Surprise Engagement! Dinner? Detour? A dream gondola proposal…

Calvin and Zoe met a year ago and as far as Zoe knew, this was just going to be a normal fun evening at the Country Club Plaza celebrating their one year anniversary at her favorite restaurant – The Melting Pot. What was actually going to happen was a well-planned surprise detour with a dream gondola ride!

Calvin and Zoe have enjoyed this last year together exploring Kansas City, going to local festivals, laughing together (a lot) and drinking all the coffee – so when Calvin received a call on their way to dinner telling them their reservation was pushed to later in the evening. She wasn’t too disappointed, she figured they would just walk around the plaza until it was time to eat. The caller was Calvin’s best friend and this ‘delay’ was all part of the master plan. Calvin lead her down to Brush Creek and suggested walking by the water… where the gondola ride awaited.

She was blown away by the detour and was just soaking up the spontaneous fun. She had no idea what the rest of the trip would bring. The gondola ride headed west while I headed east to set up for the rest of the trip!

As they turned around and headed under the bridge, the gondolier signaled to Calvin and he reached over the edge of the boat and brought up a bottle from the side of the boat that contained a message – a handwritten love letter just for Zoe. The details of the letter remain a mystery but I can tell you from afar, there was nothing about this letter that Zoe didn’t love. When I tell you Calvin took the time to plan this…. there wasn’t a detail missed.

While the boat circled near the bridge, the couple appeared to just be enjoying the evening ride when Calvin made his move and got down on his knee, IN THE BOAT, and proposed.

Zoe said later that she had no idea any of this was going to happen and feeling surprised was a true understatement! After she said YES!, he revealed I was there to capture it all and we headed back to the dock for our photo shoot!

Congratulations to this amazing couple! Thank you so much for letting me capture this moment — I can only imagine the fun you two will have in the years to come!

Surprise Engagements: Making Plans!

Details, Details, Details!

So you’ve chosen your partner, picked out your ring, picked the day, your photographer and even your location (see last blog post!) What else do we need to talk about, right? EVERYTHING!

Because this is a surprise, we need to think through our ruse. Is it a picnic in the park? A stroll before dinner? Perhaps an early happy hour just because… Whatever the ruse, the more we plan, the better!

Your photographer can help with a number of these details:

  • Picking up flowers, cookies, etc
  • Contacting the location
  • Working with vendors
  • Advise you on best times for the best lighting
  • Help with positioning at the location

Sometimes (if you share accounts with your partner), its better to work with someone else who is close to you so no suspicion is raised! We want to help make this day as easy as possible for all involved! And never underestimate the power of your future in-laws! They can always help with outfits, nails, transportation, etc! And in my experience, they love to be included, if possible!

I picked up and set up these beautiful flowers and cookies before Cole and Nicole arrived!

Moral of the story… Think through the whole experience – and don’t be surprised if your photographer asks about a million questions just to make sure you’ve covered all your bases!

Here are some great places we have collaborated with in the past that are always in for being a part of the surprise!

Next up… what to expect on the big day!

Surprise Engagements!

Timing, Locations, and Outfits, oh my!

Nick & Sydney celebrate their special moment in Loose Park

After my most recent clients (Nick and Sydney) celebrated their ‘Yes!’ in Loose Park yesterday, I was stopped by another couple and asked for some details on engagement photography and how did we pull off *another* surprise engagement, especially in such a busy location? And I thought… why not tell the world? So if you’re ready to propose to your partner – you’re in the right spot! I’m going to spill the beans on surprise engagements! We’ll review the top spots in Kansas City, how to prepare, what your photographer can help you with — and more! But first… Let’s do a quick recap of our other recent proposals and some of their special moments!

SURPRISE ENGAGEMENTS: LOCATIONS

Most of my clients have picked out the ring, the day, and sometimes even their outfit but when I ask, ‘where are we going for this special moment?’ the answer is almost always, ‘I’m not sure, do you have any recommendations?’ Yes, my friends, yes I do. Here are the list of questions to ask yourself (or that I will ask you) before we decide on a spot!

  • Is there a local spot that’s special to you? Maybe your first date? Maybe a spot you go to regularly?
  • Is there a specific background you’re looking for? Water? Flowers? Trees? Cityscape?
  • When you think back on this special day, is this a location you’re going to want to be able to access (if possible, think wedding, anniversaries, etc).
  • Formal/Casual dress attire?
  • Are you planning any activities pre/post engagement session?

Once we get through those – we can narrow down that right location for you!

