The Importance of Photo Albums Andrew Samplawski

The Importance of Photo Albums

The Importance of Photo Albums

The Importance of Photo Albums Andrew Samplawski

It wasn’t that long ago that the only way you could enjoy your photos is in a photo album. Looking back at the memories I have of my childhood adventures, all of them are memorialized in photo albums. We would pour over the images we took, hoping to get a few good captures, and then create albums in a labor of love. Baby pictures, prom pictures, senior portraits… if they weren’t in an album or in a frame on the fireplace mantel, those photographs would hide in a box.

And a professional photo album? It was a labor of love. You’d see the entirety of your wedding photos in that album. And by “the entirety” I mean probably 50 wedding photos. CDs? Digital hosting? Cloud storage? Forget about it. Photo albums were all you had. Filled with memories, loaded with nostalgia, and something you could touch, feel, hold and cherish for years to come.

The Evolution of Photo albums

Things have changed a lot since then. Now, 50 images would be typical for a family portrait session, but for my wedding clients, I provide them with hundreds of wedding images all stored on a tiny thumb-sized USB drive, ready for them to share on your Facebook, Instagram or whatever social media channel they wish.

In this world of instantly sharable content, the idea of a hand-crafted album is not the first thing you might think of. We get 

SO EXCITED about new photographs! And we want to share them RIGHT NOW and with EVERYONE. But think about the memories these photos hold. Whether an engagement session, a wedding, a family photography session, a photograph preserves a moment in time. Read more

Wild Ridge Golf Course Wedding Andrew Samplawski Photography

Ashley & Brandon

Ashley and Brandon were married on September 15, 2018 with a ceremony at Immaculate Conception Lutheran Church and a reception at Wild Ridge Golf Course and Event Center. This was such a memorable wedding, for so many reasons. I was really happy to be their wedding photographer, and I am really psyched to share their wedding photos on the blog today.

Ashley and Brandon’s Eau Claire Wedding

These two are a quintessential Wisconsin couple. They got engaged ON the field at Lambeau Field. So, obviously, they carried that Green Bay Packer theme into their wedding, too. They had Green Bay Packers tickets right on their wedding invitations. So, when game day arrived, my second shooter, Jeff, and I headed over to the Stay Bridge Hotel in Eau Claire to photograph the detail shots of the dress, shoes, rings and flowers.

We were greeted by Ashley and the girls. The ladies had matching robes, so we did some pictures including the flower girl, Shelby. The ladies were laughing and having fun and then one thing led to another and they broke out into a super fun pillow fight. Also, you might see on the beds that there were these two giant panda heads… Those ended up showing up for something fun later!

The guys were getting ready in another room on another floor. Jeff snuck away with the guys for groomsmen pictures and candid moments. I stayed with Ashley for her final moments getting into her gown. She was simply stunning in her gown and veil. We created a first look moment for Ashley and her dad, Stewart. I love father daughter first looks because they are filled with so many sweet and genuine emotions. This one was no different. Stewart’s smile was so filled with love and pride for his little girl.

After that, we got Brandon ready to see Ashley in their very own first look. River Prairie Park was just next door to the hotel, making it a perfect location for their first look and wedding portraits. During our walk over, Brandon noticed a beautiful bush blooming with lovely flowers. He reached over and plucked a flower from the bush. And then during the first look, after he spun Ashley around and gently kissed her… he gently placed that flower into her hair, over her ear. It was such a tender, unexpected moment that showcased his huge heart and awesome soul. Brandon even created a book of “Reasons why I love you and Chose you to marry: a book of my lively wife on our wedding day.” It was really sweet how much they love each other. These two lovebirds wandered around the park holding hands, chatting together, and spending some quiet time alone ahead of the exciting day still to come.

