Kevin | Blue Springs High School Senior

There are so many details that contribute to a successful portrait session, and only a handful of them are within my control. I have my cameras, lenses, and lighting gear. I have tons of location suggestions. I know the best times of day to shoot at the location my clients want. I have backup locations to battle the “what if” issues at all times. Being a bit of a control freak and a perfectionist, I’ve got those details covered front to back. But there are a few details that are at least somewhat out of my hands. I can’t regulate the weather (which is a shame because here in Kansas City, we have wind, rain, humidity, excessive heat, hail storms, tornadoes, ice storms, and blizzards). And I can’t determine how comfortable my subjects are in front of a camera. Sure, I can help with posing, and tell a joke or two to help people relax, but what most photographers won’t admit is that our interpersonal skills and arsenal of poses can only do so much, or it can take half the session to get someone to relax. I absolutely love it when I can tell I’ve taken someone from apprehensive to confident during our photo session. To see a natural smile or a sincere laugh come from someone who initially had a hard time showing me those things is incredibly rewarding.

But, I won’t lie, it’s awesome when I don’t have to do a darn thing to help someone look and feel completely comfortable in front of the camera. Kevin is most definitely one of those people. He has style, charisma, a great personality, and a wonderful smile.

For Kevin’s session, we explored the West Bottoms, which is a perfect spot for great colors, textures, and variety of backgrounds within easy walking distance of each other. Paired with Kevin’s classic clothing style and perfectly photogenic ways, we ended up with an absolutely perfect photo session.

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Nisha and Eric’s Maternity Session

For a while I was pretty sure that my brother Eric and his wife Nisha were the corporate-ladder-climbing couple who would spend their whole lives traveling every corner of the world, eating dinners at all the fancy restaurants, and always looking like they fell straight out of the pages of a style magazine. You know, doing all the things that people with young children rarely have the time or expendable income to accomplish.

But to my nearly-spitting-a-mouthful-of-food surprise, they announced at Thanksgiving dinner last year that they were expecting their first child. Aside from their good news that day, I was thankful that I didn’t do a spit-take in that moment. It was a close call.

I learned that day that I wasn’t wrong about who they are. But I was wrong in my assumption that their career accomplishments and lifestyle were the only goals and desires they had. Building a family is important to them too. I was wrong to think that those options are mutually exclusive. I think they’re simply the type of people who have figured out how to have it all, which is pretty incredible.

But pretty incredible things are to be expected from pretty incredible people.

For their maternity session, we explored an area in Blue Springs that has some very simple but very beautiful natural backgrounds just off a fairly busy road. I drive by this area all the time. I watch it transform from bare gray sticks and dead grass in the winter to vibrant pops of color in the fall. In the late spring, it’s lush green with tall grasses and kaleidoscopes of sunlight bouncing through the leaves. As most areas are, it’s gorgeous at sunset. And even more gorgeous with a beautiful couple on the verge of being a beautiful family…

