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  • Hi, I'm Mandy. I am a Professional Photographer who mostly serves clients in Southern Wisconsin and Northern Illinois. However, I love to travel and have also photographed Destination Weddings in Minnesota, Michigan, California, and at Disney World in Florida. Photographs are important to me, and if you are considering me as Your Photographer, they are important to you as well. I am very fortunate to have clients who trust me to document their lives, and I take that job very seriously. My work has been featured in Memory Makers Magazine, and Northwest Quarterly. In 2009, I was one of FotoDC's top 100 FOTOBAMA finalists in which I had my photograph of the President prominently displayed in Washington DC's Newseum, as well as published in a book. My favorite subjects to photograph are High School Seniors and Happy Couples on their Wedding Day. If you would like more information about my services, click on the "Contact Me" link in the menu above.

Craig High School Senior| Dayne |Janesville WI, Photographer

It’s about that time of year. The time of year when I’ll start getting inquiries for High School Senior Photo Sessions. Those sessions are definitely some of my favorites to do because each student is unique in his or her own way and I love planning sessions that are reflective of each their individual personalies. It’s especially fun for me when I’ve known the student for a while. I’ve actually been friends with Dayne’s parent’s for a lot of years and have known him since he was just a little guy. I’m sure he doesn’t remember this, but at about 3 or 4 he was a beast at Dance Dance Revolution (blast form the past, I know.) It was super impressive to watch, It really was. Fast forward to 2017 and I have had the pleasure of watching him perform on stage with my own daughter in Craig High School’s Spotlighters. In fact, the whole reason that my daughter is in the group is because we went to watch him in a Show Choir competition in 2015. After seeing it, she was hooked and wanted to audition. So, thanks Dayne for introducing her to Spots!

I really loved the photos we got from this session. He was such a natural and he made my job so easy. And, he was down with going to all of the grungy places that good ol Beloit has to offer. That’s always so much fun!

 

 

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This is always one of my favorite spots. I LOVE his photos we got here.

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Every time I go it’s different, and I never know what treasures I might find. “Oh look, here is an awesome chair for us.” It was perfect.

 

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Of course, we had to do some stage shots for him. Many thanks to my wonderful hubby for the awesome lighting!

 

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Thanks so much Dayne for choosing me to do your Senior Photos!! I loved your session and had a blast creating them with you.

 

Honnonegah High School Senior | Lydia |Rockton, IL Photographer

It’s Throwback Thursday and I’m going way back to last Spring for this post. Lydia graduated in 2016, but I never blogged her session. It was one of my all time favorites and not just because I love the images we got. SHE just happens to be one of my most favorite people ever. You may remember her sister’s that I photographed, here and here, a few years back. The three girls are some of the most talented ladies I’ve ever met. They all sing like angels and have an incredible gift for leading worship. I’m so lucky to know them and to have been their photographer over the past few years. I really tried to make each girl’s session unique to their individual personality, and I loved going the extra mile for them. Lydia’s session sparked a bit of my creativity, and I was excited to make this Japanese inspired Hanging String Garden in my studio for her. It was a surprise for her, and I was really hoping that she didn’t hate it. Or think that I was crazy. I loved the way it turned out and seriously did not want to ever take the plants down. And, I loved the images we got.

 

Lydia has such a light about her. She is fun and funny, and just full of life. That’s what I wanted these photos to convey.

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And, She is AMAZING on a stage.I thought it’d be fun to do some “dramatic actress” shots. Haha.

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I love when Seniors bring their own props. She loved this blanket, so we went to one of my favorite photo spots and got these gorgeous sunset photos her. Once again, showing off that beautiful light she has about her.

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Of course, we had to include some Worship Leading Silhouettes of her. Had to continue the tradition started with her sisters and give her mom one more to hang on her wall.

 

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Looking back through these photos again has reminded me that I’m so blessed to do what I do. And that I’ve been so blessed to have photographed these kids young women over the years. Thanks Krienke Gals for choosing me, and for being my muses over the years. ♥

 

My Home For The Holidays

Ahhh…. My house is clean. Like CLEAN clean. Like Monica from FRIENDS clean. Shopping is completely finished, and the presents are wrapped. I honestly don’t know how I managed to get it done with a few days to rest and enjoy, seeing as how we JUST got our tree a week ago Tuesday and I only started decorating and shopping on Sunday. Taking a trip to Disney World the first 2 weeks of December and then getting awfully sick once i got home kind of put a hold on getting my house in Holiday order. I certainly did not do as much as I usually do and it was kind of nice to have an excuse to not go overboard and be my usual neurotic self. And truthfully, I’ll take a 10 days in warm weather at Disney for Christmas over FULLY decking my halls at home any day!!

