UW Arboretum

Andrea + Adam: An Intimate and Chill Madison Wedding

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Great things can happen when you both swipe right…

Yep, that’s right, these two met on Tinder, and hit it off immediately. One of the things that stood out to me on their wedding day was how freaking excited they were to be marrying each other, and how pumped their kids were as well! Both Andrea + Adam have 2 kids from previously marriages, and these 4 are already thick as thieves. All 4 kids stood up with their parents as the wedding party, and part of the wedding ceremony was a little bonding ritual of sand to symbolize the blending of their newly formed family, which I loved. :) It was so sweet and meaningful it brought most of the guests to tears!

Andrea + Adam were also kind enough to indulge me in stopping by my favorite local mural (Try a Little Tenderness, the Otis Redding mural on Willy St.) and also to pop by the UW Arboretum to do some photos with the last of the fall colors.

This wedding was one of my favorites of the year, as I’m quite a fan of intimate weddings, and I’m so excited that Andrea + Adam invited me to celebrate with them! Congrats you two!

—Sam

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

Ceremony Venue: Gates of Heaven Synagogue

Reception Venue: Wisconsin Brewing Company

Officiant: Rodney Spillane, Groom's Uncle

Wedding Dress: David's Bridal

Wedding Flowers: Dried Flowers Forever

Wedding Rings: Bride's ring - Handmade by Bride’s Uncle; Groom's ring - Chalmers Jewelers

Groom’s Suit: Men's Wearhouse

Wedding Party Dresses: Brides N' Belles

Hair & Makeup: Anaala Salon - Hilldale

 
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Fall Family Portraits at the Arboretum

They say behind every great family portrait is a mom threatening to end all joy forever if everyone doesn’t just behave and smile for like 2 seconds…

But honestly, I’ve found that when people are relaxed and having fun, no one has to threaten bodily harm to get great photos. ;) This is the third year that I’ve photographed this family, and it’s so neat seeing kids get older each year, and yet, as awkward as most tweens and teens find family photos, everyone is still laughing and having a great time, and I think that’s freaking awesome! I also love making sure parents get photos of just the two of them as well!

Many thanks for the fun times and good laughs, and enjoy the photos!

—Sam

 
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Fall Family Portraits for 3 Adorable Kiddos!

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There’s pretty much nothing more fun to photograph than kids (or adults) having fun in fall!

Have I mentioned that Fall is my favorite season? Anyway, I love fall family photos, and this year I got to meet this family’s newest addition, so it was extra special!

Check out these fun photos and start thinking about what you’d like to be doing for your Fall family photos next year!

—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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Jen + Jason: A Couple's Session at the Arboretum

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This super fun couple hadn’t had photos since their wedding 9 years ago…

Which is something I hear a lot, and I love when couples decide they’re finally tired of not having any photos of each other and that it’s time for a session! Jen + Jason were so fun to work with. We laughed, joked about poop (because I’m a very mature adult-type person), and played rock, paper, scissors, which is just about as much fun as I could hope for in a session (and my cheeks hurt from laughing after we were done).

Hurray for getting couple’s photos! :-D

—Sam

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Senior Portraits at the Arboretum

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I don’t do senior portraits often, but when I do, it’s for kickass young adults like Joseph

Joseph has an interest in Personal Training, with an emphasis nutrition, which is amazing to me, because when I was his age, all I wanted to do was paint hand prints on my jeans and drink coffee. This kid is going places for sure!

And okay, maybe I’m a little biased, but I am such a sucker for moms and sons, so I had to include these super sweet photos of Joseph and his mom! Hopefully Ben will let me get in a hug or two at that age also. ;)

Enjoy the photos, and good luck on your journey, Joseph!

—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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Evan, Tia, + Brynn: Fall portraits for three child adventurers

 
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These three siblings had fun and personality to spare! 

So, if you don't live in Madison, then you might not know that for a mid-sized city, it's got a really small-town vibe, in that everyone knows everyone else, normally with no more than 2 degrees of separation. Laura, mom to Evan, Tia, and Brynn, used to manage a Starbucks in Middleton, back when I was an assistant manager at another Starbucks in Middleton, and Rob actually worked for her right around the time we had Ben. Flash forward 10 years later, and Rob and I have now photographed Laura's sister's wedding (which you can check out here) and probably now have more mutual friends than we did when we all worked together! 

On the day of the photos, we met at the UW Arboretum (and let me tell you, we were not the only ones taking in the gorgeous scenery!) and headed to one of my favorite spots in the whole place (I love Birch trees). Evan, the oldest, loves trees and was really excited to get photos hanging out next to trees, climbing in trees, really anything related to trees, which was awesome! Tia, the middle child, and Brynn, the youngest, both had tons of ideas for photos they wanted taken, and we got to take some fun 'flying' pictures, and lots of leaf throwing pics, which are my favorite! The kiddos also obliged me by telling some pretty funny jokes, and generally were fun, adventurous kids, who mostly got along with each other. ;) Thanks to Laura and her family for having me come take photos with them! 

--Sam 

 

Jenny + Adam's Family Portraits

 
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Family portraits at the UW Arboretum

Okay, so if it's not clear, I love the UW Arboretum. I love it for pictures, I love it for enjoying nature in every season, and I love it because it's the place where my husband proposed to me. It's a really magical place. 

Which makes it seem particularly suitable for portraits with kids. There is something magical about how kids look at the world, and how they move through it and interpret what they're seeing that is, honestly, refreshing. It's easy to just look at the world like an adult would. Easy, and sometimes depressing. So photographing Elizabeth (the oldest) and Victoria (the youngest) was such a treat as they were running around, exploring things, turning sticks into magic wands, and generally just being adorable giggle monsters. It was a good reminder to slow down and appreciate how wonderful the world can be, especially when it seems otherwise. 

Thanks to Jenny, Adam, and their awesome girls for a lovely afternoon and for that gentle reminder. 

--Sam 

 

Playing with Good Light

 
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Gorgeous light and good company at the UW Arboretum

Caitlin is the first Instagram friend that I met in real life (Instagram friends are a thing, did you know that?!) She's a wonderful photographer, a small business owner, and most importantly, a super neat human. We had fun taking advantage of the lovely weather at the UW Arboretum this weekend for photos, and Caitlin made a great model (even if we did quite a number of awkward laughs, because it's hard for photographers to get used to being on the other side of a camera). Enjoy the photos, and if you live in Madison, get yourself out to the Arboretum this fall! 

--Sam  

 

Kimberley + Jason: A UW Arboretum Engagement Session

 

These two are going to be having a Dr. Who-themed wedding and we cannot wait! 

You heard me right, a Dr. Who wedding! We love fun couples and themed weddings, and are super excited to be a part of their big day! We met at the UW Arboretum (and boy was it hot!) on Friday to hang out, take engagement photos, and talk about their upcoming wedding plans. 

Can you guess which Dr. Jason is going as? 

--Sam