‘You mean you knew how to light a fire this whole time?!’ – Beth And Josh’s Fall Engagement Shoot!

Hey, maybe your photographer needs to know that you are certified in building campfires ahead of time — but more on my dreams of arson in a moment!

It’s Tatiana again, and let me tell you — this is the busiest month I’ve had since starting with Kansas City Photography! And I couldn’t be happier because Fall is my favorite time to shoot. Nature does all the work!

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I mean, how can you not adore the vibrant colors just popping out all around you? Beth and Josh are Fall freaks as well, so they chose Burr Oak Woods for their engagement shoot!

It’s a gorgeous nature trail that’s 1,071 acres of gorgeousness!

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Beth and Josh found me through a mutual friend (Thanks, Meg! <3). We bonded over our basic selves with some Starbucks coffee and my Princess Mononoke shirt. Clearly, we are best friends in the making!

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We booked the shoot about a month in advance, but as the day approached, the weather forecast looked pretty grim.

Of course, if you live in Missouri, you’ll know that the weather is about as predictable as a newborn baby. It can snow in the morning and by 3 p.m., you’re breaking a sweat! Seriously. This has happened before.

I’m so glad we kept with the original date, because we had a blast!

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Beth came prepared with some awesome Pinterest ideas! We have pose ideas ready to go for our clients, but we always love it when people have their own special style. After all, we want to shoot what YOU want.

One of her ideas was to have matching mugs, but she nixed it because she thought it would be weird to have random mugs in the middle of the woods.

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That’s when I said “It would be super cool if you guys were sipping hot cocoa over a campfire! Too bad we don’t have one of those.”

And that’s when she hit me with, “Well, Josh is an eagle scout. So, he knows how to make a campfire.”

WHAT?! ACCA-‘SCUSE-ME?!

Unfortunately, I didn’t have spare mugs lying around and Josh was really into preventing forest fires … so the campfire was a no-go — THIS TIME.

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Beth and Josh have been together for almost 2 years.  They met online, which is getting more and more common these days!

Another go-to proposal move seems to be the kitchen, since that’s where Josh asked the big question (I need to be hyper cautious in our kitchen from now on — Eric might get crazy). Here’s Beth recalling the event:

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“Well … I was in my pjs in the kitchen, throwing something away at the trash can. I turned around and he was on one knee.
First words out of my mouth were: ‘Are you sure?’ I looked so frumpy because we were at home — But I thought ‘If he wants to marry me like this, then it must be meant to be!'”

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So freakin’ cute! Josh knew that Beth hates anything flashy or over-the-top, so he picked out this beautiful pink sapphire ring with a rose gold band from Israel. It’s so elegant and charming — A+ to Josh!

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This was Josh’s first time at Burr Oaks and Beth was thrilled to show him around, since this conservation area is where her and her family share many fond memories together (And if you ever want to share those memories in front of a professional photographer, hit me up. Tee hee.)

Also — they’re doing exactly what you think they’re doing below! This had me rolling!

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These two were so fun to work with and I can’t wait to capture their wedding day!

Side note: Beth totally kept these leaves for keepsakes of the shoot. I would absolutely do the same thing!

 

 

 

Old Cars, Feathers, & Trains: Lindsey & Tyler’s ‘Great Gatsby’ Themed Wedding!

Sparkling bands went across foreheads, pearls were gently slung around their necks. The bridesmaids were dressed in all black along with the groomsmen. The reception had glittering chandeliers and a “prohibition ends here” sign.

It was truly a 1920s Gatsby inspired wedding!

The bride? Stunning.

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The dresses? On point.

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But they were even more stunning on —

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And, of course, the groom and his dapper groomsmen completed the wedding party.

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I was thrilled to photograph Lindsey and Tyler’s wedding last Saturday, October 14. It had felt like Fall weather leading up to Saturday, but then “BAM!” Mother Nature decided it should be 91 degrees on Saturday.

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But there were still smiles all around — and by the time we took wedding party shots, it had cooled to a perfect 80 degrees!

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A few weeks before Christmas, Lindsey and Tyler were enjoying the Anheuser Busch Brewery Lights. That’s when Tyler decided to get down on one knee and ask Lindsey to be his wife!

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She was totally shocked — and, of course she accepted or I wouldn’t be writing this post! Now, she’s Mrs. Allen!

IMG_0715Before the ceremony, we invited Lindsey’s father in to look at her. Immediately, tears welled up in his eyes and he gave her a giant hug. He cried and told her she was absolutely beautiful.

