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Tressie & Ann | Eau Claire Engagement Session

I had a chance to meet up with Tressie and Ann to photograph their engagement session in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. I had a great time with these two amazing women as we went out enjoyed their love for one another. Very excited for these two as they are soon to be brides!! Mrs & Mrs!!

Eau Claire Engagement Photography

These two have the most amazing personalities and it’s easy to see how much they love one another. We had a great time traveling in and around Eau Claire taking pictures at some pretty amazing locations. Eau Claire has so many different personalities as a city, and I love how we were able to take pictures in such different areas. Some of their portraits were in a picturesque, park-like setting and others are much more urban and contemporary. It gave Tressie and Ann a chance to have a few outfit changes as well. I especially love the “You are My Sunshine” picture they used, considering how brightly the sun shone down on us for their engagement session. And did I say their personalities are amazing?! Because it’s true!

Tressie and Ann have such a natural way they connect and their smiles just lit up every picture. When two people are so visibly in love, it makes my work as a photographer easy. It was great just letting these ladies be themselves together with no worries to the world. There was so much laughter in this session! I can’t wait to be the wedding photographer for their upcoming wedding this June in such a special place. I am very excited to be working with these two ladies and look forward to capturing their one of kind love! 

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Laura & Vince | Brule River Barn Wedding

Laura and Vince were married on September 22nd, with a ceremony and reception at the Brule River Barn.

On the day of the wedding, we were all worried about the weather. It had been raining all morning by the time my second shooter, Jeff, and I arrived—and what’s worse, we were supposed to get severe thunderstorms later in the day as well.

We managed to get some bridal party pictures, but because of the downpour, Laura and Vince scrapped their plans to do a first look. But just when it looked like we were going to have to get used to the wetness, the rain stopped just in time for the ceremony. The sun came out, and the two of them were able to have the weather they deserved for a stunning wedding.

After the ceremony, we did some full wedding party pictures. I particularly liked the fun ones with Laura and Vince with the mechanic theme. Laura loves fixing up cars, though Vince hangs back and hands her the tools more often than not. In fact, Laura and Vince are working on redoing a vintage truck to call their own!

I couldn’t get over the details for this wedding. Obviously, the fact that Laura grew her own flowers for the wedding was an amazing personal touch, and the feeling of family that permeated the day was overwhelmingly positive—but my favorite thing, selfishly, was the food.

The dinner was a homemade breakfast and nothing but deliciousness: pigs in a blanket, fruit, and cinnamon French toast. It was all amazing! Not to mention the cake, which Laura had painted with the truck they’ve refurbished. It’s the details that really make a wedding unique, and this day was jam-packed with them.

Vince & Laura, thank you again for asking me to be your wedding photographer. And thank you for the delicious meal!

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Ashley & Brandon | Autumn Engagement Session

I met up with Ashley and Brandon this fall for an autumn engagement session in the Eau Claire area.

It was the perfect fall day for an engagement session… couldn’t have asked for a better day! The colors were at their prime, and the surroundings looked like something out of a catalog. I always love when Mother Nature puts on a show like this; it makes the sessions even more beautiful.

Of course, this fall explosion also perfectly exemplified who Ashley and Brandon are as people. They love being outdoors together and consider each other to be their partners in crime. With that kind of adventurous spirit and nature-loving sense meshing so well with my subjects’ passions, what more could you ask for as a photographer? They were totally at home outside, and totally at home with each other.

I love couples like this who don’t have to be prompted to be affectionate with one another. Brandon could hardly keep from kissing Ashley and showing his love for her, and Ashley was right there with him, flirting with him and generally being an excited bride-to-be. Whether it was cheek kisses or dips, they were up for anything.

I particularly like the images of the two of them kissing with the light shining through the trees just right. Moments like that only happen when everything lines up just so—so when I saw it, I knew I had to get that light!

Brandon & Ashley, thank you for trekking out through the woods with me to get these amazing engagement images. I am so excited for you to be married next year and hope that your love only continues to grow.

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Five Reasons Why You Should Hire a Professional Photographer

One of the most important things you can do when planning your wedding is to find the right photographer. While there are plenty of amateur wedding photographers out there, a pro will give you the better experience every time. In that vein, here are five reasons to go with a professional photographer.

Professional Photographers Help you Plan

Professional photographers have been in the industry for some time, doing weddings day in and day out. That means we have a good idea of what works and what doesn’t when it comes to planning the photography for your day. More often than not, a professional photographer knows how best to budget your time for a first look, or what the schedule will look like at favorite photography spots when you plan your portraits. Read more

Engagement-Session tip andrew samplawsk

5 Tips for Engagement Sessions

My clients will often ask me for advice ahead of an engagement session on what they should be prepared to do and what they should expect before, during, and after the session. In fact, I get asked this often enough that I’ve decided to make a list of the 5 most important tips for a successful engagement session.

