black and white image of two girls

About the  Madison Arboretum

The  Madison Arboretum is located on 1,200 acres of land in Madison, Wisconsin. It is the home of over 200 resident and migratory birds and 25 different specifies of mammels.  The park also has over 20 miles of hiking trails.  My experiences with the Madison  Arboretum have been absolutely breathtaking.  There is something different and new to explore around every garden.  I have also encountered so many lovely and interesting people there.  It is truly a gem and worthy of taking an afternoon to check out.  Pro Tip:  Bring bugspray, the park bosts many different types of insects- one of them being blood thirsty mosquitoes. You can learn more about the gardens at


Kroll Family Photography Session

The Kroll family is another one of my first family photography clients.  What I like about Tashina is that she has some really great style.  I know that when she shows up with the rest of her family that they are going to look super fab.


We had decided that an evening  shoot would be best for lighting.  Which, as you can tell- the images turned out exactly how they were supposed to be.  Remember how I mentioned in the above paragraph about the  Madison Arboretum to bring bug spray? Well, this shoot is shoot is the reason I mentioned that.  The mosquitoes were horrible this day.  I actually spent quite a bit of time editing out mosquitoes that were attacking this poor, lovely family!

little girl running in purple dress

So, although this photography session at the  Madison Arboretum was cut a little short because of killer mosquitoes, we still got some really beautiful shots.  I really loved the images of the girls running with their dresses and bare feet.  It is such a vision of  whimsical girlhood. Wouldn’t you love to have photographs like these of your children hanging from your walls?  For more information on family photography, click here

little girls in dresses at uw madison arboretum

family photos in barn

Family Photos: A day on a farm in Portage, Wisconsin

Family photos taken on a farm in the summertime is one of my favorite thing!  This photo session took place about 1/4 mile from where I grew up.  (It’s always a great feeling to photograph family friends!)  The chosen location is called Rowley Creek. When I  first photographed Jade and Brandon and their young family, it was  about a year earlier, when their second son was born.

The following winter, Jade again called me to photograph her family.  We had chosen an indoor and outdoor location in Baraboo, Wisconsin for her family photos.  However, by the time we finished up with the outdoor shoot, it was a little difficult to get the kids settled in to do an indoor session.  These are a few from the outdoor session.

About The Shoot

Because I had a history now with this family, I was delighted when Jade called me up to take family photos of her entire family.  We decided that a morning would work best, and we were on a fairly strict timeline because her sister was moving to California.  Finally, the shoot happened on a muggy morning in between rain showers- the day that her sister left for California.




As you can see, family photos are really important.  You can see how much these kids have grown since i first started photographing them.  Family photos are an important reminder that time moves really swiftly and everything is in constant flux.  Besides having awesome memories to look cherish,  I also hold on to digital files for up to 5 years.  That means that if something happens to your prints, you can call me and I will have the digital copies.

I look forward to taking your next family photos Jade and company!

To see more pictures from this shoot, check out the gallery here.

The Couple

I initially called the Smith family to ask Nadean and Ryan if they would be willing to let me capture them as part of an anniversary project I am working on.  I was privileged to have photographed their wedding a couple of years ago, and was excited that they accepted my offer.


steph shanks photography

collage of wedding pictures

The Family Shoot

Devils Lake was where we decided to shoot.  Because of the icy, wet conditions though, our options were a little limited as to where we can shoot. There isn’t  a bad time of year to shoot out at Devils Lake.  Spring is muddy but inspiring,  summertime means bugs and  lot of people but lots of sun and fun, fall means sub prime weather, lots of people but beautiful colors in every direction.  Winter means icy trails and sometimes cold, but there aren’t very many people.  Which is nice.  We decided on a Sunday morning, and she Nadean also invited her family along to be photographed. We had a lot of fun incorporating the fur babies into our shoot!


Steph Shanks Photography

Family photo collage

Anniversary Shoot

I mentioned earlier that our initial plan was to photograph Nadean and Ryan as part of an anniversary project I’m working on.  There were quite a few ideas of locations floating around in the back of my mind as to where to take them.  However, it was so icy on this day that I really wasn’t comfortable taking anyone without good hiking shoes up on any trails.  However, Wisconsin gave us some really lovely fog to work with, and the temps weren’t too bad either, especially for a winter photography shoot!  Aside from a few ice fisherman, we had the place to ourselves.


Steph Shanks Photography

Devils Lake Photos


Tips for Your Next Winter Weather Photo Shoot

Any photography shoot requires planning.  Location and clothing are two of the most important things to me as a photographer.  Because I like to have an element of adventure in every photo shoot (as long as its safe),  make sure your clothing options are comfortable.  If its cold, bring a coat and scarf.  Wear shoes that don’t make your feet cold.  A photography session doesn’t require a whole new wardrobe full of clothes you will never wear again,  its important to be yourself so that the photographer can capture who you really are.  (That’s where the magic is!)  When planning a location for your photo shoot, its important that everyone feels comfortable and safe. It’s also important to know the ideal time to photograph is.  Sometimes, places like Devils Lake are really  busy, or the sun might be too bright in the sky.


Talk with your photographer about all these things before your next photography session!