Last week I had a great E-session with Luke and Kelly. It was REALLY hot, and I was honestly worried about their comfort level since I instruct and encourage my couples to engage in plenty of cuddling and touching. They never once complained though. In fact, they were pretty much awesome the whole time. I’ve known Luke for a lot of years, but really enjoyed getting to know Kelly better throughout the session. She is super sweet and she is gonna make a beautiful bride! I’m very excited to photograph their wedding in October at Huntington Farm.

We started their session out at Beloit College when the light was just PERFECT!!!

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We then finished up at Beckman Mill, a favorite spot of Lukes.

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Luke is a talented musician, so I thought I’d be fun to include some shots like this (he’s also a fantastic drummer, but I thought it’d be somewhat of a hassle to drag those out.) ;)

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So Happy Together!

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Thank You Kelly and Luke for choosing me as your photographer! Can’t wait til October!

One of my awesome Wedding Couples from last year are now parents! A couple of months ago Matt and Taylor welcomed Baby Henry into their family. I was really honored that Taylor contacted me for photos. It’s always nice to see my past clients again and it was really sweet to see how a new baby has enriched Matt and Taylor’s lives. Like all new parents, they are head over heels in love with their little guy. I think Parenthood agrees with them!

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He was soooooo good the whole time! Such a sweet little boy.

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Even gave us a few smiles.

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Smitten.

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I really enjoyed watching Matt interact with him. He was a proud daddy for sure.

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And I think Henry is pretty smitten with his mom and dad as well.

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A complete family photo.

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Thank you Matt and Taylor for asking me to be Henry’s first photographer. It was an absolute pleasure!

Karen Castillo: Great photos

One of the best parts of my job is getting to know the awesome couples that I work with. Engagement sessions are one of the best ways to make that happen. I simply love E-sessions and always walk away excited for the wedding day to come. Diana and Brad’s session was no exception, and I felt like I had 2 new friends by the end of it. I can’t wait to photograph their day. I always tell couples that the photos that we produce together on the wedding day are just reflections of them. I anticipate that their wedding photos will reflect love, life, happiness and joy, just like the photos below.

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Thanks Again for choosing me Brad and Diana. Looking Forward to August!

Jill contacted me about 2 weeks ago (yep, you heard right) and asked if I’d be available to shoot her and Steve’s Wedding. You see, the plan had been for them to elope. But because this was Steve’s first marriage, he decided that he would like to experience all of the traditional wedding day festivities (although, rumor has it that his buddies inability to “believe it till they see it”  may have influenced their decision to do so.) Either way, I was glad to have been asked and even more glad to be available. Honestly, I was really impressed with how much they pulled off in such a short amount of time. I mean really, quite a bit of detail was pulled together to make it a beautiful and meaningful day. The ceremony and reception took place at the lovely and quaint Burrows Park in Madison. Jill told me that it was special to Steve because he spent a lot of time there growing up. It was truly a lovely spot for their day and for some great photos. Here is a sneak peek.

I had asked Jill if they wanted to do a “First Look.” She said, “Yes, Steve wants to do it all!” So, I planned a really romantic meet up by the lake. Unfortunately, that did not happen as Steve was running a bit behind and Jill actually arrived at the park before him. But fortunately we were able to pull off a more impromptu “First Look” that actually fit more with both of their personalities and the tone of the day.

No, that man is not Steve. But, the man hiding behind him is (the man is Steve’s brother.)

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Seriously, this turned out to be one of my most favorite “First Looks” ever. So full of both of their personalities.

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Jill was laughing and smiling ALL day!

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Her grandsons walked her down the isle. Very sweet.

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The day was FILLED with emotion. Tears and laughter. This is Jill’s mom and dad.

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Her daughter holding back tears during her vows. It was very emotional.

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I hope I don’t get the boys in trouble, but I love this shot. I thought it was too cute that Jill’s granddaughter was actually praying during the prayer while the boys chit-chatted. :)

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Just some details.

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Her beautiful daughters. The one on the right is my dear friend Katie.

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Jill made it a point to tell me how important it was for her to have good flowers and good photography for her day. She told me that she and Steve had no photos of them together. Well, I made sure to fix that. :)

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Thank you Jill and Steve for asking me to document your Joy Filled day.

Joey DiLaura: Steve, You look so very happy cuz. I wish I was there to share it with you but you are in our thoughts. No one deserves happiness more than you. Tell your new wife we said welcome to the Family... From the DiLaura's - Cousin Joey, Michelle, Gianna, Dominick and Bella

Debbie Ensor: Jill, welcome to the family! My girls and I had hoped we could be there but unfortunate circumstances wouldn't make it happen. It looked like a beautiful ceremony and you looked lovely. I hope we meet soon and I know we will get along great - we both love Steve.

Stephanie Balch: Jill - you are so beautiful!! Congrats, I can tell how happy you both are!!