Engagement Session Tip 1: Pick a special location

Engagement sessions are always more fun when the location means something. Maybe we could go to the restaurant where you had your first date or the place where you got engaged. Or you could go with a themed location. If you’re movie-lovers, we can go to a theatre; if you’re more of an outdoorsy type, we can go out to the woods or travel along a favorite hiking path.

If you can, try to pick a location where we can do things. Action shots are always more interesting than posed shots, so any place with paths to walk on, places to sit, trees to climb, or other unique aspects that lend themselves to activities can all work well toward making your session more fun and memorable. Read more

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Nadia & Eric | Milwaukee Engagement Session

I met up with Nadia and Eric for an engagement session around Milwaukee and can honestly say that I enjoyed every second of this new location for me.

I’d never photographed in Milwaukee before. But, since Nadia and Eric are from the area, they already had an idea of where they wanted their photos taken before I even arrived. I love it when my couples come with a game plan. For this session in particular, it really felt like a group effort to come together and make their vision come true.

I had a blast getting to know the two of them as we explored this city that was entirely new to me. Their love for one another was amazing to see, as well as their genuine ability to have fun with each other. They love hockey, they love beer, and they love to simply enjoy the moment—my kind of couple.

One of my favorite images from the session reflects that laid-back attitude—with the two of them on the tire swing. It perfectly captures the feeling the two of them embody of knowing how to have fun and embracing the little moments. Their smiles were quick and genuine and their love was easy to document.

I always love it when my couples are willing to be lovey-dovey around each other, and as you can see from the images here, that was definitely the case with the two of them. There were so many forehead touches, cheek kisses, and nose touches that even people who haven’t met them can tell how deeply they are in love.

Nadia & Eric, thank you for asking me to be your engagement photographer and for being so willing to be my guides through Milwaukee. I truly enjoyed getting to know you both and look forward to your wedding next March in Duluth.

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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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Veronica & Andy | Madeline Island Wedding

Andy and Veronica were married on August 18th, with a ceremony on Madeline Island.

I started out the day photographing Veronica as she and her maid of honor, Jolene, got dressed in their hotel room. Andy was with his best man, Michael, in a different room so that they wouldn’t see each other ahead of the ceremony, and then the boys left early so that they could help to get the arch set up on the beach next to Lake Michigan.

With everything set up perfectly and the waves of the lake providing a gorgeous backdrop, everyone and everything was ready to go… except for the officiant. As you can probably imagine, there was no small amount of panic as everyone made multiple attempts to find the officiant. But eventually, Andy and Veronica decided that they still wanted to have their beachside wedding and held an impromptu ceremony.

It wasn’t until later that the officiant finally made it to the island so that Andy and Veronica could hold their real ceremony and legally tie the knot. They victoriously held up their marriage certificate once everything was signed. The later ceremony ended up being a beautiful moment as the sun was starting to set and the golden light glowed all around them. It ended up being a beautiful moment even after all that stress earlier, with the waves hitting the rocks as the sun set behind them. They looked like something out of a movie. Their first sunset as husband and wife was simply magical.

All throughout the day, I had a blast with Andy and Veronica as we adventured out into the wilderness to grab some wedding portraits. I loved being able to take advantage of the natural beauty all around us on Madeline Island. It was also easy to capture the genuine warmth and love these two share. My job as a wedding photographer is always easier when I have such perfect subjects and backgrounds to work with.

Veronica & Andy, thank you for allowing me to be a part of your destination wedding. I’m glad that you were able to get the beautiful sunset ceremony you deserve!

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Bridgeport Art Center Wedding Andrew Samplawski Photography

Chelsea & Jack | Bridgeport Art Center Wedding

Bridgeport Art Center Wedding Andrew Samplawski Photography

Chelsea and Jack were married on July 8th, with a ceremony and reception at the Bridgeport Art Center in Chicago.

My second shooter, Alberto, and I had a blast at this Chicago-area wedding, especially because we had perfect vendors to work with. With a genuine couple like Chelsea and Jack paired with the historic sights of the city, we were spoiled as photographers. Their love was so natural, their affection so effortless that it made photographing them so easy. Working with great people against a stunning, iconic backdrop like the Chicago skyline made for an excellent trip.

After a sweet first look shared between the bride and groom, we took pictures with the whole wedding party on the waterfront near the SHED aquarium. The wedding party had as much character as the locations we were visiting. It’s not every wedding that I see a bride thrown that high into the air! I couldn’t help but laugh when they threw Jack into the air as well. It really set a tone of fun for the day having everyone in this wedding party so excited to celebrate with their friends. Read more

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