If my clients have no preference on location, I refer to this blog post: https://kansas-city-photography.com/2017/02/03/top-10-photo-locations-in-kc/

But also I like to add in these options:

  • Powell Gardens
  • Nelson Atkins
  • Plaza
  • KC Rooftop Bars (think Crossroads area!)
  • Longview, Smithville and WyCo Lakes!

There are a number of locations to choose from and when recommending a place I like to consider the season – what’s blooming, what colors will show in the background? Is it rainy season? Are we going to get muddy (this might be something planned!) What’s planned for after the photoshoot – do you have time to get where you’re going if we pick a certain location over another. Also, are there several backgrounds for the photos or will we just have one or two to work with? Your photographer will work with you to brainstorm ideas and they’ll also take into consideration lighting, weather, permits (if necessary) and review all of that with you. Overall, a lot to think through but in the end, this is the backdrop for your special moment so we want it to be right!

Up next… How to prepare: The details for your special day!

Click here to book your engagement photos with Kansas City Photography (which is in both St. Louis & Kansas City)!

(Note: All photos in this blog post were taken by Kansas City Photography. You may not re-use without permission.)

A SURPRISE Princess Serenity Cosplay Session!

It was 25-degrees, but that didn’t stop Abby and me from surprising Jennifer with a SURPRISE photo session, despite her attempts to accidentally foil our plans! 😉

Abby (who lives in Florida) reached out to me mid-January about setting up a surprise photo session for her girlfriend over the weekend she’d be in town visiting. She was also making her a HANDMADE and GORGEOUS Princess Serenity gown to wear in said session.

We brainstormed and decided to tell Jen I was hosting a Moonie Meetup (for Sailor Moon fans) at Loose Park (there are some beautiful columns there, which would fit the Princess Serenity aesthetic).

Jen was worried about the cold. I was attempting to make it so she didn’t cancel on attending my fake “Moonie Meetup,” so I offered to move the madeup get together to my house since it was “all people I knew anyway.” She agreed. PHEW. Any time Jennifer would say something, Abby would message me in a panic.

The day finally arrived when Jen and Abby showed up at my house. I met them out in the parking lot, a camera casually strapped around my neck. AND THEN ABBY WHIPPED OUT THE SURPRISE! The moment we’d been waiting for!

THEN, we told her there wasn’t actually a Moonie Meetup … this entire thing was for a surprise photo session, all for her! Abby knocked this Valentine’s surprise out of the park!

Now, to the session itself. It was cold. 20-degrees cold. BUT WE ARE CHAMPIONS! Plus, as I told Abby in our chats … cosplayers and photographers are a touch on the crazy side. 20 degrees is child’s play. 😉

I am so happy the surprise and the session were a moontastic success! I have worked with Jen several times, and actually met Abby through photography as well (at this session below, actually)!

Here’s to many more! One of the greatest things about cosplay — the photos will always be different because the characters are! All of these cosplay sessions are the same person (Jen)! I have so much respect for cosplayers, and their infinite creativity bringing characters to life!

Make sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

And a very Happy Valentine’s Day to Jennifer and Abigail!

Featuring: Scattered Roses Cosplay

A Romantic Surprise Proposal With The Kansas City Skyline!

Jimmy reached out to me a week ago via email seeing if I was available for … his surprise proposal to his girlfriend, Lauren! Eeeeeee!!!! If there’s one thing we love at KCP, it’s a surprise proposal!

After readily agreeing and setting the date for Saturday, we immediately jumped into trying to figure out a location. Jimmy had at first thought about proposing at the location of their first date, Broadway Arcade, for sentimental value. However, we ultimately decided on the WWI Museum for the scenic view of the Kansas City skyline.

We set a calendar date labeled “brunch,” so Lauren wouldn’t be suspicious if she had his phone, exchanged photos of what each other looked like, and we were set! Well, at least that’s what we had thought 

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Fast forward a week to the day of the surprise proposal. I arrived early to scout out the location, and noticed yellow ropes saying “do not enter” all over the property. I quickly texted Jimmy and told him what was up. I called a security guard for the WWI Musem and he told me there was too much ice on the landing, and the ground we were going to do the surprise proposal on were closed. OH NO. 

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Thankfully, I wouldn’t let this poor security guy off the phone just like that. I told him the big plan, and asked if he had any suggestions for me. He did, and I quickly drove there to find a new proposal spot! I filled in Jimmy, and we were set … again!

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Jimmy did great. He walked right by me as instructed, pretending he didn’t know who I was. I waited for them to get several feet ahead, and then started casually following, pretending to take photos of other things until he got down on one knee …

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The next thing Jimmy saw out of the corner of his eye was me sprinting into the snowy field and kneeling onto my own knees to start snapping the moment.

