Ada's Newborn Portraits


Little Ada, rocking a dinosaur hat, and making album covers already!

Seriously though, Ada has two amazing parents, and if she’s lucky, will be a firecracker just like them. Check out the last photo, which will be the album cover of her grunge revival band in about 18 years. I had so much fun taking photos of this beautiful family! I’m so grateful for the opportunity to photograph such an important milestone, so thanks to James & Carlie!



Becca + Kramer: A Sunny Nature Center Wedding


Tacos and Music and Ice Cream, Oh My! 

Pretty much all of my favorite things wrapped into one kickass wedding! Becca + Kramer planned the perfect day together, celebrating with friends and family at the Aldo Leopold Nature Center in Monona, WI. 

These two met in 2012 while studying Geography at UW-Madison, and began dating in 2013. They're now both PHD students in the Geography program. Guests came from all over the country to celebrate, since Kramer is from the Seattle, WA area, and Becca is originally from Washington, D.C., and they wanted to have their wedding in their adopted hometown of Madison, WI (or about in the middle for folks coming from near the coasts). 

The day turned out beautifully, the food (and ice cream) was delicious, and Becca + Kramer were so undeniably happy, it was breathtaking! Congratulations to Becca + Kramer! We are so happy to have been able to celebrate with you! 



Here are the vendors (with links) that helped make the day amazing! 

Ceremony & Reception Venue: Aldo Leopold Nature Center

Wedding Band (cocktail hour): The North Westerns

Bridal Gown: BHLDN

Bridal Jewelry: The Fox & Stone / Studio Jewelers

Hair: Tess @ Alan Koa

Florist: Hilltop Community Farm

Day Of Coordinator: Samantha Hintz with Wishful Weddings

Dessert: Chocolate Shoppe Ice Cream

Catering: El Dorado Grill

Table/Chair Rental: Madison Party Rental

Beer & Wine: Cork 'n Bottle




9 Things that Drive Wedding Photographers Crazy


Let's get real here...

Photographers, even the super nice and helpful ones, are still human, and we have some shit that bothers us a little, or worse, makes our jobs harder. Read on to find out what those things are! 

1. Not padding your wedding day timeline 

We totally get it! There's so much you want to fit into your wedding day, and so many moments you want your photographer to capture, but not padding your wedding timeline enough will leave you, your wedding party, and your photographer(s) feeling stressed. If your photographer is a pro, they won't show it, but I guarantee that everyone will feel better and have a nicer time if you don't try to pack too much into the wedding day timeline! 

2. Aunt Judy's ipad

Okay, so maybe your Aunt's name isn't Judy, but if you're like most couples, I am positive that you have at least one Aunt or extended family member who will definitely show up with a giant iPad pro and want to use it to take photos during the ceremony. Any other time, we'd say knock yourself out, but we really recommend an unplugged ceremony so that your guests can focus on what's important (the wedding!) and avoid stepping immediately in front of the photographer(s) you're paying to be there while they're trying to photograph your wedding. Let the professionals be the folks with the cameras during the ceremony and you won't regret it. 

3. Not having seats at the reception 

Of course your photographer isn't going to be seated for your entire reception, but we do have an awful lot of equipment generally, and it's nice to have a designated place to set it down, as well as a 'touchdown' station for super important things like water and dinner rolls to help us keep up our energy and hydration during the reception. It's also very helpful if the seat is near the head table when possible, so we can capture those impromptu kisses and things, even while we're eating fast enough to break the speed of light. Also, even if you don't plan on doing 'assigned seats', it's a great idea to reserve a few spots that are specifically for your close family members (parents generally) and for your vendors. Trust me, your photographer(s) will thank you! 

4.overly restrictive photo rules at venues

There are some venues, largely of the more religious variety, that have some really restrictive rules around photography, including significant restrictions on where photographers can stand, and even what they can take photos of. No joke, we've done weddings where we actually weren't allowed to photograph the first kiss. Now, if the couple knows this about their chosen venue and is cool with it, great! But we find these rules and restrictions are normally communicated only to the photographer(s) and only on the day of, not in advance. For that reason, we strongly recommend that couples check with their venue about photography rules ahead of time, to avoid any unpleasant surprises on the big day! 

5. Pinterest 

Okay, I like Pinterest as much as the next person. That said, most photographers will cringe inwardly (sometimes outwardly) if you say something like "I'm going to send you my wedding photography Pinterest board!" Here's why; you very likely hired your wedding photographer because you like his or her style, and not because you want them to recreate another photographers images frame for frame. It's totally fine to have ideas of stuff you'd like to have photographed, but it's a really good rule of thumb to try not to recreate something you've seen on Pinterest (or Facebook, or Instagram, etc.) and instead work with your photographer to get your own unique photos that are representative of you and your partner! 

