Now Jade Resort Destination Wedding Andrew Samplawski Photography

Tiffini and Dan Destination Wedding

 

Tiffini and Dan were married on April 16th in an amazing destination wedding at Now Jade Resort in Riviera Cancun, Mexico. I was lucky enough to be the wedding photographer for not only their destination wedding in Mexico, but also their second wedding reception for friends and family back here in Wisconsin at the Skyline Golf Course in Black River Falls. I consider it both an honor and a privilege to photograph these amazing events for this great couple.

Now Jade Resort Destination Wedding in Mexico

The wonderful thing about destination weddings is the fact that you can get married in paradise, surrounded by gorgeous landscapes and magnificent vistas. The same was true for Tiffini and Dan’s destination wedding at the Now Jade Resort in Riviera Cancun. The day was gorgeous with a light breeze off the Gulf of Mexico and the tropical sun was shining brightly.

On the day of the wedding, Tiffini had her hair and makeup done at the salon right on site at the resort. Her up-do was absolutely beautiful. Meanwhile, Dan was spending time with the groomsmen that morning. The previous evening, Dan and the groomsmen had a gift-opening ceremony. He had gifted each of the gentlemen a handsome watch, socks, and matching ties.

Getting ready for the day with the bridesmaids was a special time for Tiffini. She was so happy to be surrounded by these important women in her life who had travelled so far to be a part of her special day. Her stepmother, Tina, helped her get into her stunning wedding gown.

Dan and Tiffini did a first look out on the beach in a secluded area with an awe-inspiring view of the coastline. Tiffini came up behind Dan and when he turned to see his beautiful bride, his whole face lit up. The first look allowed them to spend some quiet time alone together, just enjoying the spectacular scenery and preparing for the day to come.

After some wedding portraits, we went back to the lobby to cool off. The lobby of the Now Jade was simple in its elegance and made a great backdrop for family portraits. After portaits were done, we had a pre- ceremony cocktail hour featuring the bride and groom’s signature cocktail: Mini Beer Shots! A Mini Beer is just that- a shot that looks like a miniature beer. It’s made with Licor 43, a smooth Spanish liqueur comprised of 43 secret ingredients. Then, it’s finished with a dash of cream to add the foamy head. It was such a fun choice for their party! Read more

Barn on Stoney Hill Wedding Andrew Samplawski Photography

Ann and Tressie Wedding

 

Ann and Tressie were married on June 30th with a ceremony and reception at the Barn on Stoney Hill in Chippewa County, Wisconsin. When I met these two during their engagement session in Eau Claire, I knew their wedding day would be amazing. These two ladies have such great personalities and their love is so easy to capture. I was so excited to be their wedding photographer for their same sex wedding.

Wisconsin Same-Sex Wedding Photography

The day of the wedding, we started out hair and makeup in the morning at Tressie’s aunt’s house. Alberto was my second shooter and Sara was our photography assistant for the day. The home was beautiful, filled with light, and we chose to do a first look on the beautiful staircase. After that first look, we took some formal wedding portraits around the property of the brides. Then we traveled over to the Leine Lodge in Chippewa Falls. We spent some time there relaxing and preparing for the day to come. The wedding party joined us and then everyone continued over to The Barn on Stoney Hill.

It was a beautiful hot day but there was a constant reminder that in Wisconsin, late June also usually means summer storms. Those storm clouds threatened us all day, but luckily, the rain never impacted our wedding photography. And besides, rain on you wedding day signifies good luck, right?  Read more

Stonebrooke Golf Club Wedding Andrew Samplawski Photography

Tyler & Bryce Wedding

 

Tyler and Bryce were married on May 26 with a ceremony and reception at Stonebrooke Golf Club in Shakopee, Minnesota.

Tyler and Bryce’s Stonebrooke Golf Club Wedding

One of the great things about a wedding venue like Stonebrook Golf Club is that you can have all the wedding day activities at the same place. That was true for Tyler and Bryce’s late spring wedding. They had their ceremony, cocktail hour, portraits and reception all on site at the golf club. The day began with the wedding party getting ready. Tyler and Bryce showed up ready to rock and roll in their stylish suits from Men’s Warehouse. One of the things I love when photographing same sex weddings is the variation in the wedding parties.  Whether a maid of honor or a man of honor, it’s all about love. That was true for this wedding party– it was a mix of guys and girls, and they all had one thing in common: they adored Bryce and Tyler.

