5 holiday photography tips andrew samplawski photography

5 Holiday Photography Tips for Capturing your Holiday Memories

The radio stations have already started with their holiday music. The temperatures start to dip, the nights get longer and there is a little bit of excitement in the air.  The holidays are coming! With the impending gatherings of the holiday season, it’s always nice to have a few suggestions on how best to photograph the holidays. With families coming together from far and wide, it is the perfect time to capture pictures while everyone is together, sharing in the love and warmth of this holiday season. And so, from my family to yours, here are 5 holiday photography tips for capturing your holiday memories.

Holiday Photography Tips: Capture Family Photos

There’s nothing more fun than taking advantage of the multiple generations all together at the same time. One of my favorite things to do when everyone is together is to capture big, generational shots including the whole family. Get great-grandma, grandma, mom and the youngest all together. Showcase the love of multiple generations all in one shot. Pile everyone up in front of the fireplace and get a shot of everyone together. These moments will be cherished years later when those faces in the photographs are no longer with us. A photograph is a way to freeze time, even if just a moment.

Holiday Photography Tips: Document Preparing the Meal

Have you ever gone to someone else’s family celebration and the way they make the mashed potatoes is just… not right? Recipes are passed down from generation to generation. They’re like a legacy. And Grandma’s cranberry sauce is the only correct recipe, am I right? While sharing the secrets of how to preserve these recipes, it’s also important to document these moments. While everyone is cooking in the kitchen and sharing those moments, make sure to grab your camera! Sharing memories of your childhood cooking moments with your own children creates a wonderful tradition. Make sure to capture those moments in the kitchen before the meal is served.

Holiday Photography Tips: Capture the Beauty of the Meal

Hours of work go into creating the beautiful meal. Someone gets up before dawn to make sure that the turkey is in and roasting on time. The table is usually set with the “good china” and lavishly decorated with beautiful accessories, florals, vases and the like. Before everyone digs in to enjoy the meal, make sure to capture how beautiful it was before it gets destroyed. Honestly, there are few things quite as sad as the bones of a turkey carcass after it’s been ravaged.  There are a few moments before everyone digs when these delicious food items are garnished and pristine. Make sure to snap a few pictures to be able to appreciate how nice it looked before you got to enjoy how delicious it tasted. Your Instagram account will thank you.

Holiday Photography Tips: Share the After Meal Fun

Once the meal is over, and everyone slips into a food coma, there are even more opportunities for pictures. Make sure to document the candid conversations– especially when the Green Bay Packer games come on. Who doesn’t love the Packers?! Whether your family gathers together to watch the game, play a board game, or sit by the fire and share stories, take the time to document those moments. These seemingly innocent moments become so precious when you look back at them years from now. Kids grow up. People move away. Make sure the moments are captured before the moments are gone.

Holiday Photography Tips: Partner with a Professional

Special moments spent with loved ones you don’t often get to spend time with are precious. Why not schedule time with a professional to capture these moments? Rather than stress about making sure that your precious moments are documented, consider partnering with a professional. Trust those moments to someone who can capture the laughter, hugs, smiles and delicious food for you. A holiday portrait session is a wonderful way to maximize on the time you all spend together. Trust your memories to a professional and schedule a portrait session while you are all together.

From our family at Andrew Samplawski Photography to yours, we wish you a happy Thanksgiving and a very happy and healthy holiday season.

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minnesota family session andrew samplawski photography

Alberto, Jonna, & Maxwell | Minnesota Family Session

When Alberto asked me to do his family pictures, I was absolutely honored. He has been one of my associate photographers for 5 years, and I consider him to be a good friend as well, so that trust meant the world to me.

Alberto and Jonna have the most amazing relationship. Their connection and love has always been something that I admire about the two of them, especially because through it all, they have never stopped being each other’s best friends. They are so easy to photograph together, because they’re so real.

Their little boy, Maxwell, is 6 years old and already has big dreams. It’s something else to hear him tell stories about all of his little-boy adventures, from the start of school to the start of karate and everything in between. He has the biggest heart and most amazing personality, and watching him interact with his parents is a thing of beauty.