6. Creepy or Rude wedding guests 

Okay, I hate that this is true, but it is. Sometimes guests (or wedding party members) can get a little creepy. It can be inappropriate comments,  unwanted touching (seriously Dad of the Bride, I don't need a back rub), or any number of other creepy-dude type things. Also, sometimes guests can get a little rude, even if they're not being creepy. This includes things like touching our photography equipment without permission (seriously, just don't), making out loud derogatory comments about us 'taking up table space' or 'eating' (I don't know why some guests really struggle with thinking it's weird to feed your vendors or rude of vendors to take you up on the offer of food during a long day), or just generally being jerky. Normally, your photographer(s) can handle themselves and are super used to this kind of behavior, so you should know that if it rises to the level that your photographer has to say something to you about it, it's a big deal, and should be taken very seriously. You should also know that most photographers/vendors have clauses in their contracts about a zero-tolerance policy on harassment. If your photographer (or any vendor), lets you know about a creepy or crappy situation, please take that seriously and assign someone to talk with the offending party about the importance of good behavior. 

7. Overly complex Formal Shot Lists

I'm all for folks getting the formal photos that they want to have, but sometimes, in an effort to make sure they didn't miss anything, couples can go a teeeeennnnyyyy bit overboard by building in every conceivable combination of the same 20 people into their formal shot list. Now, this is an interesting pet peeve because the photographer really doesn't care, it's more of an issue because the more combinations and more extended family being worked into the formal shot list, the longer the formal photos take, and the less time there is for things like fun couple's photos, candid shots, etc. (you know, the stuff you'll actually be excited to look at later) AND the more likely it is that family members will start getting cranky or hangry or both (and not just the children) because photos are taking forever. Always do a once-over on your formal shot list to examine whether there are any photos that are essentially duplicates and that you could pare down to make the experience faster and better for everyone (yourselves included!) 

8. "We're just going to Wing it" 

You should never use this phrase in relation to your wedding day. No seriously. All photographers who hear any version of "We're just going to wing it!" come out of couple's mouths want to run for the hills (but we won't, we'll just stay and watch the train wreck happen, unable to look away). The truth is that weddings are a big deal, and there is a LOT of planning that goes into them, so it's best to either take the time to plan out the details (break it into chunks to make it easier or hire a wedding planner) or to decide that if something is too stressful to plan, you will just leave that thing out of your wedding day entirely. 'Winging it' normally means timelines that don't work, cranky and confused guests and wedding party members, and a couple that's actually more stressed out than if they had just planned ahead or hired a professional to do that bit of planning. Trust us, preparedness is key to things going smoothly! 

9. Ghosting your photographer 

Okay, so like, I know that your relationship with your photographer(s) isn't really something you think about much after the wedding day, but for photographers who love wedding photography, and are super invested in the couples they work with, I can't tell you how disheartening it is finish editing a couple's wedding, be SOOOOOOO excited for them to see it, hit that send button, and then.... nothing. *crickets* Like... you literally never hear from this couple again. I also can't even begin to describe the crippling self-doubt that sets in. "Do they hate the photos? Do they hate me? Did they get in some sort of horrible car accident? Are they literally in a coma right now?!" I've learned over time that it's normally just because the couple got busy, and kind of forgot to say thanks or provide feedback, and not because they didn't love the photos. They viewed the whole thing as more of a transaction than a relationship, which is also okay, but dude, we're begging you, at least say you got the album! I'd also wager a bet that these are normally the couples that never quite get around to sending their thank you cards either. Don't be that couple. 


Hopefully this has been insightful, and allows you to avoid some of these pitfalls when planning your own weddings! ;) 




Megan + Bri: An Intimate State Capitol Wedding


This micro wedding was super sweet and colorful! 

Megan + Bri met at a roller derby after party at Plan B, spent the evening talking about My Little Pony, and everything just clicked from there! They love spending time together fishing, hiking, watching PBS, and playing games, or cuddling with their two kitties, Little and Georgia! 

Their wedding was very intimate, with just their two sets of parents, Bri's sister, and Megan's aunt, and was absolutely lovely. Megan's dad bought a rainbow umbrella in case of rain, and while it wasn't originally part of the plan, pretty much everyone in attendance had their picture taken with the umbrella, even Judge Kloppenburg! 

It was such an honor to photograph their wedding, celebrate with them, and cheer with the bystanders at the Capitol building when they said 'I Do'! Congratulations to Megan + Bri! 



Here are all the vendors (with links) that helped make their wedding day awesome! 

Ceremony Venue: The Wisconsin State Capitol Building

Officiant: Judge Kloppenburg

Megan's Dress: Brandi's Bridal 

Bri's Suit: Men's Wearhouse

Rings: Family Heirlooms

Florist: Klein's Floral



Representation Matters, Especially in the Wedding Industry


Why it's important to represent more than just straight white couples 

Don't get me wrong, we love straight white couples! But if there is one type of couple that the wedding industry loves to represent, almost exclusively, it's straight, able-bodied, thin and conventionally attractive white couples. 

