Maternity Shoot at Burr Oaks!

Sunday, we explored Burr Oaks Woods with the Carter clan!

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Anthony and Katie already have a beautiful daughter, Charleigh, and now they are expecting daughter #2!

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Even though she won’t be the center of attention anymore, Charleigh is super excited to be a big sister!

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Katie and Anthony are going to have a busy holiday season for the rest of their lives. Charleigh’s birthday is December 16th and baby-to-be is set to come Dec. 6th!

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December is definitely the time for celebration!

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Kiddo #2 doesn’t have a name yet, but mom and dad are hoping to know as soon as they meet their baby girl. They had a name picked out for their eldest, but when they met her they knew she was a Charleigh!

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Thank you so much for sharing this special moment with us, and we can’t wait to meet the newest addition to the Carter family. <3

Bentley’s 8-Month Family Shoot!

Today, we’re featuring Tatiana’s old friend Stephanie, her fiance, Ryan, and their adorable little man, Bentley!

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Before Bentley could make his photogenic debut, he had a hidden role in another photoshoot we did last fall for Stephanie’s maternity photos.

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Fast forward to this past Sunday, and Bentley was exactly 8 months old to the day! His parents celebrated with getting some family photos at Unity Village.

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Look at this precious face! He definitely knows how to work the camera. 😉

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And those baby blues are gonna be dangerous when he gets older!

Bentley was particularly fond of the fountains at Unity. When we told him he couldn’t get in the water, he began to create his own fountain — of drool. HAPPY EIGHT MONTHS!

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We were able to distract the drool machine for just enough time to get some shots of mom and dad.

Stephanie and Ryan have been together for almost three years and met through work. It’s so wonderful to see the love in their eyes!

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So other than drooling and smiling, Bentley’s other favorite activity is eating his fingers. He fits in pretty well with the other 8-monthers in town.

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But he has a heart of gold and doesn’t mind sharing!

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We can’t wait to see Bentley and his parents again! Their smiles are contagious!

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Thank you so much for booking with us and sharing all the smiles!

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On-Location in Kansas City: Featuring Unity Village!

We have gushed about Unity Village in our Top 10 Photoshoot Locations in KC list — but it really deserves its own post.

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It’s a mere 15 miles from downtown KC — and has 1,200 acres, along with “the largest fountain display in the metro, an award-winning rose garden, and two buildings that are included on the National Register of Historic Places.”

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There’s also a bookstore and coffee shop on the campus. The bookstore even serves Starbucks! Tatiana and I are suckers for anything coffee, so clearly that’s a win in our book!

One of the main shining stars at Unity is that said rose garden. Of course it’s seasonal, but it sure is worth the trip when they’re in bloom. Hundreds of roses are filling the air with exotic fragrances. They have little markers on what the various breeds are — and I can guarantee you’ll find some you’ve never heard of.

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The fountains are also seasonal. Unity keeps the water on as long as they can — depending on the temperature. They will turn them off before the first freeze, but they do keep an eye on the weather (they don’t just automatically turn off the water come Labor Day, like every other water functioning place on Earth … lol). Sometimes they’re on through October if the weather holds out!

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The main section we usually use for photographs is the rose garden. It’s impossible to beat. Pops of color everywhere, streaming fountains, and Mediterranean architecture as a backdrop. Unity Village also allows photographers without an additional fee — which is rare for a rose garden (I’m lookin’ at you, Loose Park)!

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It’s also the perfect spot for, say, a surprise proposal? 😉

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However, the thing that really makes Unity Village stand out is that even if the roses aren’t in bloom, and the fountains are turned off — there is some stunning architecture. It truly is the perfect location year-round!

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Arches galore, ornate doorways, stunning architecture all around. We’ve never had a problem with too many people at Unity Village (although Sundays are one of their busiest days, it still isn’t claustrophobic busy). Everyone we’ve ever encountered has been very friendly and helpful!

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We should totally be sales rep for Unity Village! Haha. We are not getting paid in any way for this feature — we just genuinely love this place and want it to succeed so that we may use it as a photo location for years and years to come!

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We’ve done every type of photoshoot here. Engagement. Anniversary. Surprise Proposal. Graduation. We’ve also done family photos, senior photos, and cosplay shoots here. You name it!

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Even if it’s about to rain — still stunning!

And this post mainly focused on the rose garden. You can venture beyond the garden and find stone buildings, gorgeous hills, and walking trails!

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If you’d like to check out some other locations we love — take a peek at our top 10 favorites around the Kansas City area! Then, let’s book a shoot there!