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Lindsey and Tyler didn’t do a “first look,” but did do a few teasers. Tyler didn’t actually peek, but I am sure he really wanted to!

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Before I left to meet Lindsey at the church, she texted me:

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And so, Tyler was blindfolded:

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The first time Tyler actually saw Lindsey was when she walked down the aisle. When the doors first opened, a huge smile spread across his face.

He looked over at his Best Man, almost to silently tell him “I am so lucky!” and then looked back at Lindsey. He didn’t take his eyes off her the rest of the ceremony.

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After the ceremony and family photos at the altar, I was pleasantly surprised to find an old 1947 Ford Convertible!

It was like walking on eggshells, because we really, really didn’t want to step on the wrong thing or scratch any interior. With permission from the owner, who is Lindsey’s stepfather, Don, the happy couple was able to sit on top of the back seats!

I am not one to usually drool over cars — but this one is a beauty!!

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After several shots with the convertible and the bride and groom, the wedding party went to the beautiful Frontier Park in St. Charles with a killer view of the Missouri River. Lindsey had a dream to get photos with this cute, little old caboose.

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Sometimes it can get windy down by the water — but Mother Nature was on our side on Saturday!

I asked Tyler to dip Lindsey back, and when I asked them to lean down even more, she goes “I’M GONNA FALL!”

Thankfully, she didn’t … although I always joke with my clients that if something like that happens, I promise to take photos!

 

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Lindsey told me she picked the Gatsby theme because she loves the classy and glamorous style of that time period.

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She said she wanted to have a fun wedding that people would have a lot of fun at and remember.

She nailed it. The reception location was at Le Belle Coeur. As soon as you enter the ballroom, you can see huge, glittering chandeliers. The sign at the bar tells you prohibition is no more, and their wedding party favors were these adorable keys that doubled as a bottle opener!

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I’ll let the happy couple close out this blog post, with a very special message to their friends and family who made their most special day the best ever!

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Aftin and Anthony’s Gorgeous Autumn Wedding!

Love is in the air! Tatiana here — showcasing one of the two weddings Christine and I were honored to be a part of this weekend — on the same day!

On October 14th, Aftin and Anthony finally said “I do” after nearly nine years in the making. The happy couple booked Kansas City Photography for the entire day, so I was able to capture so many special moments!

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When I arrived, I met Aftin for some fun “Getting Ready” photos. I was thrilled to share those little moments before the big reveal with her and her bridesmaids!

Her dress was absolutely stunning — with delicate lace wrapping around the entire gown! Her teardrop bouquet had a splash of violet and red mahogany. And the perfect touch was the flower crown atop her head — a gift from their officiant!

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Aftin was a radiant, glowing princess that had everyone in tears — especially Anthony, her now husband! He was literally moved to tears when he saw his beautiful bride!

But first — we had to build up the suspense. No peeking yet!

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This is what we call the “First Look.” That’s where we take the bride and groom and hide each of them behind a corner or a door. They hold hands, and can’t look at each other. Then, the magical moment comes when we can tell them to “turn around” and look at their forever!

We highly recommend this moment for every couple because it gives the bride and groom an intimate memory together before they walk down the aisle in front of everyone. It’s just the two of them — existing in that moment only to see each other before they make their life commitment in front of their doting family and friends.

It also gives us photographers a chance to capture both flawless expressions without any disruption — or Aunt Janet stepping in the way of the aisle with her flip phone camera. 🙂

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Anthony was so taken back by Aftin’s beauty he couldn’t hold back the tears! It’s moments like these that make our hearts flutter!

It’s why we absolutely love, love, love weddings. All of the emotion and opportunities to capture it on camera!

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Seeing how devoted and overcome with pure love Anthony was — I’m talking every single second throughout the day — truly warmed my heart.

Although, we didn’t need much warming up since it was in the 90’s all day. Mid-October is supposed to be fall, right?

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But thankfully, it has been chilly enough in the weeks prior that the trees are starting to get the hint. You can see the pops of color starting to come out in the leaves behind our madly in love couple!

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So, we mentioned before that Aftin and Anthony were together for nearly 9 years before the big proposal (which happened on vacation!!).

The thing I love about these two is that there was never some ultimatum, like “if you don’t propose, we’re over.” What did happen was so wonderful.

