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

Dillion | Chippewa Valley Senior Portrait Session

Chippewa Valley senior portraits andrew samplawski photography

When I met up with Dillon for his senior portrait session in Chippewa Valley, we put on some serious miles—both by foot and by car—to find some off-the-beaten-path locations. I love it when I get seniors who are willing to have a little adventure, because it always make the session more fun and more personal.

Chippewa Valley Senior Portraits

Dillon was pretty shy and quiet, but I was able to learn more about him as the session went on. He’s a big fan of camping and traveling—which was probably why he was willing to trek around with me to find those hidden gems for locations. And he absolutely loves his car, so we were sure to get pictures of him with it, too.

It was also obvious that Dillon’s family means the world to him and that they love and support him in return. They came to the session to help out and ended up laughing and smiling with him. It’s so nice to have family like this at my sessions, because who else can get you to open up like the people who know you and love you best?

And what family is complete without a trusty family pet? Dillon’s dog was a great addition to this session, and you could definitely see the friendship that those two have together. Read more

family photo session

Surviving a Family Photo Session

5 holiday photography tips andrew samplawski photography

Family Photo Session

Want to know how to make your next family photo session a stress free one?

Family photos are truly timeless and such a great keepsake for future generations. Getting the family together to take those perfect portraits can turn into chaos if not approached correctly. There is usually a lot more to consider when it comes to a family photo session since there are members of all ages, which means that there is some extra coordination involved.

Below are some family photo session ideas and tips to keep you and your loved ones calm and smiling the whole way through.

  1. Timing is everything. If you have younger children involved in the session, try and arrange the photo session at a time when they would be well rested. A rested child makes for happy photos. On that note, make sure that all family members have gotten enough sleep the night before as this helps with the fun and relaxation aspects of the session.
  2. Dos and don’ts of bribery. Get your family excited about the photo session instead of offering a reward in return for their cooperation. This tends to lead to forced smiles and an irritated bunch of people. If you do have small children coming along it’s not a bad idea to give the photographer some bribery options in the form of toys or small food items to make those difficult moments a little easier
  3. Relinquish control. As much as you’ll want to direct your children on where to stand and how to pose, it’s best to leave that to the photographer as they know what works best. Not having this pressure will also make you feel more relaxed.
  4. It’s not just about the posing. The best photos happen when you’re having fun so joke and play with your children, hold your significant other’s hand, give he or she a kiss on the cheek or embrace your loved one with a hug and just let the moments happen.
  5. Plan ahead. Discuss all of your requirements with your photographer beforehand so that the family photo session can just flow. Let your photographer know if you want specific pictures taken so this is already planned for to make your experience flawless and relaxing.
  6. Keep those sugar levels up. If everyone is well fed, the photo session will also run a lot smoother. It’s also not a bad idea to take a few snacks and some water along for those who might need it.

Enjoy capturing your memories to display those moments, in the walls of your home, and the walls of your heart!

 

Enchanted barn wedding andrew samplawski photography

Emily & Joe | Enchanted Barn Wedding

Enchanted barn wedding andrew samplawski photography

Emily and Joe were married on January 5 with a ceremony and reception at the Enchanted Barn in Hillsdale, Wisconsin.

A Winter Wedding at the Enchanted Barn

Arriving the morning of the wedding, my second shooter, Jeff and I arrived at the Enchanted Barn to find the ladies getting their hair and makeup finished by Jade from Touch of Class Salon in Cornell, Wisconsin.  Emily started out the day a little nervous, but when her nerves were calmed, it was a pretty good morning! Some mimosas were mixed, and the wedding party enjoyed some pre-wedding snacks.  The guys were already dressed when we arrived. They got ready at the Grand Shanty, right on the property, making it easy for the gentlemen to get dressed. Read more

Chippewa Falls senior portraits andrew samplawski photography

Adam | Chippewa Falls Senior Session

Chippewa Falls senior portraits andrew samplawski photography

I always enjoy it when my senior session are willing to put themselves out there and get adventurous with their senior pictures, and that was certainly the case with Adam, a high school senior at nearby Stanley Boyd High School.

Adam was more than willing to explore some new locations with me in the Chippewa Falls area, which meant that we were able to get a good variety of looks for his pictures. We got some great shots in a back alley and with the urban feeling of the city while also catching a few more natural backgrounds.

But my favorite part was when we headed back to the studio to get some extreme sports shots. Adam plays football for Stanley Boyd, so you can usually find him weight training in the gym to prep for big wins, and it was important that we captured this aspect of his life. It was awesome to see how easily he transitioned from student to athlete in pictures.

Adam pulled off some great action poses and put on his game face—literally—with some face paint. Complete with a helmet and football, Adam looked the part of an extreme sportsman. We were able to create a collage of all the epic images that I think looks like something right out of a sports movie poster. I think it fits right in with the photo collages they do for the Super Bowl! Maybe in a few years, we’ll see Adam out there. Playing for the Packers, of course.

Adam, thanks for an awesome senior photoshoot! I hope you had as much fun as I did.

