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A Marriage Proposal Done Right | Elegance and Style in Downtown Madison

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A Marriage Proposal Done Right | Elegance and Style in Downtown Madison

Charles had a plan. It involved champagne, a bunch of candles, a new suit and the love of his life, Kim. Oh, and a big diamond ring. He planned out a romantic weekend for his longtime girlfriend in downtown Madison, and contacted us to help him document the moment he popped the big question. We were excited.

Proposals rank second only to weddings for us in terms of the opportunity to capture that giddy love which drives our photography. Emotions aren’t something we manufacture as photographers, but rather they emerge naturally between people when they’re in the right frame of mind, at ease in their surroundings, and connected to their partners. Charles had a great plan, proposing at the quaint and quiet Period Garden Park and celebrating with a glass of champagne surrounded by dozens of candles that linked the walkway. She, of course, said yes, and after a few minutes of quiet celebration they came with us for a quick pre-engagement session downtown.

We felt like we were working with models—Charles in a new suit and tie, his chiseled features popping each time we snapped the shutter, and Kim in a slinky blue dress that almost glittered in the evening light. And man, were they troopers. Not only was it more than a little cold, we also had to navigate around Freakfest and the costumed crazies streaming past us as we walked around downtown.

But the effort was worth it. We got to capture not only the moment of the proposal but also the joy and passion Kim and Charles obviously share, and all of it in time for them to make their dinner date that night. Thanks so much to both for braving the elements to get these stunning shots.

If you’re thinking of documenting your proposal, we’re happy to work with you to help create an evening that neither of you will forget! Give us a call at 608-620-8304 or email at info@stevedaubs.com for more information.

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From "Wal-Marting" to Wedding Bells: A Picnic Point Engagement Session

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From "Wal-Marting" to Wedding Bells: A Picnic Point Engagement Session

We are blessed with consistently amazing clients. They’re all different; some are wild, some are quiet, and some are silly, but they’re all different and that’s one thing we love about them. It gives us the opportunity to collaborate with our couples to create both wedding and engagement photographs that go beyond the ordinary and capture their love in very specific ways.

So when we start to plan a Madison engagement session, we always ask: Is there a place or activity that is important to your relationship? We’re not looking for the most beautiful location or setting. Rather, we’re looking for the places that are special, that evoke memories and emotion and allow our clients to showcase their real selves.

Nikky and Greg delivered this in spades when they answered, “Wal-Mart.” We were more than a little intrigued. As we started our session in the beautiful fall colors of Picnic Point, Nikky and Greg explained that when they started dating, they weren’t quite ready to tell their kids about their new relationship. But they were hungry to get to know each other, to build the connection that eventually resulted in their engagement, and they devised a plan: Wal-Marting.

Living in a busy household, they both needed to make regular runs to Wal-Mart for something or another, but now they teamed up to meet at there, pick up a few things they needed, and spend some time getting to know each other better. They strolled the aisles, and sat in Greg’s truck talking into the night. So after getting some more traditional “pretty” photographs of the fall color, we headed to Wal-Mart. That’s where I got to see their goofy side, the way that they know how to enjoy each other regardless of anything else. They’re truly some of our favorite moments from any of our engagement sessions ever.

We all had a blast, and we can’t wait to photograph their wedding!


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A Symphony of Color at Olin Park Engagement Session

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A Symphony of Color at Olin Park Engagement Session

Most Wisconsinites look at us incredulously when we tell them we moved from South Florida to Madison a couple of years ago. “Why would you do that?” is always the first question they ask. But the truth is, we love the change of seasons here, and no more so than in Fall, when the forests erupt in orange yellow and red, like a cool weather sea of fireworks across the landscape.

Those same people who wonder why we moved back to the Midwest also are the first to call in scheduling their fall color engagement sessions. They appreciate it, too, but after several years of hot and humid falls followed by hot and humid Christmases, we can’t get enough of the fall color. So when Anne and Reed wanted to schedule something when the leaves turned, we were happy to oblige.

Despite scheduling around the wet weather, we were able to get a beautiful, crisp fall day at Olin Park, and we spent the afternoon wandering the park's paths and lingering on the view of downtown Madison and the Capitol across the lake. We also were able to spend a little time documenting them at their house as well.

We can’t wait for their wedding next year!


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How to Plan your Engagement Session

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How to Plan your Engagement Session

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engagement session in train

One of our favorite things, besides weddings, is getting to know our couples better during their engagement sessions. Madison and all of Southern Wisconsin offer a wide variety of locations and activities that make for amazing engagement photographs. Here are a few tips to getting not only amazing, unique images but also having a great time.

  1. Do what you love together. More than anything else, this tip is key to getting a set of photographs that only you could star in. Our approach begins with a discussion about the things you love to do as a couple. Maybe you love hiking in the woods, so we go to your favorite hiking spot. Or you love trains, so we visit a train museum. Or maybe you walk your dogs together every day and want us to document that. You might love grabbing a beer or glass of wine at a local haunt or shooting pool downtown. The options are truly endless. Its not so important that you're sitting in the perfect location as it is that you are doing what you love, together. It shows. 
  2. Embrace the season. Whether it's spring, summer, winter, or fall, Madison offers myriad views and settings regardless of the time of year. Spring presents nice weather and blooming flowers as well as more than a small chance of rain. Summer can be hot, but later in the evening it often cools down nicely. Autumn brings the beautiful colors of fall, and sometimes a little cool weather. And winter can offer a snowscape that's magical. As long as you love it, we can bring the season to life in your images. 
  3. Weather create opportunities. Last year, weather turned out to be one of the stars of our engagement sessions. We powered through all day showers at one session, getting a bit wet as we walked the couple's dogs, but were rewarded with the most stunning sunset of the entire season. That's not unusual--the best sunsets always occur after rain. And this winter, we worked with one couple who really wanted to make their photographs while it snowed. It takes a bit more flexibility and cooperation, but the results were worth it. 
  4. Your wardrobe should reflect your style but not overwhelm you. You want your personalities to shine in engagement photographs, but wild colors, logos, and patterns will distract from the beautiful love you share. Dark colors keep the attention on your faces as well. 
  5. Have fun! The advantage of documentary-style engagement sessions is that you get to do something you love doing and we simply capture it. That's why identifying something you love doing is more important than anything else in your planning of the session. There's always time for more traditional images as we find great light and settings wherever we are. 