Kevin and Janene: Beautiful wedding. Thanks for sharing it with us! We loved these pictures. We wish we could have been there, but look so forward to meeting Jill and spending some time with you guys. Come "home" soon!!! And call us when you do!!! :) K & J

Christy Grice: This was one of my favorite days ever spent with my family!! Mom you were beautiful and I am so happy that you and Steve are married:) makes my heart smile. I love you both so much thank you for letting me and my kids be apart of this amazing day. Unforgettable!!

Meet Alisha and Adam. They booked their August 25, 2013 (my birthday :) ) Wedding with me last year, but this was our first time actually meeting.  I had been looking forward to meeting and working with them on their engagement session, and I was particularly excited to be shooting in and around the UW Madison Memorial Union. It is just such an awesome location with so much to do and see around it. It was a unique experience having Alisha along because she used to give student tours and had so much knowledge of the history of the buildings etc… I feel like my experience shooting there was almost educational!  Very fitting considering the location. :) Here is a little sneak peek from their session.

The first four are some from the inside of the Union. I think that it is such a beautiful building. And Adam and Alisha make a beautiful couple.

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Outside of the union we found some great backgrounds.

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Down by the lake.

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I always make couples smooch. They never seem to mind. :)

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As we were finishing up, the light was lovely.

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Thank you Adam and Alisha! Can’t wait to show you the rest and of course to shoot your special day in August!

Mexico-The Finale

May 20, 2012

Well, this is the last of my Mexico Photos (almost 3 months later.) I don’t have much of a story to tell this time. This was our last day, and we were feeling both very thankful and very sad. Thankful for the wonderful time we’d had and sad that it was almost over. Since our first day had kicked off with watching the sunrise, we thought it was fitting that our last day begin in the same way. So, waking up before the crack of dawn, we headed out to say goobye to our beach.

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The sunrise was seriously gorgeous!

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I had Erik take this picture of me. I figured he could refer back to it during the remaining winter months when needing to remember what “Happy Warm Mandy” looks like.

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After the sun rose, I headed down along the beach to the resort next door. There was a little lagoon there that I’d been wanting to take photos of all week. And, there were some interesting things to photograph along the way…

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Found this in the log.

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Loved this boat.

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This was a fun little surprise.

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At the lagoon.

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There was so much to photograph here that I could have spent hours doing so. I didn’t have much time though, so I very quickly grabbed these.

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Loved the texture of these branches.

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After snapping the above, I had to book it back to our resort so that Erik and I could enjoy our last breakfast at our favorite spot near the beach. It was quite bitter sweet. But, again, we were so thankful for our experience.

I’ll end with just a few more that I hadn’t posted in previous posts. One from the beach at The Tulum Ruins and 2 from around our resort. :)

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Thanks for sticking with me this long. I hope you’ve enjoyed coming a long on our little trip! :)

I was honored to have my beautiful friend Melissa as my first Bride of the season. Melissa and I have been friends for at least a decade. She is one of the loveliest people I know, inside and out, and deserves all of the happiness that was this day. I felt so privileged to get to spend her day with her, documenting it all!!!

I love that she got ready at her parents house (her childhood home) in the room that was hers growing up. It was sweet to watch her sister helping her get dressed.

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Some getting ready details.

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Her dad seeing her all dressed up and ready to go.

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Her groom looking handsome. Josh was a good sport all day. Like most grooms I assume,  the photos were not his favorite part of the day. But, he did a good job and only complained a little. :)

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Melissa is a nature lover and has a love for Beckman Mill. So, it was her chosen place to have a “First Look” and portraits done before the ceremony.

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Some more from around the mill.

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Their wedding party consisted of Melissa’s Sister Brenda and Josh’s Brother Jeremiah. It was my first time meeting Jeremiah and the two of them had me laughing throughout the portraits. And, yes they are twins. Although you can’t tell in the photos, it’s actually hard to tell them apart.

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The ceremony was sweet and simple. My husband actually performed the ceremony and I think he did a good job (but I’m not partial or anything.)

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There was plenty of  joy and laughter.

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And a few tears.

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After the ceremony, I was under strict order to get the only shot that Josh really cared about. All the guys had to partake in some Comic Book Geekiness. Even Grandpa got involved!

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And I have to end with this one because it’s just so darn cute. Melissa’s mom and dad made these for the cake topper. So adorable.

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Thanks Again Josh and Melissa for choosing me to document your happy day.

Well, real life sidetracked me from finishing up my Awesome Mexican Vacation Report. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, you can catch up here and here. Perhaps most of you are soooo over me recounting every fabulous detail of my trip. Or, perhaps there may just be one or two of you (Hi Mom!) who are still interested in seeing how the rest of the trip turned out. So, to those faithful few who still care, I offer you Mexico Part Tres.

I’ll start with some more shots from around our resort. There was so much to photograph. Sometimes I feel like a big ol’ nerd walking around examining tress and bushes from every angle with my camera as people pass by. But for me, the environmental details are always such a really important part of my experience. I like to capture those details in a way that will “bring me back” when I look at them.