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A Dance Shoot Before Severe Weather!

We first met Natalie and her family in 2013. She was a little 5-year-old with a big ol’ smile that could melt your heart. We love repeat customers! <3

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Fast forward, and now she’s a 9-year-old with that same heart-stoppin’ smile — and she’s a dancer now, too! The best part is — we used Unity Village in 2013 and 2017. How fun!

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She taught us a thing or two at the shoot — like this pose below is called the “Tinkerbell,” or maybe it was the “Tinkerbell Leap.” Uhhhh, we still have more to learn!! Regardless, it was a fun shot to get! Natalie had to jump 5-6 times in order to get the perfect shot. It was worth it!

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Natalie didn’t want to get too close to the flowers in this next one. We understand, they’re pretty — but those thorns can be painful! Plus, we didn’t want anything to snag her outfit!

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We have some great silly poses, too. Natalie was so fun to photograph and is definitely a 9-year-old you want to have in your life! This one really captures her fun personality!

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Natalie’s mom, Candice, came prepared with a bunch of poses, which Tatiana said she really appreciated, especially for this type of shoot. There was never a pause where we had to stop and think of what to do next! 

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Dancing is such an elegant sport. It takes a lot of hard work, training, and memorization. Many of the different stances are still said in French,  and memorizing different dance routines is no easy task!
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 At the shoot, Tatiana had the idea to pick up flower petals (we didn’t pick these off the roses, no worries!) and put them in the fountain next to her head. Candice helped out and kept the petals close to her head while Tatiana took the shot.
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This was actually the last thing we could do before a voice came out over the Unity Village intercom and said we had all had to leave because we were under a severe thunderstorm warning!
We barely made it to our cars before the rain came flooding down. There was no “Dancing In The Rain” for us! 

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It’s hard to believe that at the last photoshoot she was this little:
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A Creepy Car & Playing Around At West Bottoms: Dawn’s Family Photoshoot!

Tatiana here! It was a real pleasure to capture one of my dearest friends being so in love with someone who is also so in love with her! It’s been a long time coming and it just warms my heart that she has reached her “relationship goals.”

 

Dawn Family 18.jpgDawn’ son, Aidan, was the explorer for sure. He is so full of energy and kept wandering off, climbing on things and I just let him do his thing! He just started jumping on things and I was like, “WELP! Since you’re already there…” *snaps photos*

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This one below makes it seem like Lilly and Aidan are about to drop the next hot album in KC. And Aidan plays the drums, so who knows? Maybe this will be a thing!

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In this below, I specifically asked them to do a funny pose. I think the quote was, “act like you guys are in a street gang!” This is a perfect depiction of the Vieux clan ready to rumble! And also proof they could never be in an actual street gang.

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It took Miss Lilly a little bit to loosen up, but I think she enjoyed the pictures! She really liked the ones of just her, which is great, ’cause I would love to rock a senior shoot with her! Hint, Dawn, hint!

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Lilly was just standing on this rock trying to stay away from everyone, but me, being totally impervious just went, “Joke’s on you, ’cause you look cool on that rock!!!” *snaps photo*

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This is my favorite picture of Dawn and her kiddos! It also shows off some hidden treasures of this area known as “West Bottoms.” We just happened upon this hobbit door, it was super random!

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But you never know what you’re going to run into here, which is why we love this location! It even made it in our Top 10 Photoshoot Locations in KC list!

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Although, there was one bizarre incident — there was a black car at the end of the bridge with tinted windows. When we started to take pics, the driver revved the engine and opened the driver’s door … but no one got out! Later, the driver shut the door, and turned the car sideways. This is when I began thinking, “Am I gonna die?!” And Dawn is just like “what poses should we do next?!”

Anyway, no one died … so here we are!

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A Nature Trail Family Photoshoot

Burr Oak Woods in Blue Springs is such a lovely place — it’s full of trails, nature, and perfect photo spots. We love it so much, it made our Top 10 Photoshoot Locations in KC list!

I met with Kody & Kate this Sunday at said nature center. I’ve known Kate for years — it started way back when she came to a Halloween special I was doing in 2012 (I’ve come a long way since then):

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But Mr. Konner is much bigger now!

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Since that very first photoshoot, Kate discovered I am also a Scentsy consultant and fell in love with the Havana Cabana scent. Now, here we are, years later — still friends, Scentsy companions, and photoshoot pals.

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Kate’s family has grown by one since we first met — meet Miss Kaylee.