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Lauren told me she was definitely surprised! Jimmy had a list of plans for the morning that included a trip to the WWI Museum, brunch, and grocery shopping … so she wasn’t expecting him to pop the question!

Of course, she said “YES!”

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That ring? GORGEOUS.

And Jimmy set up this next moment perfectly. All day throughout Valentine’s Day just the day before, Jimmy left these little candies around with sweet love messages written on them. Before getting down on one knee, he handed Lauren this for her to read:

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It says “This is where I propose.”

He let that sink in for a second, and then pulled out the ring!

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As far as how this love story began, Lauren was transferred to the Kansas City area by her job. She lived in a different state before her transfer here — and only six months after her big move, met Jimmy. It was fate!

She said her first impression of him was that he was very personable and outgoing. “My favorite thing about him is how selfless he is. He will always put everyone else first, and do just about anything to make someone else happy.”

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Jimmy told me that other than being blown away by her beauty, his first impression was that she had a great sense of humor, even laughing at what he calls his “terrible” jokes.

“My favorite part of Lauren is how she never lets me get down.” He said he has never met someone who loved and supported him as much as she does — and that she makes literally every situation better.

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If these two lovebirds aren’t just the cutest!

“I have a higher sense of confidence in life knowing she is by my side,” Jimmy told me.

I can’t wait for you two to start planning the big day. All of here at Kansas City Photography wish you the happiest life together! Let’s chat wedding once you set a date! 😉

Our Top 7 Photo Sessions of 2019

We are at that time of year where we sit back and reflect on how far we’ve come. The year 2019 is no different, except that we probably have even more reflecting to do than usual.

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This year marks the end of a decade! Whoa. That’s a really big deal. While we will have an entire post on our 2020 plans, this post is about reflecting back on our top 7 photo sessions of 2019. While all of them are very near and dear to my heart, these stuck out for their own special reasons! Read on to find out why!

7. Sunflower Mini Sessions! 

This was the first year Kansas City Photography decided to do sunflower mini sessions! The event took place at Brookdale Farms in Eureka, and I rented out the field on a Sunday morning. It was an absolute hit — spots sold out in 24 hours.

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It had rained the previous two days, and the field had been closed the day before due to the mud, but everyone made the trek in the mud for these beauties!

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It is technically supposed to be a sunflower “maze,” but with the puddles and mud, I picked out a few favorite spots and we stuck to those instead of walking through all of the soggy earth.

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We’ve had popular mini sessions before, but never to this magnitude. Definitely one for the books, and absolutely something we will do again!

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6. Lisa & Jason’s Wedding

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Lisa & Jason’s wedding stuck out for a few reasons, that photo above included. 🙂

I wasn’t actually their first photographer. Lisa had another photographer lined up for her wedding … who dropped out just months before they said “I Do.” Her now mother-in-law, who is my neighbor, reached out to me to see if I had their date available. I did, and we were able to meet up for coffee. Lisa told me I wasn’t allowed to back out, to which I told her “I have never missed a wedding in my life, you are safe!”

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Fast forward to a week before her wedding. Guess who gets bacterial pneumonia? This kid, that’s who. But, I absolutely kept my word. There was no way I was going to miss Lisa & Jason’s wedding, fever, pneumonia, or not!

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The next reason their wedding was rememberable (aside from their cuteness!) was the location. It was a location I had never been to before, in St. Louis, on the riverfront. It was someone’s home they had remodeled so that it could also work as a wedding venue. This place had the most unique artwork, including a statue that was so tall, even if several groomsmen stood on each other’s shoulders, they still wouldn’t reach the top!

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This piece was also inside …

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5. Lindsey’s “Breaking Free” Session 

As a photographer, sometimes we are approached and given a responsibility to tell a story. Lindsey’s story was not only important, but worth sharing to the world. At only 23, she has experienced a lot of loss in her life, especially in 2019 with the loss of both and uncle to cancer and a best friend … to murder.

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Lindsey came to me and said she wanted a “breaking free” theme for her 23rd birthday. She wanted to make 23 her best year yet, cherishing those she lost, but also becoming stronger because of the trials she has faced already at such a young age.

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Lindsey is studying to earn her EMT license, so she can help save lives — even after having lost so many in her own life. I look forward to seeing her flourish in 2020.

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4. Naka Kon 2019

Kansas City Photography has been a vendor at Naka Kon since 2012, setting up a photobooth in their vendor’s room every year. This year was different because it was the first year we had a double booth space, and it was all by a fluke, too!