As I sit and enjoy a slightly simpler Holiday. I thought I’d share some photos of my Home from last Christmas.  When we bought our house 16 years ago it was pretty much falling apart. But when I walked into it, I immediately envisioned it decorated for Christmas (and remodeled of course) and I was sold. Many of my favorite Christmas treasures are vintage items that I’ve been collecting for years and as I put them out each year I can’t help but feel like they were destined for my 100+ year old home.

I do like to mix old and new however, and every few years I tend to re-theme our living room tree and decor. Last year was the year of Deer, Tartan, and plaid and I loved it. This room makes me so happy to sit in with it’s Cheerful and Classic Christmas Colors.

 

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I’m actually a little obsessive about my wrapping paper. I usually find the best patterns (at the best prices) at T.J. Maxx and if I find something I love I will make sure to get multiples so that I can use it for a few years. I also love to just display the rolls because, well, they are just so darn pretty to me!

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My “Blue Room” decor rarely changes. It’s usually filled with my Vintage Shiny Brites in colors of Aqua, Pink, and Gold.

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Some of my favorite items in this room are my vintage Christmas Cards and my wood carved Nativity from Haiti.

 

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Each year, my hallway and staircase look completely different. You never know what I will do (or not do) with it. Kind of depends on my mood and how much energy I have left as it is usually the last to get decorated.

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My Dining Room is another that makes me so happy. Filled with vintage goodies that i’ve collected over the years. Shiny Brites and Napco Figurines. And, I cannot forget all of my Vintage Christmas Table Cloths! They are probably my all time favorite Christmas Decor.

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I have to give a shout out to a good friend, Janet Murray, who has very generously supplied me with many beautiful Shiny Brite Ornaments over the years. She too collects them and seems to pick me up a few treasures when she’s looking for her own.

Last but not least is my kitchen. Last year I went all out with my decor in there. I probably went a little overboard, but if you can’t do that at Christmas then when can you?

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Some of my favorite items in the kitchen include the giant copper cookie cutters that I found at a antique store, and my Napco Kissing Angel Salt and Pepper Shakers. Then of course, my kitchen is always stocked with my favorite yummy butter cookies. I eat way too many of those each year!

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Thanks for taking time to look around my Holiday Home. I hope you can see how much joy it brings me to fill it with my beautiful and bright treasures. It certainly helps me get through a time of year that I would otherwise categorize as “gloomy.” I’d love to hear about any special Christmas treasures that you fill your home with each year and any stories you have behind them!

 

 

Chelsey + Mike|The Abbey At Lake Geneva Wedding Photographer

I cannot wait to share these photos from Chelsey and Mike’s Wedding day. I first photographed the two of them in Chicago about this time last year and it was easily one of my most favorite Chicago Sessions ever. Chelsey is sweet, stylish, and artistic and I knew that her day would be stunning. And it was! Mike is a super nice guy and his love for and support of Chelsey is evident. While their day was beautiful and filled with lots of love from family and friends, it was not without it’s challenges. It happened to take place on one of the hottest and stormiest days of the year (after months of almost no rain mind you.) But Chelsey and Mike were troopers and handled it pretty well.

I was so happy to have friend and fellow photographer Kaia Calhoun along for the day and she helped me tremendously when things got a bit chaotic due to last minute changes, etc… Wedding days are pretty fast paced and crazy for the photographer anyway, with very little time to sit down or pause. But this day was particularly challenging and Kaia pulled more than her “2nd Photographer” weight for me. I was so appreciative of her help. Plus, she just does beautiful work. She shot all of the Men’s Getting Ready and Groomsmen Photos as well as some of the other photos that I have noted below.

Their entire day was held at The Abbey on Lake Geneva, which I had photographed at before. I was very excited to be back there since I love the grounds and vintage feel of the facilities.

 

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While everyone prepped, storms were looming and it was constantly sprinkling. Discussions were had about what the Plan B would be since the Ceremony was to take place outside.

 

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The guys obviously did some amateur weather forecasting while waiting…

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Then consulted the pros. And it was bad news.

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Not a sight that a couple wants to see on their wedding day (although legend has it that rain on the big day is lucky.)

 

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Everyone still had a great attitude though and just rolled with the punches.

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One of my favorite moments of the day was this moment with Chelsey’s family and friends. Part prayer and part “Go Team”, it was so awesome to see everyone coming around her and giving her support and love.

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Oh my were the kiddos so cute!!

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*Both Kids Down the Aisle photos by Kaia

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Because the Ceremony had to be shifted indoors at the last minute, it was incredibly cramped. In case you were wondering, “how close does one have to be in order to be “up in someone’s grill?” That’d be this close. THIS. CLOSE.

As a photographer, I am supposed to blend in and be as discrete as possible. I am NOT used to being this close to the bride and groom during the ceremony. But we worked it out. And they were once again, say it with me now, troopers.

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*Thanks to Kaia for the lovely photo below,  as well as half of the details shots in the 2 collages below.

