A 50th Birthday Cake Smash

Cake smashes are fun. They’re really popular for first birthdays:


But Judy wanted to change that up — she did a cake smash for her 50th instead!


Kansas City Photography’s other half, Dawn, went to Lake Jacomo this weekend to meet up with Judy and George. She had it all, and had been planning for months: The cake, the sign, and most importantly — the wine.


But something to keep in mind — icing. During the shoot, that black icing did not look like it was going to come off their faces any time soon.


One of Dawn’s favorite moments was when Judy told George he looked like an Angry Bird with all of that icing on his face. He then started squawking at her, which was totally hilarious.


Judy told us she feels a lot younger than 50 — and she really wanted the photos to reflect that. Adding cake into the mix makes anyone look at least 20 years younger, right?


And in the shots with George, Judy’s personality and playfulness really came out. And that sass, too!!


After some scary health issues for George, both he and Judy started thinking about life different and wanted to enjoy it more.


Enjoy life more? Mission accomplished.

And we want to give a quick shout out to Dusty & Susan — our original cake smash ladies who did it for their 40th! We hope the fun keeps on spreading like that icing on your faces!



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How To Do A Photoshoot With Kids

The joys of a 2-year-old. They’re so cute, but they’re very opinionated. And sometimes their opinion is that Mom & Dad don’t need to be doing a photoshoot with them. But they can be swayed!


Be goofy. Dance around. Get their attention. Jump up and down!

If they are tired of saying “cheese,” pick another word they like. Do they dig dinosaurs? Asking them to say “T-Rex!” creates the same smile effect as saying “cheese!”


Is the kiddo not it the mood to pose for pictures? That’s ok! Let them run around. You can get some great actions shots, and some great smiles by just letting them be a kid.

Hubbard Family (3)


After they’ve run around and played for a bit and you’ve gotten some great action shots, that’s when you can try and do more group family photos.

Trude Family (7)

Ask the kiddo what their favorite shows are, talk about them with them. Instead of “cheese,” have them say a character from their favorite show.

You can also try Simon Says. “Simon says jump up and down, Simon says spin in a circle, Simon says smile for a picture.” Kids just like to have fun.


And parents can have fun, too! If the kid doesn’t wanna sit down and smile — put them on your shoulders or throw them in the air! Heck, you can even hang ’em upside down!




Another good tip is to bribe them. I have had so many parents offer their kiddos a sucker … but only if they smile for the camera.

And then there’s always the tickle. This shot below was taken by my fellow photographer friend, Dawn. I was tickling my daughter with my hidden hand. Worked like a charm!


The last tip we have — use the same photographer.

I have had some kiddos for years. The first shoot I would have to use these tricks, the second one they started to recognize me and not as many tricks were needed — and from there on out, they felt like they “knew” me and I no longer had any problems getting them to grin for me.


Here are our tips in a handy, dandy list — complete with a bonus tip:

  • Be goofy to get their attention, even if that means dancing around and acting silly.
  • Instead of asking them to say cheese, ask them to say the name of one of their favorite TV show characters. “T-Rex” also works well!
  • If they don’t feel like sitting still, let them run around. You can get some great action shots and genuine smiles this way.
  • After running around, try for those group photos again. Get them talking and excited by mentioning their favorite shows and characters.
  • Play Simon Says.
  • Get the parents involved. Throw them up in the air, put them on your shoulders, hang them upside down …
  • Bribery. It can totally work. Bring on the lollipops.
  • Tickle them!
  • Use the same photographer. This builds trust with the kiddo — and they’re more willing to smile for someone they like!
  • BONUS: Show them the back of the camera. Kids LOVE to look at photos of themselves. Tell them to stand back and then promise to show them the photo afterward!

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A Day At The Park

I met with Sarah, Shane, and their adorable family this weekend in Parkville. They picked this location based off of our Top 10 Photo Locations in KC post. It was a gorgeous day — in the 70s — in February!!