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Kaylee loves “Hello Kitty” and anything musical! She took a tumble off the bed just a few hours before the shoot and had a nice, big bruise under eye. That’s what Photoshop is for, right? Bruise removal. 🙂

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Kaylee just loves her big brother. She likes to follow him around and do what he is doing! Konner certainly doesn’t mind!

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Konner is so full of energy and fun! He loves to run, climb, find random sticks … 🙂

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He informed me at the shoot he’s having a “Harry Potter” birthday party and I’m invited. He also loves “Power Rangers” and dinosaurs.

I wanted to make sure to get some great pictures of Kate and Kody. These high school sweethearts have been together for 10 years this November — Kate’s nickname for him is “pookie.”

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Right after the shot above, I yelled, “Quick! Kate! Do something ornery!” She didn’t even skip a beat. BOOM. Tongue by his face. This was Kody’s genuine reaction, it wasn’t posed at all.

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Glad to have these two as inspiration in my life — they keep the fun in their marriage, and are so in love!

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Willows & Redbuds: A Gorgeous Maternity Shoot At Forest Park

The third time is a charm! Ally and I had to re-schedule this shoot twice — once due to it snowing, despite it being 70 degrees the day before, and once due to a tornado. Such is the life of a photographer in the Midwest! But it was worth the wait — everything is in bloom right now! Plus, the wind LOVED Ally — it kept blowing her flowy floral jacket perfectly.

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I met up with the lovebirds, Ally & Aaron, at Forest Park in St. Louis today (Kansas City Photography is in both KC & St. Louis!). Ally’s original due date was in May, but her doctor recently bumped it to the end of April. We are going to be meeting Mr. Jaxton even sooner — hooray!

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Ally met Aaron six years ago while working at Syberg’s in downtown St. Louis. It took a few years, but Aaron finally worked up the courage to “officially” ask Ally to be his two years ago.

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The couple brought along their pups Gonzo and Wilson. Gonzo is super old, and realllly blind, but he was a good sport. Thankfully, they brought a favorite squeaky toy that really helped get the pups to look at me! That’s one of the tips on our blog post about shoots with pets!

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You can tell Gonzo is not impressed. Or he is just squintin’ ’cause he can’t see anything. Poor dude! It also helped they brought along an assistant, AKA the sisters of all sisters — Jessica!

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One of my favorite things to do during shoots is crack jokes. Then, I get reactions like this:

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It doesn’t help that I am good at getting people to laugh, builds up my ego a little too much! Hahaha.

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Congrats to the happy couple!

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The Calm Before The Storm: Jenn & James’ Maternity Shoot!

We got hit really hard with severe weather Monday night. We even had to go to the basement at the wee hours of the morning when a tornado warning was issued for our area. But the good news is — I got a shoot in before all that hail hit! Meet Jenn, James, and baby Genevieve (she’s still bakin’)!

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Jenn had a whole Pinterest board for me to look through, and I noticed a lot of those pins were silhouette shots. Some of my absolute favorite shots are silhouettes!! Done!

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Not gonna lie, James supeeeer didn’t wanna do the shoot. He just got the Nintendo Switch (the last on in Missouri), so he had Zelda brain. But regardless, he was a great sport, and we got some amazing shots!

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You could see how much they love each other just by the photos!

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Jenn is very fit. She goes to the gym 6 days a week. It was important to her that we incorporate some workout shots into the shoot. Her favorite hashtag is #fitbump. She lives it!

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I saved the best shot for last — this sums up Jenn’s pregnancy. She has been SO hungry, especially for sweets. Since my oldest daughter, Lily, just got her Girl Scout cookies in to deliver … we had quite a few cookie props for Jenn to use!

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Congrats, James and Jenn!!

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A Day At The Park

I met with Sarah, Shane, and their adorable family this weekend in Parkville. They picked this location based off of our Top 10 Photo Locations in KC post. It was a gorgeous day — in the 70s — in February!!

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Their three sweet girls were a riot. They didn’t want to say “cheeeese,” but we could get them to say “Anna,” “Elsa,” and “Frozen.”

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At one point, they were dancing on the bridge singing “Let it gooooo, let it gooo!” How cute is that?

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Since it was so nice, it was really busy — and joggers kept trying to interrupt our bridge shots. But we still got some great ones!

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We walked past the bridge to look at the water, and then decided we may get our youngest princess Aarabella to smile if we used the swings. Who complains about swinging? No one, that’s who!

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A gorgeous day for a gorgeous shoot!

