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!

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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!

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

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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

7 Outfits & 45-Degree Weather For This Fall Engagement Shoot!

I keep telling Lindsey this, but I will put it on the record — she is one of the most prepared brides I have ever worked with! She has lists for days! She should consider a career in wedding planning, actually.

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I had the pleasure of meeting up with Dan & Lindsey again this Sunday. I say “again,” because we did a special ice rink engagement shoot for them this summer, too! Here are some fun shots from that:

Lindsey really wanted another shoot to capture the beauty of Missouri’s Fall weather, so we modified their wedding package to include two engagement shoots!

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This time, Lindsey sent me a list of 7 outfits she and Dan were going to wear. Not only that, she also had the photos she wanted in each outfit! I was impressed, thrilled, delighted … so many emotions — all of them good!

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The last time I met up with the happy couple, it was on the day of the solar eclipse! The weather was much different this time around. It was a chilly 45 degrees! But both she and Dan were total champions — you can’t even tell they’re freezing along with me!

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Dan and Lindsey met on Match.com. She told me she was scrolling through and saw Dan’s picture. This is my favorite part — she said, out loud to the empty room — “I WANT THAT ONE!!!”

And she got him. 😉

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We met at Faust Park in Chesterfield. It’s right next to the Butterfly House! There’s a small pond, and several really old buildings and barns, which made it perfect for the feel Lindsey was going for this photoshoot.

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Since our last shoot was mostly on the ice rink, I didn’t get the chance to introduce the happy couple to Juanita. This time, I did. She’s my sassy stool I stand on to get shots like the one above.

Plus, I am short … and it’s always better to be above the person as far as photos go, so I use her quite often. If you ever see her, say “hi!” I really need to get a picture of her!

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Speaking of barns, here’s one of them below. There is a section of the park called “Historic Village.” According to the Faust Park website: “The Historic Village at Faust Park includes four homes and 14 additional structures … All of which have been saved from demolition … Spanning a period from 1840 to 1910, the Village provides a context in which the lifestyles of the settlers of St. Louis County and the skills they used to survive are illustrated.”

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Pretty neat, huh? There’s also a large playground if your kiddos don’t feel like taking in the history! Or if you just feel like takin’ a swing.

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The last time I checked in with Lindsey for the blog post, she told me Dan promised to tell her he loves her — every day. And, as she reports, he has still kept that promise!

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They’re just too cute! Excited for your wedding in May!

I expect more lists! 😉

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A Chilly [But Fun] Family Photoshoot at Longview Lake, With Monkey Bars!

It’s Tatiana here, back from the cold and having one! I’m glad to be back to work — and boy, is there a lot of it. I can’t complain, though, since I’m doing what I love with lovely people. Like the Barnes family!

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I was so excited to be able to meet the Barnes family for a mini family shoot at Longview Lake last week!

Christine got to work with them last year at Unity Village. It’s always fun to see the comparisons with clients over the years, especially when kids are involved! They can grow and change so much every year!

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Kiarra has some new glasses — she went from pink to blue! And then Kinzie looks so much taller! Karson is definitely the biggest change since he’s the youngest. He’s gotten so big in just one year! *sniffles*

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This was my first time taking photos at Longview Lake. It was stunning!! Speaking of stunning, Kiarra’s cute shoulder-cut out sweater was just perfect!

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Kiarra is in the double digits now, and oh-so sweet! She even gave me a hug and thanked me for taking her photos. Isn’t that adorable?!

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Kinzie is six and cute as a button! She’s definitely got that smile down! She was a total champion during the shoot, despite it being pretty frigid!

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These sisters aren’t camera shy at all, which is great for me as I didn’t have to give them hardly any direction. They were also obsessed my hair … probably because it’s the best color ever (purple)!

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Little brother, Karson, on the other hand, had to transform into a dinosaur and try to chase me in order for me to get some smiles outta him. That’s to be expected from any 2-year-old!

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He actually did the same thing last year, too! He’s all about runnin’!

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Plus, his candid pictures are priceless! These remind me of that Leonardo DiCaprio meme. So jolly!

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Christina and Brad are the proud parents of three amazing children! I’m glad they were willing to venture out into the chilly winds so I could capture their love on camera.

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I was also able to snag some shots of the kids on the playground before our time was up!

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The girls were expert monkey bar flippers. I’m sure Karson will follow suit in a few years!

Of course if I tried this, I would fall flat on my face. Christine would probably encourage me to try, just so she could take the pictures of it if I fail.

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Wishing the Barnes family happy times to come! We hope to see you next year, too!

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They Cut The Grass! A Country Engagement Shoot

Samantha wrote to me about her dream to have her engagement photos in tall grass. I scouted around and found some fields in Eureka two weeks ago and she and Josh agreed they’d would work perfectly. But, little did I know this location was not going to work out!

The day before the shoot, I drove by them again, and … they had been mowed!! I reached out to Samantha and told her, but then realized my own property had exactly what she wanted!

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I met Samantha at a winery during a bachelorette party for her now sister-in-law, Maria. I should have known we would hit if off — anyone who loves wine is automatically my best friend.

Since we had both had more than one glass, we started chatting about life and work. That’s when she mentioned she was engaged. And that’s when I told her I could help her out with wedding photography!

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I feel like I should be able to write off any and all winery trips from my taxes now as a business expense!! Let’s go again, Samantha!! Hahaha.

Samantha and Josh have been together for 3 years and met each other at work. They picked out the engagement ring together and kept it in a safe under their bed.

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Samantha told me she would put the ring on and wear it around the house sometimes before he proposed. Isn’t that cute?

Since she knew Josh had the ring, she was getting pretty impatient waiting for him to actually ask her so that she could keep it on her hand permanently.

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Finally, after probably the 1,000th time Samantha asked — Josh proposed! Samantha said he did it while they were sitting on the couch because she kept asking him when he was going to pop the question. So, he did it right there!

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And, let me tell you what, these two are adorable! And Samantha kept doing silly things and making Josh smile — probably not expecting me to document them:

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Never trust a photographer, Samantha!!

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I always tell my clients if they do something silly, or if they fall … I promise to take photos of it!

Speaking of injuries — before the shoot, Samantha asked me if I could Photoshop out some stitches. I told her I definitely could, but didn’t realize how severe the stitches were until she showed me her arm! It was a total freak accident involving her kitchen and some broken dishes.

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The happy couple also brought along their daughter, Miss Genevieve. She was a hoot! She is actually hiding in several of the photos because she really, really didn’t want to let mommy’s leg go!

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Thankfully, I also have a 2-year-old, so I had plenty of toys for distraction — and a nice playset outside for her to play on while we took some shots around that area. But, as any parent knows, if you walk with your child in between the two of you …

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This is definitely what’s going to happen next!

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So excited for your wedding next year!

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