Nisha and Eric Maternity- - Kansas City Family Photographer | Blue Springs | Lake Jacomo | Maternity Portraits | Sunset Portraits | www.anthem-photo.com Anthem Photography - www.anthem-pNisha and Eric Maternity- - Kansas City Family Photographer | Blue Springs | Lake Jacomo | Maternity Portraits | Sunset Portraits | www.anthem-photo.com Anthem Photography - www.anthem-pNisha and Eric Maternity- - Kansas City Family Photographer | Blue Springs | Lake Jacomo | Maternity Portraits | Sunset Portraits | www.anthem-photo.com Anthem Photography - www.anthem-pNisha and Eric Maternity- - Kansas City Family Photographer | Blue Springs | Lake Jacomo | Maternity Portraits | Sunset Portraits | www.anthem-photo.com Anthem Photography - www.anthem-pNisha and Eric Maternity- - Kansas City Family Photographer | Blue Springs | Lake Jacomo | Maternity Portraits | Sunset Portraits | www.anthem-photo.com Anthem Photography - www.anthem-pNisha and Eric Maternity- - Kansas City Family Photographer | Blue Springs | Lake Jacomo | Maternity Portraits | Sunset Portraits | www.anthem-photo.com Anthem Photography - www.anthem-pNisha and Eric Maternity- - Kansas City Family Photographer | Blue Springs | Lake Jacomo | Maternity Portraits | Sunset Portraits | www.anthem-photo.com Anthem Photography - www.anthem-pNisha and Eric Maternity- - Kansas City Family Photographer | Blue Springs | Lake Jacomo | Maternity Portraits | Sunset Portraits | www.anthem-photo.com Anthem Photography - www.anthem-pNisha and Eric Maternity- - Kansas City Family Photographer | Blue Springs | Lake Jacomo | Maternity Portraits | Sunset Portraits | www.anthem-photo.com Anthem Photography - www.anthem-pNisha and Eric Maternity- - Kansas City Family Photographer | Blue Springs | Lake Jacomo | Maternity Portraits | Sunset Portraits | www.anthem-photo.com Anthem Photography - www.anthem-pNisha and Eric Maternity- - Kansas City Family Photographer | Blue Springs | Lake Jacomo | Maternity Portraits | Sunset Portraits | www.anthem-photo.com Anthem Photography - www.anthem-p

Special thanks to my oldest son for allowing me to use him as a lighting assistant for this session!

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Desirea | Lee’s Summit Senior Portraits

Working with high school seniors has always been, and will probably always be, my favorite thing to do. They tend to have great fashion sense and personal style, and they enjoy being in front of the camera (I wish I could say that every client is like that, but some people are forced by their bosses to get headshots, and sometimes there’s a less-than-enthusiastic member of the family who has things they’d rather do than spend their free time posing for portraits). Additionally, I’ve had the joy of working with young people who have great confidence in who they are and where they are heading in life. I love this. It makes a senior’s personality easy to capture and allows their style to flow naturally.

This was definitely the case with Desirea, a Lee’s Summit North High School class of 2017 student on the verge of graduation and exciting next steps. She knew from the start that she wanted to explore Kansas City’s Crossroads Arts District for her portrait session, as she is an art student who often spends First Fridays at galleries in the area. I could tell that she felt right at home in this area, which is pretty much a photographer’s playground. The interesting doors, grungy alleyways, wide array of architecture, and colorful façades make this one of my preferred locations to shoot any kind of session, but it worked especially well for this young artist. Hopefully one day not too far down the road, I’ll see her back in the Crossroads in a gallery of her own!

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Christina and Wendi’s Unforgettable Wedding at The Stanley Event Space

Every wedding is different and special. No doubt about it. Every time two people make such a simultaneously heavy and joyful promise to one another, it’s a pretty epic thing.

But some weddings are… more.

More groundbreaking. More exciting. More emotional. More unique in the fact that, not too long ago, they couldn’t have taken place. Christina and Wendi are my first brides to tie the knot, and I will never forget their incredible wedding. It will be with me forever as one of the most beautiful celebrations I’ve had the honor of documenting. It was so full of love, not just from the brides, but from their wonderful families and friends. You could feel it. Really feel it. I literally got chills when they read their vows to each other. Their words reminded me very much of the truths I’ve learned in my own marriage, probably because they’ve been together for fourteen years – about the same length of time that my husband and I have. The vows were incredibly accurate descriptions of what love and marriage really are and really should be. I wish I would have written down their vows so I could read them when I need a little reminder about what my role as a wife is (but I was kinda busy at the moment with a couple cameras in my hands). The one part I didn’t need to write down, because I’ll remember it forever, was when Christina ended her vows to Wendi by saying “I’ve seen the best of you. I’ve seen the worst of you. And I choose both.”

That’s love.

Love is a choice to put someone else – and all of their dreams and needs – ahead of yourself. Love is a promise to never give up. Love is forgiveness and grace, and recognizing that they’re needed most when they seem to be deserved the least. Love is creating and celebrating joy daily. Love is building a life full of incredible experiences with your best friend and soul mate. Love exists abundantly beyond boundaries and expectations. It’s that simple, and that complex. And on this perfect summer evening at The Stanley Event Space, Christina and Wendi embraced all of that simplicity and complexity, said “I do” to forever, and wrapped a big old party around it.