Immaculate Conception Lutheran Church Ceremony

After some time, we met back in the lobby area of the hotel to get onto the limo bus by Knight Rider Limousine. We headed to Immaculate Conception Lutheran Church in Eau Claire for the ceremony. Ashley was escorted in by her father and she looked just as amazing in her grand entrance, walking down the aisle. Ceremony took place, they exchanged vows, and in a nice touch, they gave flowers to their grandparents and family in thanks. They were then pronounced man and wife to the joy and celebration of the congregation. Read more

Villa Bellezza Winery Wedding Andrew Samplawski Photography

David and Laura


Villa Bellezza Winery Wedding Andrew Samplawski Photography

Laura and David were married on Sept 8, 2018 with a ceremony and reception at Villa Bellezza Winery in Pepin Wisconsin. From the very first moment I met Laura and David, I was struck by the connection they had. The love these two share is visible. It radiates off of them. So, needless to say, I knew that their vineyard wedding would be amazing to photography. I was so happy to be their wedding photographer.


Laura and David’s Villa Bellezza Winery Wedding

On the day of the wedding, Alberto, my second shooter and I arrived in the morning at Villa Bellezza Vineyard and Winery. This Wisconsin wedding venue is simple extraordinary. It’s truly like being transported to southern Italy. Upon our arrival, we were able to tour the vineyard to get inspired for places to stage our wedding detail shots. We found this really awesome staircase with iron railings that guided the staircase down and found a really cool archway to showcase Laura’s dress. The arched Mediterranean style windows and stucco buildings offered such a unique backdrop for photos. And, what’s even better, it seemed like everywhere we turned there was another stunning staircase or beautiful arched doorway. It was a wedding photographer’s dream! We ventured outside to find endless amazing, gorgeous cobblestone and brick walkways. Elegant doors opened up to courtyard area with a spectacular fountain. Truly, it was like a Tuscan villa, right here in Wisconsin!

While Laura and her ladies were getting ready with hair and makeup, David and the guys were spending some cool casual time tasting wine and relaxing. I really appreciated how the guys had a unique look. They were instructed to wear navy suits and brown shoes, and then the bride and groom gifted them with a shirt and tie. Each one was unique and different to preserve their own unique look but together it all blended together impeccably. It was such a cool intentional usage of planned eclecticism. Similarly, all the ladies had beautiful, flowing burgundy gowns, but each one was unique. It’s always nice when a bride and groom move away from having everyone match! Read more

Clyde Ironworks Wedding Andrew Samplawski Photography

Nadia & Eric Wedding

I’m excited to share the images from Nadia and Eric’s Clyde Iron Works wedding this week because it’s also their one year anniversary! Nadia and Eric got married on March 10 of last year in a gorgeous winter wedding filled with fun. Happy anniversary, lovebirds!

Minnesota Wedding Photography

The day started out great. Eric had rented an AirBNB for the guys to get ready. They were enjoying some beers and some drinks ahead of the big day. We did some portraits and made sure to get some shots of the guys in their fancy socks. Of course, when the Fireball whiskey and the hockey gear came out, there were even more opportunities for fun wedding photos! These guys were a blast for my second shooter, Jeff, and me to photograph.

After we spent some time with the men, we headed over to meet up with Nadia and the ladies. Their hair and makeup was done by Jayde and her team from Touch of class out of Cornell, WI. Jeff and I photographed detail shots of the dress, flowers and rings while the ladies finished their preparations. Nadia got with her personal attendant in her own little suite, and then we photographed a mini-bridal session of her alone.

After some bridal portraits of Nadia, we staged a big reveal to her mom and dad and bridesmaids. This moment, when Nadia’s parents saw her for the first time was one of my favorite moments of the whole day! After some tears were shed, with Nadia ready we met up with her handsome little nephews and did some family wedding photography. So much of this Minnesota wedding was centered on family. So we made sure to capture plenty of candid photographs with mom and dad with their little girl as the day progressed.

Clyde Ironworks Wedding Photography

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UW Eau Claire Davies Center Wedding Andrew Samplawski Photography

Meghann & Stan

Meghann and Stan were married on August 18 with a gorgeous ceremony at St. Raymond’s Church in Fall Creek followed by a reception at UW Eau Claire Davies Center. It was so much fun to be the wedding photographer for this summer celebration of love.