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It stopped raining just in time for outside photos which I know made Chelsey very happy and relieved (me too.)

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I’m so in love with the following portrait of Chelsey along with so many of their portraits together. I think they just radiate happiness.

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*The four photos below were shot by Kaia

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Lovely Mother/Son photo shot by Kaia

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One of the sweetest things I’ve seen at a wedding was their Mother Daughter Dance. I was pretty much in tears. Thanks to Kaia for getting this lovely shot.

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And, I’ll end with this super awesome dance floor shot. This right here is why I love photographing the reception so much. Young and Old letting loose is what it’s all about.

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Thank you so much Chelsey and Mike for allowing me to photograph your day!

19 Years of Climbing

I sat terrified on the side of the mountain, unable to move in any direction. ANY Direction at all. If I moved sideways, I’d start slipping. If I moved forward, I’d start slipping. We had already put in a couple of hours on the side of Mt. Massive (named accordingly), the 2nd Highest Mountain in CO. I was not about to give up, but I was terrified to move. We had come to the point in our climb where we had to pass through the scree ( a huge patch of sandy soil and gravel that when combined with the steep incline of the mountain side makes it almost impossible to gain any traction.) Next to the scree was a huge ice field, so our options were go through it or go back. Erik had somehow figured out how to run fast enough through the gravel to make some progress and pass me up (kind of a 3 steps forward, 2 steps back thing.) Obviously, having no fear worked in his favor.  As I gave up and began crying, he came back down to me. He sat with me for the longest time until he finally revealed his plan. He would get below me and PUSH me up that mountain. And that is what he did. Both hands on my bum, I ran and he ran behind me, pushing me through that scree. When we got through, I sat and cried some more until I was ready to keep climbing. Hours later, we made it to the summit where we got to celebrate and enjoy the view….For about 10 min. See when you climb mountains, you have to get to the summit by a certain time in order to get back down before the storms roll in. Because lightening. Because being fully exposed on the side of the mountain is being a human lightening rod. Because the descent down a 14,000 ft mountain is precarious enough without adding dodging lightening into the mix. As we began our descent down that mountain side, everyone in our party moved as quickly as we could, but the storm was descending right a long with us. At some point I noticed that Erik was lagging behind (he had gotten altitude sickness at the top and had to sit and rest periodically on the way down.) As I looked up at him, lightening hitting all around him (I kid you not), I yelled at him that I loved him and that I was sorry but our daughter needed at least one non dead parent. And I left him in the dust.

And such has been our 19 years together. When I do not have the courage to continue or even start, he sits calmly with me and then at the perfect time pushes me up the mountain. He is not afraid of anything and I need that. I have always needed that. Because I’m afraid of, well, a lot of stuff. And though sometimes I get so scared I leave him in the dust, he’s o.k. with it.

Because when he is exposed on the side of a mountain threatened with lightening, he just finds a large flat piece of boulder and rides it down like a boogie board (that really happened.)

 

Our First Climb Up Mt. Massive

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Life might be a lot like climbing CO mountains. There are few things I’ve done that are more challenging, but so rewarding. I highly recommend it if you are physically able to do it. It is not always fun. It is not leisure. It’s not just “hiking.” It is hours of willing yourself to put one foot in front of the other when you get tired and can’t breathe (not a lot of oxygen up there.) But, the reward it great. And, if you can persevere, you feel like can get through anything.

 

There is awe inspiring beauty a long the way.

Our climb in 2013 of Mt. Democrat, Mt. Cameron, Mt. Lincoln, and Mt Bross

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But the ascent is deceptive. You always have longer and farther to go than you think.

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Climbing with the ones you love is best.

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Along with friends

 

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You adventure through fields of boulders, scree, snow and ice.

 

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You feel so unbelievable small up there, which really gains you some perspective.

 

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And beautiful views.

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First Mountain of the Day

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You climb at your own pace. You may get passed by 60 year olds, or you may pass up 12 year olds. But, you continue to put one foot in front of the other. And breathe.

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You celebrate the peaks and plateaus.

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Even when the peaks are scary and there’s a chance you could fall a great distance.

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Third Mountain of the Day

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And you will look back at the valley’s and say, “look how far I’ve come.” God is good.

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4th Mountain of the Day

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And when long descent is over, you tell yourself, “I can’t do that again.” Or in the case of MY first climb, “I’d rather give birth 10 times than do that again.”

But when you step back and look at the big picture, you see the beauty in the landscape. You see where all of your hard work, perseverance, and willingness to push through landed you. On Mountain tops with views that few have experienced.

 

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I thank God for my Climbing Partner. We have been through a lot in our 19 years. Cross Country Moves, Sickness, Travel, General Hilarity, House floods, Church Building, Loss and Grieving, Music Making, International Adoption, Beautiful Children, and lots and lots of home improvement projects. There is no one I’d rather do life and Mountains with than him.