Congratulations to these beautiful women – my new friends – as their love story continues to be written and celebrated.

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Kansas City Band and Musician Photography

When I rebranded my photography business in 2012, I wanted to convey a focus on the other artistic love of my life, music. I wanted to begin working with more bands and musicians, both on stage and in the creation of promotional photos. I’ve loved having the chance to shoot some incredible shows this year (with a few more on the horizon that I’m super stoked about), and to create promo images for a wide variety of artists, duos, and groups. This avenue of my business allows me the opportunity to merge my two artistic passions, which is a dream. Shooting promo photos allows me the chance to envision and create a concept based on a band’s sound, and shooting live shows gives me the challenge of working in an ever-changing lighting environment while allowing me to enjoy a show from in front of the front row (there’s a bit of fangirl joy in that), for the first few songs. And it has widened my musical tastes as well. Almost every time I shoot a live show, I’m introduced to new bands or individuals that I didn’t know before. Every time I get to work with a new group for promo photos, I need to listen to their work to know what their style and sound is like, so I can do my best to ensure that my images match their style. I’ve fallen in love with lots of new albums and genres in the process. I’m thankful for that.

Here are a few highlights of some of my favorite shows and sessions so far this year:

Vance JoyVance Joy| Elle King | Jamie Lawson | Midland Theatre 20160217- -  - www.anthem-photo.com - 043Vance Joy| Elle King | Jamie Lawson | Midland Theatre 20160217- -  - www.anthem-photo.com - 042Vance Joy| Elle King | Jamie Lawson | Midland Theatre 20160217- -  - www.anthem-photo.com - 044

Elle King
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Mike Franano
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Gary Clark, Jr.
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Ehrnman and Pearson
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Echo Collider
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Taylor and Taylor’s Aspen Room Wedding

As a wedding photographer, sometimes I’m amazed by how quickly an engagement passes by. It seems like I just wrapped up Taylor and Taylor’s fantastically fun Kansas City engagement session, and now I’m scrolling through their wedding photos, reliving their awesome day image by image, moment by moment. It was a perfectly mild summer day, which is hard to come by here in the midwest, and an especially wonderful gift when you have an outdoor wedding ceremony.

Taylor and Taylor chose an incredible venue – The Aspen Room at The Stanley – in downtown Lee’s Summit, my beautiful hometown. Each time I have the joy of visiting good ol’ downtown LS, I relive so many moments, seemingly from completely separate lifetimes. I am taken back to my early childhood when my mom would pull my brother and me in a wagon to enjoy egg drop soup and fortune cookies from Grace, the wonderfully kind woman at our favorite (and long since gone) Chinese restaurant on 3rd Street. I’m taken back to high school, when my newly-licensed group of girlfriends would drive through the streets and see new stores and restaurants take shape as the area began the early stages of a much-needed and now incredibly successful revitalization. I’m taken back to my first studio space above Bike America – the first big step in my professional photography career. From sitting in the wagon to the freedom of driving, to the leaps of faith on a career path I am incredibly thankful I had the opportunity to take, downtown Lee’s Summit is a map of memories, a symbol of my beginning, and my path from that point. I’d say it has always held a place in my heart, but in reality, it is the place where so much of my heart is held.

That was a massive digression from the story of Taylor and Taylor’s wedding. But I won’t apologize. It’s worth noting that downtown Lee’s Summit is a wonderful and magical place. It’s the perfect place to begin a life together.

I joined the beautiful bride and her bridesmaids as they were working on their finishing touches with hair and makeup, then jumped right in to what is consistently one of my favorite parts of the wedding day: the first look. Taylor could not contain his excitement as he waited patiently to see his bride, and they were elated to finally see one another! We took that joy along with us as the wedding party joined us for formal photos around the downtown Lee’s Summit area. We were surprised to be invited into Third Street Social, a new restaurant along our path, for a complimentary champagne toast for the whole group. In my decade as a wedding photographer, that has never happened. It was a fun detour and made for a few cool photos I wasn’t planning on taking, which is always a treat for me!

