Year in Review: Anthem Photography’s Favorite Images of 2014

I love reflecting upon my work at the end of each year. It’s always a fun reminder of how blessed I am to have the job that I do. It’s also my distraction from all that year-end paperwork and tax crap that I despise. In 2014 I shot 24 weddings, had 85 portrait sessions, and took nearly 60,000 photos. There are thousands of images that I treasure immensely of hundreds of people I met over the last 12 months. These are among my favorite images and moments of the year…

 

 

…like the pure joy of a bridesmaid congratulating the bride moments after the ceremony:

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…this gorgeous outdoor wedding:

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…the time Captain America (and his adorable cousin) stopped by the studio:

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…bath time with my little dude:

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…this perfect downtown KC engagement session:

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…the most incredible wedding cake I’ve ever seen:

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…this dreamy engagement session that sent me home with poison ivy (still totally worth it):

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…this maternity session with two people I love and adore:

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…the tons of talent in KC for Middle of the Map Fest:

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…being able to photograph one of my all-time favorite bands:

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…no, TWO of my all-time favorite bands:

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…playing in the snow with my big guy:

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…the supermoon:

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…my absolutely adorable niece:

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…my little guy’s first birthday:

www.anthem-photo.com james a reed james a reed

…this awesome family:

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…THIS awesome family:

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…and THIS awesome family:

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…and every freaking awesome moment of the Switchfoot show

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…prayers over this gorgeous bride before she walked down the aisle

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…and a quiet moment between a father and daughter moments before her wedding

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…this beautiful bride walking down the aisle

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…and then sneaking away from the reception for a quick rooftop photo

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…and EVERYTHING about this perfect orchard wedding

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Thank you, my incredible clients, for allowing me into your lives to document these priceless moments and to create images that I hope you’ll treasure forever. Here’s to 2014!

 

http://www.anthem-photo.com

24 Hours of Brothers

In late November of 2012, I followed my then-two-year-old around with my camera from the moment he woke up to the moment he went to sleep. I documented the mischievous expressions, the sweet moments with our dogs, and the several tear-filled tantrums that are typical for little ones his age — and the resulting images are ones that I will treasure forever. I look back on them now, even just a couple of years later, and I am transported back to the time when my big guy was my little guy. A time when his personality was still developing. A time when we were a family of three.

I decided I would continue the tradition each year, on the same date. Well, in late November of 2013, I was massively pregnant with little dude number two. Mobility and focus were not on my list of strengths, and my lack of energy tapped me on the shoulder and said, “Whoa, ambitious lady, this doesn’t need to be done every year.” And I said, “Good point, lack of energy! Let’s go back to laying on the couch watching Netflix and googling ways to induce labor!” So, I’ll make this a by-yearly tradition. I think that’s good enough. And if motherhood has taught me anything, it’s that I’m totally fine and completely satisfied with “good enough” as a standard to shoot for.

My original project, 24 Hours of Nathan, became not only a treasured keepsake of images, but also a commentary on the crucial roles of the photographer, subject, and observer in the creation and immortality of the image. But this year’s attempt at documenting the boys left me fairly disappointed, to be perfectly honest. Before every session, every wedding, and every personal photo project, I envision my set of images. I imagine them weeks and days and seconds before they are taken, and what I had envisioned for this particular project is far grander than the outcome. There are literally six images in this set that I really like. By my standards, that’s a project that doesn’t belong on my blog. I realized by the 10th or 12th click of the shutter early in the morning that this project was going to be damn near impossible to complete. Having an 11-month old (who is fascinated with anything he shouldn’t touch) turned this project on its side immediately. When your subject wants to rub his grimy fingers on your lens, and turn the click wheel on the back, and pull the shoulder strap, and scream when you won’t let him do all of those things at once, my precious little baby became an incredibly challenging subject. Those precious and awe-inspiring images that I envisioned creating were thrown out the window.

But in documenting what I could, this round of my by-yearly project displays many of the challenges of having multiple children. Holy geez, it’s a lot harder than having one! Having to divide my attention between two beings that want my full attention is a challenge. Having to care for two little humans with incredibly different needs, with two incredibly different schedules is not easy. I also feel that this day’s documentation is in some ways incomplete, as I miss out on parts of their lives each day as my husband and I divide responsibilities. I chose to document Nathan’s bedtime routine because it was my turn to put him to bed, so I missed documenting Sam being rocked to sleep in the arms of his daddy. Every time I chose to focus on Sam, I missed documenting Nathan. That’s what it’s like having two…  juggling. Constantly juggling. While standing on a ball, taming lions, and wearing a blindfold. While someone pulls your hair and rubs snot on your sleeve. That’s what it’s like having two. It’s certainly a joyful circus, and one that I am blessed to be a part of, but it’s a circus nonetheless.

I think this project will evolve with each iteration. I think in 2016, I’ll face new challenges I’m yet to understand with an almost-three-year-old and a first grader. I wonder what that day will be like. I wonder how accurate my visions for it will actually be.

So, friends, here it is. 24 Hours of Brothers (or, as I think I’ll affectionately subtitle it, Dia de los Duders):

 

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http://www.anthem-photo.com

Rachel and Aaron’s Perfect Fall Wedding at Weston Red Barn Farm | Kansas City Wedding Photographer

You know those little moments when you realize that everything is going your way, and although you’re supposed to remain calm, in your mind, you’re dancing and squealing like a small child because of all the perfection? That was my constant mental state during Rachel and Aaron’s epic wedding a few weeks ago. I had been looking forward to their wedding day because (1) they are awesome people that I totally adore, (2) their engagement session was so much fun, and (3) they booked one of the best venues in the area, especially for an autumn wedding. They had obviously put lots of time and love into each detail of their day, and it came together beautifully.

