Last summer, I met Katie + Luke in Katie (and my!) hometown of Charles City, Iowa, for their engagement session. Katie + Luke met in radiology school and are both x-ray techs, so they made this cute sign for their session.  Following a stroll down by the Cedar River, we headed out to the farm some gorgeous Iowa farmscapes. My favorite time in Iowa is mid-summer and nothing gets me like a summer sunset over a corn field 🙂 So it was pretty awesome that we an amazing evening for this. Their wedding is this weekend back in Iowa (Yay!) and I am looking forward to photographing them again!

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Lauren + Zeb are getting married this weekend! I photographed their engagement session last fall at Zeb’s family’s horse ranch near Alma. We first stopped at a park overlooking the Mississippi River and then headed to the ranch in the valley. They had their dogs and horses and it was so much fun to hang out with these two and photograph them doing something that they love! I’m looking forward to spending this Saturday photographing their wedding in the valley!

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On a beautiful Labor Day Weekend at Lake Nebagamon, Heather + Paul were married! There was the threat of rain, but the weather cleared out for them to be married lakeside at Paul’s parents up-north cabin. Heather + Paul, who live in Madison, planned their wedding at one of their favorite locations. After saying their vows and photos around the gorgeous property, Heather + Paul took the pontoon along with their wedding party across the lake to celebrate for the evening at the Lake Nebagamon Village Auditorium. Their lakeside wedding combined all good things about summers up north with pontoons, Dairy Queen, the woods, and a sunset cruise!

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Ceremony Location :: Private Residence :: Reception Location – Lake Nebagamon Auditorium :: Groom’s Prep Location – Lawn Beach Inn :: Florist – Family Friend :: Bride’s Dress – BHLDN :: Bridesmaid Dress – Morning Lavender :: Groom’s Tux – Men’s Wearhouse :: DJ – Sounds Unlimited :: Caterer – Sharon’s Cafe

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Happy One Year Anniversary to this sweet couple! Last year they were married at the Wisconsin Club Golf Course on a gorgeous Memorial Day weekend. From Wisconsin Bride Magazine:

Mary and Kelsey reconnected after college (where they were on the same basketball team) and soon made their home together in Madison. The couple was married in Mary’s hometown with a wedding party full of their sisters, nieces and nephews. Mary’s gown was covered in lace with an open back and high halter neckline. Kelsey wore a fitted, dark blue tux that matched the bridesmaids’ blue and cream dresses. Bouquets of white and peach roses brought in the summer hues of sunshine. After a ceremony on the grand outdoor staircase, guests enjoyed cocktails on the deck while the couple took photos with their dog, Russell. The ballroom dinner was elegant and regal – and full of laughter as friends and family toasted the newlyweds. The evening ended with sugary sweet cake and an epic dance party.

And to add, some of the best, most heart-felt speeches from a wedding I have ever heard 🙂

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Ceremony and Reception Venue – Wisconsin Country Club :: Florist – Alfa Flower and Wedding Shop :: Mary’s Dress- Premier Couture in Cambridge :: Kelsey’s Suit – Express :: Attendant Dresses – J Crew and Weddington Way :: Hair – Amy Huffard – Hair by Smash :: Makeup – Maria Stamos :: DJ – Complete Music

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There are a few key moments in life when you realize something BIG. Something that makes you pivot away or toward a point in your future. One of mine was a weekday in the fall of 2012. I was working at the Marshfield News-Herald at the time and had one day off during the week, so I would try to schedule all my sessions and meetings on that one day. On that particular October day, I drove to Madison to meet with a potential bride and her mom for coffee. I then met with my friend and fellow photographer, Beth. We got lunch and took some new head shots for each other. Then I drove to Milwaukee where I met with another couple for their engagement session. After that, I stopped at Crate and Barrel and drove back home to Marshfield. Whew! It was a typical Laura Schmitt Photography day when I ran my business and worked full time. But on this trip, I realized that this could be my life. Granted, I didn’t really want to drive over 300 miles every day, but planning my own schedule, meeting new people, taking photos, and doing whatever I wanted was pretty awesome. That was the day I decided to quit my job at the newspaper and give my business a full time shot. It took me another six months to be really ready, but on April 12, 2012, I turned in my iPhone and key to the News-Herald.

Five years and about 125 weddings later, I am still happy to be able to plan my days. But with a toddler, I plan the majority of them with WAY less going on 🙂 I finally have an iPhone again and I have a key to my house, where I run my business! I can structure crazy drive days where I drive to Madison to meet a couple and then Iowa for a shoot. But I can also plan that on the next day, I can hang out with my mom in Iowa.

Optimistic people often tell you to, “Find something you love and you will never have to work a day in your life.” Cynics will tell you that everything always turns into work once you have to do it. I feel lucky that five years into this business, it still doesn’t feel like work. Some days I would rather not figure out how to mitigate my email to a new server … or something (not a tech person at all!) but photography is something that I still love, and have loved since I was a in high school. It is never “just another session” to me. Each couple and family is unique, each wedding day is special, and every story is different.

What makes this business possible is the wonderful people I get to photograph. I am honored to be able to photograph couples as they start their marriage. I am so grateful that I am welcomed into homes to photograph sweet new babies. And I am humbled when families ask me to come back to photograph their important family milestones. So an amazing thank you to everyone that has invited me to into their lives to photograph their moments. You all have helped my little business succeed and grow 🙂

 

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