As we returned to The Aspen room, it was time for some family formals on the rooftop, then the wedding party hid as the guests began to arrive. The ceremony was beautiful. It was personal, hopeful, joyful, and a great celebration of Taylor and Taylor’s love. The groom’s cheer as he walked his bride back down the aisle was priceless!

The party continued with an incredible reception of constant dancing. Well, let me correct myself; there were a few minutes when no one was dancing. That was when, as a surprise to his bride, Taylor brought out his guitar and sang “I Wanna Grow Old With You” to her. It was a cuteness overload kind of moment, which pretty much sums up this couple.

The perfect wedding day would not have been complete without an amazing sparkler send-off from their friends and family. Having photographed these several times, I’ll admit that it’s always a tricky lighting situation. Without getting too technical, it can be a challenge to photograph it with the right timing, to focus on moving subjects in low light, and to be sure that my lights don’t over- or underexpose the bride and groom as they move down the line. There’s very little room for error, and very little time to make adjustments once the sparklers are lit. I came up with settings and a lighting scenario that I thought would give me the best balance of all the variables, and I am pleased with the results. It’s always exciting when that happens!

I have sincerely loved working with and getting to know this awesome couple. I wish Taylor and Taylor a spectacular life together and I hope I’ll have the joy of continuing to work with them in the years to come.

Special thanks to my wonderful assistant Mark for helping me for this wedding. And special thanks to the crew at The Aspen Room for always being the very best people to work with!

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Mystik Catering – Kansas City Food Photography

Inspiration is such an interesting aspect of a creative career. It can’t be forced. It can’t be bought. It comes and goes on its own terms. I don’t mind sharing openly that, so far this year, I have been under a cloud of worry and doubt about the future of my business. I’m nearing my ten-year anniversary of pursuing this dream of mine, doing work that I’m incredibly proud of, yet this is shaping up to be the slowest year I’ve ever had. I can blame the continually increasing everyone’s-a-photographer industry, or the ever-slow economy. I can question my prices, my style, or my marketing techniques. I can sit around trying to figure out what’s going on, or I can focus on making myself better. And that’s what I chose. I am choosing to become more versatile and to increase my skills. With that decision, accompanied by determination to release my worry and doubt, a gust of inspiration came my way – I can shoot food! The depth of colors and textures can be absolutely gorgeous, and lighting a plate is crucial for communicating those things.

Once I have inspiration to shoot something on my own terms (as opposed to being contacted by a potential client), my next step is to find someone who can benefit from the project I have in mind. I teamed up with Nicole, who is the executive chef of Mystik Catering. She created several gorgeous plates for our session, including seared lemon tilapia with shrimp and rice, braised short rib with grits, stuffed pork chops, and a beautifully layered mixed berry sponge cake paired with champagne. It was almost painful to have to be so close to such exquisite-looking and amazing-smelling plates for so long without being able to devour it. I highly recommend contacting Mystik Catering for your next event that requires a remarkable spread of incredible food.

mystik catering lemon fish with shrimp and rice - kansas city food photographer - www.anthem-photo.com - 004mystik catering lemon fish with shrimp and rice - kansas city food photographer - www.anthem-photo.com - 005mystik catering lemon fish with shrimp and rice - kansas city food photographer - www.anthem-photo.com - 006mystik catering braised short ribs with grits - kansas city food photographer - www.anthem-photo.com - 003mystik catering braised short ribs with grits - kansas city food photographer - www.anthem-photo.com - 002mystik catering braised short ribs with grits - kansas city food photographer - www.anthem-photo.com - 001kansas city food photographer stuffed pork chops - www.anthem-photo.com - 001mystik catering stuffed porkchops with greens and mashed potatoes - kansas city food photographer - www.anthem-photo.com - 011mystik catering mixed berry sponge cake with whipped cream - kansas city food photographer - www.anthem-photo.com - 009mystik catering mixed berry sponge cake with whipped cream - kansas city food photographer - www.anthem-photo.com - 010mystik catering mixed berry sponge cake with whipped cream - kansas city food photographer - www.anthem-photo.com - 007mystik catering champagne with raspberry and blackberry - kansas city food photographer - www.anthem-photo.com - 008