Stonebrooke Golf Club is a gorgeous venue. Since it is both a wedding venue and a high-end golf course, there were strict restrictions about where on the course we could go. But the landscaping and gardens were gorgeous, offering us a beautiful backdrop for formal wedding portraits with the wedding party and the grooms’ families ahead of the ceremony. From the brightly colored florals to the stone patios and outdoor fireplaces, there were plenty of beautiful backdrops for wedding photography. And, of course, the rolling green of the golf course was present as well!

Their ceremony took place outside near a waterfall. It was a lovely little spot for a ceremony with the beautiful water flowing over rocks. It was warm, but overall it was a beautiful Minnesota spring day. Tyler and Bryce had a simple, heartfelt ceremony with their friend, Amber marrying them. They greeted guests inside with cocktail hour. The flowers from Shakopee Floral were gorgeous. And the cupcakes from Nothing Bundt Cakes were moist and delicious. During dinner, the toasts were awesome. You can tell that Anna, Nikko and Jacky had so much love for the grooms! Since I hadn’t had the chance to spend a lot of time with Tyler and Bryce before the wedding, it was very special to hear the words of love and congratulations that their friends and family shared. Read more

Naomi and Ryan | Eau Claire Engagement Session

Eau Claire egagement session andrew samplawski photography

I met up with Naomi and Ryan just recently to photograph their engagement session all around downtown Eau Claire.

Eau Claire Engagement Photography

We had an awesome day exploring downtown Eau Claire together. This engagement session really was a lot of fun while I had a chance to get to know Naomi and Ryan a little better. Eau Claire has so much personality, and we captured many different sides of the city! I love how there’s such a variety of backgrounds to play with here because it gives my couples so many kinds of portraits. We went down by the water and took pictures with the bridge in the background and the wildflowers gave us pops of color in the background. We went to Phoenix Park, where the grass was green and lush. Naomi and Ryan did a few costume changes while we were out on the road, so there is so much awesome variety in these engagement portraits! Read more

Mexico trash the dress session andrew samplawski

Destination Wedding Trash-the-Dress

After Tiffini and Dan’s destination wedding in Mexico, I had an opportunity to meet up with them for a post-wedding day underwater Trash-the-dresss mini-session. When we met up at the resort, I asked if they were down for doing some underwater pictures in the pool. At first, they were a little bit hesitant, but they decided to trust me and I am thrilled at the resulting images.

Underwater Trash-the-Dress Session

Tiffini put on her wedding dress and Dan put on a button up and we headed out on a post-wedding adventure to capture some moments of the two of them—now as husband and wife. As a wedding photographer, I am always after creative, unique ways to create memories and moments for my couples in their photography. So, when Tiffini and Dan agreed to some underwater images, I knew it was going to be a session to remember.

We discussed what to expect and made a plan as to what we would try to accomplish and agreed on ways to communicate under the water using hand signals. Because a wedding gown can get very heavy when it gets wet, it was important for us to plan beforehand in order to keep Tiffini safe and comfortable. I’ve done a number of these underwater sessions and every time it’s a blast. It’s something unique… something different… and something that very few photographers do. I’m one of those photographers that chases after unique and different ideas to create jaw dropping moments. But I wouldn’t be able to do it without the trust of my couples. I’m always thankful that my couples put their trust in me to deliver gorgeous, creative wedding photography.

My favorite moment was the image of the couple as they jumped into the water. It was a great capture, a one-time shot. Too early and the joy and excitement wouldn’t have been there. Too late and they would have been in the water.  I got them at just the right moment, with smiles of giddy glee as they jumped into the water.  Just like that moment when they “took the plunge” and said “I do,” they had such an amazing look of exhilaration in their eyes. We came, we saw, we conquered.

I loved the way this mini-session turned out. Every single image is filled with grace and drama. I chose to share most of these photos in black and to highlight the emotions, movement and striking imagery. Black and white images are liberating, because it’s just a single moment captured in time. The love Dan and Tiffini have for one another is absolutely beautiful.

Thank you so much, Dan and Tiffini for trusting me. I am thrilled with the images from your underwater mini-session. I can’t wait to share your destination wedding images in an upcoming post!

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Senior Portraits Andrew Samplawski Photography

Class of 2018 Senior Sessions

At this point, for Midwest high school students, the school year has drawn to a close. And for the class of 2018, high school has ended. Commencement speeches have been given, diplomas awarded, and hats have been tossed in the air. Graduation is such an exciting and emotional time. At this time of year, I find myself reflecting on the many seniors I’ve photographed through the year. I’m so happy for the amazing teens I’ve captured this year in senior portrait sessions.

