Most days you’ll find me tucked away in the corner of a coffee shop working away on my laptop or somewhere on the water, working remotely from the boat or a beach somewhere. As a child-care-provider-turned-motherhood and marriage photographer, I understand all of the anticipation and excitement that goes into preparing for your arrival of life’s greatest blessings. I love connecting with my couples and families on a personal level and becoming a friend along the way...hearing all about your dating years, your proposal story, and your plans for one of the most precious days of your lives as parents! It is my greatest desire that you would feel so very loved and well taken care of from the very first moment we begin chatting about your day all the way through receiving your final gallery.
For as long as I can remember, I have always loved photography. Growing up, everywhere I went I always had a camera in hand and almost every square inch of my bedroom walls was covered in 4x6 photographs of my friends. But, it wasn’t until my high school years that I really dove deep into my love for photography. During my first mission trip to Honduras, I brought my digital camera and a Kodak camera to document my travels on more than just an iPhone. With the help of a friend, I learned to shoot in manual mode and was absolutely hooked! While on this trip, I met a very poor family up in a mountain village of El Progreso and when they saw I had a Kodak camera with me, they told me they had never had a family photo taken and because they didn’t own any mirrors, they also had no idea what they looked like. It moved them so much to have me take their photo that they cried with joy as they hung their tiny 4x6 Kodak polaroid on their front door. I wanted to tell their stories of bravery & kindness to the world, and so I returned the next summer with a better camera and fell even more in love with telling the stories of families just like them and it felt so good to bless them with photos for the walls in their home while helping to fundraise support for these desperate families in need. I decided in college to take several photo and design classes. Before my next mission trip to Honduras, my dad bought my first "professional" DSLR camera. Soon after that, I got a job working for a wedding photographer and it was then that I realized that I could turn this passion of mine into a real business.
During my senior year of college, I began nannying for a mom who also happened to be a wedding photographer. I would spend the afternoon with her daughter while she went to a coffee shop and edited photos and met with families to photograph their engagements and newborn photos. I absolutely loved hearing about her day and quickly fell more in love with the “business” side of photography world. While she was out photographing families & couples, I’d be at home taking photos of her daughter to send to her to let her know she was happy & taken care of :) It was not long before she’d invite me to stay after my shift was over and she began teaching me all about the ins and outs of running a photography business, exposures, how to edit, etc. For her, she got extra photos of her daughter & I got lessons on photography from one of the best! Photography quickly became more than just a hobby for me when I realized the impact a photographer could have on families & couples lives. I saw how she not only captured stunning photos of people’s most important days, but also became a friend throughout the planning process and my obsession with photography only grew and my dream of becoming a photographer was born!
After a couple of years, I started my own Photography business, but I had humble beginnings just like many of us, but I quickly worked my way up and purchased a better DSLR camera and added new lenses to my arsenal. When Covid hit in 2020, I combined my passion for helping nonprofits with photography and began offering “front porch sessions” which allowed me to fundraise for Share Our Spare a local Chicago nonprofit while also helping families stay current on their family photos from a “safe distance.” This trend took off and I quickly turned my part time business into a full time business and finally, Captured by Sammi was born! In less than two years after officially starting Captured by Sammi, I was able to quit my full-time job and took this side hustle full-time and turned it into my new career! But this is so much more than just a career to me, it's my passion! It’s truly the pleasure of a lifetime to capture lifelong memories for my clients and I cannot imagine doing anything else.
Fresh flowers + green plants are not only beautiful at weddings, but in everyday life. They're the way to my heart!
My sweet kitty and the cutest member of the Captured by Sammi Photography team!
Nothing brings me more excitement than exploring new places! Some favorites include: Italy, France, and the Caribbean Islands.
I'm a photographer, blogger, business coach, and influencer.
I am an avid traveler and have been traveling internationally since I was a young toddler.
As a kid my dad followed me and my family around with a camcorder so being in front of the camera and behind it has been a part of my life since I was a small child.
I'm one of 8 children and come from a pretty big family.
Before I became a photographer, I was a childcare provider and worked as a nanny in Chicago for the last 10 years.
I fell in love with photography at the ages of 12 when I first went to Honduras on a mission trip with my family and realized how much family photos meant to people.
Once on a mission trip in Honduras I had someone offer to give me a puppy and climbed a tree to cut down some fresh fruit for me in exchange for taking their photo, he had never had a family photo taken. Feel free to offer me puppies ;)
I fully understand the importance of having life’s most precious milestones documented in a way that helps you relive it years from now. To have all of those memories and emotions come flooding back - the bliss, sentiment and laughter - as you experience the very best days of your lives time after time!
My photography style is delicate and refined, with an elegant and effortless approach to portraiture. If you like lifestyle based images with a light & bright film inspired look, you will love my edits. I make the experience simple for you, keep it light hearted, and focus on those precious, unreserved moments that naturally occur on the wedding day in and around two people who are deeply in love and bringing life into the world. Using a blend of film inspired digital mediums, I create a full gallery of photographs that are tastefully light-filled and captured in a real and beautiful way to be cherished for generations to come.
To inquire about booking Captured by Sammi for your next event or family session, please click the link below to fill out our inquiry form.
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