Twinkle lights, chilly fall nights and another newly engaged couple! Let’s talk about Matt & Cierra…

Matt contacted us a while back while he was plotting his surprise proposal to Cierra. She had no idea what he was planning (insert Morgan Freeman’s voice: she did, in fact, have some idea. She just didn’t know the details). Matt chose the location: Overland Park Arboretum and Botanical Gardens and was very specifc about date and time and even worked out getting their parents together back at Cierra’s parents house while the happy couple wandered through the Luminary Walk. Nothing says romance like twinkly lights and candle lit walks through the woods!

The sparkle!

Matt and I had corresponded through text throughout the week and even on the day of, he texted me the colors of their (dark) coats so that I could find them in the (dark) woods! Well, we did our best! I texted him a picture of where I was and as casually as possible, they strolled by me and asked if I could take their picture in front of this amazing tree. OF COURSE I CAN! So using Cierra’s phone, I captured a few shots of them standing and then Matt dropped to one knee in front of a crowd of people and proposed!

He opened the ring box backwards at first but neither of them minded!

There was a large group that applauded and cheered when Cierra said yes and the rest of the night was a breeze! Cierra and Matt met 12 – that’s right – TWELVE years ago. They attended different high schools and colleges and now after all of that, they have moved back to the KC area – together – and are saving up to buy a house and travel a little and keep doing all the things they love.

Matt and Cierra love getting out and about around town, trying new things together – restaurants and activities – and sometimes, they just soak up being couch potatoes and watching their favorite shows together over and over!

Not THE tunnel of love but we certainly made it theirs!

The best thing about night photography (or really any dimly lit location) is that your subjects really have to stay still for a period of time to get some of the best shots. Thankfully, this couple was all about sticking the pose for the camera! They really committed to these shots and I had so much fun capturing them – and all of the love they share! Congratulations to these two, thank you for letting me be a part of your special moment and evening and I can’t wait to hear about all the wedding plans!!!

‘Tis the Season… for getting hitched! Meet Emily and Hayley…

Recently, we had the pleasure of witnessing this ‘YES!’ moment at Prairie Fire Museum in Overland Park (note to self… add this to the list of fantastic places for photos! The colors! I’m obsessed!) Emily and Hayley met WAYYYYYY back in middle school but didn’t start dating until a little over a year ago!

I was never spotted until it was time!

When Emily decided to propose, she went to great lengths to pick the perfect ring, the perfect spot and hatch the perfect plan! She enlisted Clara, her bestie, as a distraction and Clara’s sister, Elsa, came too – all under the premise of taking pictures of Clara and promised Hayley there would be lunch!

Emily even went as far as sending me a map, a plan of attack, a route we would take afterwards, all leading to a surprise lunch with Emily’s mom and Hayley’s great-grandma! Hayley is very intuitive and Emily was sure she would know something was up – and she was right! Hayley was suspicious but didn’t know the plan and loved how it all played out!

So many spots to stop and take some great shots of these two!

As we walked through the shopping area, we stopped to take all kinds of pictures! There is no shortage of beauty anywhere around here. We also had plenty of time to chat about their cats and dog, about how they get to spend their time doing all the things the love and how they both work in education (LOVE OUR TEACHERS!!!)

Don’t worry – we went back and edited out the damage the wind tried to do to their hair! I’ll update with that picture soon!

As we were strolling down the street, headed toward lunch (the surprise lunch with mom and great-grandma) – here comes mom, driving right down the road next to us! Emily and Hayley just laughed – mom definitely didn’t follow the plans or the map! HA! But even though the cat was out of the bag, and the wind was blowing at what seemed like 100mph, we had so much fun finishing out the shoot!

AH THE RING!

When we finally met at the lunch destination, Emily’s mom, Hayley’s great-grandma, Clara, Elsa (and of course Emily and Hayley), all stopped to pose for one last picture together and off to lunch they went!

Congratulations to this beautiful couple! Can’t wait for the updates on all the camping, visiting Colorado (one of my favorite spots), and, of course, the WEDDING PLANS!!!!

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.)

Puppies & Kittens! An Animal Shelter Photoshoot

Animals are near and dear to my heart. When I know there are thousands upon thousands of animals in shelters across the U.S., it breaks my heart. And, since it matters to me, I’m determined to do something to help. That’s how it should go, right?