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Aftin told Anthony she was going to propose to him if he didn’t by the end of the year. There was never this “we aren’t going to be together” thing, it was “we are always going to be together, even if I propose to you!” I just love, love, love that mentality!

These two are so perfect! And silly!

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I’m glad Aftin could see past Anthony’s “cooties” (above) because they make the best couple of love birds I’ve encountered in a long time!

And their love attracted some pretty awesome friends to stand by them during their wedding day!

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This perfect team has so many wonderful people surrounding them, sharing laughs with them, and holding them up (literally).

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They have a solid foundation of friendships that will last as long as their marriage — which is forever if you didn’t catch on. 😉

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Now, let’s talk about that ring —

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Aftin’s ring is truly unique and extra special, as a sapphire represents faithfulness and sincerity. Anthony had the wedding band custom made to flow with her engagement ring seamlessly — simply stunning!

Not to mention — the flowers matched her ring perfectly!

And next — in the words of Jack Skellington “what’s this?!”

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This awesome silver thing above is a cup! Aftin and Anthony chose multiple traditions to bless their marriage, including the German “wedding toast” out of a bridal cup.

The chalice is a symbol of love, faithfulness and good luck. The bride takes the smaller cup in hand while the groom holds the larger cup.

Traditionally, whoever finishes drinking from their end first wears the pants in the relationship.

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Aftin won by a few gulps, but it was totally fair. And pretty much everyone would probably agree she looks great in pants, too! Hahaha.

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They also had a “Handfasting,” which is a tradition in multiple cultures and faiths. It symbolizes their love eternal, binding their souls for the rest of time.

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It was a true privilege to see everyone celebrate the love of these two extraordinary people and I wish a long prosperous future for them both (also, I’m totally down to play some Magic the Gathering once the honeymoon is over).

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On-Location in Kansas City: Featuring Unity Village!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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A Romantic Windy City Engagement Shoot [We Snuck Onto A Dock!]

I drove up to Chicago this weekend to celebrate Emily and Stephen’s engagement! It was a gorgeous day — so we drove over to Lake Michigan and took some celebratory engagement photos!

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Stephen proposed while he and Emily were on vacation. Their vacation spot was also off Lake Michigan, but seven hours north. Stephen told me when he got down on one knee to propose, he had this whole speech written out.

However, Emily immediately started bawling (happy tears). He said he still tried to fit in some of the speech he worked so hard on, but realized it just wasn’t going to work out because Emily was so excited and couldn’t stop crying. Maybe he can save the speech for the wedding?

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The ring is gorgeous — with a deep blue sapphire in the middle. Stephen really wants to tell Emily how much it cost, but she says she wants it to be kept a secret! The world just may never know — but it is stunning!

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These two couldn’t make each other stop laughing. This is probably one of my favorite poses — Stephen was supposed to be whispering sweet nothings into Emily’s ear, but the word he was actually whispering to get her to laugh is NSFW. So, just enjoy the photo instead! 🙂

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And, sometimes, I’d be trying to pose them — and this is what would happen. This is definitely not how I instructed them to stand! I’m not sure if they’re going for a Rosie the Riveter vibe or what.

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So, I just … let it happen. You’re welcome, world.

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This is the pose we were actually going for —

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Emily and Stephen are native Chicagoans. Emily loves everything about Chicago. So, when we found this backdrop around Montrose Beach — we had to hit it up. Emily can even tell you what the four stars on the Chicago flag mean!

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We also hit a part on the lake with a bunch of fancy yachts. Emily told me the gate is always locked and that you need a card and code to get inside. We watched a woman leave — and it just so happens the gate didn’t lock. #wesosneaky

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A few photos on the dock never hurt anyone, right? We did at least make sure it was locked on our way out, though!

I had originally envisioned the two of them on a cute canoe on the water. Emily kept trying to tell me the water was just too choppy — but I didn’t believe her until I actually saw it! Definitely better to just hang your toes over the edge!

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Later that night, we all went out for drinks. At one point, Stephen was outside waiting for our Uber. Emily looked at me, and giddily declared, “I just feel like I found my person, you know? He loves me for me!” It was just too precious for me not to share!

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Congratulations, Emily & Stephen! I can’t wait to be there for your wedding!

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She FELL OFF The Slide — A Hilarious Photoshoot With The Fordemwalts!

BAM! That was the sound of Mackenzie hitting the ground while I was in the middle of posing her mom, Michelle. But don’t worry — no one was hurt … except from all the laughing we did.

