Tuesday, December 23, 2008

2008 - What a great year!

I'd describe 2008 as an amazing year... some more descriptive words I could use would be - fulfilling, adventurous, successful, impressive and memorable. The year went by so fast, looking back on all of the things that we experienced as a family and in my business I am so grateful for all the wonderful moments.

In 2008 I shot double the amount of weddings I shot in 2007. Each one of my weddings was so very special to me and I am so happy to have been invited to document so many new marriages.

I also welcomed my newest assistant, Natalie Rueber. Natalie has been great all season. Not only does she assist me at weddings, but she also comes into the studio once a week to help with welcome packets and processing orders. Natalie is a senior in photography at UW Oshkosh and has a bright future ahead of her.

This year Ardent Photography embarked on a very special endeavor. I launched a new side of my business which allows me to concentrate on a genre of photography that is tender, sweet and sexy all in one. In May 2008 I launched Unveiled Portraits - a boutique boudoir photography studio that caters to women of all ages and body types. My goal in creating this new side of my business is to reignite the confidence in every woman. I want them to be able to feel great about themselves and their bodies just as they are. Please visit www.unveiledportraits.com to see more photos and to inquire about a session.

I expanded my business as well as my knowledge by attending many workshops in 2008. The one that impacted the most in my shooting was a two day workshop with celebrity wedding photographer Mike Colon. Mike inspired me to shoot in 100% manual mode, to see the "light" and to make beautiful portraits in less than desirable places. Some of the other seminars/workshops I attended included JB and DeEtte Salle, Mitche Graf, Ed Pierce, Bob Davis, David Jay, Jasmine Star and Zack Arias - all speakers who inspired progress in my photography and in my business.

Many of these workshops allowed me the opportunity to travel around the US. I traveled to Chicago, Atlanta, Las Vegas for workshops/seminars. My photography has brought me other places I've only dreamed of... including Boston, New York City, San Francisco and Hawaii. Andy was able to join me for one of my trips to Boston. It was the first time we went away together without our son Drew. One thing that was hard about so much travel in 2008 was leaving behind my cute kiddo and husband. Knowing that Drew was well taken care of by both Andy and family members (thanks Mom!) made my leaving a bit easier.

Drew turned two this fall. He is such a smart and good boy. At 18 months he already new all of his letters and would stop me at stores to spell things out. Drew started swimming classes just before his second birthday and by the end of the session he could go completely under water. For Drew's birthday party we invited all of his cousins and aunts and uncles over to our home. The theme was Handy Manny/Dinosaurs and we rented a humongous bounce house for the backyard. It was so much fun and he still talks about it to this day.

Drew rang in the new year as a Big Boy. On New Year's Eve Andy converted his crib into a toddler bed. He didn't fall out, but he got up at least four times... Andy and I are soooo lucky to have such a good little boy!!!

This year I was able to network with a bunch of amazing wedding photographers in the Milwaukee area. I was invited into this tight knit group of people. We meet monthly and discuss our businesses and we refer our clients to each other when we are booked. We recently launched our website www.thecollectionlist.com and were mentioned on The Morning Blend morning show on WTMJ by Jessica Quist. It is so great to be a part of The Collection... I am excited for the friends and contacts I've made through the group.

I had the opportunity to second shoot for David E. Jackson on two occasions in 2008. He is a fantastic photographer, daddy and overall person. He is amazingly successful and I am proud to call him my friend. I also had the opportunity to shoot with Rachel Hadiashar of MERGEweddings.com, Gwyneth Colleen of www.gwynethcolleen.com, Marina Miller of www.redheartphoto.com, James and Bev Rubio of www.jamesrubiophotography.com, Samantha and Aubrey of www.everylittlemomentphotography.com, Michael Lee of www.mikeleephotos.com, Robert Janes of www.janesstudio.com, and Carl Stevens of www.artists-eyes.com. Every chance to shoot with another professional photographer gives me the opportunity to grow as a photographer. Thank you for the wisdom, guidance and support in 2008!

Thank you to all of my clients! To the high school seniors who will be graduating in the spring... thanks for trusting me with immortalizing you for your yearbooks. Thanks to all of the families... capturing the way you interact with each other was such a joy. Thanks to all of my boudoir girls... you helped build the foundation of Unveiled Portraits. Thanks to all of my newlyweds... it has been an absolute pleasure to get to know each and every one of you!

View a small selection of my favorite images here: [link coming soon]

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Friday, December 5, 2008


To see what I've been up to this week visit refreshrenewexplore.com/hawaii


Monday, November 17, 2008

Kathy and Jeremiah :: Married!

Kathy and Jeremiah
October 11, 2008
Smith Park Menasha
Ridgeview Country Club - Neenah


Jeremiah and Kathy contacted me a few months before their wedding ceremony. It was a little short notice... and I already had a wedding booked out of town the day before. There was just something about these two that I really liked and I wanted to shoot their wedding!!!

Kathy's beautiful white wedding gown stood out sooo beautifully against Jeremiah's dress blues. I have shot a lot of weddings where the groom was in the military, but none wore their dress uniform. The colors, the formality, it was pretty cool to capture this wedding.

