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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Booking Sessions for 2019 Midwest Seniors!

If you are interested in capturing your senior portraits in way that is as unique as you are, please make sure to contact me! If you are interested in learning more about scheduling an Extreme Sports Session, click here for more information.

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.

Wedding Bling Andrew Samplawski Photography Wedding Bling Andrew Samplawski Photography Wedding Bling Andrew Samplawski Photography Wedding Bling Andrew Samplawski Photography Wedding Bling Andrew Samplawski Photography Wedding Bling Andrew Samplawski Photography Wedding Bling Andrew Samplawski Photography Wedding Bling Andrew Samplawski Photography Wedding Bling Andrew Samplawski Photography Wedding Bling Andrew Samplawski Photography Wedding Bling Andrew Samplawski Photography Wedding Bling Andrew Samplawski Photography Wedding Bling Andrew Samplawski Photography Wedding Bling Andrew Samplawski Photography Wedding Bling Andrew Samplawski Photography Wedding Bling Andrew Samplawski Photography

Local jewelers in the area

As a resource to my Eau Claire and Chippewa Falls couples, here are some featured local vendors who can help you with all of your wedding day jewelry needs:

Eric’s Diamonds : Eric’s Diamonds is your resource for custom jewelry design and quality diamond jewelry. Serving the greater Chippewa Valley since 1990. Shop for wedding diamond rings, custom jewelry and more.

A. Anderson Jewelers : “This place is great! It’s a one-man-band with over 10 years of jewelry experience.  A professional through-and-through, and he’s very down to Earth.”

Lasker Jewelers : Find premium fine jewelry at Laskers in Eau Claire, WI. Discover a vast assortment of diamond & precious metal engagement rings, pendants, earrings & more!

Rogers & Hollands Jewelers : Oakwood Mall – “Rogers & Hollands Jewelers has always surpassed other jewelers in service and selection. I used to start at this store because the sales people are professional but not pushy and I felt comfortable there.”

Williams Diamond Center : Introducing our newest designer collection! Toby Pomeroy. Ethically sourced and sustainable fine jewelry by Toby Pomeroy. Toby is known for his beautiful lines, practical features, organic feeling and sustainable fine jewelry that supports and promotes the health, beauty and diversity of our planet and its people!

Shane Co Jewelers : Visit your local Shane Co. jewelry store for the best collection of engagement rings, wedding rings and fine jewelry. Buy risk-free with our 60-day return policy and free lifetime warranty.

Big Box Jewelry Stores

Blue Nile : We’re reimagining the jewelry experience because love deserves better. We’re the first and largest on-line retailer dedicated to helping you find the perfect piece that lives up to your love.

Wedding Day Diamonds : Engagement Rings, Diamonds, Free Custom Designs, Designer Jewelry, Sell Gold, Sell Diamonds, Sell watches all at Wedding Day Diamonds at 9 locations around the Twin Cities, Minnesota; Eden Prairie, Burnsville, Bloomington, Maplewood, Maple Grove, St. Louis Park, saint cloud, Woodbury, Roseville.

Kay Jewelers : Shop our selection of engagement rings, wedding rings, diamonds, gemstones, metals, watches and more. Kay Jewelers carries a wide selection of looks, from classic to modern

Helzberg Diamonds : Shop our selection of engagement rings, wedding rings, diamonds, gemstones, metals, watches and more at Helzberg.

Zales : Shop Zales – America’s diamond store since 1924 – for the best fine jewelry selection of rings, necklaces, earrings, bracelets, and watches.

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

2018 Prom Trends

Prom season is here! Prom is one of the most memorable events in the lives of high school seniors and high school juniors everywhere. In this post, I wanted to provide a guide to this year’s hottest prom trends.

Prom Dress Trends

For girls, the gown that you choose is a very important decision. Your look will be immortalized through photographs and portraits taken on that day, and those photos end up framed and displayed for years. So, it’s important to find a dress that helps you look and feel your best. You should also feel comfortable and confident, since you’ll be in the dress (and shoes) for hours as you dance the night away.  Here are some popular prom dress trends for 2018.

Illusion

One of this season’s hottest trends revolves around ILLUSION. Illusion dresses give subtle hints of skin while being totally timeless and classy. Whether a peekaboo side or a dramatic back, illusion dresses can provide timeless drama for any formal occasion. Pick from illusion designs embellished with lace apliques and crystal beading, sheer overlays, pretty keyhole cut-outs or low-cut open backs.  Keyhole backs and illusion details offer beautiful coverage, while low-cut and open backs are a bolder choice. Read more

Chippewa Falls senior session andrew samplawski

Danielle | North High School Senior Session

It’s no wonder that Danielle is our FEATURED senior for this week’s blog, because she absolutely rocked out her senior session.

Danielle is a senior at North High School. She has a fun, outgoing personality that made it easy for me to capture those huge smiles of hers. She’s got a great sense of humor, too. It made the session enjoyable not only for her but for me as well.