World, meet the Fordemwalts!

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Christian, Nick, Michelle, Mackenzie, and I went to John Nowlin Elementary School to take some fun family photos at the playground. Mackenzie had the brilliant idea of doing a family pose on the slide — but what she didn’t realize was that her plan was going to … make her hurt herself.

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Here’s Mackenzie climbing on … I feel like we should have realized this was a bad idea right here. Michelle already looks like she’s expecting the worst. Orrrr Nick is just pulling her hair. Not sure which!

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This is what the shot was supposed to look like —

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Annnnd then that BOOM I mentioned. Here’s the aftermath …

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I think my favorite part is Michelle pointing and laughing at her daughter.

I always tell my clients when they climb something, or if we’re walking over a body of water — that if they fall, or fall in, I promise to take photos. I never thought I’d see the day where I could make good on that promise!

(I also tell people that if I fall in the water, they need to save my camera, not me!)

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But hey — at least she didn’t fall out of this:

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I first met the Fordemwalts when we moved in next door to them in 2013. My friend and I were in the midst of building a playset, when we realized we really, really needed an electric drill.

My friend, Lei’La’, went over to knock on the door — and little did I know that would be the start of a glorious friendship!

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My favorite thing about Nick and Michelle is how they make each other laugh. Just look — I had them posed all cute, and then Nick threatened to lick Michelle. Annnd the smiles ensued.

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My oldest daughter, Lily, really took to Mackenzie and Christian. She is thrilled every time we get to visit!

They’re all just getting so big!!!

*mom sobs*

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This next photo was Michelle’s idea. She wanted it to look like she and her husband, Nick, were having the times of their lives — while their kids looked more than annoyed.

It’s a good analogy! They spent years raising them — and now it’s their turn for some fun!

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Now, I am a sucker for candid shots — so I asked the Fordemwalts to go play some tetherball.

Nothing like a little family challenge!! I would post some photos of Nick playing, too, but his faces were all pretty hilarious. There’s one where he’s missing the ball, but I wanted to cut him some slack. 😉

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Kenzie and Christian have your typical brother-sister relationship. They love each other, pick on each other, and protect each other!

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Mackenzie is 15, and Christian is 13. Michelle and Nick officially have two teenagers under the same roof!

But, they should be really proud of them. They’re really, really good kiddos. I’m so happy Lily has such positive influences in her life!

Fordemwalt (18)I’m so glad I was able to come back to KC to capture these amazing photos of the Fordemwalts. I send you all of my love!!

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Kansas City’s Own Little Love Locks Bridge — An Adorable Hays Family Photoshoot

My dear friend Britton introduced me to Julie through LuLaRoe. It became a total obsession of mine!! And, thankfully, through this obsession, I was finally able to take Julie and her adorable family’s photos!

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She picked the Love Locks Bridge, Kansas City’s own miniature version of the one in Paris, from our Top 10 List of Photoshoot locations in Kansas City! You can even buy your own love lock to put on the bridge (gotta include “I LOVE KC Parks!” in the notes section when you order)!

According to the city website, the first red bridge was built in 1859 “by Colonel George N. Todd, a 50-year old Scottish stonemason. … It was painted red, hence the origin of ‘Red Bridge.'” Cool, huh? The bridge we see and enjoy today is actually the third one that has been built there!

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There’s also a secret past the bridge. If you walk through the brush straight back, you’ll see train tracks! Photographers are suckers for train tracks. You can put that in the “things that make all photographers swoon” handbook.

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While I’ve interacted with Julie a lot (and … bought like all of her LuLaRoe … lol), this was the first time I had the pleasure of meeting her hubs, Andrew, and their kiddos Lincoln and Beau!

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Beau, who is 9, races Go Karts and plays baseball. I didn’t even know racing Go Karts was a thing! How awesome is that?! I am gonna have to go to a race of his one day!

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Lincoln, who is 4, likes Mario Kart and plays soccer. Now, at the mention of Mario Kart, I lit up. I asked Julie which version he likes — and it was the Wii. I am encouraging her to introduce him to the N64! We can be Mario Kart buddies, Lincoln!!!

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At this shoot, Julie and her family got to meet my handy, dandy step stool (short girl problems) — named Juanita. She’s sassy, but she does a good job. I’ll make sure to take a photo of her when I get her all dolled up in purple leopard duct tape (I have a vision!).