Their three sweet girls were a riot. They didn’t want to say “cheeeese,” but we could get them to say “Anna,” “Elsa,” and “Frozen.”


At one point, they were dancing on the bridge singing “Let it gooooo, let it gooo!” How cute is that?


Since it was so nice, it was really busy — and joggers kept trying to interrupt our bridge shots. But we still got some great ones!


We walked past the bridge to look at the water, and then decided we may get our youngest princess Aarabella to smile if we used the swings. Who complains about swinging? No one, that’s who!


A gorgeous day for a gorgeous shoot!


How To Do A Photoshoot With Pets

I was asked how to coordinate a photoshoot that involves the family pets. The number one answer: Patience. Pets don’t listen like people do.


Animals can tell if you’re stressed out. And if you’re stressed out, they’re gonna be stressed out. So, take a few deep breaths, you’ll get the shots! It just may take a little longer than you’re used to when working with non-furry companions.

Location is important, too. If you take a pet to a super active park — they’re gonna get distracted and want to smell all the new smells, and go see all the new things.

Abbie Maternity Shoot 8

Try to pick a quiet park, a scenic backyard (yours, the client’s, a friend’s), etc. Stay away from dog parks! Wayyy too much excitement!

Lindsey & Tyler (4)

And a bit off the cuff, but barking helps. I am not kidding. If the dogs aren’t looking at me … I will bark. It works!

Trude Family (1)

Another great tip is to ask the pet owners to bring a few favorite toys, especially any that make noise. You can hold them above the camera and squeak them! Treats work, too!

Sydney Zane 1

If all else fails — let the pet run! Sometimes getting rid of that energy is the trick! And then, you can always get some nice action shots that way, too! And if kiddos are around — let them run with their pet, too!!


So, let’s summarize!

  • Be patient
  • Don’t stress
  • Avoid high-traffic places and dog parks
  • DO use quiet places, off the beaten path, or utilize your backyard or a friend’s yard
  • DO ask the owners to bring the pet’s fav. toys, especially any that make noise
  • DO let the pet run and burn off some energy if it’s needed! Maybe even play some tug of war to build trust and help wear good ol’ pup out

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A Valentine’s Boudoir Shoot

Two days ago, I met with a fellow photographer — and she asked me to do a shoot for her as a Valentine’s surprise for her boyfriend.


Mission accomplished, oww owww! The perk of knowing and befriending other photographers — you always have someone who can take your photos for you!


She really wanted a silhouette shot, this is a popular request from many of our boudoir clients (see below!). I think gifting a boudoir shoot for a special occasion is such a great idea.


The most frequent requests I get for boudoir shoots are from brides. They add this shoot onto their wedding package as a surprise for their husband on their honeymoon night!


And I can tell you I’ve never heard the husband complain once! 😉 And you can personalize the shots. The bride-to-be below was marrying a police officer — so she incorporated a gun into this shot!


One of the most popular options is to take the photos and put them in a book. Also, don’t worry, we never use any photos from our boudoir shoots without the person’s permission.


Are you still looking for the perfect Valentine’s or birthday gift? Shoot us an email and we can get you a boudoir shoot on the books! kcityphotography@gmail.com



Top 10 Photoshoot Locations in KC

Hooray, you’ve booked the photoshoot! The next question: “Where do we go?”

We get asked this by photography clients a lot. So, here’s a list of our top 10, with an honorary mention — all with photos we personally took at these locations!

Here is our list for the St. Louis area (Kansas City Photography is in both locations)!

Honorary Mention: Loose Park 


Yes, it’s gorgeous. But, it’s only honorary and not on the 10 countdown list because of how incredibly busy this place can get. It can be hard to get a shot without people in the background (and editing people out takes time). Plus, photographers everywhere.


It’s not a hidden gem — and if you get caught shooting professionally in this area, and you haven’t paid their photographer’s fee, you get fined.


10. Bass Pro Waterfall Park

Wait. Do a shoot at Bass Pro? Hear me out.