Here's the problem with that... When you only represent one type of couple, you leave so many other types of couples feeling left out and undervalued. I remember talking with a friend, who is also in the wedding industry, about her experience planning her own wedding and how as an African American woman getting married to a white man, she had a really hard time finding any wedding magazines, blogs, etc. that had any couples that looked like her and her fiancé. I've heard the same thing from countless couples we've worked with, and that fucking sucks. 

So, while checking my Instagram insights recently (I know, I live a very exciting life), I was overjoyed to see that out of my top 6 most liked photos ever on Instagram, 4 of them were of LGBTQ+ couples and 2 included people of color. This tells me two things... 1) That I have the right audience on Instagram for the type of work I want us to be doing (yay!) and 2) That people are thirsty for wedding photos and inspiration that aren't just straight, white, able-bodied, thin and conventionally attractive couples. People want to see wedding inspiration and wedding photos that look like them, and surprise, people come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and orientations and gender expressions!  

We've had couples hire us because not all of the weddings we blog are of super skinny people. We've had couples choose us because we're so vocal about how much we love LGBTQ+ weddings, and so they felt very valued by us. We've had other couples hire us because we understand some of the unique challenges of a wedding day when one or both people in the couple suffer from a chronic, debilitating illness. We've had couples hire us because we have experience taking beautiful photographs of folks with darker skin tones. Other folks have hired us because of our work with Our Lives magazine or the fact that we're super cool working with non-binary and trans clients or because we're cool with poly or ethically non-monogamous couples. Ultimately, people want to know that a wedding vendor, particularly a photographer, is excited to work with them specifically. 

Recently, clients of ours shared a really powerful story with us. This couple has a family friend whose child came out as non-binary. They showed this friend and their child the blog post about Miles + Daniel's non-binary, queer as hell wedding (check out the photos here) and seeing a non-binary person (Miles) so happy and supported, celebrating a wedding, was really powerful for this kid. They said that it helped them see how they could live authentically as themselves, and gave them hope for what an adult life could look like as a non-binary person. I was brought to tears when our clients shared this story with me. Representation matters. It can make such a difference in ways you can't even recognize right away. 

As a small business owner, and as a human, it is so important to me that, to the best of our ability, we're representing those who are traditionally underrepresented in the wedding industry. That's why our focus has long been on diverse and offbeat couples. In particular, serving the LGBTQ+ community is important to me as a person who identifies as queer. That's also why we love the Offbeat Bride site so much! They do a great job of representing a wide variety of folks who don't get much love in the more traditional wedding industry. I want our business to be like that, but specific to photography. I want people to come to our website or social media pages, and be able to really see themselves in the images and stories they find here. 

I want to give so much gratitude to our amazing clients, and thank all of you for putting your faith in us to tell your story in a way that is authentic to you. (I'm not crying, you're crying). 

-- Sam 

p.s. If you have any suggestions for us on how we can continue to strive for that goal, please drop us a line!

Elaina + Nate: A Modern Monona Terrace Rooftop Wedding


A modern and sleek wedding, with loads of beautiful details, great laughs, and a ring-bearer doggo! 

Elaina + Nate met when they lived close to each other, and Elaina got stuck in the winter snow, and had to ask neighbors (including Nate) for assistance. Nate didn't get the car unstuck sadly, but he + Elaina really hit it off, and went on to be good friends for the next year or so, before they moved into boyfriend/girlfriend territory. Nate proposed on top of a mountain, which is only fitting... 

These two, with their love of adventure, physically challenging hobbies (Tough Mudder, anyone?), and each other, were the freaking cutest! They were soooo excited to see each other for their first look, and couldn't wait to walk down aisle! I love seeing folks who are so excited to be with one another, who get pumped to celebrate with their friends and family, and who are such nice people, that they are clearly beloved by all who attended the wedding to celebrate with them! How tight knit these two are with their families is something to see as well! Nate's sister even did a freestyle rap as part of her toast, to the tune of Fresh Prince of BelAir! So... we really have seen it all now! 

Enjoy the photos of this fabulous wedding on the Monona Terrace rooftop, and join me in wishing nothing but happiness to these two awesome individuals and their families! (Also check out their super cute ring-bearer doggo!) 



Here are the vendors (with links!) who made their wedding day A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! 

Ceremony & Reception Venue: Monona Terrace

Officiant: Patrick Gugliuzza (friend of the couple)

Wedding Dress: Amsale from Matina's Bridal

Wedding Shoes: Aldo His Shoes: J. Murphy

Tux: Vera Wang from Men's Wearhouse

Engagement Ring: Great grandmother's

Her Wedding Band: CatBird

His Wedding Band: David Yurman

Alternative Wedding Bands: Qalo

Hand-Painted Veil & Earrings: Paris by Debra Moreland

Bracelet: Swarovski

String Quartet (Ceremony): State Street Strings

DJ: Kuhl Entertainment (Patrick Archer) 

Florals: Sunborn Gardens

Desserts: Monona Terrace Catering 

Catering: Monona Terrace Catering

Wedding Party Attire (Ladies): Haylie Paige

Wedding Party Attire (Gentlemen): Vera Wang from Men's Wearhouse