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stout ale house wedding andrew samplawski photography

Chelsie & Heather | Stout Ale House Wedding

Chelsie and Heather were married in a beautiful wedding this past August with a ceremony at a private location and reception at the Stout Ale House in Menomonie Wisconsin. I was so looking forward to capturing their wedding since I’d had the pleasure of documenting their engagement session earlier this year at Cottage Winery in Menomonie. These two brides were so much in love, and that love was carried through their entire day.

The brides both got ready at Chelsie’s parents’ house. Once they were both ready, we staged an emotional first look with these two beautiful ladies. Seeing them when they saw each other for the first time was absolutely beautiful. The joy when they saw each other in their stunning wedding gowns was truly palpable. Both brides’ faces were lit up with the light of their smiles. Their love is so easy to document. The way they connect was so easy and effortless.

Chelsie and Heather chose to get married at a private location filled with friends and family. It was simply gorgeous, a perfect balancing of rustic glamor. There was a pond, lush greenery and florals and stunning decoration.  I love how they used a pair of doors as the entrance to the aisle and instead of chairs, they used covered bales of hay for the guests. What a genius way to add interest to an outdoor ceremony. It was elegant, beautiful and private for the brides to say their “I Do’s.”

From there, the whole bridal party hopped into the back of a tractor to head over to the nearby pub. I love how the ladies with their bouquets were just loaded into the back. It clearly illustrates how much fun this whole bridal party was. Chelsie and Heather love to hang out at this nearby pub with friends and family. What better place to enjoy their first married drinks?

We then moved over to the reception at the Stout Ale House where the brides and their bridal party were greeted with hundreds of friends and family. The brides’ fathers gave the most heartfelt, sentimental speeches about their little girls. Everyone’s eyes misted up! As these two families joined to be one, it was so clear that the love and support that Heather and Chelsie is something very special. Two families became one in this wedding and it was such an amazing thing to capture.

The sun set and a rock star reception kicked off. Dave DeVille Entertainment had the dance floor packed all night long with music ranging from polka dancing to today’s hits. Even the little ones were out there dancing the night away.  It was such a wonderful celebration of joy for these brides.

Chelsie and Heather, thank you for allowing Alberto and I be a part of your special day. It was such a pleasure to document your love and happiness as your wedding photographers.

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monson bridge senior session andrew samplawski

Bo | Monson Bridge Senior Session

I had an awesome time hanging out with Bo during his senior session. It’s always amazing to meet up with seniors on the cusp of a whole new chapter in their lives, and Bo was no exception.

We tried to incorporate plenty of Bo’s personality and interests into the session itself, like his truck and the family collector car. He looked so relaxed and happy leaning on that car.

Bo is also really big into baseball, so we created an Extreme Sports piece for Bo with his baseball gear. We made sure to get pictures with his mitt as well as with his bat and even got a great shot of the back of his jersey. With the face paint completing the image of his game face, he looked like he was ready for the Major Leagues.

Because we did the session out at Monson Bridge, we were able to take advantage of the gorgeous location for a variety of different shots. The perfect weather meant we could make use of the water and the grass for some classic pictures, not to mention the rustic buildings for a look that suited Bo’s personality.

Bo, thank you for hanging out with me for your senior pictures. I loved getting to know you, and I hope that your last year at Owen-Withee High School is everything you want it to be.

monson bridge senior session andrew samplawski

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Metropolis Skybox Wedding Andrew Samplawski Photography

Mikey & Kate | Metropolis Skybox Wedding

Mikey and Kate were married on August 26th, with a ceremony and reception at the Metropolis Skybox.

My second shooter, Jeff, and I started out the morning documenting the getting ready process. The bride and bridesmaids were at the Metropolis in the Dulce Bridal Suite, and while we were photographing them, they busted out a full-fledged pillow fight. Then, just to keep things interesting, we had to duck outside in between the rain showers to get pictures of Mikey and his groomsmen too.

After a beautiful ceremony, we moved around Eau Claire for wedding portraits. Despite the rain, Mikey and Kate were real troopers—funny and goofy the whole time—as we went around Phoenix Park and other locations. The wedding party, too, was hilarious as they photobombed pictures and enjoyed cocktails.

We headed back to Metropolis for the grand entrance and then some cake cutting—which was unlike any I’d ever seen. The cutlery wasn’t out for the cake cutting, so Kate and Mikey improvised by using their hands. It was hilarious—and delicious! Baking Memories in Menomonie really did a good job with their desserts!

I also have to praise All Occasions DJ Service for providing quality entertainment. The dance floor was constantly packed, and DJ Paul made sure to keep everyone entertained. In particular, the DJ’s scavenger hunt was hilarious. Everyone was sooo competitive, but they all managed to have a great time.

Of course, for as much fun as everyone had, there were also some truly touching moments. Kate and Mikey’s son, Brayden, played the piano with his grandma for a special song to his parents, and Kate’s brother put in a $100 bill to see the two of them dance together as he watched from the edge of the dance floor. Seeing him dance with her from his mobile wheelchair was absolutely amazing. No matter what, no limitations should stop you from what you want to do in life.

Kate & Mikey, thank you for having us be part of your special day. And thank you to the staff at the Metropolis and All Occasions DJ for an amazing day.

Metropolis Skybox Wedding Andrew Samplawski Photography

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