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This shoot was so fun — thanks, Julie!! I thought it was adorable that when they were holding hands together across the tracks, they could keep their balance. However, when they let go — they had trouble balancing! They need each other to keep balance!!!

*cue the awwwwws!!*

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I look forward to many more photoshoots — and LuLaRoe purchases! 😉 They’re coming out with DISNEY VILLAINS!!! My poor husband

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Water Under The Bridge – Literally! A Fun Photoshoot With The Morales Family

I just adore the Morales clan. I’ve been seeing them since their now 5-year-old, Bella, was just a teeny, tiny newborn.

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Then came Mr. Ben – who just gets bigger every time I see him!

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I love it when I have shoots with my regulars!

Although, with my regulars comes an entirely new challenge. I have been doing photoshoots with the Morales family for years and years – so we’ve hit up most of the regular places. We usually have to get creative! This time, Britton suggested a small park right behind Coldstone Creamery in Independence.

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It’s great catching up, seeing how their families have grown, and just givin’ out all of those hugs!

Speaking of hugs … this little montage below makes me smile. I asked Bella and Ben to hug – then Bella snuck in a smooch. You can see what Ben thought of that! 🙂

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We walked along the Little Blue Trace trail, and we spotted a bridge. We walked toward it and realized the Little Blue River went right underneath! Jackpot!

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The best part – at the end was a playground! The kiddos loved it, so of course we had to get a shot in front of the “castle.”

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Love to you all!!!

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The First Professional Photo I Ever Took

As a photographer, I’ve come a long way. I’ve grown — a lot. Both as an artist and as a person. So today, I wanted to show off the first professional photo I ever took.

It was a few months before I started Kansas City Photography — a high school senior photoshoot for my little brother. Feast your eyes:

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One of the next shoots I did after that was with my dear friend Sadie, for her engagement to now-husband Nick.

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A lot of times when you first start something — and I mean anything — it’s your friends and family who support you first.

They are there to help you grow and encourage you along the way! If it wasn’t for Jacob and Sadie trusting me, I never would have gotten the ball rolling, or the confidence to know I could make my dream of owning my own photography business a reality.

So, for some perspective — here is a photo from the last senior photoshoot I did:

And one from the last engagement shoot:

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Still improving, still striving, still fighting.

There’s always room for growth.

Thanks for believing in me!

 

 

The Rule Of Thirds — What’s That? A Lesson From Working At A TV Station

My first day on the job at the TV station KOMU, I was 18 years old. I was a freshman at Mizzou, majoring in Broadcast Journalism. I wanted to get my foot in the door, so I applied for a cameraperson position for the morning show “Pepper & Friends.”

I had no experience using such a huge, movable, expensive camera. It was taller than me — with huge wires protruding out the back that would get dragged along with it as you wheeled the camera around. Here’s what they looked like — I snapped this shot while I worked there:

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I learned a lot at the TV station. I started doing the cameras, then moved on to make the show’s graphics, and by my Sophomore year, I was on-air crew reporting in the field.

But on that first day, when I showed up and was being taught how to use this ginormous camera — the very first thing I learned was the rule of thirds. And it was actually a co-worker who taught it to me!

It’s one of the first, if not the first thing you learn in photography and videography: The Rule of Thirds.

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All images can be broken down into thirds — both horizontally and vertically. You’ll see nine sections cut out on our cute picture of Bella above. This is what the Rule of Thirds grid looks like.

People’s eyes naturally gravitate to those outer corners — not the middle of the photo.

This has been proven with various studies — and using the Rule of Thirds and positioning your subject in a place where eyes naturally follow just makes sense, and in turn, makes your photo flow.

So, there are FOUR places you can place subjects in photos to follow this rule.

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You can see this picture of Bella follows the rule — as she’s off-center and placed in one of those four important areas of a photo. Your eyes naturally go to her when you look at the photo.

Same below. I can guarantee you either looked at the window, chandelier, hallway, or couple at the bottom first. It’s because they line up with the grid.

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I learned this skill at the TV station when working behind the cameras — and it was one of the first things taught in class when I entered into the School of Journalism my junior year at Mizzou.

So, this is a great rule for photographers — beginner, intermediate, professional.

But, we’re artists, and we don’t put ourselves in a box. Rules are absolutely meant to be broken. So, you don’t have to follow the Rule of Thirds in every shot. But, if you do stray — make sure it has purpose!

Want to learn more? Here’s more in our “How To” series!

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