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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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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.

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

brule river barn wedding andrew samplawski photography

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!

brule river barn wedding andrew samplawski photography

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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.

eau claire autumn engagement session andrew samplawski photography

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five reasons andrew samplawski photography

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

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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madeline island wedding andrew samplawski photography

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

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

Elizabeth & Keith / Eau Claire Wedding Photographer / Rice Lake Wedding Photography / Samplawski Photography

It’s WEDDING DAY for one of our amazing couples!

We are excited to be working with an awesome couple, Elizabeth & Keith this weekend for their wedding.

Take a look images from their engagement session by clicking here… Elizabeth & Keith engagement slideshow Read more