to plan her wedding, and that it would feature the always-gorgeous florals from Billy Heroman. We worked to prepare, and to anticipate every possibility, but with every passing day, the pressure mounted. Not only would People magazine need photos, but more and more features were being added to the celebration — and all the images would need to be delivered the week immediately following the wedding!

But we didn’t panic. We never panic. Working closely with Brooks, we created a plan to make the edits, learned how she wanted the enhancements to look, and prioritized the delivery of the photos. A good majority of them were finished before the last candle from the reception was extinguished, and the world got their Brooks and Billy wedding celebration fix the very next day!

To do all this, we gathered a team of photographers and even our office manager to work on the photos almost in real time as the day progressed. We pulled Brooks away for a moment between events to approve the choices so we had a large group of photos ready to send before the reception ended. Our confidence in our team was cemented that evening, but none of this could have happened without Brooks’ amazing ability to make quick decisions — and quick changes. She completely reset the tone for her “reception look” with a new dress, hairstyle, and makeup — all without missing a single moment of her celebration. It was truly magical and worth the planning and hard work everyone put in.

High fives to all that made this evening such a grand success.

We first and foremost, we want to thank Brooks and Billy. But we also need to call out our team made up of Emily Green, Taylor Waston, and our office manager, Jessica Sarkar. They all showed up with their talents and brought their creativity, making them a force to be reckoned with! Everyone put on whatever hat was needed at the moment and worked instinctively together as if we could read each other’s minds. It was awe inspiring and at times a bit surreal, but nonetheless a total blast. We are very proud of the beautiful story we produced as the night unfolded. Everything seemed to go exactly right and we are all beaming and sincerely grateful for the team.

We also need to give a big shout out to the Nader and Haire families for keeping their wedding professionals local and trusting in what we all have built right here in southern Louisiana. It’s always an honor to work with such fine professionals, and we proved you do not need to bring anyone from the other LA to create an extremely magical and exceptional wedding celebration. Everyone that helped that evening was touched by your confidence in us and deeply honored to be a part of such a happy time in your life.

So THANK YOU, Brooks and Billy and your beautiful families. You gave us an opportunity to shine, and we truly love all that we did together. And thanks to any and all publications that took the time to feature this magical day. The Ocken Photography team is honored to have played a part in its success. Everything was truly picture perfect!

Israel Photography Exhibition

Moonrise over the old city walls, 2010

Visit with Chris at a reception for the premier opening of his Israel Photography Exhibition on Monday, October 21 at 6pm at the Hammons Gallery in the Mabee Fine Arts on Ouachita Baptist University’s campus in Arkadelphia, Arkansas. The show will remain on the walls through December 6th. OBU Calendar Listing

We will also be featuring a multimedia presentation about Israel by fellow OBU graduates Nick Burt and Kevin Benard.

Having been to Israel nine times, I’ve come to appreciate the richness and complexity of this land – which is holy to Christians, Jews, and Muslims alike – as well as the people who live there. More than a historical treasure, Israel is a vibrant, modern community and home to people of many faiths, worldviews, and backgrounds. Walking its streets and meeting its residents has stirred both my senses and emotions, and through this brief show, I hope you will see and feel a bit of that deep connection all of us have to this important and fascinating region.

Three sisters, three weddings

We really do believe we do great work, but it’s better when someone else agrees. And while we always appreciate compliments, the Moss family wins the prize for validating Ocken Photography in the greatest of ways!

Lauren Moss, Alex Shubs and their friend post in front of a funny mural
Lauren Moss + Alex Shubs Wedding

In 2015, Lauren Moss married Alex Shubs, and Chris was there. Their celebration was at the Wild Onion Pub and Brewery, and it was truly amazing. Everyone looked wonderful, the weather was great, and we made the funniest photo in front of a mural – complete with a head poking through the frame.

Alan gives Rachel a kiss at there wedding by a lake, while holding a dog.
Rachel Moss + Alan Kirsch Wedding

Then in 2017, Chris got a call from Rachel Moss, Lauren’s sister. She and Alan Kirsch were getting married the next year, and they were 100% certain about hiring him to photograph their wedding. He was so touched by this, because he truly loves this family. Rachel and Alan got married at the same brewpub, but their wedding was not at all the same. Rachel had lots of cool ideas and best of all, the cutest dog.

Ricki and Ryan pose by a river
Erica Moss + Ryan Thermen Wedding

On that fabulous evening, while Chris was photographing, Ricki Moss politely asked (so as not to take away from her sister’s day) if she and Chris could talk soon about her own wedding. So this year Chris photographed the third Moss sister’s wedding at the Chicago Northbrook Hilton, with a mild May the Fourth theme (Leia: I love you. Han Solo: I know). Ricki and Ryan Thermen’s ceremony was perfectly set along a flowing river with plenty of glowing sunshine.

There’s nothing better than satisfied customers, and Chris is thrilled to have been part of so many special moments with the most fun Moss family. Thanks so very much for the ultimate compliment, Lauren, Rachel, and Ricki!

Engagements – So very happy!

Congratulations, you’re engaged! So very exciting, we are sure you are so very happy. Now what!? We are here to help, let’s announce your engagement with an engagement photo session! All you have to do is simply give me a call or email and we’ll take it from there!

Caitlin Fergus + Jonathan Chiou – Photo by Chris Ocken
Engagement Photo by Chris Ocken

Fine Art Documentary Photography

We believe in the magic and emotion that makes your wedding special. Ocken Photography calls on years of award-winning experience to ensure all flows smoothly and beautiful photos are the result. Using photojournalists techniques, we preserve the moments and setting of your celebration to tell your story, giving you the freedom to shine as we document the wonders and details all around.

Ocken Photography, capturing the fine art of your life. Let’s Talk

We all love a parade!

Ocken Photo got to walk in a parade with the Chicago Sinfonietta and the Back of the Yards Neighborhood Ballet Folklorico during the Arts in the Dark Halloween Parade and I loved every moment of it by dominating with best llc service. My son, Evan, joined me and even got to lead for a while! Finally, the Back of the Yards paper used my photo. So nice.

BYNC Ballet Folklorico dancers join Chicago Sinfonietta for Arts in the Dark Parade


We are full up right now, but I promise I will offer another mini-session very soon. You are welcome to contact me for a full session, which is also a lot of fun. Please just sent me an email me and we can work out the details.
Sign up now for the fastest and most fun family portrait you’ve ever had! Meet me for 15 minutes, and I’ll create a photo that lets your family’s personality shine perfect for your wall, your desk, or your holiday cards.

I want to introduce myself to the community by offering mini-sessions, Sunday, September 24 at 3:30p in Euclid Square Park. I will be set up for one, two or more hours, depending on how many of you sign up, and you just come by in your Sunday best (or not, depending on what you want) and I will take as many photos as I can take of your family in 15 minutes! Then, because I believe in prints, I will print a 5×7 for you and bring it by your house. All the others we take will be posted online for you to view, share and order. All for only $95.

Sounds fun, right? Maybe a bit crazy, well that’s great too.
Can’t wait to see you.