Meghann and Stan’s 8/18/18 Wedding

I love when weddings have special meaning to their dates, so I was not surprised that 81818 was a popular wedding date! There’s no excuse to forgetting your wedding anniversary when you choose such a memorable wedding date! That morning, Jeff, my second shooter, and I started out at St. Raymond’s Church in Fall Creek, WI. When we arrived, Stan and his groomsmen were having guy time and hanging out in the parking lot while the girls were inside the church getting ready for this momentous occasion.

An Emotional Fall Creek Ceremony at St. Raymond’s Church

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Barn on Stoney Hill Wedding Andrew Samplawski Photography

Ann and Tressie Wedding


Ann and Tressie were married on June 30th with a ceremony and reception at the Barn on Stoney Hill in Chippewa County, Wisconsin. When I met these two during their engagement session in Eau Claire, I knew their wedding day would be amazing. These two ladies have such great personalities and their love is so easy to capture. I was so excited to be their wedding photographer for their same sex wedding.

Wisconsin Same-Sex Wedding Photography

The day of the wedding, we started out hair and makeup in the morning at Tressie’s aunt’s house. Alberto was my second shooter and Sara was our photography assistant for the day. The home was beautiful, filled with light, and we chose to do a first look on the beautiful staircase. After that first look, we took some formal wedding portraits around the property of the brides. Then we traveled over to the Leine Lodge in Chippewa Falls. We spent some time there relaxing and preparing for the day to come. The wedding party joined us and then everyone continued over to The Barn on Stoney Hill.

It was a beautiful hot day but there was a constant reminder that in Wisconsin, late June also usually means summer storms. Those storm clouds threatened us all day, but luckily, the rain never impacted our wedding photography. And besides, rain on you wedding day signifies good luck, right?  Read more

Mexico trash the dress session andrew samplawski

Destination Wedding Trash-the-Dress

After Tiffini and Dan’s destination wedding in Mexico, I had an opportunity to meet up with them for a post-wedding day underwater Trash-the-dresss mini-session. When we met up at the resort, I asked if they were down for doing some underwater pictures in the pool. At first, they were a little bit hesitant, but they decided to trust me and I am thrilled at the resulting images.

Underwater Trash-the-Dress Session

Tiffini put on her wedding dress and Dan put on a button up and we headed out on a post-wedding adventure to capture some moments of the two of them—now as husband and wife. As a wedding photographer, I am always after creative, unique ways to create memories and moments for my couples in their photography. So, when Tiffini and Dan agreed to some underwater images, I knew it was going to be a session to remember.

We discussed what to expect and made a plan as to what we would try to accomplish and agreed on ways to communicate under the water using hand signals. Because a wedding gown can get very heavy when it gets wet, it was important for us to plan beforehand in order to keep Tiffini safe and comfortable. I’ve done a number of these underwater sessions and every time it’s a blast. It’s something unique… something different… and something that very few photographers do. I’m one of those photographers that chases after unique and different ideas to create jaw dropping moments. But I wouldn’t be able to do it without the trust of my couples. I’m always thankful that my couples put their trust in me to deliver gorgeous, creative wedding photography.

My favorite moment was the image of the couple as they jumped into the water. It was a great capture, a one-time shot. Too early and the joy and excitement wouldn’t have been there. Too late and they would have been in the water.  I got them at just the right moment, with smiles of giddy glee as they jumped into the water.  Just like that moment when they “took the plunge” and said “I do,” they had such an amazing look of exhilaration in their eyes. We came, we saw, we conquered.

I loved the way this mini-session turned out. Every single image is filled with grace and drama. I chose to share most of these photos in black and to highlight the emotions, movement and striking imagery. Black and white images are liberating, because it’s just a single moment captured in time. The love Dan and Tiffini have for one another is absolutely beautiful.

Thank you so much, Dan and Tiffini for trusting me. I am thrilled with the images from your underwater mini-session. I can’t wait to share your destination wedding images in an upcoming post!

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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

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

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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