Whatever you do, talk with your photographer to make sure your images are not only beautiful, but also unique to you. Are you looking for a photographer for your wedding and engagement session? We'd love to talk! Email or call us today!

madison snow engagement

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Fire in the Sky: Autumn Engagement Photos at Picnic Point

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Fire in the Sky: Autumn Engagement Photos at Picnic Point

Heather and Robert really wanted engagement photos in Madison with a little fall color, but the weather wasn't cooperating. It was pouring rain on a recent Sunday afternoon as we loaded the car to get to PIcnic Point at UW-Madison with a forecast for rain to end by sunset, but our alternate date a few days later was looking like a frigid, grey day also with the chance for rain so we decided to hope for the weather to clear, at least a bit. 

But at least the trees were turning, with rich yellows and reds and oranges towering over us on the paths of the UW Lakeshore Nature Preserve, and Heather and Robert were game for anything. So we started to shoot as the rain began to lighten up a bit, capturing some of the color while avoiding most of the rain. 

When the rain finally quit for a minute, we got a few images with their cute little doggies, who were a bit more interested in smelling everything around than posing for us. Nothing new there! We even brought our own little bit of sunshine via our Profoto B2 strobes and a warming filter--you can't control the weather, but you can control the light! 

We worked our way into the preserve, stopping here and there to capture a moment or some color, the sky still grey and foreboding, until just before sunset. At that point, it didn't matter that I was soaked and dirty from laying in the mud because the clouds had begun to part to reveal the richest, reddest sunset I have seen in some time. It was as if the gods were paying us back for our faith in the beauty of nature or something, and we raced to the western edge of the peninsula to use that beautiful backdrop. 

But nature wasn't done with us. To the north was a stunning double rainbow that stretched over the entire lake. We didn't need to make it to the end of the peninsula, but rather felt like we had found the pot of gold already in the stunning beauty of nature and the infectious love of another amazing couple. We love it when a plan comes together. Thanks, Robert, Heather, the dogs and the handlers, who showed great trust and patience in us! 

 

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Allen Centennial Garden Engagement Session | Dani & Mike

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Allen Centennial Garden Engagement Session | Dani & Mike

Not everybody is comfortable in front of the camera, so we do a variety of things in our Madison engagement sessions to make them feel less self-conscious and forget we're even around. But that wasn't the case when we met up with MIke and Danielle to capture their engagement images in downtown Madison. 

Mike said simply, "this is me," when we went over wardrobe for the session, and that's exactly who we love to have in front of the camera. We don't really care what you wear, but we care very much that it represents your true self. We do give out a detailed wardrobe guide, though, and Danielle wasn't sure which of her many outfits would work best. In the end, she was most comfortable in jeans as well, and so we were off. 

Engagement sessions are about capturing what is unique about you and your fiance--the way you act together and the things you love doing. So it's most important that we go places that you love and that you simply be yourselves! Almost any location can help us produce great photographs so long as you two are being authentic and having fun. 

We spent a couple of hours hanging out, laughing and enjoying the beautiful spring weather in Allen Centennial Garden, on the lake at Memorial Union, and a final shot looking down State Street to the Capitol. Contact us to schedule your engagement session today!

 

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Brittany & David's Milwaukee Engagement Session

Brittany and David came to us wondering if we could do something a little different than your typical engagement photographs. Oh, and she said, we have a mastiff I'd like to include. Sure, we said. We love dogs! 

So we spent a beautiful spring afternoon in downtown Milwaukee, walking their lovable doggie and documenting their relationship. It was a blast! 

One of the great things for us about moving to Wisconsin is being able to photograph such a wide variety of settings, from Lake MIchigan to the beautiful lakefronts of Madison, to the city lights and varied architecture of this wonderful state. Here's a little sample of some of our favorites!

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Beachside Biscayne Bay Engagement Session

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Beachside Biscayne Bay Engagement Session

We have been extraordinarily blessed with some amazing couples this year, and Ivana and Kyle took it to another level in their engagement session at the Cape Florida Lighthouse in Biscyane Bay. 

While Ivana was in Miami for medical school rotations, she and Kyle decided to capture some of the beauty of South Florida at the beach, so we headed down for the afternoon, chatting and creating images and waiting for the glorious sunset. Their photos are stunning, easygoing, and fun, just like they are themselves!

We can't wait to document their wedding next year! 

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A surprise proposal at Disney Fireworks

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A surprise proposal at Disney Fireworks

Pete has been traveling to Disney World for years, but this year would be different. He planned to ask his longtime boyfriend, Kevin, to marry him. So when Pete called me from his New Jersey home and told me about his plans, we were excited to help out!

This wasn't an easy assignment photographically speaking—a proposal in a boat, during fireworks, and his partner shouldn't have any idea that we're there to photograph it. Olga and I arrived early, spoke with the boat captain and explained the plan, and Kevin couldn't have been more surprised. And of course, he said yes!

Congrats to Pete and Kevin, and we wish them all the best!

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