Another awesome part of this wedding day were my special second and third shooters. Aubrey Robinson and Samantha Johnson of Every Little Moment Photography - Salt Lake City, Utah. We totally rocked the day's photos and it was such a blast to be able to second shoot at my own ceremony. I totally trusted these girls and they delivered beautiful photographs that were well exposed and artfully composed.

Kathy was filled with so much emotion. I love seeing in a bride's eyes when they are so ready, so in love, so right.



Jeremiah's daughter is a budding photographer... Aubrey and Samantha had a blast sharing their expensive cameras with the little girl.



Here are some of my many many favorites from the day...










And a quote from the bride:
Thank You Amy!!

The photos are beautiful. Everything Jeremiah and I dreamed of. You did an amazing job... Once again we are so thankful to have had you be a part of our day. You truly captured everything we wanted and did a job beyond our expectations. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!

Kathy S.

refresh. renew. explore. - retreat 2008

December 1-12

Ardent Photography will be taking part in an amazing 10 days in Hawaii. The retreat started in 2007 by Rachel Hadiashar of MERGEweddings.com. This year there are 4 photographers joining up in the Aloha State. Check out the website at refreshrenewexplore.com.

I am closing down the studio November 26 - December 16 any print orders need to be placed before November 20 to be guaranteed for Christmas delivery.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Tracy and Tim :: Engaged!

Tracy and Tim picked the perfect spot for their fall engagement session. They chose Green Park in Green Bay where they frequently go to walk their dog. The location was perfect! Amazing fall color, a winding path, a great bridge, a wooden boardwalk - everything about it was perfect.


I am soooo excited with this couple. They were willing to get dizzy for a shot on a merry-go-round that ended up landing over 3,700 views, 160 comments and 493 favs on my Flickr page. The shot landed me the front page of Flickr's Explore and skyrocketed in popularity past all of my images. This image has been one of the most stunning images of the entire year.

Your spin me right round baby...

In addition to the merry-go-round shot there were a bunch of unique and amazing images. For these shots in the tall grass Tracy and Tim risked getting their shoes totally wet. I'm so happy that the shot turned out so stunning!


Here are some more favorites of mine. Enjoy!






Monday, November 10, 2008

Naomi and Ryan :: Engaged!

Naomi and Ryan are a fun funky couple living in Milwaukee. Their August 8, 2008 wedding will be held at the Astor Hotel in Milwaukee.

Naomi and Ryan

I had a blast doing their engagement session in the Third Ward and on the grounds of the famous Santiago Calatrava addition of the Milwaukee Art Museum on the lake front.

inside the belly of the beast

This couple is all about style. You can see from the outfits they put together to the shoes on their feet...

shoes part I

I can't wait to photograph their wedding next summer!


in her eyes

stand as art

this color!

he spun her FAST!

shoes part II


seeing red

the colors!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Leah and John :: Engaged!

This is Leah and John... they are getting married on September 26 of 2009. They are having their wedding ceremony at St. John's in Little Chute and their reception at Trolley Square in Appleton.


We did these engagement photo at the beginning of October... the colors on the trees were just starting to change color. Leah and John coordinated their outfits perfectly.


yet, another kiss

These two are perfectly in love and perfect for the camera. It was so easy to get natural expressions...

Cuddling in the praire...


a close up

Indigo black and white

against the wall

October 10, 2009 is open!

I had been turning down inquires for October 10th of next year... I am actually NOT booked on this date. If you are looking for a photographer for 10/10/09 please contact me!


Friday, October 24, 2008

Kaylin and Jake :: Married

Kaylin and Jake, September 28, 2008
Victory Church - Waupaca, WI
Bridgewood Resort - Neenah, WI

I first met Kaylin and her mom, Julie, for a consultation... and no Jake. Jake was overseas serving in Iraq. They had set a date and then later found out that Jake might not be home that soon. So they pushed the date back a bit. Luckily for me they picked Sunday, September 28. I was glad it wasn't Saturday... I had an "official" day off on the 27th to celebrate my son's second birthday. I turned down many consultations for that day... I don't want to be the mom who has to shoot a wedding on her child's birthday.

So Sunday the 28th it was! The weather was slightly overcast, the Packers game was playing on the radio and best of all... Jake was home and ready to be married to the love of his life. The day was perfect and so was everything else.

In the pink :: details

While Jake was away, Kaylin and Julie did a lot of planning and handiwork. All of the couple's invitations, programs, name cards, menu cards, napkin holders had intricate detail all done by hand. Their friends and family at their church were all on hand to decorate the sanctuary with tall white pillars, hanging candles and an aisle runner. There were 9 wedding cakes at the reception! All of the tables were named for virtues of a strong marriage. No detail was left unnoticed...

In the pink :: cakes

Here are some highlights from the day.

corset gown

4 little monkeys...

celebration time

Cinderella's Slippers

circles of love

The bride

The groom

framed by love

Autumn Wedding

Dancing with Cinderella

Generation Dance