Engagement Portraits

Aubrey + AJ: A Downtown Madison Engagement Session

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a fun jaunt around iconic madison landmarks and ending with a summer Thunderstorm!

Aubrey + AJ, who live in the great state of Texas but are having their wedding up in the Madison area to be closer to family, came into town mid-July to scope out wedding plans and had their engagement photos at some of the most iconic downtown landmarks.

We started off at the Memorial Union Terrace for waterfront photos (and Babcock hall ice cream!) then scooted over to the Capitol Building (look at that dramatic sky) and then hit the Monona Terrace just as the rain started pouring and by the time we got back to the car we were all soaked to the bone but laughing!

We can’t wait for Aubrey + AJ’s wedding! Enjoy these fun engagement photos (and go get yourself some Babcock hall ice cream while you’re at it!)

- Sam

 
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Ann + Sam: An Early Summer Engagement Session

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Ann + Sam had perfect weather for their early summer engagement session in Fitchburg, WI

And it wasn’t even too buggy! (A minor miracle in a humid Wisconsin summer)

We started off snapping some photos with Ann + Sam’s adorable kitty friends at their apartment, then stopped by a little random stretch of woods that I thought was very striking (all dark evergreens and shadows, I love it!). We also had a blast at McKee Farms Park, singing ‘I Want It That Way’ while Ann + Sam slow-danced and giggled and it was pretty magical.

We finished up at the Vintage Brewing Company with some cocktails and good laughs, and I can’t wait for their wedding in June of next year! *squee* Enjoy the photos!

-Sam

 
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Rad Photographers Retreat - Styled Shoots

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Not one but TWO styled shoots at the amazing Rad Photographer’s Retreat!

For the past two years I’ve been to the Rad Photographers Retreat (for more info, click here) each Spring, and I love, love, love it! The styled shoots are something else! Always really thoughtfully designed, and always using real couples or families (which trust me is a helluva a lot easier than trying to get two people who don’t know each other to have on-camera chemistry). Here are the two styled shoots from the 2018 Rad Photographers Retreat; One engagement, one wedding! If you want to check out more thoughts on the Rad Photographers Retreat and the experience of attending, check out my review of the 2017 retreat here and the 2018 retreat here.

—Sam

Styled Shoot Vendors: 

 

Gretchen + Jason

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Kayla + Ezra

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Alex + Derek: A Surprise Downtown Engagement

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Derek planned not only a beautiful surprise engagement, but stealthy photos as well!

As we waited for Alex + Derek to walk up to the designated spot at the Capitol Building, Ben was acting as my decoy photo subject, and Rob was a ways away with the telephoto lens. Once I made eye contact with Derek, I couldn’t really say anything to Ben without giving it away, so I continued to take photos of him, and then eventually motioned him to move over a bit, as Derek + Alex stopped on the steps of the Capitol, and Derek began his proposal (funnily enough, Ben didn't realize that the folks we were going to be photographing were there already, so he kept trying to get back in front of the camera!)

While I was too far away to hear any details, Derek’s words were clearly having an impact on Alex, and when he got down on one knee, her reaction was priceless. It was so wonderful to bear witness to this super special moment in the rich history that is their relationship, and to be able to capture that in a way they’ll be able to relive forever.

Check out the fun and super sweet photos below (and see if you can spot the moment Alex realizes they were being photographed)!

—Sam

 
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Lynn + Brian: A Fall Engagement Celebration

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Secret Handshakes, Leaf Piles, and Kitty Cats, Oh My!

Lynn + Brian heard about us from their friends Mary + Tanya (you can see their wedding pics here) and since we adored working with Mary + Tanya, it was no surprise that Lynn + Brian have also been wonderful to work with so far! Their engagement session was so fun, and I love any engagement session that works in UW Arboretum, Willy Street, and cats!

Check out this adorable couple (and their clearly thrilled to be invited kitty cats)! We can’t wait for their wedding next year!

—Sam

 
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Lily + Aaron: A Fabulous Fall Engagement Session

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The Arboretum’s gorgeous fall colors were the perfect backdrop for lily + Aaron’s engagement photos!

Lily and Aaron both grew up in Janesville and actually lived only a few blocks from each other. They went to the same high school and worked in the same restaurant for a few years while in high school, and eventually started dating in 2012, moving to Madison in Summer of 2013, and they’ve been in the area ever since.

When they became engaged, these two knew they wanted a small, intimate wedding and to celebrate with their closest friends and family. For their engagement portraits, they were both a little nervous to be in front of the camera (which is totally understandable, as most adults are!) but pretty soon were having fun and goofing off, which is what I love taking photos of!

I can’t wait for Lily + Aaron’s wedding a few weeks from now!

—Sam

 
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Jenny + Jason: An Adorable Dino-Themed Engagement Session

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Okay, so it wasn't all dino-themed, but there were dinosaurs and cats and eskimo kisses, so obviously it was pretty rad! 

Jenny + Jason met while working at Best Buy/Geek Squad. After several weeks of not quite knowing whether or not they were flirting, they both figured it out when Jason asked Jenny to go with him to GenCon (a board game convention in Indianapolis, IN). From there, they were pretty much on the same page about that whole flirting business, and 6 years later, Jason proposed to Jenny at GenCon (they go every year) and she obviously said yes!

Besides loving all things board-game related, Jenny also shared with me when we met for the first time that she was thinking of themes for their wedding, and 'Elegant, Classy, but with Dinosaurs' sprang to mind, and I was instantly sold! I love a good dinosaur-themed event and I love weddings, so clearly I cannot wait for theirs!

