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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 https://arboretum.wisc.edu/explore/gardens.

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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

senior pictures girl on blanket

About this High School Senior

When McKenna was a high school senior, she met with me to do her pictures.  McKenna was going into her senior year at Baraboo Highschool and wanted her pictures to be different and adventurous. I was totally up for the challenge! All of my senior photo ideas today are about the functionality of your photo session. How to get your pictures to turn out how you want them and how to make them ‘feel like’ you.  These pictures all took place in Baraboo, Wisconsin and the Aldo Leopold Foundation .

Senior Photo Ideas

Senior Photo Ideas #1

I am using McKenna’s senior photo session to give you some senior photo ideas.  The first idea that I want to bring to your attention  are the simple accessories that she used during her shoot.  By adding one item (a cute necklace in the first pics, a hat in the second, and cool sandals  in the third) it makes the pictures just a little more interesting.  Taking a few minutes to add accessories to your outfits can really bring out character.  A photograph can not verbally speak, so you have to be able to ‘tell’ your story through it.

 

Senior Photo Ideas # 2

Finding a location that is as unique and interesting as you are is definitely a way to make your photos ‘pop’.  Take an afternoon and drive around with your family and friends to locations that you enjoy going to, even if its places you haven’t visited in years- just go on a drive and check them out.  You might be surprised what you find. If you aren’t exactly sure where you want your photos taken, you can always consult with a photographer- they might be able to get you pointed in the right direction.  The location you choose will have a direct effect on how your photographs turn out.  If you don’t like bugs, don’t pick the woods. If you don’t like heights, don’t pick a cliff.  There are plenty of unique locations out there that will suite you perfectly, I promise!

Senior Photo Ideas #3

We’ve talked about accessories and we’ve talked about location, lets finish up by talking about clothing. Again, referring to McKenna’s senior photo shoot, she picked out clothing that was comforatable and represented her own personality and style.  I’m not sure if she went out and bought new clothing for her shoot, but her clothes were appropriate to the locations she picked out and to the person she is.  She had a nice choice of options, as you can tell in all three locations.  Nothing was too short, too bold or too uncomfortable.  Just be yourself and your pictures were turn out timeless, sophisticated and genuine, just like you!

Want to see more of McKenna’s High School Senior Pictures? Click Here, to go to her Gallery!

Kalahari Resort Award

About the Kalahari Resort

The Kalahari Resort and convention center in the Wisconsin Dells is the perfect place to host an awards show.  Along with hosting awards show, it bosts over 100,000 square feet for large conventions, trade shows, family reunions and much more.  The Kalahari Resort opened in Wisconsin in May of 2000.  It has since grown to other cities including Sandusky Ohio;Pocono Mountains, Pennyslvania and soon Round Rock, Texas.  So you’re ready to check out the Kalahari for your next big event? Check it out here: https://www.kalahariresorts.com/wisconsin

 

About American Family

I photograph a lot of events, so walking into a room full of strangers and asking them to smile as I get up in their face and take their picture is nothing new.  I really enjoyed this particular event because everyone was really nice and super accommodating to my requests. American Family Insurance is a Wisconsin Company, in 1928 its first salesman opened the doors in Madison Wisconsin. In case you are wondering, American Family Mutual Insurance Group is the nation’s 13th largest property-casualty insurance group, 8th largest homeowners insurance company and 9th largest private passenger insurer.

Kalahari Resort Event

 

About the  Event

Every year American Family Insurance recognizes the best of the best at the awards show.   The awards not only showcase agents who have been successful in their business, but also recognizes those who are passionate about making a difference in the world.  I think the Kalahari Resort is a great place to have such an event.

 

groups of award winners at the kalahari Resort

 

Event Photography

So why not just use your iphone to take pictures at your next cooperate event?  Phones take great pics these days, right?  In my experience, the hardworking crew that puts these events together for their cooperation’s are very busy. If you aren’t being pulled in a million different directions during an event like this, its easy to pull out your phone and take a picture.  Hiring a photographer is the easiest way to make sure that your event is covered!

awards ceremony at the Kalahari Resort

Fair on the Square in Downtown Baraboo

Each year, downtown Baraboo hosts a variety of events including this one:  Fair on the Square. The Baraboo Spring Fair on the Square festival  features 150 Wisconsin artists and crafters selling items like handmade pottery, woodworking crafts, garden art, soaps and more.

 

 

 

The fair  also hosts a farmers market, which takes place twice a week from May until October.

 

In addition to the farmers market and arts and crafts fair, the event brings food, entertainment and kid’s activities to the courthouse square. Some of the entertainment includes live music, martial arts demonstrations, and clown performances.