So, I volunteered at a no-kill animal shelter in St. Louis, Judy’s Forgotten Jewells, to take pictures of their animals up for adoption!

Studies have shown  that photos of the animals increase the chance for adoption. Furthermore, professional photos help increase that chance for adoption even more!

So, without further ado — let’s meet some PUPPIES!

1. Jynx 

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Little Jynx was shy, but sweet. When I set her down on the couch, she kept naturally going to the corner so she could bury her face (she was scared). But, as soon as I picked her up, her tail started wagging and she was also perfectly content burying her face into the nook of my arm.

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Jynx is looking for her forever home — is it with you?

2. Jamie [UPDATE: Adopted!!!]

This little pup was so playful! As soon as she was set down on the couch, she kept doing that cute, playful puppy pose. You know — this one:

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I loved Jamie’s white tummy and paws!

I soon realized this playful pup wasn’t going to sit still for a photo. I had one of the staff members hold this little gal instead, so we could get a good shot of her face.

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Not that I could ever get her to look at me, but hey! I will take what I can get. Jamie is ready for her forever home! She is a perfect pup for kiddos. Loud and rowdy in your household? I think she’d love it! She was so playful and fun!

3. Justice 

Justice was quiet and mellow. She loves attention, too! She wasn’t shy, just … chill!

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Maybe timid is the right word? When you first put your hand up to pet her, she seemed uncertain. However, after the petting began, she wasn’t about to let you stop! She just loves love!

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Justice was perfectly content lounging on the couch with me and getting love. Her tail was going approximately 150 MPH during the petting session, too!

4. Chester

This little chihuahua mix was playful, but a little shy at first. He also kept sticking out his tongue every time I went to take his picture!

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Chester was feeling playful, but when I called him, he came over and laid down for pets! He’s full grown, so he’s going to stay this little puppy size!

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Chester is ready for adventures in a new home!

5. Betsy

Miss Betsy is the perfect dog for someone with a yard. She has a lot of energy, but boy, was she ready to pose!

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She was so excited to be out of her kennel. Betsy was sniffing everything and super excited about life, but when I told her “sit!” — she did it on cue! So, even though she does have a lot of fun energy, she’s ready to strike that pose!

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She would also be a great dog for someone who jogs regularly. She is ready for some exercise!  She needs someone to play with, or to let her out in their yard to work off some energy!

6. Nova

Nova has been at Judy’s for about a week. She had been with animal control since September, and they were going to euthanize her. Judy’s Forgotten Jewells rescued her from that fate!

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Nova loves attention. She is the perfect gal for someone who could pet her a lot! Another great thing —

Staff told me Nova’s adoption is sponsored! This means, there is no cost to adopt her!

Nova was a very quiet pup. She’d be perfect for a retiree, or a family that has some home time to give her love and affection. She was absolutely loving the attention!

7. Buddy

Buddy is very vocal! In between doggies, this guy was demanding attention. I could hear him all the way in the other room! When they would bring one dog down and bring the next one up, I would have a few minutes. And he wanted those few minutes to be spent petting him!

Buddy

Since it was just in between doggy photos, I had to pet him through the cage. Once I was finished with all of the pup photos, I could let him out. He rubbed all over me, and followed me around for attention! He also stopped meowing when he was being pet!

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He also showed me where the treats were in the closet! So, staff at Judy’s … there are 1-2 missing treats … just so you know.

And as a bonus for Buddy — Kansas City Photography will gladly sponsor his adoption! We’d love to find him a good, loving home!

~*~

Want to meet more animals at Judy’s? Here are photos from Christine’s previous visit!

~*~

Interested in adopting any of these adorable pets?

They are all waiting for their forever home at Judy’s Forgotten Jewells. Here’s how to get ahold of them:

Judy’s Forgotten Jewells

Address: 6400 Chippewa St, St. Louis, MO 63109

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/judysforgottenjewells/

Phone: (314) 351-4700

More Contact Info: http://www.judysforgottenjewells.com/Contact_Us.html

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If you adopt any of these adorable animals, please let us know! We’d love to do a photo session with your family and your new pet! <3

 

Ollison Family ‘Units,’ A Huge Family Photoshoot!

I met up with the Ollison clan this weekend in Jefferson City. When I arrived, I jokingly divided them into “units” for the photos — and the name stuck the rest of the shoot!

