It’s true: I’m just as obsessed with my wedding photographer as I am with her photos. Selecting Stephanie Marie Photography & Design as our photographer was one of the key decisions for our big day. We sat down in-person at Fiddleheads at Bayshore for a quick consultation. Note: Stephanie’s broke her arm and she was on some meds but still made time to sit down with us. She had the opportunity to delay or handle via phone but chose to meet in-person. We quickly learned that she has this thing down to a science- from proactively sending us tips and tricks for the engagement shoot to anticipating all potential hiccups. She was super organized and already has lots of forms/tools created to use with couples.
The Engagement Shoot
To be honest, I didn’t see the purpose in this shoot other than save-the-date photos. We sent ours virtually (pro tip- save hundreds of dollars on a piece of paper that will be thrown out by doing them virtually!). We didn’t feel it was a priority. Stephanie soon made us fall in love with the concept of the engagement shoot and the other opportunities to use the photos.
We originally wanted to shoot at Lion’s Den beach in Grafton, WI. However, Stephanie advised against it because she went in person to test the sunlight and learned it wouldn’t be the best for sunset photos. While the news was a bummer because that’s where we fell in love, she quickly pivoted to reveal several other alternatives. We chose a sneaky spot along Milwaukee’s Bradford Beach, a spot I never would have selected without Stephanie’s recommendation. It ended up being a perfect blend of nature (a must-have for us!) and city (Eugene loves Milwaukee). The small space within the park provided several backdrops- rocky shore, sky line, water, bushes and more. She found angles that made it seem like we traveled up and down the beach area, when really that square footage we worked within was quite small.
Stephanie had us fill out detailed questionnaires about our special day. From there, she crafted a meticulous hourly plan that we referenced in the month leading up to the wedding. She handled all communication between herself and our vendors, so we were never worrying about her. Leading up to the day, she was responsive and attentive to our needs. I never felt in the dark on her process or thoughts. I really considered her one of the people that made the planning process so much fun.
We ended up meeting at Tre Rivali (our wedding caterer!) in Milwaukee for a final planning session and went through every single detail. That night, we also went out into the rain to scout the final bridal party and couple shooting locations. The final decision: a Third Ward cream city brick alley, the black spiral staircase next to Blue Bat/Black Swan and a park near Discovery World. We also scouted a few places in our venue to ensure alignment going into the wedding day.
During both the engagement shoot and wedding, Stephanie was the perfect mix of directing and allowing us to have creative freedom. As someone who works in communications, I knew I needed a little more say in the approach than most, so when I had ideas during shoots, we worked to bring them to life. When we needed some help on posing in the moment, she made suggestions that felt natural and never awkward.
Since our venue, The Kimpton Journeyman, was a little more on the moody and darker side, my number one fear was that the photos would turn out too dark. Stephanie’s light and airy style, coupled with her expertise and experience on this exact concern, made the worry nonexistent. Since she was aware of my concern up-front, she was able to keep that in mind during the day. Before the wedding, she sent over moodier shoots reminiscent of the darker lighting. If you’re looking for that timeless look, Stephanie nails that. And that’s exactly what we wanted.
My friends and family didn’t feel like Stephanie was ever in the way of the festivities. Yet she killed it with her shot list. One of my favorite compliments came from a friend: “Your photographer was so good. She was a sneaky ninja but got really good shots. That’s the sign of a good photographer.”
I’m starting to finally order print-outs of the photos and am a little overwhelmed at all of my favorites. She created content that will long out-live our marriage. I hope these precious photos pass on to generations to come. Thanks, Stephanie, for the most timeless, invaluable assets. <3
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