Beyond that, they trusted me. It’s such a crucial element in a successful photography session or wedding. They let me take control during formal photos. They let me try new things. They let me work, and they let me rest (they let me drink some of their phenomenal beer, too). They understood that my job was to document their day, their friends and family, and their wonderful celebration as they joined their lives together.

It was any photographer’s dream wedding, and it was the absolute perfect way for me to end my 2014 wedding season.

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Show some love (or a “like” at least) on Facebook. And see more of what Anthem Photography has to offer at www.anthem-photo.com.

Kyiia and Jeff – Club 1000 Wedding – Kansas City Photographer

I don’t believe that there is some magic equation for creating the perfect wedding day. But I know there are certain key elements that make a wedding day more memorable, more exciting, and more photogenic. If you’re taking notes, some of those crucial elements are (1) two people madly in love, (2) tons of joyful friends and family, (3) a gorgeous venue, (4) dozens of ridiculously adorable kids. Kyiia and Jeff had all of these things. And to top that, they also threw in a stress-free schedule, sunset rooftop photos, and a groom serenading his bride at the reception with a song he had written just for her. It doesn’t get any better than that.

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Scott’s lucky that I don’t wear cufflinks. Because I probably would have stolen these from him.
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Usually I get a little annoyed when people call attention from the bride to take pictures on their cell phones. But I make an exception for grooms. I actually love that Jeff did this. Such a cute moment!
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How AWESOME are these R2-D2 cake toppers?!
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This surprise dance from Kyiia and Jeff (yes, with a wardrobe change!) was amazing!
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Thanks to everyone who made this day so special and so beautiful for the lovely newlyweds:

Venue: Club 1000
Hair: Lusette Altema, Luse-Hairs Salon & Boutique
Makeup: Melissa Blayton
Bridal gown and bridesmaids dresses: By Alfred Angelo, from Natalie M. Bridal
Men’s tuxedos: By Vera Wang Black, from Men’s Warehouse
Boy’s tuxedos: By Joseph Abboud, from Sir Knight
Florist: Craig Sole Designs
Cake: Stephanie Hodap-Dillon, HyVee in Lee’s Summit
DJ: Dave Smith, Music 4 Memories

Show some love (or a “like” at least) on Facebook. And see more of what Anthem Photography has to offer at www.anthem-photo.com.

Lyndsay and Matt’s Midtown KC Engagement Session

I had a feeling that Lyndsay and Matt were a little nervous heading into our photo session. And I get it. It can be awkward to have your photo taken. It can be a little challenging to act naturally when you’re well aware that someone 5 or 10 feet away from you is snapping your photo. When I perceive that my subjects are feeling a bit uneasy, it means I have some extra work to do. Beyond setting up the shot, deciding which lens to use, deciding how to light it, and exposing the shot properly, my interactions with my subject can become the most crucial aspect of my job. Because who cares about a well-lit, perfectly exposed photo if the subjects don’t look comfortable or natural?

So I thought I’d have some extra work to do. But I was so wrong. They tricked me! My oh my. These two are in love. They entertain each other. They act naturally and beautifully together. They rocked this session!

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Special thanks to Ben Money for being an awesome lighting assistant for this one! You rock, Ben!

Show some love (or a “like” at least) on Facebook. And see more of my work at www.anthem-photo.com.

Tanya and Tracy | The Aspen Room at The Historic Stanley Event Space Wedding

My time with Tanya and Tracy actually began the day before their wedding. I spent Friday with Tanya, her bridesmaids, and many members of her family to document the haldi and henna ceremonies. It was colorful, exciting, and joyful. Full of life. Full of various textures, intricate details, and vibrant hues. Full of wonderful photo opportunities. My favorite part of the day was the application of the haldi. Each friend and family member spent a minute or two with Tanya and a tray of rice, flower petals, and haldi (specially prepared by Tanya’s mother and aunt). It was beautiful to see each person with Tanya as they prepared her for her wedding with this wonderfully fragrant tradition. So many smiles. So much laughter. And a few happy tears.

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The day continued with the henna ceremony. What an amazing talent the henna artists have!

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Now, the big wedding day!

As anyone who lives in Kansas City can tell you, the weather can be a bit temperamental. Tanya and Tracy’s wedding day was no exception. We had a cloudy day. A humid day. Some sprinkles. Some downpours. Some sunshine. All within a few hours. Going from Plan A to Plan B, back to Plan A, and “waiting it out” for group formals can be a little crazy, but the wedding party rolled with the changes quite nicely and we ended up being able to accomplish everything we wanted — and more!

Altogether, the wedding day was a beautiful blend to two different cultures. A day where tradition was honored, yet met with modern twists.  The result was a day full of colorful clothing, great music, delicious food, and one of the most beautiful cakes I’ve ever seen. It was a fantastic celebration made possible by the friends and family who came together (many of whom traveled hundreds or thousands of miles) to witness Tanya and Tracy’s vows, shower them with blessings, and dance the night away!

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Church – St. Paul’s Episcopal Church
Reception – The Aspen Room at The Stanley Event Space
Hair and Makeup – Colby and Lauren, Salon Allure
String Quartet – Jill Brock, Christina Dyer, Laurie Schwab, Justin Cowart
Cake – Raspberry Rose
Florist – Maple Lane Designs
Caterer – Michael Forbes Grill & Bar
DJ – The DJ Zone
Second photographer – The One and Only, Incredibly Awesome Mike Tsai (a million thanks for rocking this day with me, friend!)

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