But let’s start with the two that started it all — Becky and Dwin Ollison!

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Dwin loved that hat. He didn’t get to wear it for many photos, but we compromised and let him wear it for a couple!

These two have been married for 38 years, and together for more than 40! Their love is still going strong — even after raising their 4 beautiful children!

Below, you’ll find the original Ollison unit. The OGs, if you will. 🙂

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They’re all grown up and with families and significant others of their own. This shoot was a special time where all the family was together for Thanksgiving, one of them all the way from Florida!

Let’s start with Ollison Unit 2, AKA Christy and Jim! They’ve been married for 17 years!

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Christy just graduated this summer with her BSN in nursing! That’s awesome!!!

We found this gorgeous yellow tree around the Governor’s Garden area near the Capitol. It was the only tree left with leaves! We really lucked out!

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Ollison Unit 3 is Jodi and Chase. They’ve been together for 9 years! They have two boys, Cyrus and Canton.

If Canton was smiling in a photo, Cyrus was givin’ me a pirate face. If Cyrus was smiling in a photo, Canton was givin’ me the cold shoulder. Jodi said she loved the “moments,” though, and this is definitely one!

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Cyrus loves “PJ Masks,” “Paw Patrol,” and “Power Rangers.”

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One way we were getting all the kiddos to smile was asking them to say different character names, like “Mickey Mouse!” and “Chase!”

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Canton loves “Finding Nemo,” trains and cars. He was in the middle of chompin’ a mint in this picture, but it was pretty close to a smile! 🙂

Next, we have Bethany, Dean, and their son Lincoln.

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Lincoln had the perfect little hair coif right in front! He wasn’t a big fan of givin’ me cheesers, but his grandpa sure could draw them out!

Lincoln loves Elmo, all kinds of animals, and bouncy balls! Who doesn’t though, right?

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Moving along with our fun “units” (they seriously giggled every time I used the word), we have Zach and Christy! These two are both seniors at MSU. They pointed out that the family colors used for the shoot even matched their school colors. #fate

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They graduate in a few weeks! I did go ahead and hint that, you know … Kansas City Photography does weddings, too! But, I know, graduate first!!! 🙂

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But, what would a shoot be with this many people without a funny story to include? A few weeks before the shoot, Jodi was at the gym. She must be Mighty Mouse, because she was lifting a 45 pound weight. That’s when that weight fell onto her foot. Now, that part isn’t funny, but the fact she had to walk backwards down a hill with the help of her siblings because of her injury … was a little funny. 🙂

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Sibling love, amirite? I actually went to high school with Jodi and her hubs, although they were both in different grades than me. But, our school is very, very small. So, everyone knows everyone. I’m so glad you booked me for this shoot, it was awesome to see you and your fam bam!

I am sure grandma and grandpa were also stoked to get photos with their grandbabies!

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And getting all four siblings together is always a treat. Thanksgiving is the best!

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Even if I did make you walk up a big ol’ hill for some pics!

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A Leaky Ceiling Led To This Family Photoshoot!

Even though he literally lives across the street from me, I probably would have never met Jason if it weren’t for a sudden leak in my ceiling a few months ago.

I went onto this app called Nextdoor that connects you to your neighbors. I was in need of someone who could fix our sudden leak in the ceiling above our fridge. Neighbors recommended him, so I gave him a cold call.

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He came by and looked at the leak, and that’s when I realized it wasn’t just a slow drip like I had thought. He cut out a hole in the top of the ceiling and it sounded like a miniature waterfall. Once he got all the water out, he replaced the leaky pipe! Our hero!

He told me he only does small jobs like this for neighbors, so I really lucked out!

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When Jason had come over to the house, he noticed my huge wall covered in canvases. I told him I was a photographer, and gave him a business card (I have no shame in my photo game!).

This week, Jason told me his wife Hollie had mentioned needing some family photos taken. He remembered me, or maybe remembered the canvas wall (haha), and shot me over an email. And that’s how I met Jason’s crew yesterday!

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Jason told me his family really likes barns and rustic things, so he picked out Faust Park for their shoot location from our Top 8 List of Photoshoot Locations in St. Louis blog!

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12-year-old Trey just had surgery on his ear this week. He was a total champion during the photoshoot — I would have never been able to tell if I hadn’t known ahead of time!

