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.

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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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wall art andrew samplawski photography

The Appropriate Portrait Size for your Wall

With the New Year, it might be time to give your walls a new look with wall art. Here are some tips for the appropriate size portraits to decorate your home.

Appropriate Wall Art Sizes At a Glance:

Figuring out what size print to choose for your printed portraits can be overwhelming.  Size matters, at least when it comes to what hangs on the wall! It’s hard to know what frames will look too big or too small. Here is a brief run-down of the most common sizes.

  • 4×6, 5×7 and 8×10 frames are meant for tabletops or desktops.
  • 11×14 and greater are for the walls.
  • 20×30 and 30×40 are perfect above a couch, staircase, or on a larger wall.
  • Remember that adding a mat to a frame can add to its visual weight and overall size.

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Chippewa Falls senior session andrew samplawski

Paige | Chippewa Falls Senior Session

I love doing senior sessions at Chippewa Falls, and this amazing session with Paige was no exception.

Paige goes to Chippewa Falls High School, or Chi-Hi as it’s known around here. She has plans to go to nursing school, even if she hasn’t quite decided where that will be. But the more I talked to this amazing young woman, the more I became certain that whatever school she chooses, she’s going to rock it.

She also loves the outdoors, which was perfect for this kind of senior session. We were able to journey off the beaten path to find some locations where I had never been to capture images that were pure Paige. Her sense of adventure led us to try new things, and I thoroughly enjoyed following her and capturing that zest for life.

You can tell from the images that Paige is laid back and has a sort of grace about her that’s impossible to replicate. She had an addictive smile, and I loved when she would let it out, even if she was a bit self-conscious about the braces—which I removed from these images.

Paige, thank you for being so willing to go on an adventure with me and for being a true joy to photograph. I can’t wait to see what amazing things you will do with your life.

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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

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. Read more

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!

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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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