Knowing I would need to be well-prepared for our session, I spent the week practicing some different lighting setups for a variety of photogenic foods and drinks. I know I still have much room for improvement, but I’m really happy with how these turned out. I learned a lot (in trial and error mode) about photographing food – not just from a lighting and styling standpoint, but from the aspect of the food’s colors, temperatures, and sitting time. Here are a few of my favorites from my week of practice:

Kansas City Food Photographer - Iced Tea with Lemonkansas city food photographer - sushi roll www.anthem-photo.com - 001-2Kansas City Food Photographer - SushiKansas City Food Photographer - SushiKansas City Food Photographer - Strawberry Pancakes and Coffee -Kansas City Food Photographer - Martini - Cocktails - RestaurantKansas City Food Photographer - Martini - Cocktails - RestaurantKansas City Food Photographer - Martini - Cocktails - RestaurantKansas City Food Photographer - Studio Food Photography - Fruitkansas city food photographer - margarita with lime and salt - www.anthem-photo.com - 007

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Brian and Phil’s Kansas City Engagement Session

Brian and Phil warned me several times that they aren’t fans of having their pictures taken. Maybe that’s partially true? And they also claimed that they’re not photogenic. That certainly isn’t true. I’m not sure that they were looking forward to their engagement session, but I definitely was. I was thrilled to have the opportunity to document their engagement and work with them prior to their wedding this fall, which I’m fairly certain is going to be the celebration of the century!

…And I think they ended up having fun at their session. That’s always a relief for me!

The location they chose – the Crossroads Art District in Kansas City – is not only one of my favorite backgrounds for photos, but it is especially meaningful for these guys. They love the beautiful KC skyline, which can be perfectly viewed from the north lawn of Liberty Memorial, and they were excited for the opportunity to take some dusk and nighttime shots with the city lights in the background. With plans to end the session there, we wanted to start the session closer to the heart of Crossroads. I asked them to meet me in the parking lot at Lidia’s, not knowing until later that Lidia’s is where they enjoyed their first date… fourteen years ago.

anthem Photography | www.anthem-photo.comanthem Photography | www.anthem-photo.comanthem Photography | www.anthem-photo.comanthem Photography | www.anthem-photo.comanthem Photography | www.anthem-photo.comanthem Photography | www.anthem-photo.comanthem Photography | www.anthem-photo.comanthem Photography | www.anthem-photo.comanthem Photography | www.anthem-photo.comanthem Photography | www.anthem-photo.comanthem Photography | www.anthem-photo.comanthem Photography | www.anthem-photo.comanthem Photography | www.anthem-photo.com

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Michelle’s Modeling Portfolio Session

Michelle and I spent an evening in the West Bottoms creating some fresh looks for her modeling portfolio. It was a cold and windy evening, but like all quality models, Michelle was a trooper throughout the session and didn’t let it bother her (or didn’t let it show, at least). As a result, we captured some solid, stylish images that highlight a variety of looks. I wish Michelle the best in her modeling career and can’t wait to work with her again!

Anthem Photography | www.anthem-photo.comAnthem Photography | www.anthem-photo.comAnthem Photography | www.anthem-photo.comAnthem Photography | www.anthem-photo.comAnthem Photography | www.anthem-photo.comAnthem Photography | www.anthem-photo.comAnthem Photography | www.anthem-photo.comAnthem Photography | www.anthem-photo.comAnthem Photography | www.anthem-photo.comAnthem Photography | www.anthem-photo.comAnthem Photography | www.anthem-photo.comAnthem Photography | www.anthem-photo.comAnthem Photography | www.anthem-photo.comAnthem Photography | www.anthem-photo.comAnthem Photography | www.anthem-photo.comAnthem Photography | www.anthem-photo.comAnthem Photography | www.anthem-photo.comAnthem Photography | www.anthem-photo.com

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