I loved Maxwell’s smile—especially the way that it would come out in full force when he was with his parents. They were totally up for some fun shots with their little boy, making silly poses or lying in the autumn leaves or letting him climb on them.

And the pictures of Maxwell himself are amazing as well. I especially loved the one of Maxwell with his umbrella, because of the way it pops against the fall background—though the image of Maxwell lying back in the leaves with his hands behind his head perfectly captures his personality. He’s a dreamer, and he knows how to seize the moment.

Alberto & Jonna, thank you for trusting me to take your family pictures for you. That trust means a lot to me, and I hope that you will treasure the images we captured together. Here’s a sneak peek from the family portraits!

minnesota family session andrew samplawski photography
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duluth engagement session andrew samplawski photography

Morgan & Brady | Duluth Engagement Session

I met up with Morgan and Brady in Duluth for an engagement session, and I enjoyed not only playing tour guide but photographing this hilarious couple. Morgan and Brady had never been to Duluth, but they were absolute rock stars as they ran with my suggestions for places to get some great engagement portraits. 

We had a blast all around Duluth, and I can honestly say that the two of them are a joy to be around. They complement one another and love each other unconditionally, but best of all, they weren’t afraid to be themselves, which is perfect for photography, because it makes it easier for me to capture those genuine moments and smiles. I particularly loved some of the dip pictures, because they perfectly capture that feeling.

Of course, since they are huge Green Bay Packer fans, we couldn’t pass up the chance to do some shots in their gear. Jordy Nelson is one of their favorite players, and since Brady’s last name is the same as Jordy’s, they wanted to add in a surprise to their engagement session and have a Baby Nelson’s photo to announce that they were expecting a new addition to the Nelson Family. Those are some of my favorite pictures from the session—they are both clearly over-the-moon excited, and they had a blast with the itty bitty onesie finding new ways to pose with it.

Sadly, the weather wasn’t quite as good as we might have hoped it would be. It rained on us a bit, and the sky was gray rather than blue—but when I had a couple that couldn’t stop laughing with each other and being sarcastic and hilarious, we were able to get some incredible imagery anyway.

Brady & Morgan, thank you for asking me to be your  photographer for your engagement session as well as your wedding next year! I’m so excited for you two to be married next year, and I know you’re going to be amazing parents!

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chippewa falls senior session andrew samplawski photography

McKayla | Memorial High Senior Session

I met up with McKayla for a senior portrait session in Chippewa Falls area.

McKayla is in her senior year at Memorial High School in Eau Claire. She is a swimmer and competes often with great success.  We got together in the afternoon and wandered through a number of different locations around Chippewa Falls. She has such a vibrant personality and a mega-watt smile, so I wanted to make sure we took pictures in a number of different places to capture the different sides of her personality.

We wandered around down the streets of town, and then made our way to a grassy field.  I loved how McKayla’s beautiful hair spread out around her like a cascade. It was such a lovely contrast to the vibrant green of the grass. Not to mention, laughter was sparkling in her eyes because I had her lay down in the grass.  She loves the outside, especially when she can stretch out in a hammock. McKayla also is a summer camp counselor and loves the time she spends there with her campers. So, these fun outdoor shots lined up with her love for being outside.

We also lucked out as we were walking along the waterfront, where a beautiful sailboat was docked. The owner was there and allowed us to take pictures on the boat. I love how McKayla looks like she is embarking on an exciting adventure. And, really, in a way– she is! Senior year is such an exciting time for teens. Just like in a swim meet, seniors are poised to dive off the platform into the rest of their lives. There is nothing but opportunity ahead, whether that leads to college, service, travel or employment. While it is both scary and maybe a little intimidating, it is nonetheless one of the most exciting times in a teenager’s life.

Whether she was laying in flowers, walking through the tall grass or splashing in the creek, it was a blast to spend the day with McKayla.

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chippewa falls senior session andrew samplawski photography

Liz | Chippewa Falls Senior Session

Before the school year started, I met up with Liz for a senior session at Chippewa Falls, a hidden location nearby that I love but have never used yet to use for these sessions for the variety of backgrounds they have.

