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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.

 

 

Summary

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.

Christmas family photo shoot on a farm

D.I.Y Christmas Family Photo Shoot

You have presents bought and family dinner recipes picked out.  Tree is decorated and there is snow in the forecast.  What more could you ask for, really?  What about asking Santa for a nice Christmas Family Photo Shoot?  (Don’t worry,  there is still time to get your order in!)

Christmas family photo shoot on a farm

Don’t forget to include your pets in some of the pictures

Pros and Cons To your DIY Christmas Family Photo Shoot

You can do your own Christmas Family Photo Shoot!  Setting up a tripod and a self timer on your camera is super easy!  Here are 3 tips for getting the best family photo you can! Want to see more, check out this site:  https://digital-photography-school.com/16-christmas-photography-tips/

  • Bring your camera.
  • Make sure your batteries are charged
  • Make sure you have a memory card in your camera.
  • Try and do this during the day, optimal lighting is key for getting a sharp, focused image.
  • Don’t forget to take candids!
Christmas Family Photo Shoot grandpa and his dogs

Don’t forget to take lots of candids

Pros

There are definite pros to doing this yourself.  Being prepared is the best tip I can give you.  Here are some pros to doing Christmas family photo shoots  yourself.

Saving money is a big one.  When comparing taking pictures yourself and hiring a professional photographer, you will save lots of bucks by doing it yourself.

Flexibility and Timing.  Finding the right time to schedule your photo shoot this time of year can be a little too much to think about.  By doing it yourself, you are in complete control of getting the family together.

Instant gratification.  You can easily use your smart phone for these pictures, and sharing them instantly with family members in a bonus.

 

“Home is familiar — and a safer environment to misbehave in,”

Christmas Family Photos family and their dogs

Lighting and Composition is key to a great family photo

Cons

It is a fact that we are our best selves when we are out in public.  Home is the place to be relaxed and be ourselves.  When planning for your family picture, keep this in mind.  Your kids and relatives will act like ‘themselves’, and you will want to pull your hair out.  Generally,  kids and family members act a little more civilized when there is a professional behind the lens.  When you ask your college children to smile, they will be on their phones.  When I ask them, they generally will pull it together -at least for a minute.

 

Lighting can also be an issue when you are shooting.  Making sure that you have enough light is key to a great family photo.  When I go to a family photo session, I bring my own lighting- just in case I can’t find the right amount of light in your home.

 

If you are taking pictures, it can be difficult to find the right background and put your family accordingly.  Having someone who knows composition and can work quickly and efficiently can be your hero when trying to get that perfect family photo!

 

On the fence?

Christmas Family Photos young couple

Don’t forget to capture big announcements!

Here’s what I have to offer.  Professional Christmas family photo shoots are done between Dec. 24th and January 1st.  Sessions last about an hour and can be done in your home or a location we decide on together.  The shoot will be a good mix of holiday and winter images for you to cherish year round.  You get 5 – 8×10 prints of your choice to  hang on your wall. I store digital files for up to 5 years!  (You won’t have to worry about loosing them on the cloud!)

 

I know this can be a busy time, so I have set up time for you!  Last minute bookings are o.k, but its best to get a hold of me sooner then later to book your session. I look forward to hearing from you! (DIY questions are always welcome!)

 

 

Check out more of my non winter family photo shoots on my main page.

 

 

 

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

About Josie

I first met Josie a year ago.  Her mom had contacted me about doing a photo shoot for her.  Every year, Josie and her friends and family do a fundraising walk to help raise awareness and support about living with cystic fibrosis.  Josie has Cystic Fibrosis.

About the Photography Session

First off, Josie isn’t my average portrait photography session! It’s not easy photographing Josie.  She is very headstrong, and she knows what she wants.  I was definitely not the one in charge with this photography session!

The location we decided to use was her family home in and around the Wisconsin Dells.  I drove in my vehicle (along with my assistant and her mom), Josie drove a 4 wheeler.

We had so much fun on this shoot! Thank you Josie and family for inviting me into your home once again as your photographer!

If you would like to learn more about how you can help, check out https://www.cff.org/

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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

 

picture of downtown Baraboo

About Baraboo Wine Walks

Baraboo Wisconsin started the first states’ wine walk in 2008.  Wine walks are held twice a year and are fundraisers. Money that is raised goes towards everything from advertising to flower pots,   In addition to raising money through ticket proceeds, local wine walks are a really fun way to check out shops and stores.    Because of the success of Baraboo’s wine walk, other communities around the state also do them also. To see more events going on in Baraboo, check out: DowntownBaraboo.Com

2017 Baraboo Spring Wine Walk

Tickets for this event went on sale on April 5th, 2017.  The cost per ticket for theSpring Wine Walk are $30. There were over 20 stops this year, each stop features two wines. Generally there is an option of a white or red.  Businesses bring in entertainment and lots of food.  On the day of the wine walk, ticket holders bring in their proof of purchase to Bekah Kate’s and receive a wine glass with a list of all the stops.  From 6 -9 p.m, Baraboo becomes a glorious array of wine walkers browsing downtown businesses.  Wine walkers are encouraged to sip wines responsibly.  Designated drivers can purchase a wine walk ticket at a reduced price.  Bar Buddies (a program that provides safe rides home from bars) and local taxi’s are also available.

About DBI

It wouldn’t be fair to write about the wine walks without talking about Downtown Baraboo Incorpoated (DBI for short). DBI  is the organization behind the wine walk.  DBI members are local downtown Baraboo business owners.  Their goal is to make sure that downtown Baraboo is sustainable and viable.  This requires time away from their family and friends, and a tireless grassroots mentality, not only from the businesses owners- but their staff as well. Each year, the wine walks and beer walks bring in $25,000 that is used to promote and beautify downtown Baraboo.

To see more images from the Spring Wine Walk 2017, check them out here: https://stephshanks.pixieset.com/winewalk2017/

 

 

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

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.