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When Alyssa and I arrived at Naka Kon, we noticed the vendor to our left wasn’t there … and they still weren’t there even as time ticked closer and closer to opening.  One of the coordinator’s came by and told us the vendor was coming in from Colorado, and they had gotten hit by a big ice storm and were unable to make it in. She offered for us to purchase the space — so we went for it!

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This, combined with our on-site sessions, made it our most successful Naka Kon to date! We’ve already signed up for 2020, with a double booth space again! This year, we will have our Magic Mirror photobooth, too!

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3. Triplets Sessions

You’d think having one session with triplets would be amazing, but I actually had two sessions with triplets this year! One of my favorite families, the Sharp family, had triplets —

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And I also met Andrew, Gabby, and Cameron this year — triplets in very different walks of life! These three are seniors!

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It’s going to break my heart when the Sharp toddler triplets are old enough to do a senior session with me! Slow down, time!

2. A New York City Photo Session!

My husband, Bryan, has a cousin that lives in New York City. Although, since I frequent NYC several times a year, and always make sure to grab a bite with said cousin … Christie and I have decided we are actually cousins. Move over, Bryan!

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So, of course, when Christie mentioned a photo session, I couldn’t wait to fly out and explore the city with her, camera in hand! We definitely got yelled at over an intercom for the shot below.

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Worth it, though, right?! Thank you so much for this treat of a photo session, Christie!

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Plus, it’s true, she’s totally an icon. With an amazing voice. You’re gonna rock the $h!+ outta 2020!! I can’t wait to see it, and then be like … “Hey! That’s my cousin!”

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1. Gina & Rob’s Pouring Rain Engagement Session

Have you ever seen one of those romance movies where they run outside to meet, and kiss in the rain?! Like, every romance movie ever, right?

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I had the opportunity, for the first time in my photography career, to do a pouring rain engagement session!!

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Usually, when there is rain in the forecast, I will have clients reach out to me and ask about re-scheduling. I usually give the option to have a fun rain session, but I understand when they go ahead with re-booking for a different day. Then, my dreams came true.

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Gina opted not to re-schedule. So, away to St. Charles we went — umbrella in hand. I stood in the rain and got drenched while taking these amazing rain photos, and it was completely worth it. Thank goodness Canon is water-resistant!

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A few weeks after the session, I met with Gina for a coffee to finalize the wedding photography plans, and she told me she thought it was the most romantic thing that Rob waited until the final, in the middle of the street shot, to take off his outer shirt. He was excited for that shot, and that made her heart swoon!

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Plus, we were in the heart of St. Charles, so we had plenty of amazing natural backdrops to work with while the rain was pouring down.

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By the end of this session, I was drenched. Gina and Rob were drenched. It was cold … but it was 1,000 percent worth every second in that monsoon!

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We definitely had lost the umbrella by the end … but a little rain never hurt anybody. Plus, these two are happily ever after married now — ready to weather any storm together!

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Make sure to follow Kansas City Photography on Facebook — and don’t forget we are in both Kansas City and St. Louis!

Breaking Free at 23! Lindsey’s Journey

To say Lindsey had a rough year would be an understatement.

To begin her year, one of her closest friends, who was only 20 years old, was murdered. Her killer still hasn’t gone to trial.

Later that same year, she lost her uncle to an unexpected cancer.

The year before, she lost another close friend, who was only 19 years old, to cancer.

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Lindsey came to me and said she wanted a “breaking free” theme for her 23rd birthday. She wanted to make 23 her best year yet, cherishing those she lost, but also becoming stronger because of the trials she has faced already at such a young age.

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To honor those that have left her behind, she is going to put her best foot forward and “break free at 23.”

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I first met Lindsey in 2013 when we moved to Blue Springs. She lived in the house across the street from me, then only being in high school. Flashback to her senior photo session:

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I watched her grow from a teen who was completely obsessed with soccer, into a woman who joined the military to help protect those she loved.

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Now in her life, she’s working at the University of Kansas Health System, and also studying to earn her EMT license.

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She’s lost so many lives in her young life, now she’s working toward being able to save them.

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Can’t wait to keep watching you, Lindsey. You’re going to do great things. In the words of her late friend, Mary: “It’s going to be alright.”

Lindsey knows her friends and family would want her to keep smiling, and keep moving forward.

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Break free, Lindsey!

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To view Lindsey’s session, click here.

Make sure to follow Kansas City Photography on Facebook! Don’t forget we are in both KC and St. Louis!

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They Tied The Knot With PB&J. Seriously! Tara and Luke’s Lakeside Wedding!