Liz is a senior at Stanley Boyd High School and she came prepared for her session. She met up with me with her mom, Lia, as well as a vehicle full of props & clothes for a more personalized session. The suitcase and the globe were the perfect props to show that Liz is really going places—and has the whole world ahead of her as she prepares to transition into adulthood.

Of course, the day wasn’t just about fun props, either. Liz had a whole collection of different outfits, from fun to classy, to showcase all the different aspects of her personality as well as her life. She could go from the classically beautiful look of a black dress and pearls wading in water to the casually comfortable look of jeans and sandals seamlessly, which made her a joy to photograph. I love getting to really work on a whole range of images like this.

Liz was capable of real class and glamour, but the best part was when she would let her goofy side come out. She and her mom had brought a bunch of different hats for some whimsical pictures, though some of my favorites were of Liz in her bright yellow boots wading out into the water. She was up for anything to get some fun pictures, and these images really captured that adventurous spirit. 

And did I mention she plays Volleyball? Congrats on a great season!!

And to top it all off… we walked down the street from my studio & grabbed a delicious waffle cone at Olsen’s Ice Cream! And we had a blast because Liz’s personality was shining as she loves ice cream & we were to make it happen!

Thank you, Liz and Lia, for coming out and spending a gorgeous day with me for your senior session. I know you are going places, Liz, and I can’t wait to see you take the world by storm. Thanks also to Jayde, from Touch of Class, who did the hair and makeup for this session. You knocked it out of the park!

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fall family portraits andrew samplawski photography

Fall Family Portraits

fall family portraits andrew samplawski photography

Top 5 Tips for Planning Fall Family Portraits

Temperatures are dropping, leaves are changing, and the light has that unmistakable golden glow that can mean only one thing:  fall is here! Fall is the perfect time of year to plan for family portraits. By getting new family portraits taken in the fall, you will have those new images ready for your mantle this coming holiday season. With the crispness to the air and the brightness of the colors, autumn is a beautiful backdrop to weddings and family portraits alike. To help you plan, here are my top 5 tips for planning fall family portraits. Read more

Don’t Choose Boring Favors – Make an impression!

 

Wedding season is amping up for us here at Andrew Samplawski Photography and one of the fun things I love to personally photograph are the wedding details! Details make everything and when you have unique and different details – they make your wedding memorable because sometimes “it’s the small things in life.”

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Saints Peter and Paul Catholic Church Independence Wedding Andrew Samplawski Photography

Amy & Brian | Saints Peter and Paul Catholic Church Wedding

Saints Peter and Paul Catholic Church Independence Wedding Andrew Samplawski Photography

Amy and Brian were married on June 25 with a ceremony at the Saints Peter and Paul Catholic Church and a ceremony at a private residence in Independence WI. Congratulations, lovebirds! Amy and Brian not only trusted us with photographing their special day but also with their videography. With Jeff as my second shooter and Jenelle on video, we had all creative angles covered. Read more

The Barn Harvest Moon Wisconsin Wedding Andrew Samplawski Photography

Samantha & Darrin | The Barn at Harvest Moon Wedding

The Barn Harvest Moon Wisconsin Wedding Andrew Samplawski Photography

Samantha and Darrin were married on May 31st, with a ceremony and reception at the Barn at Harvest Moon.

These two met all the way on the other side the world in Australia. In a true show of how love can span the vast expanse of the ocean, Darrin made the move to be with the love of his life. That’s one way to prove your commitment! Their love truly knows no boundaries. Read more

Marriott McDowell Mountains Arizona Wedding, Andrew Samplawski Photography

Matt & Whitney | McDowell Mountains Wedding

Marriott McDowell Mountains Arizona Wedding, Andrew Samplawski Photography

Matt and Whitney were married on April 28th, with a ceremony and reception at the Marriott at McDowell Mountains.

This was one of those weddings where friends and family really came through in the clutch to pull it together so that Matt and Whitney could enjoy their big day. Everyone was involved, from Whitney’s friends Brianna and Lexi—who gifted her a trip to the salon to get her hair done in a classic updo—to her friend Tara—who surprised her with flower bouquets—to Matt’s Aunt Julie, who officiated the ceremony for them. Read more