It was a gorgeous day in Chippewa Valley, with perfect weather for our senior session. The beautiful weather allowed us to really let loose and have some fun. After all, who doesn’t love getting ice cream in between heat waves? We went to Olson’s Ice Cream in the Chippewa Falls area, which was the perfect treat on a warm and sunny day.

We got a little bit of everything in this session, from the eclectic downtown landscape to the country roads and fields. Danielle absolutely rocked everything I threw at her!

Last but not least, I couldn’t blog about Danielle’s session without mentioning the fact that we got some pretty awesome images with her and her family’s Hummer. I love it when I get seniors who bring something personal to them and their families!

Danielle, thanks for an amazing session. Your epic, fun personality is the reason I wanted to feature you this week on my blog!

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Stanley Wisconsin senior andrew samplawski

Theo | Stanley High School Senior Session

 

I met up with Theo near Stanley, Wisconsin, for an epic high school senior session filled with plenty of action.

Theo wanted something special for his session, and he especially wanted to incorporate his love of football. After all, that’s his happy place: he loves to be out on the green turf and grass and to feel his cleats digging in deep. He loves the feeling of working hard for that win and of being part of a team. Basically, he loves to have a “ball” (literally and figuratively) when it comes to his football games, and that passion was definitely something I wanted on film.

Still, we started out a little more low-key. I headed to Theo’s home to shoot some pictures there before we went downtown to get some more fun photos.

But that wasn’t all. Theo is part of the launch of my new EXTREME Sports, which allows me to create one-of-a-kind collages for my sports players when they come see me for their sessions. We pulled together an epic collection of all the best sports pictures for Theo, and I’m incredibly pleased with how they turned out.

Theo, thank you for being part of my EXTREME Sports lineup and for sharing your passion for football with me. I know you’re going to keep rocking the world!

If you’re a Midwest junior or senior interested in booking a senior session with an EXTREME Sports collage, make sure to contact me to get onto the calendar! We’ll have lots of fun and get some amazing photos that you and your family can cherish for a lifetime.

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Two Harbors engagement andrew samplawski photography

Anthony & McKenzie | Two Harbors Engagement Session

Two Harbors engagement andrew samplawski photography

I met up with Anthony and McKenzie for a fun engagement session in Two Harbors, Minnesota, before their wedding next year.

While we hung out during the session, Anthony and McKenzie told me their love story and how it related to the locations they’d chosen for their engagement session. Anthony proposed in the Grand Teton Mountains, so they wanted to have that same outdoors-y imagery in their session. Two Harbors offered the perfect rustic backdrop for their winter engagement session.

There were so many opportunities during the session to capture that feeling for them. We grabbed some family pictures with their dog before we went to a private cove off of Lake Superior, where the ice formations on the cliffs and rocks were stunning. We were then able to start a campfire and end the day in their family cabin, cozy and warm. I love when couples are creative with their engagement sessions. Not only does it make the session more personal, but it’s also great to keep my creative juices flowing.

In addition to some beautiful backdrops, I was also spoiled with a fun, competitive couple. Throughout the session, Anthony and McKenzie spent most of their time laughing with each other and trading one-liners. And of course, I couldn’t forget their jumping high-fives. These two really were up for anything, and that made the whole session not only more enjoyable for me but gave them the chance to make fond memories before their wedding.

McKenzie & Anthony, thank you for asking me to be your engagement photographer. I’m so glad that I got to hear your love story and spend time with you, and I can’t wait for your wedding next year! Read more

Lake Wissota wedding andrew samplawski photography

Michelle & Josh | St Paul’s Church Wedding

Michelle and Josh were married on February 10 with a ceremony at St Paul’s Lutheran church in Fall Creek, and a reception at Lake Wissota Golf in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin. 

Alberto and I arrived at the church to find the bride getting ready with her ladies and the groom getting ready with the guys. The bridesmaids in Michelle’s wedding party were Jackie, Jeanne, Chrissy, Kelly, and Holly. Josh’s groomsmen were Jeremy, Pendy, Dan, Nate, Chris. The wedding party also included junior usher, Corbin and junior bridesmaid, Ellie and the adorable flower girl, Bailey. Michelle’s personal attendant was Debbie. Pastor Carlton delivered the ceremony.

We had a great time hanging out with the couple as they were getting ready. Alberto and I were able to capture some candid moments of the wedding party as they prepared for the big day. Josh and Michelle chose to be traditional and elected to not see each other before the ceremony in a first look. So, during the ceremony, as Josh saw Michelle come down the aisle, he was very emotional. His tears of joy and happiness were absolutely beautiful to capture. During the ceremony, it was wonderful to hear the vows as the bride and groom professed their love to one another. The weather was gorgeous—a little chilly, but that’s the joy of our Wisconsin winters. To avoid the cold, after the ceremony, we chose to do family photos at the church.

Then, Cody Limousines arrived to pick up the wedding party to set out on an adventure for wedding party photos. The bride and groom chose to stop at Leinie Lodge in Chippewa Falls for some wedding party pictures and cocktails. Afterwards, we were transported to Lake Wissota Golf where we took photos around the property. We even ventured out on the frozen ice of Lake Wissota for some truly stunning images of the bride and groom. Read more