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.)

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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Wedding Series: Tips For Brides — The Family Shots

You’re getting married! There’s so much to do, and so many things to get done. Find a caterer, a florist, get the perfect dress, and then make sure you’ve hired the right photographer to capture all of your hard work!

Well, you’ve definitely taken the right step as far as a photographer goes [oh hey, we travel]! 😉

Every Thursday over the next six weeks, I will be doing a piece for our “Wedding Series: Tips For Brides.” It’s going to highlight tips and tricks for the bride when working with a photographer.

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WEEK FOUR: THE FAMILY SHOTS

There are really two types of family photos I’ve found people want — traditional or non-traditional. 

Traditional is typically done at the altar. After the wedding, everyone stays at the church. You line everyone up and get shots like this:

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Sometimes, brides who are fairly traditional (or come from families that are) want these types of shots. The only issue I ever run into with these is lighting. I always ask what it’s like inside their venue, because sometimes churches can be very dark, which make it hard for good pictures — even with lights!

If it’s a well-lit location, and this is really the style you like, then let’s go for it!

The second type of family portraits after the “I Dos,” are the non-traditional. These are ones we take outside. This is also where we can get those candid shots!

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But we can get non-candid, regular smiles, too!

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Or strike a silly pose!

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Make sure to talk with your photographer about the style of photos you are wanting. Do you want them at the altar? Do you want them outside? What’s the lighting situation inside? These are all things to think about!

Tune in next week!

Want to see the series so far? See the entire “Wedding Series: Tips For Brides” series!

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Wedding Series: Tips For Brides — It’s All In The Details

You’re getting married! There’s so much to do, and so many things to get done. Find a caterer, a florist, get the perfect dress, and then make sure you’ve hired the right photographer to capture all of your hard work!

Well, you’ve definitely taken the right step as far as a photographer goes [oh hey, we travel]! 😉

Every Thursday over the next six weeks, I will be doing a piece for our “Wedding Series: Tips For Brides.” It’s going to highlight tips and tricks for the bride when working with a photographer.

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Week Three: It’s All  In The Details 

You’ve been planning this wedding for months — maybe even years. You’ve put a lot of thought into the details, so make sure your photographer captures them!

Each bride puts different details into her wedding. For this country farmhouse wedding, the groom surprised the bride by writing on the soles of her boots she was going to wear walking down the aisle. That was clearly an important detail to capture.

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And while it’s important to capture those unique details, there are some that tend to be the same at every wedding. Make sure your photographer gets these:

  • The Cake

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  • The Rings

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  • The Table Decor

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  • The Bouquet

  • The Boutonnières & Corsages

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  • The Dress (Before it’s on the bride)

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These are some good basics to make sure to capture. If you’re the bride, make sure you communicate with your photographer which details are really important to you. If you’re the photographer, make sure you schedule a meeting with the bride to go over these types of details.

Everyone is unique and different, and these details are often incorporated into the wedding. I am always on the hunt for special things to the bride and groom that they felt important enough to work into their wedding decor.

See the entire “Wedding Series: Tips For Brides” series!

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Wedding Series: Tips For Brides — The “First Look,” / Bridal Reveal

You’re getting married! There’s so much to do, and so many things to get done. Find a caterer, a florist, get the perfect dress, and then make sure you’ve hired the right photographer to capture all of your hard work!

Well, you’ve definitely taken the right step as far as a photographer goes [oh hey, we travel]! 😉

Every Thursday over the next six weeks, I will be doing a piece for our “Wedding Series: Tips For Brides.” It’s going to highlight tips and tricks for the bride when working with a photographer.

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Week Two: The “First Look” / Bridal Reveal 

One of the first questions I ask at my meetings with brides: “Did you want to do a “first look,” or will walking down the aisle be the first time he sees you?”

Here is a first look we did before the ceremony, below. I was able to get this close and intimate specifically because it wasn’t done during the ceremony. It was a special moment set aside for just the two of them (and me … the third wheel photographer). 🙂

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If the bride asks what I prefer — it’s always that we do a special “first look.” It’s where I set the groom up, his back facing away. I bring in the bride. She puts her back against his, or reaches her hand around the corner. There is always so much tension in these shots — the can’t wait to see each other.

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From there, I snap the shots and either take the bride back to her room, or … we let the groom turn around.

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I prefer this because I can catch the intimate one-on-one response of the groom the first time he sees his bride. It’s special. It isn’t a moment that has to be shared in a crowd. It’s just the two of them. 

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Now, sometimes I can’t convince the bride and groom otherwise, and that’s ok. It’s your day! I can only speak from a photographer’s standpoint, because after that reveal, we can take the bridal party / bride & groom shots, etc. — all before the ceremony! After the ceremony, we can snap the family photos, and then send the bride and groom off to the reception and not have to keep their friends and family waiting.

That’s not to say we can’t get great photos if the first time the groom sees his bride is when she walks down the aisle.

