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the k family | olathe kansas portrait photographer

Have I mentioned how much I absolutely adore being a part of Operation: Love Reunited? The families I meet are incredible – the children, adorable – the spouses, grateful – the soldiers, humble. It’s a trifecta of awesomeness!

The K Family was no exception – I had so much in common with Mrs. K that we spent a majority of our time having for real laughs – the kind that gave me pictures like you’ll see below.

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Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

“The photos and other content of this publication do not constitute or imply any endorsement or recommendation by the Department of Defense.”

love (families of soldiers),


end of month photo breakdown

*Sigh* I’ve really gotta get it together with this whole consistent blogging thing. I mean, REALLY?! A month?! I’m so ashamed!

On my first ever tutorial, Rachel mentioned (and I quote), “I like to photograph things to enhance my posts, but my apartment has AWFUL light. Well, I have some nice big picture windows, but they don’t necessarily provide enough good light where I need it.” This is a great lead in to this months breakdown about adding additional light to your images when you feel like there just isn’t enough.

The bottom line is, if you want more light, you have to create it. I often travel to my clients homes to take their family portraits – this can sometimes result in lighting that is not ideal. At no fault of the client, sometimes the light just doesn’t come through the windows the way I need it to because of the time of day, the weather outside, the literal location of the windows…you get my drift. But…I have to make it work. I have to create magnificent images with the situation I have before me – so what do I do?

I open a door.

I wanted to show, in home, the difference opening one door can make to the kind of light you get in an image. These images are SOOC (straight out of camera) so you can see what I was – literally – working with.

First, the door closed:

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Not very appealing in terms of light, right? And yeah – I know you’re diggin’ on the whole crooked blinds – it’s the latest trend – get on that train. I used Fritz’ bone as my example. I am so grossed out by the HAIR by the bone – I mean…REALLY JENI!! I couldn’t come up with a hairless image?! Eww. Anyways…

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Because Annie asked for it, the specs on this image is 1/320, f/2.8, ISO 160. So, the amount of light is decent for this example but, again, the kind of light is far different in the next image.

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You see that?! Do you see how warm that light is?! Same specs, 1/320, f/2.8, ISO 160, totally different light. So you can imagine the difference when you transpose a bone for a person…or in my case…

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He was NOT happy that I was playing with his bone. Immediately following this tutorial shoot, he spent 30 minutes deciding where to hide the rawhide, only to place it directly underneath my pillow. He’s such a treasure. 🙂

Happy end of the month all! Welcome June!

love (writing…really…I know it doesn’t seem that way),

the hurrelbrink family | kansas city kansas wedding photographer

I’ve done a couple vow renewals in my day and I can honestly say that they might be more emotional than weddings the first time around. It’s a topic that’s definitely up for debate. Seeing a couple, after 35, 40 or 50 years, saying they’re going to continue to go through the good and the bad and celebrate each other for another lifetime is breathtaking. In a world like we have today, the vows made at weddings sometimes aren’t really said with 100% certainty. The rate of divorce is much higher and the willingness to give up when things look mildly bleak in a relationship is equally so.

You may be saying to yourself, “Ummmm…you’re a wedding Photographer and you’re talking about divorce?” The answer is yeah, I am. Divorce happens. It happens all the time, for justifiable and unjustifiable reasons.

Pat and David are proof that the sanctity of marriage can withstand the rough and tough aspects of life and relationships. They are proof that love surpasses the hardships and revels in the exciting happenings of a long life lived together in marriage. They are proof that with God between two people you can conquer the world hand in hand, for life. So today, they are recognized and congratulated for 35 years of a beautiful marriage and two equally beautiful children. They renewed their vows at Trinity United Methodist Church – this was a very special moment as both of their children were married there and with the same Pastor. What an awesome tradition to continue!

Just like the first time, Pat’s Father gave her away to David.


Some finger-licking after cutting the cake…

…and the glow of a beautiful bride!

Congratulations Hurrelbrink Family!

love (the proof that love can withstand time),

matthew | lake quivira kansas senior portrait photographer

I think it’s safe to say that shooting a senior session for a guy is MUCH different from when it’s done for a girl. Girls are fun because they bring a fierce desire to be beautiful in their images, giving smeyes (that’s code for smiling with the eyes for all you non-Tyra Banks watchin’ folks out there) and bringing with them a carload of clothing options, shoes and enough accessories to start their own jewelry boutique. Guys are the complete opposite. They bring with them the one pair of jeans and shoes they are already wearing and, if you’re lucky, they’ll change their shirt for you. That may or may not require a lot of coaxing and a promise that, “this is almost over.”