Jenny + Jason are so laid-back and fun to be around! They love cider, board games, and their cats (who made a special guest appearance, however reluctantly, in these engagement photos). So without further delay, here are the photos from this super fun engagement session! 

--Sam 

 
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Sharayu + Ajinkya: A Stylish Pre-Wedding Session in Madison WI

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With the wedding in India just a month away...

Ajinkya + Sharayu are working hard on wedding and travel planning, but wanted to make sure to have some pre-wedding photos taken in Ajinkya's adopted city of Madison before the big day! 

We met on Willy Street by Machinery Row bikes (isn't that an awesome building?!) and walked around the area taking photos by the lake, by some of the neat old buildings, and in front of some gorgeous blossoming trees! Sharayu + Ajinkya were great sports about playing games and having fun while taking photos, and also about making sure I didn't get hit by any cars or bicycles in the busy Willy Street area while we were photographing! Once we were done there, we headed down to the Capital for some photos, just as the sun was getting low. These two were a blast to photograph, and so sweet! I'm so excited for them as they make the final preparations for their journey to India and for their wedding ceremony there! 

Good luck you two! 

--Sam 

 

 
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Mary + Tanya: A Cozy and Colorful Engagement Session

 
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A super fun Session on Willy Street 

Have I mentioned before how lucky we are when it comes to our clients? We seriously work with the best couples (not that I'm biased lol), and Mary + Tanya are definitely another exceptional couple on that list! They were so fun, quick to laugh (a trait I love in other humans), and were so sweet and intimate with each other, that they were just a joy to photograph. The session included running into a coworker of mine canvasing to make sure people are registered to vote (hi Jane!), a 'stolen' scarf and some gifted mittens, and the world's quickest wardrobe change behind a random house on Willy St. With adventures like that, how could we not be excited about their wedding next May?! 

--Sam 

 

Sarah + Mabel: A Northside Engagement Session

 
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Sunsets, puppies, and tetris.... oh my! 

These two super sweet ladies were a blast to hang out with (and to photograph)! They met six and a half years ago, when they were set up/introduced by a mutual friend, and have been together ever since. While we were taking their engagement portraits, I got to hear about one of their first dates, where they made moussaka (a kind of Greek lasagna) together, and how they decided to become vegetarian at the same time about 5 years ago. I got to hear about how Mabel loves Tetris, and how they named their new ‘puppy’ Leo, after a blind mathematician, because he’s also blind (and a super sweet 9 year old ‘puppy’ at heart!). We took some photos with Leo (the newest member of the household) and then headed over to Governor Nelson State Park to take advantage of the seriously gorgeous weather. They were so fun to hang out with, and not only am I glad I got to know them a bit better, but I’m so excited we’re photographing their wedding next year!

--Sam

 

Ashley + Dustin: A Visit to Wisconsin

 

They were not expecting this many mosquitos

But then again, no one is. 

Ashley and I have been friends since 5th grade. We went to school together, had sleepovers and sing-a-longs at her parent's house, and I threw a minimum of 2 birthday parties at her place (thanks to Ashley's mom, Kim!) because they had a pool. In high school, we both had the opportunity to go to the Miami Valley Career Technology Center, for Commercial Art, where we spent our Junior & Senior years of high school primarily focused on graphic design and drawing skills, taking a rotation in Commercial Photography and Commercial Printing. We both graduated, and Ashley moved to the University of Cincinnati to continue her study in Graphic Design, and right around the time she moved back up to Dayton, Ohio, I was moving to Madison, WI.

We've kept in touch over the years, but it can be hard when you don't live close to someone. I've been trying to get her to visit Wisconsin for the past few years (because I think Madison is awesome), and she and her husband finally rented an AirBnB and drove on up. Ashley couldn't partake of some of the best beer in the country, since she and Dustin are expecting, but they both got to explore the Madison and Stoughton areas, and we took their (very) belated engagement photos in downtown Stoughton, along with their puppies, and in the yard of the house they were renting. Thankfully, both Ashley + Dustin survived the onslaught of mosquitos that are par for the course with golden hour on a Wisconsin Summer day! 

While they were here, we visited Victory Cafe (for waffles and paninis, and damn good coffee), the Henry Vilas Zoo (Madison staple), the Roman Candle, and Tex Tubb's Taco Palace (no one could escape visiting Madison for the first time without eating tacos with me!) It was great to catch up, and to see her so happy. I actually teared up while I was editing photos and I am super excited to share some with you all. 

Cheers to a good friend, who I'm wishing all the happiness in the world. Love you, lady!  

--Sam 

 

Carrie + Tom: A Devil's Lake Engagement Session

 

They bonded over Vincent Price, surreal cartoons, and beer... 

Carrie + Tom have one of the best 'meet cute' stories I've ever heard! They both worked at Epic, and became roommates with a mutual friend, and ended up living together for over a year before they started dating. During the pre-dating time they lived together, they bonded while watching old Vincent Price movie adaptations of Edgar Allan Poe stories, watching cartoons, and drinking excellent Wisconsin beer. 

These two adventurers knew exactly where they wanted to go for their engagement pictures; the top of the Devil's Lake bluffs! They even put up with me needing to take breaks every 10 minutes of straight uphill hiking, because they're super nice people. ;) 

I loved seeing them interact together, and we're so excited to be photographing their wedding next year! 

--Sam