2018 Senior Sessions

The most rewarding part of my job as a portrait photographer is working with clients to make sure their images reflect who they really are. When capturing senior portraits, it’s so special because senior year is the gateway to adult life. So many dreams and adventures are about to start. Whether seniors are going on to colleges, universities, military service, vocational schools or right into the work force; there’s so many exciting things to experience after high school. There is no other time quite as special as senior year.

In 2018, I met so many wonderful and unique Midwest seniors. These amazing, talented teens have enriched my life as I had a chance to meet them and their families. It is my goal as a portrait photographer to create a senior portrait experience that captures each teen’s spirit and to deliver photos that will last their family a lifetime.  Because of that, I found myself shooting seniors all over Chippewa Falls and Eau Clair. From the track, to the library; city backdrops to quiet country roads, the sessions all matched the personalities and passions of these amazing teens.

This year, I also started offering “Extreme Sports Photography.” These sessions are designed to capture the passion and dedication of athletes. Using state of the art editing techniques, the resulting images look like they belong on motivational posters!

I wanted to share some of the images from these wonderful 2018 seniors. I am so thankful I was able to be their senior portrait photographer. I want to take this opportunity to wish my most sincere congratulations on their recent graduation, and to wish good luck to all in their adventures to come.

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Wedding Bling Andrew Samplawski Photography

All about that Bling

All about that Bling | Capturing the Symbol of Love

As a wedding photographer, one of my favorite things to photograph are the rings. Capturing this symbol of love and commitment is so powerful. Every set of rings, like every love story is different. Blue Nile Diamonds have been working towards streamlining the process of designing and purchasing an engagement ring as unique as your love. Once you have that ring, what’s the best way to preserve it in photography? In this post, I wanted to share some best practices on how to be prepared to show off your engagement rings and wedding jewelry during engagement sessions and your wedding photography.

Sparkle and Shine

There are so many clichés when it comes to talking about diamonds. Diamonds are a girl’s best friend. Diamonds are forever. Diamonds have become a symbol of light, of purity, of endurance. Wearing a diamond continues to be a symbol of commitment and love. In recent years, the diamond industry has fallen on criticism of how diamonds are mined and obtained. This has brought about an evolution of additional gemstones, synthetic diamonds and other ways to display love. No matter what kind of stone is in your ring, including your wedding jewelry in your engagement sessions and wedding photography are very important to me!

How to Showcase your Bling:  Engagement Tips

Engagement sessions are such a sweet time for couples. Your love shines through in every smile. And, of course, that new engagement ring shines, too! During an engagement session, I try to make sure to capture shots of your engagement ring in a candid and unobtrusive way.

  • When you’re both holding hands as you walk, catching that hint of sparkle.
  • As you kiss, your hand upon your partner’s shoulder.
  • During your poses, I try to make sure that ring is visible.

Engagement sessions are a way to have fun and for me to get to know you as a couple, so I always enjoy these sessions. When it comes to jewelry, I encourage couples to wear the accessories they usually would. If a bride-to-be wears additional rings on her hand, she should continue to do so! There’s no need to be too fussy.  For engagement sessions, I love when my couples can just relax and be themselves.

How to Showcase your Bling: Wedding Day Tips

On the wedding day itself, the ring shots are so important to include  Because of that, make sure to be prepared!

Be Prepared!

When couples are prepared, it makes photographing the rings and the details a breeze!  Here are some tips towards being prepared. Ideally, the detail shots will be captured while the bride and bridesmaids are still getting hair and makeup done.

  • Get your rings cleaned before the big day. A good rule of thumb is to ask the jeweler to clean the engagement ring when you pick up your bands. Make sure that stone shines as brightly as your smile!
  • Have your engagement ring, wedding band, and husband’s wedding band together. Make sure to designate one of your wedding party to hold onto them. Put that Best Man or Maid of Honor to work!
  • Make sure the rings, the bride’s shoes, the bridal gown and any accessories the bride and groom will wear are together. This makes for awesome pictures.
  • If you like, include copies of wedding stationery: the invitation, RSVP, any other interesting paper that was meaningful to you—especially fun if it all supports your theme.
  • Make sure anything else important to you, your day or your story are handed over to the photographer. You’ll get it all back—promise!

These images don’t take long if everything is ready ahead of time! The ring photographs are a wonderful way to add personality to your wedding images. I love tying in details that are unique to the couple, so the result is that no two ring images are the same. Whether the rings highlight an important psalm or prayer, nestle into your wedding bouquet or complement your shoes, these photographs are all based on my couple’s wedding day style.

A Symbol of Love

However you show your love and commitment to each other, make sure it is included in your wedding photography. Whether the stone on your engagement ring is amber, emerald, diamond, ruby, amethyst, sapphire or opal, the fact that it is a part of your love story is the most important thing. Make sure it is captured in your wedding images.