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We definitely can, but if I am ever asked my preference — it’s to have a special first look. So I can get shots like this:

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Check back next Thursday for the next post in our “Tips For Brides” series. To read them all, click here.

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Our New Website!

I tried to log onto the Kansas City Photography webpage last week. I was met with an error message. I may have panicked a little, but I figured it’d be an easy fix. I reached out to my web person — but it was crickets. My face was probably equivalent to Miss Luna’s:

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My bells and whistles started going off — and here’s why. This happened one other time, with the same web person. I reached out to him (the same one, I never switched) and he responded saying I needed to pay him to get it back online. I was confused as to why, and he said it was a maintenance fee, and he had to re-build it. I actually lost a potential wedding client over this — they had seen my site, loved my work, and then got concerned when my site suddenly went down.

You’d think I would have learned my lesson then … but, long story short, I stuck with him and he put the site back up (after I paid him again *grumble*), and it has been sunshine and roses since then.

Then, the error (again). And no response.

Instead of waiting around, this time I decided to go ahead and just build it myself. This way I can make changes and add photos any time I want, without having to pay every time I want an update. It was really a long time coming, I should have done it a lot sooner.

Go check it out and tell me what you think! –> http://kansas-city-photography.com

 

On a side note, I recently tried to get Kansas City Photography published on Wikipedia, but I need some press coverage for that to happen. They have really strict guidelines, and I meet all of them but that one. Stay tuned!

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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One Of My Most Important Photography Lessons: Shoot ‘Through’ Things

I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Broadcast Journalism from the University of Missouri. Broadcast works a lot with the camera —  and one of the most important lessons I ever learned was to shoot “through” things.

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It completely changed my perspective behind the lens. It was one of those “ah-ha!” moments. Shoot “through” things. Things other people may not look at — it completely changed how I view the world.

Apply it to photography. See a cool shape? Shoot through it.

A fence or netting? Shoot through it.

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A bride’s veil? Shoot through it.

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How about a beautiful blooming flower? Find a space between the leaves and shoot through it to the subjects in the background.

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And it can be subtle. I was squatting down in some tall grass to get this shot!

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It’s not that every shot needs this “shoot through” treatment, but it should be a component to think about at every shoot. If you see your photographer squatting in the grass, or rolling around on the ground … they’re likely using this technique!

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Wedding Series: Tips For Brides – Portraits

You’re getting married! There’s so much to do, and so many things to get done. Find a caterer, a florist, get the perfect dress, and then make sure you’ve hired the right photographer to capture all of your hard work!

Well, you’ve definitely taken the right step as far as a photographer goes [oh hey, we travel]! 😉

Every Thursday over the next six weeks, I will be doing a piece for our “Wedding Series: Tips For Brides.” It’s going to highlight tips and tricks for the bride when working with a photographer.

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Week One: The Bridal Portrait Session

This week, I’m giving tips for the bride during her portrait session! I always set aside time from the chaos to make sure I get shots of just the bride. You’ve gotten your hair done, your makeup perfected, and spent weeks (maybe even months!) picking out your perfect dress. It’s so important to get shots of you as you are in that moment — ready to marry the love of your life, about to walk down the aisle surrounded by your closest friends and family members. There’s so much excitement shining through your eyes — and a world of possibilities in your future.

There are a few shots I always love to get: 

The Eyelash Shot:

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It’s a classic shot, your head tilted slightly, gazing down, capturing your perfect lashes.

The Silhouette: 

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Definitely one of my favorites. I love playing with the light. I had one bride call me a “lighting wizard.” I’ll take it! These are so pretty and fun to do.

Just The Dress: 

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You spent so much time (annnd probably money, if we’re being real) to find the perfect gown for your big day. I like to get details like this!

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Lacing It Up: 

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Some of the most important people in your life help lace up the dress. It’s usually a mom or Maid of Honor. Although, I’ve had to step in to help countless times when they couldn’t figure it out! I’ll never leave ya hangin’!

Full-Length: 

You’re in the dress, it’s almost show time!

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My last little tidbit to mention is the bouquet.

Where To Hold Those Dang Flowers! 

As every bride will tell you whose wedding I’ve shot — the one thing I repeat over and over and over is: “Hold the bouquet at your belly button!”

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I say it to to the bride and bridesmaids at the beginning of the day. I repeat it before every shot. Sometimes I turn it into a question and ask them, “Now, where do you hold the bouquet?”

I get that chime of a teacher lecturing her class, “At the belllly buttttton,” they repeat back.

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I remind them right before they walk down the aisle when I stop them to take a shot before they continue the rest of the way down. This way you don’t get shots with the bouquets all over the place!

Let’s review! Here are some important shots to make sure your photographer gets!

  • The eyelash shot
  • The silhouette
  • Just the dress
  • Getting “into” the dress / lacing up
  • The bouquet / holding the bouquet at the belly button

Check back next Thursday for the next post in our “Tips For Brides” series. To read them all, click here.