 

Many downtown businesses will offer special sales and promotions. There is also  family-friendly activities including fair food vendors, bouncy houses and face painting.

 

Check out all the images from the Spring Fair at my gallery: https://stephshanks.com/gallery/art-fair-downtown-baraboo-spring-2017/

About Trappers Turn Golf Club

Every year, Trappers Turn Golf Club hosts the Grapes and Gourmet event.   Trappers Turn Golf Club is far more then just a golf course, I should know because I don’t play golf and have been there numerous occasions.  Besides the breathtaking views,  the facility is really sophisticated and accessible.  Because the restaurant area has so much natural light, it never feels claustrophobic or stuffy (even when its full of people!)  The event specialists really put a lot of effort into creating a one of a kind atmosphere. You can learn more about Trappers Turn Golf Club by clicking here.

 

Friends of Campus Foundation

First off, I will tell you a little bit about the Friends of the Campus Foundation, this is the organization behind the event.  They were started in 1974, and their mission is to raise funds for scholarships for the UW Baraboo. Their annual Grape and Gourmet Gala is one of their main fundraising events for scholarships.  If you are interested in learning how to donate, go to: http://baraboo.uwc.edu/support/giving-options

wine glasses and table settings

 

Grape and Gourmet Gala 2017

Trappers Turn Golf Club has hosted the Grape and Gourmet Gala since I have been photographing it (about 4 years now.) Live classical music plays during a unique gourmet dinner created for this event – each course paired with a selected wine. Gala sponsor scholarships will be presented that night before the live auction begins. The gala is an elegant and entertaining charity event.  You can see all the pictures here https://stephshanks.com/gallery/grapes-and-gourmet-gala/

 

Scholarships

Because of the Grapes and Gala Event, UW Baraboo is able to give 25% more money in scholarships each year.  During the event, some of the recipients of the scholarships co mingle wtith guests.  A few are chosen to give a keynote speech during dinner.  Some of these students are the first in their family to go to college. They wouldn’t have been able to attend without the assistance of scholarships.

guests at an event at trappers turn

 

Wedding Photography Ideas

As a wedding photographer, I have a lot of wedding photography ideas.  I have decided to use Jenna and Keith’s wedding and ceremony at Sugar Land to give you some tips and tricks for your wedding photography.

The Reveal

There seems to be a lot of questions about the reveal.  Concerns like when to do it, where to do it, and most importantly – why to do it.  From a photographers stand point, (which is the only professional opinion I have) it’s definitely high on my must list.  Why?  Because a reveal happens before the ceremony, which means both the bride and the groom get a chance to be with one another BEFORE the craziness of the ceremony and reception happen.

A traditional wedding happens like this – bride and groom see each other during the ceremony and then at the end of the night- the end. 

Let your wedding photographers handle the where and the whens, but just know- it does give you some time to be together, which doesn’t happen during a traditional ceremony.

 

The ceremony

Wedding photography ideas for the ceremony are pretty simple.  Make sure that you have a nice clean backdrop for your nuptials.  Having a well lit venue is also helpful.  Make it easy for your wedding photographer to get around in.  Check with your venue prior to your wedding to make sure that there aren’t any restrictions for photographers or videographers.  Mainly, this is when a wedding is held in a church, but its good to double check.  I always do a ‘venue visit’ during the rehearsal the day before, that way I know exactly what I will be working with the day of the wedding. With Jenna and Keith, they had an awesome venue for their ceremony.

 

Formal Shots

After the wedding ceremony there is the dreaded formal photography shots.  I say dreaded, but I have a system for making this is painless as possible!  I have two wedding photography ideas for making this as process go fast. The first is to have a list of all the people you want pictures with.  Make this list ahead of time and get it to your photographer prior to your wedding.  The second idea is to have someone who knows your family well be in charge of the list.  This person lines up the family members on the list and gets them in and out.  That way there is more time for formal pics with just you and your new spouse!

 

The Details

Photography tip of the day. Make sure you get pics of the details of your wedding. The day will go by so fast for you, that you will wake up the next day and wonder what happened.  Making sure your photographer has a detailed list of everything you want photographed is the best way to get all the shots you want.

Summary

Making sure you have clear vision with how you want your wedding photography to look is essential. Sharing these ideas with your wedding photographer is also very important.  As a photographer, I welcome personal wedding photography ideas. Don’t be afraid to share them and talk about them.  Your wedding is a special day, make sure you have it how you want it!

Click here to see more gorgeous pictures of this wedding!
family at uw arboretum

About the UW Madison Arboretum

The UW 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 UW 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 https://arboretum.wisc.edu/explore/gardens/.