This particular location has an outside park that includes waterfalls. Waterfalls, people! 

9. Parkville


Yes, I just used an entire city as a photoshoot location. It has a population of around 5,500, and a whole lotta character. It boasts an adorable downtown area — not to mention this bridge!



If you walk over the bridge, there’s a nice, open area with grass — and a  nice view of the Missouri River. There is a path you can follow along it, so you aren’t getting your shoes all muddy!


There is also the “Hogwarts Castle,” which is actually Park University.


8. National WWI Museum and Memorial

It’s a nice, open area with a killer view of the Kansas City skyline. Plus, you can explore some history while you’re there.


But they will yell at you if you sit on the ledge like we did. We actually had no idea there were huge speakers for them to yell at you … until it was happening to us.


Leaning is OK, though.


And standing in front of it is all chill, too!


7. Swope Park

This park has lion statues. And 1,805-acres. What’s not to love?


Also, it’s Kansas City’s largest park. Glorious.

6. West Bottoms / Graffiti Walls


It can be tricky to find, but when you go explore downtown KC, especially on the side roads by Restaurant Depot on 12th Street, you’ll find it. Colorful graffiti. Perfect for the urban setting. The senior pictures. The fun, funky group.


Halee Senior Photo 1

Plus, the grafitti is ever-changing, so you’ll never get the same shot twice! It’s always so bright and colorful, and sometimes you can find fun little messages, like “feminine” above. On the flip side of that, you also have to watch out for not so nice words, too.


5. Burr Oak Woods


For the person who wants nature shots. This is also the perfect location for those fall photos — colored leaves and trees everywhere! Plus, they have great trails you can utilize after the shoot!



4. Bingham-Waggoner Estate

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I usually suggest this one for my repeat clients. With these clients, we’ve usually already hit up the No. 1 spot (no peeking until you get there), and probably a couple others on this list.


It’s a great change of pace. Plus, it has great scenery, a bridge, and a gorgeous estate that serves as a wonderful backdrop.

Abbie Maternity Shoot 7

This location is also dog-friendly! Their only requirement is that your pup has to be on a leash, and that you clean up any poo that may happen!

Abbie Maternity Shoot 2

3. Lake Jacomo


The best place for water shots! On the way, they have several stop-offs with gorgeous water views. If you know where to go, there is also a great miniature waterfall area.



If you drive further in the park, you’ll hit the yacht area — there’s a trail you can take back with gorgeous trees and tall grass.



If you walk far enough, there’s a break in the trees and you can see the water in the background.



There’s also the option of walking out onto the docks!


2. Love Locks Bridge


This hidden gem is a wonderful tribute to the love locks bridge in Paris. I love going here and seeing all of the different locks, looking at the dates, and the sweet engravings.

Amanda Dustin Engagement 1


If you walk past the bridge, there is beautiful tall grass, and even train tracks!

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1. Unity Village


I can’t define my love enough for this place. A lot of people have never heard of it, and hearing them gasp at the sight hundreds of roses the first time they step foot onto the property is something I never get tired of hearing.

Clarissa Grad 2

Every breed of rose you thought you’d heard of, plus many more you probably can’t even pronounce (I know I can’t!).

Natalie Dance 1

And let’s not forget those fountains! There are several throughout the property — including a huge one the size of a swimming pool in the middle.

img_5014img_0827 copy.jpgThe fountains are turned off once it gets chilly. But, even in the colder non-rose months, the architecture is fun to play with.

Tyler Taelor Engagement 5IMG_0939

Tyler Taelor Engagement 7

And this is just the front. If you explore the grounds even farther, you will find the old stone buildings. This place is teeming with possibilities!

And as if it couldn’t get any better — this location is also dog friendly! It’s the same rules as Bingham: Leash required, clean up poo!

Don’t forget — our list of Top 10 photography locations in St. Louis is also available!

Please Note:Christine, Dawn, and Tatiana with Kansas City Photography took all of these photos! No stealsies!

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