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18-year-old Tyler has spent the last year in Colorado for college. Hollie told me they were thrilled to have him home for the Thanksgiving holiday. And then, Christmas is right around the corner, so they’re going to have even more family time here soon!

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I asked the two brothers some of their favorite things to do together. They answered “wrestling.” I asked Trey who usually wins, and he was super honest: “Tyler does.”

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Hahaha! I thought he was gonna talk smack, but he just up and told me he usually loses at wrestling. One day you’ll get him, Trey!

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I also noticed Trey has red and green on his braces right now, which is super perfect for Christmas!! I really love how you can customize the colors!

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I’m really glad I was able to meet the adorable Hanneke family — when I didn’t have a ceiling crisis! It’s always nice to get to know your neighbors! You never know when you’re going to need a plumber, a photographer, or borrow some butter! Haha.

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Crunching Leaves Through A Wilderness Trail: Tatiana & Eric’s Fall Tryst!

Tatiana and Eric made a quick trip up to visit lil’ ol’ me in St. Louis! We were really wanting to get some cute photos before all of the leaves fell off the trees. We met up at a nearby conservation area that we all love — it even has a scenic lookout!

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Since it was freezing, and Tatiana’s sweater dress wasn’t as warm as she thought it was going to be, we didn’t actually make it to the scenic lookout this time around! Eric’s sister also came up to visit with our two lovebirds, so of course we had to snap a family photo.

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Aren’t they all so presh?

After walking for a few minutes on the trail, I realized my property was actually still more colorful. Most of the leaves had already fallen off the trees at the conservation area, but there were still some holdin’ out a few miles down the road at my house!

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There are some really huge leaves at my home. My mother-in-law told me they’re from the cottonwood trees! You learn something new everyday!

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And if you give a Tatiana a huge leaf, she’s gonna want a photo to go along with it! 😉

Tatiana and Eric will have been together 5 years this July! They’re just too cute for words, and I am so happy to be their friend! One day, Eric will finally pop the question — and I can help Tatiana start wedding planning! 😉

*hint, hint, hint*

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And since this is Thanksgiving, I wanted to take a moment to talk about how thankful I am that Tatiana came into my life!

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We first met at an anime convention. She stopped by my photobooth I had set up in the vendor’s room. After seeing her at a couple conventions, she decided to book me for an outside shoot. She cosplayed as Fluttershy!

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The first time we tried to meet, my memory card corrupted halfway through the shoot, and we had to set a new date and take the photos all over! That was her first outside impression of me. Wooooo.

From there, she invited me to an outing at Power & Light. That’s also where I met our fellow photographer friend, Dawn, whom I am also so, so thankful for!

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Now, Tatiana is a part of the Kansas City Photography family and I just don’t know what I would do without her! She’s an amazing friend, my confidant, and a good noodle all around! She keeps me sane, and, a feat no one has done before her — organized.

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I am also so happy she has Eric! He makes her happy, and he’s a loyal, trusting friend to me. I am working on convincing them to move to St. Louis … but then I’d have to find another Kansas City photographer!

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I think my favorite thing about these two is how they can just be themselves around each other. Even if that means being weird.

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#specialponies

Thank you all for visiting me!!

Beth and Zach’s Gorgeous Fall Engagement Shoot!

Tatiana here!

I’m really happy Beth and Zach decided to go with Kansas City Photography for their wedding, but first — we needed to get them some engagement photos!

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Beth has been following our Facebook page for awhile, so when we met for coffee she already knew we were a good choice — thanks so much, girl! We love our fans!

The first time we tried to schedule the shoot, I ended up getting sicker than a dog. Even though we tried again for the next weekend, Beth ended up catching a cold the next day! I’m so glad we were able to make it work before the leaves fell completely. Fall waits for no one!

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This tree was our magical spot right down the hill between Union Station and the Liberty Memorial.

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This tree had the perfect Fall feel and gorgeous leaves for Beth’s favorite shot from our last engagement shoot — thanks, Christine and Pinterest!

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Zach works as a truck driver so any time spent at home is precious to both of them.

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Beth and Zach have known each other for about 2 years and are as happy as can be! Zach proposed to Beth at a Royals game. He was so nervous when he saw security having people empty out their pockets, because he didn’t want to ruin the big moment!

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Thankfully, the ring stayed in his pocket. Finally, at the ninth inning, he asked and of course she said yes!

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See you soon on the big day! <3