This Saturday, we had the pleasure of celebrating with Tara and Luke as they tied the knot at Lake Tapawingo!

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Tara and Luke booked our Chiffon package, which is 3 hours of awesome wedding magic!

Starting with … the First Look!

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I hid Luke behind a tree so he wouldn’t see Tara until the perfect moment.

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When he did see his gorgeous bride, he couldn’t stop smiling!

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Tara decided to go with blush pink and white for the colors of her special day. Such a gorgeous choice!

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Her bridesmaids were beautiful, too!

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Luke’s groomsmen really got into the loving spirit of the wedding, complete with prom poses —

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… and reenacting scenes from the Titanic (spoiler: they let go).

Tara Luke 12 Luke and Tara met through a mutual friend back in 2012, and Tara refers to Luke as her “real-life Prince Charming.”

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The lovebirds met when Zane was 2 months old, and Luke fell in love with Tara’s babies right then, too!

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Allison and Zane were both thrilled to see their mother so happy with such an amazing man! With Drew, their youngest, they make such a wonderful family!

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Although, Drew was pretty camera shy. It’s okay, though. He didn’t want to take away the spotlight!

The ceremony was incredibly sweet, with Tara’s brother, Michael, as the officiant.

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Now, this next part was a first for us. Tara & Luke came up with the most unique wasy to symbolize their love during the ceremony! Since they go so perfectly together like peanut butter and jelly, they made a PB&J sandwich to celebrate the big day!

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Tara and Luke are the perfect match and their love inspires everyone around them.

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Help us congratulate Tara and Luke on their eternally happy future together!

‘This Is The Last One, We Swear!’ A Shackelford Newborn Session!

Everyone, step back, because you aren’t going to believe this. But we got Cameron to smile.

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Hold your applause, though, because we also got a few to add onto his grump gallery. Here is what I have been used to seeing over the years, with the most recent one at the end!

Now, this cross-armed pose is something we all look forward to! Hahaha!

I met with the Shackelford family last weekend to meet their newest bundle of joy, Devin. I hadn’t seen them since their pregnancy announcement in January!

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Devin was born July 18, 2018. Weighing in at 7 lbs., 14 oz., he is the eighth grandchild for the family!
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It seems like just yesterday I was taking his brother, Holden’s, newborn photos!
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But he’s a BIG brother, now!!!
I think the second photo sums up just about he feels about that. 😉
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But, we did get some good shots of Holden, too!

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Ayden is a veteran at this point. She is the big sister to THREE little brothers. Oh, boy!!!

I mean, not even during this meltdown did she lose her cool:

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It was too funny not to share … and I know Jordon loves it when I include shots like that above. 😀

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And, not only that, Ayden is a dog mommy, too! Meet Annabelle and Princess!

Nanny Della always wanted a granddaughter named Annabelle, but other than Ayden, all the grandkids are boys … so she got a grandpuppy named Annabelle instead! I thought this was too hilarious not to include!

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Every time I see Ayden, she has gotten taller! These two photos were taken only ONE year apart!

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Ok, Jordon & Ethan, make sure to tell Devin he isn’t allowed to grow up as quickly as the rest of them! My heart can’t take it!

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See you all again soon!

Make sure to message Kansas City Photography on Facebook!

A Maternity Shoot In The Woods!

Four acres, a belly bump, and a growing family! It’s baby number two for the Adams family! Genevieve is going to be a big sister!

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You may remember Jenn & James from the surprise gender reveal shoot. Her face was completely priceless when she pulled the confetti cannon and BLUE popped out! Everyone, including myself, was thinking it was a girl before this moment!

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Of course, we documented her first pregnancy, too! And the baby shower that involved plungers … but today we are here to talk about Genevieve’s soon-to-be little brother, Oliver!

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Jenn is all belly! I’m sure it also helps that she has been exercising throughout her entire pregnancy, just like with Genevieve! I can see her being a Body Pump instructor one day.

Of course, these parents are over the moon to welcome their little boy into the world this August!

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Genevieve was hamming it up! My husband was standing behind me and making silly faces and jumping around. She thought that was absolutely hilarious. Hey, whatever gets that cheeky grin!

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We also need to take a moment to talk about how ADORABLE Genevieve is. We were worried she wouldn’t want to touch Jenn’s stomach, but as we sat down for the shot, she wouldn’t move her hand! So precious!

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She’s going to be a great big sister!

Since these photos were done on my property, my two children were there. And being raised with a mom who is a photographer … they kept trying to jump into the pictures. Apparently it’s rubbed off on my husband, too.

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We are so excited to meet you, Oliver!

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