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One of the things that I did not talk about in my last 2 posts were the Nice Dinner Restaurants at the resort. I talked about the awesome buffets, but not the actual sit down ones. They all had really great reviews, and we were excited to try them. There were six dinner restaurants and we tried 4 of them.  We liked them all, but Erik’s favorite was the Steak House and my favorites were The French and Italian. However, taking into consideration the best pesto sauce I’ve ever eaten  in my life and the awesome decor of the Italian restaurant, It’d have to be my favorite. It was really fun “dressing up” each night (because that is something we rarely do.) Sadly, most of our reservations were after sunset, so we don’t have a whole lot of photos of us at or going to dinner. But, one night we did manage to find someone to take a pic of us on our way. The photos below were from Italian night.

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I had to get a couple of shots of this interesting Boutique Hotel that we passed pretty much every day on our drive up and down Hwy 307. I was so fascinated by it. A Chocolate Hotel? Yes Please!

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On our last full day in Mexico, the stars aligned. We took our 3rd, and yes final, trip to the Tulum Ruins. It didn’t rain AND I had my camera with me. Horray!!! This time I got some colorful shots of some of the shopping there.

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We had not seen these guys on our 2nd day and I was just in awe of them. Just seeing them made the trip back again worth it. They all climbed up on this 50 ft (at least) pole with a jury-rigged “merry-go-round” at the top. They then tied a rope around their wastes, got spinning really fast and then lowered themselves down by the ropes which made them fly outward like a carnival swing. It was pretty cool.

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Before they would start their “flight,” one guy had the job of going around and collecting donations. If you gave a donation, you also got to have your photo taken with him.

“What’s that? You want me to give you some money? Oh, you and all your friends are going to climb that 50+ foot pole without any safety gear? Then you’re ALL going to sit on that tiny spinning contraption at the top while you attempt to harness yourself to a rope? Then you’re going to descend from that rope while it continues to spin and you hang on for dear life. AND you’re going to be doing this while upside down? Hmm…well, I guess I can spare a couple of bucks.”

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Shame on anyone who did not give them money! Risking their lives for our entertainment! And look at that guy on the bottom right, he’s like 80!

The only down side to this day at the ruins, was that it was the hottest day so far and it was quite crowded. It was actually a little harder to get photos at  the picturesque views because there were lines for those spots. We quickly snapped a few though.

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Down by my favorite tree again.

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More Iguanas and Ruins!

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After the ruins, on our agenda was snorkeling and swimmimg in a cenote. We never made it to the cenote, but we were o.k. with that sincewe found an awesome snorkeling spot (back at the small public beach in Akumal that we had visited a few days earlier.) It was super cheap to just rent the gear and you could start right at the shore, no need for a boat. There were turtles literally 20 feet out from the beach. We swam for about 2-3 hrs (Erik longer than I) straight, not wanting to leave. Eventually I swam to shore and waited for him to be done. I kept getting cramps in my legs (I am not a regular swimmer anyway and I think walking flat foot on flip-flops all week and then extending my toes while swimming for hours, did not mix well) and I was getting cold (yes, I even get cold in 80 degree, bathtub temperature ocean Mexico.) While waiting for him, a lady saw me shivering and said, “I bet you never thought you’d be cold in Mexico?” I was like, “Yeah, actually I did. I’m always cold” So, what we’ve pretty much established in this post is that I’m a big wimp. Ha!

Anyway, here are just a couple of pics from the GoPro.

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And you can click here to see a video with some of the snorkeling footage in it.

Thanks for sticking with me! One more to go. Stay tuned for some pretty beach landscape photos!

I had the pleasure of photographing another beautiful Senior girl on yet another chilly spring day. Jillian was pretty much awesome. In all of my sessions, I strive to connect with my subjects so that we can work together to create beautiful portraits. My goal is to create photos that capture authentic expressions and movement. And while I do direct and pose them, I also allow them some freedom to move, smile and pose as they naturally would. It’s kind of a balance that I try to achieve with each person I shoot. Sometimes it takes myself and my subject a little time to warm up and get the hang of working together. But, Jill and I just clicked from the beginning. Her inner and outer beauty just shined. The first few photos were from the first 20 min. of her session and I think it’s easy to see she was a natural. Here are just a few favorites from our afternoon.

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Thank you Jill for choosing me to record such an important time in your life!!!

Dawn: Oh Mandy!...The two of you are awesome! I'll be looking for a second job!!

mandyhenry: LOL Dawn! Glad you love em!!

Kicked off my first photo shoot of the season with this beautiful and sweet girl. Taryn is related to this lovely family who’s wedding I photographed last fall. Her mom contacted me shortly after to do her Senior Shoot and we agreed that a spring session would be great. Since we’ve had such an early spring this year, we had some beautiful natural settings to work with. Taryn wanted to do all natural settings (as opposed to any urban settings) and I didn’t complain. We started off at the Hononegah Forest Preserve, headed into Downtown Rockton, and then ended at the J Norman Jensen Forest Preserve. It was a bit chilly, but we had some nice light and Taryn was a pro. She did such an awesome job. It was a perfect way to kick off the season!

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Thanks So Much Taryn!! Hope you like em. :)

Pam: Love these...she looks beautiful...