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Top 10 Photoshoot Locations in KC

Hooray, you’ve booked the photoshoot! The next question: “Where do we go?”

We get asked this by photography clients a lot. So, here’s a list of our top 10, with an honorary mention — all with photos we personally took at these locations!

Here is our list for the St. Louis area (Kansas City Photography is in both locations)!

Honorary Mention: Loose Park 

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Yes, it’s gorgeous. But, it’s only honorary and not on the 10 countdown list because of how incredibly busy this place can get. It can be hard to get a shot without people in the background (and editing people out takes time). Plus, photographers everywhere.

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It’s not a hidden gem — and if you get caught shooting professionally in this area, and you haven’t paid their photographer’s fee, you get fined.

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10. Bass Pro Waterfall Park

Wait. Do a shoot at Bass Pro? Hear me out.

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This particular location has an outside park that includes waterfalls. Waterfalls, people! 

9. Parkville

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Yes, I just used an entire city as a photoshoot location. It has a population of around 5,500, and a whole lotta character. It boasts an adorable downtown area — not to mention this bridge!

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If you walk over the bridge, there’s a nice, open area with grass — and a  nice view of the Missouri River. There is a path you can follow along it, so you aren’t getting your shoes all muddy!

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There is also the “Hogwarts Castle,” which is actually Park University.

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8. National WWI Museum and Memorial

It’s a nice, open area with a killer view of the Kansas City skyline. Plus, you can explore some history while you’re there.

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But they will yell at you if you sit on the ledge like we did. We actually had no idea there were huge speakers for them to yell at you … until it was happening to us.

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Leaning is OK, though.

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And standing in front of it is all chill, too!

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7. Swope Park

This park has lion statues. And 1,805-acres. What’s not to love?

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Also, it’s Kansas City’s largest park. Glorious.

6. West Bottoms / Graffiti Walls

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It can be tricky to find, but when you go explore downtown KC, especially on the side roads by Restaurant Depot on 12th Street, you’ll find it. Colorful graffiti. Perfect for the urban setting. The senior pictures. The fun, funky group.

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Plus, the grafitti is ever-changing, so you’ll never get the same shot twice! It’s always so bright and colorful, and sometimes you can find fun little messages, like “feminine” above. On the flip side of that, you also have to watch out for not so nice words, too.

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5. Burr Oak Woods

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For the person who wants nature shots. This is also the perfect location for those fall photos — colored leaves and trees everywhere! Plus, they have great trails you can utilize after the shoot!

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4. Bingham-Waggoner Estate

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I usually suggest this one for my repeat clients. With these clients, we’ve usually already hit up the No. 1 spot (no peeking until you get there), and probably a couple others on this list.

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It’s a great change of pace. Plus, it has great scenery, a bridge, and a gorgeous estate that serves as a wonderful backdrop.

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This location is also dog-friendly! Their only requirement is that your pup has to be on a leash, and that you clean up any poo that may happen!

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3. Lake Jacomo

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The best place for water shots! On the way, they have several stop-offs with gorgeous water views. If you know where to go, there is also a great miniature waterfall area.

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If you drive further in the park, you’ll hit the yacht area — there’s a trail you can take back with gorgeous trees and tall grass.

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If you walk far enough, there’s a break in the trees and you can see the water in the background.

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There’s also the option of walking out onto the docks!

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2. Love Locks Bridge

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This hidden gem is a wonderful tribute to the love locks bridge in Paris. I love going here and seeing all of the different locks, looking at the dates, and the sweet engravings.

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If you walk past the bridge, there is beautiful tall grass, and even train tracks!

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1. Unity Village

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I can’t define my love enough for this place. A lot of people have never heard of it, and hearing them gasp at the sight hundreds of roses the first time they step foot onto the property is something I never get tired of hearing.

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Every breed of rose you thought you’d heard of, plus many more you probably can’t even pronounce (I know I can’t!).

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And let’s not forget those fountains! There are several throughout the property — including a huge one the size of a swimming pool in the middle.

img_5014img_0827 copy.jpgThe fountains are turned off once it gets chilly. But, even in the colder non-rose months, the architecture is fun to play with.

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And this is just the front. If you explore the grounds even farther, you will find the old stone buildings. This place is teeming with possibilities!

And as if it couldn’t get any better — this location is also dog friendly! It’s the same rules as Bingham: Leash required, clean up poo!

Don’t forget — our list of Top 10 photography locations in St. Louis is also available!

Please Note:Christine, Dawn, and Tatiana with Kansas City Photography took all of these photos! No stealsies!

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