With that said, guys are chill. They make for a really easy-going and laughable session. For Matthew, this was no exception. I should start a business sheerly for the purpose of selling outtakes from sessions – family members would kill for the kind of blackmail I have once or thrice had on my hard drive. For fear of embarrassing him by saying too much or too little, I’ll simply state that we had a good time. He’s a cool kid and I think he’s going to be a professional at having a good time while in college. I’ll pray for his parents, that’s for sure. 🙂

Congratulations on your graduation, Matthew!

love (cool kids),

for momma

For my Momma, this year I did something a little different for Mother’s Day. Normally, I share sweet words about how she has been an awesome parent to both my brother and I. This year I decided to switch it up, just a bit.

You see, my Mom wasn’t just a parenting figure to my brother and I. During high school I had three very close friends whom, throughout life and to this day, still call my Mom, “Mom.” She reached out in a way many people may not have done, for what reason I’m not sure. Maybe it’s a motherly obligation that I won’t understand until I’m a Mother – personally I think it’s just that my Mom is that good-hearted. She was there when things were high-school tough, she was there when hearts were broken, she opened her doors to them and let them stay when they felt they had nowhere else to go. She had Christmas stockings for them, special trinkets of love she found at yard sales, birthday cakes with their name on it. She bought yearbooks and senior pictures for them when they couldn’t afford it, parented when she needed to be their parent and treated them like they were her own flesh and blood. She took them in on holidays when they couldn’t be with their families, she drove them cross-country so they could spend a summer with their parents, she washed their laundry while they napped. She attended their wedding and years later, upon witnessing heartbreak, sat them at the family table at my wedding so they could feel safe once more. There was a very distinct reason they called her Mom…in so many ways she was an extension of their own flesh and blood Momma.

This Mother’s Day, on behalf of “your girls”, I wish you a Happy Mother’s Day, Momma! I hope you enjoyed these two pictures, framed, to put on your desk at work. I’m proud to share you with them – they were lucky women to have a piece of  your heart!

(credit to Purple Shutters Photography for above picture)

I hope you all had an incredible Mother’s Day!

love (the things we do for love),

where you go i will go

Let’s face it…I’m a sap. An ooey gooey crybaby sap. I cry when I watch Glee (Really? Who does that?!) and I sniffle a little when I see newborn babies. I’m a sap, though, because I’m passionate. I’m passionate about love. I’m passionate about life. I’m passionate about the individual journey’s we each take. I’m passionate about photography. I’m passionate about my husband.

Every couple has been there…the rough patches. The times when your foundation shakes and you’re certain the rug will be swept from underneath you at a moments notice.

Well baby, our foundation shook. It shook hard. It devastated us for a long time and forced us apart for many years. At the end of the day, though, my heart never left you. Though I’m quick to admit I denied my feelings, I never questioned our relationship. Even when we were apart, there was no question that you were special.

“Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God.” Ruth 1:16

I’m here forever.

love (our what-used-to-be shaky foundation),

ashley | lenexa kansas senior portrait photographer

There was this one day, many moons ago, when I was asked to choreograph a very special Modern solo for a very special girl. Ashley walked in all sorts of shy and, as the choreography shaped, so did she. When we first showcased her solo to the masses of her dance studio as a trial run before competition, she floored me. This unbelievable power surged from every twist, turn and thrash she danced. I cried. The class was left speechless. She had transformed us through the story she told with her movement.

Ashley is a 2011 graduate and embodies everything I have hoped to see in our future generations. She stands for unity and love, supporting an incredible organization known as Invisible Children (found on Facebook as well). She seeks change in the world and has a huge heart. She’s, simply, incredible.

Ashley, darlin’, you know I love ya. Like…for real. Never forget the way you moved people with your dancing that day in class…harness the impact you have on others through your actions and your heart…and never let it go. Take this time right now and experience the amazing journey of adulthood…be good…be safe…and go out there and knock ’em dead with your determination to make a change. I love you so much!

Whoop Whoop – LOVE!

love (seeing the possibilities of our younger generation),