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Tips for Taking a Killer Selfie

tips for a killer selfie andrew samplawski photography

Summer is just around the corner. Some would say that Memorial Day is the first day of the official summer season here in Wisconsin. But if there’s one thing I can say, is that Memorial Day is the kickoff of selfie season! With lazy summer days at the lake and exciting vacations around the world ahead, now is the prime time of year for Facebook and Instagram to be loaded with selfies. In honor of unofficial Selfie Season, here are my five top tips for taking a killer selfie.

Taking a Killer Selfie: 

Tip 1: Good Lighting

Make sure you double check yourself when taking a selfie. To get the best selfie, you need to watch your lighting. Let’s face it- the blue glow from your phone’s screen does nothing to bring out your complexion. Celebrities who take selfies constantly know where the best light is! Natural, outdoor light is best for selfies. Find a window if you’re inside, or when you’re outside find a shady space with indirect light.  Try not to look straight up towards your light source because it might make you squint unnaturally. 

Pro tip:  If you’re really looking to elevate your selfie lighting, you might want to consider using a ring light, like the YouTube and Instagram super stars! Read more

Preserve Photos Andrew Samplawski Photography

Preserve Your Photos

Lately, I’ve been giving advice for how to prepare and what to do for photography sessions, but this time, I’d like to speak to what happens after. When you get those pictures from your portrait session, after the initial excitement of seeing everything, what do you do to preserve those images so you can still look back on them for years to come?

Preserve your Images in Albums or Scrapbooks

One of the most obvious answers to how to preserve your images is to have an album or scrapbook made. This way, you have physical copies of the pictures that will last beyond any technology or online database that might run out of storage or go out of operation. After all, remember floppy discs? Physical albums are a tried and true method.

Preserve your Images in Wall Art or Frames

Another obvious answer is to get your photos printed out and put in picture frames or made into wall art. This is especially true for those family pictures, those senior portraits—the images you want to hang up for a daily reminder of the unity and love in your home. Again, since these are physical copies, these will outlast tech that might go out of date. I’ve spoken about wall art before, so if you’re looking for advice on how to find the right image size for your living room, hallway, or bedroom, you can check out that blog post as well. Read more

Eau Claire What to Wear Family Portrait Photographer Andrew Samplawski

What should I wear to my photo session?

One of the most common questions I’m asked as a photographer is: What should I wear to my photo session? In the spirit of making things easier for my clients, here are some things to think about ahead of time so you get the perfect look for your photoshoot. Whether you’re preparing for a senior portrait session, an engagement session or a family photo session, here are some photo session wardrobe tips to make sure you look great!

Consider the purpose of the Photo Session

The outfits you pick out are going to depend largely on what kind of photoshoot you want. If you’re looking for a holiday look for your Christmas cards, you might wear red and green. On the other hand, if you’re looking for an updated head shot for your portfolio, you want something more professional. Make sure your clothes fit the occasion!

Wardrobe Tips: Dress for the Season

You want to be comfortable during your session; after all, it’s hard to get natural smiles when you’re wearing clothing that’s too tight or that you have to keep adjusting. But you also want to take the weather into account: you don’t want to be too hot or cold either. Dress for the season, with warm clothes during the winter and light clothes in the summer. Layering is a way to be comfortable and stylish. It’s also a wonderful way to layer on colors and prints, adding a plaid shirt over a solid tee or a solid jacket over a printed dress. Especially in family photos, a nice blend of patterns and solids that are unified by color is best.

Keep Your Photo Outfits Timeless

You might be at the top of the fashion game right now, but even the trendiest clothing will be out of date years from now when you’re looking back on those photos. Try for a look that won’t go out of fashion: keep patterns simple and pair with solid colors. Obviously, you still want to look sharp, and you should, but you should do that by keeping your clothes unwrinkled and well-fitted, not by wearing the latest trends. The same is true of clothing with brand names: you don’t want to look like a walking ad!

Accessorize Well

Nine times out of ten, unless we’re trying to capture a sporty/adventurous look, you’re not going to want to wear tennis shoes to a photo shoot. Pick out something that looks good on you but doesn’t look too casual. I’d suggest doing the same with makeup: keep it natural and stay away from glitter, but don’t forget to look your best at the same time. The best ideas for natural family portraits is to dress the way you would dress for a family gathering: nothing too formal, but stylishly casual.

Now that you have a few wardrobe tips for timeless outfits, you’re ready for a great photo session. I look forward to seeing you there!

Eau Claire What to Wear Family Portrait Photographer Andrew Samplawski Read more