Family Photography at the UW Madison Arboretum: Buol Family

 

This family is one of the first families I have photographed.  I graduated high school with the mother, and its been such a great and amazing gift to see her children grow up.  There are four children, and each of them are so wonderful.  The UW Arboretum worked out great because of the diversity in such a small space.  It was really fun to find little spaces to put the kids and watch them play.

 

When I am in photographer mode, I am very much involved in whatever the subject may be.  When it comes to families, I like to be right in the middle of them.  Doing a mixture of candids and posed seems to work best. I never force a child to smile or be something they aren’t.  I just encourage them to have fun and enjoy the time they have with their parents and siblings.  In some cases, (not this one) family photo sessions are the only time when everyone is together- so its important to not get to worried about getting ‘the perfect shot.’ There is no such thing,  being together and capturing a moment is perfect enough. To learn more about family photography session, click  here.

 

senior pictures boy in black and white

Senior Photo Ideas (When you don’t like your picture taken)

Dylan didn’t have any senior photo ideas, he doesn’t like having his photos taken.  However, he is super creative and super talented, so I wanted his senior photos to rock! Devils Lake is a great place to have senior pictures taken, the light is constantly changing and there are plenty of neat areas to work with. It was also nice because we could just keep moving.  Sometimes, the idea of sitting in one spot and smiling can freak people out.

The Shoot

Senior photos always take on a life own once the session starts.  (Even if the subject thinks hes not having fun!) I kept my distance, using a lens with a long focal length. I encouraged Dylan to move around and not look at the camera all the time.  I feel like we captured Dylan exactly who he was at this exact moment in time.  This to me, is a successful shoot, even if he didn’t want his photos taken!

Check out of Dylan’s Senior Photography Session Gallery, Here.
American Advertising Federation photobooth

About the American Advertising Federation

The American Advertising Federation is the oldest advertising trade association in the United States. The American Advertising Federation offers insights, connections and job opportunities if your in the advertising career.  Each year, the AAF hosts numerous programs and initiatives, including the Advertising Hall of Fame, the American Advertising Awards, the National Student Advertising Competition, the Mosaic Center on Multiculturalism and summer Ad Camps for high school students. Check out more about this awesome assosication at http://www.aaf.org/

The American Advertising Awards – Madison

This show highlighted in this post is American Advertising Federation American Advertising Awards. This particular event was hosted in Madison, Wisconsin. The show is sponsored by the Advertising Federation and there are several levels of competition. The show in Madison is the first local level round. From there winners, move on to district and national competition. Advertisers, agencies, freelancers, and marketers from all over the Madison and Milwaukee area submit work. Categories include but are not limited to copywriting, art direction, graphic design, photography, website, social media and much more.

American Advertising Federation Awards

About the Silver Medal Reception – Andy Wallam

Prior to the American Advertising Awards show I photographed the Silver Medal Reception. Andy Wallman was the recipient of the Silver Medal Award. The American Advertising Federation’s Silver Medal Award Program  recognizes men and women who have made outstanding contributions to advertising and who have been active in furthering the industry’s standards, creative excellence and responsibility in areas of social concern. (In case you are wondering)

American Advertising Federation Silver Medal

The Photography Shoot: Union South

The American Advertising Awards Committee contacted me to cover this event.  It took place at the Union South in Madison, Wisconsin.  The first part of the event was the Silver Medal Reception, followed by the awards themselves.  My job was to capture and photograph  both events.  I highlighted the people, the food and the general event as it took place.  It was an honor to be around such creative and innovative people!

American Advertising Federation Awards

Best family photos just the kids

Tara’s Family Photos

Tara’s Family photos were anything but boring!  These family photos with Tara and family were really fun and enjoyable.  I really liked the coordination of outfits, and the easy going dynamic between all the family members!

The Shoot

We decided to pick a time when Tara’s sister and parents were all available. This wasn’t easy as Tara’s sister lives in Idaho!  The best part of this shoot was seeing how happy the grandparents were with their grandchildren. The shoot took place at the family estate, near Mirror Lake Wisconsin.

 

The Grandkids

I wanted to capture each of the kids individually during this shoot.  Because of the distance between family members, I really wanted to make sure that they all had memories of this moment in time.  Who doesn’t like to have pictures of their children, right?  The little boy of the left was not at all intersted in getting his picture taken, you would never guess it though! (He did so good!) I really loved how all the kids had coordinating outfits, I’m sure it wasn’t easy figuring that out from across the U.S!

Do you want to see more images from this shoot?  Check them out in my gallery!