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emily ♥ hank | lenexa kansas wedding photographer

The one thing I really love about engagement sessions is having the ability to connect with my future wedding clients. This is merely my opinion, but what better way to learn about two people, in love, preparing to spend the rest of their lives together than to take pictures of them reveling in the thought that ohmygoodnesswe’regettingmarried…they get to become comfortable with me (and a big black box clicking in their face) and I have the opportunity to learn about them.

Case in point, Emily & Hank. Awesomely laid-back and superbly in love. Not to mention their fantastic taste in music – that’s a staple factoid, seeming as they met at a music shop. We began our day at Sar-Ko-Par Trails Park – it’s where they went on their first date and, as a great additional to our afternoon spent together, it just so happened to be they were celebrating their anniversary as well. While a little chilly, their spirits were joyous as they enjoyed a picnic together, snuggled into a blanket.

To warm up, and add to the nostalgia, we headed to Vinyl Renaissance where Emily and Hank met. What a fantastic way to end our session!

We found it – love.

Emily and Hank I am SO looking forward to your wedding in June! I just know it’s going to be beautiful and equally unique and adoring as your engagement session; take care!

love (couples who love killer music),
jenifriend

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it’s time to reveal the story…

One year ago I practically disappeared from the face of my blog and all social networks. While I was discreet about the occurrences of my personal life, a lot took place. Like…a lot a lot. There were many a whisper and serious curiosities from spectators and friends, wondering wtf was going on in my life. To this day, I haven’t shared much aside from the fact that I’m really really happy. As we’re approaching the one year anniversary of one of the more transitional moments in my life, I thought it a good time to finally reveal the story of how I got to where I am right now in one year.

So there I was, waking before the sun to have my first dose of java and partake in a little painting. It was the same routine I’d had for one month. One month of living in a really cute apartment with french doors and a porch that received the sun from dawn until dusk. One month of Ho-Ho’s and red wine for dinner. One month of being single. Never did I think I would be here again.

In four weeks time I dropped almost 20 pounds. I had saggin’ bottom pants in a way that was far from cute and my tops were on the verge of becoming parachutes. On a whim, I met up with some friends for an impromptu shopping trip. Rarely did I find myself at the mall – I am a thrift store shopping kind of gal – but the thought of buying brand new clothes for a brand new me was enticing. I had no idea that making a visit to Express would change the course of my life forever.

So there I was, feeling very Pretty Woman-esque, with an unlimited budget for new clothes and several women doting over me to help whip me into fashion shape. We won’t talk about the tutu they tried to put me in, but the rest of the items fit where they needed to and had me doing a Dirty Dancing cha-cha in the dressing room. Stacked to my height was a heap of clothes I was en route to purchase. As I rounded the corner of the dressing room I heard one of my friends say, “Oh.my.GOD.” I’m thinking she found another awesome top that I just had to try on, so I venture towards her only to run into the one person I never expected to see. Him. The guy I couldn’t speak badly of, no matter if it was a matter of life or death. The guy I used to tell people I would marry one day, but he broke my heart before we had the chance. That guy. Jeff.

Surrounded by mounds of clothes, his heart-stricken Mother and my two extremely nosey friends, we briefly caught up:

Hi. Hi.
How are you? I’m good how are you? I’m great.
How are you and so and so doing? We’re doing good, thanks for asking. Aren’t you married now?
Um…no Jeffrey…we called it off.

[Enter record stopping and Jeff’s Mom letting out an excited gasp]

Wha? Oh my gosh Jen, are you okay? Yeah, I’m okay. I’m really good actually; it was the right decision for both of us.
Well that’s good. Well I’ve gotta run, my friends are waiting on me. It was really good to see you Jeffrey; I’m happy to hear you’re happy!

That was it. That’s all it took. Unknowingly, the seed had been planted in both of us. We didn’t see nor hear from each other for almost two more months. It is around that time when you’ll hear the second part of this story. 🙂

There’s a reason this shopping bag hangs, framed, in our office. It bares the truth of what rekindled in that store one fine day in May. We didn’t know it and we didn’t plan for it, but love had found us.

love (that it’s been one year – almost),
jenifriend

happy birthday momma!

I’m not going to get into why I’ve been absent for a month in this post – but I promise to discuss it tomorrowish. Today – we jump right into celebrating.

You see, this woman deserves a post. Not only because it’s her birthday or because she birthed me  – which should be stated was the raddest thing she ever did (the latter, in case you were wondering) – but because she birthed this business. I’ll explain.

At four years old I watched my parents divorce and my mom took on being a single mom with a vengeance. Considering the circumstances, she had every right to be pissed off and bitter. She had all the trimmings in her backpack of past experiences to teach my brother and I about hatred and emotional walls and resentment. As the saying goes, it would be an understatement to say she was well-equipped to dish out such teachings. Yet here she was at 21 years old, newly divorced with two young children on the hip, teaching us about love. Teaching us that we are not better than anyone and surely no one is better than us, that the best way to live is to “be”, and that at the end of the day we should never settle for anything less than what we truly deserve.

I say my mother birthed this business because she preserved in me a frame of mind that is diligent and hardworking, confident and joyous, and ever-reminded that everyone is human and equally capable of making mistakes and being loved. I shake what my Momma gave me all the way down into my soul…because that’s how she taught me to roll. I wear my heart on my sleeve and work to find the most intimate source of love existing between those in front of my camera…because that’s how she taught me to roll. I hug my clients after our sessions because I know I’ve genuinely made a new friend…because that’s how she taught me to roll. I stand as tall as this 5’3″ frame can stand and look the mean girls in their eyes after they’ve sassed me and beaten my heart into an ugly mess, and say with a smile, “Take care, I really hope you find happiness”…because that’s how she taught me to roll. Then I bounce back, better than ever…because…well…you know by now…

Mom, I hope that on your birthday you see how much you’ve succeeded through not only your personal endeavors but in the ways that your children have turned out to be honorable members of society. We are out there doing exactly as you taught us, sharing love…sharing smiles…sharing proof that it’s not always easy but dammit it can always be worse. I’m so happy you were born! No one else would’ve been a better fit as a mother for this firecracker. I love you!

love (my momma),
jenifriend

braydon | 9 months | gardner kansas child & family photographer

Jenn has taken on the role of Supervisor in her job and it switched up our plans momentarily when scheduling a time for Braydon’s nine month photos. When we settled on early morning before she headed to work, I was hesitant. Being the smart Photographer I am, I didn’t tell her this. I’m so happy with the decision she made to have the session at such an early time – Braydon was a complete gem to work with.

Their house was quiet and Braydon was still in his PJ’s, playing with his toys in the family room. No tv or music filled the air; instead his coos resonated throughout the house, reverberating off the wood floors and carrying into the far corners of every room. It was magical.

love (the sweet sound of babies),
jenifriend

switching things up

It’s a typical scenario…we pack up the essentials and prepare to venture out to our next big adventure. Alongside me, strapped across my chest and resting on my hip, is my camera with my 50mm 1.4 lens. Most every time, I walk away from our recent adventure fully satisfied with the images. But things become redundant and monotonous.

With the snowy weather coming to a halt (I say this immediately following a brief snow shower at the end of March, with a ton of sarcasm) we found our way to the dog park across the street from our apartment. It’s smell-free…who knew large-sized hamster mulch could kill the odor of dog poo…and chock full of nice people wanting to enjoy the outdoors with their pups. We followed in suit with Fritz and I thought to switch things up with my lens choice and challenge myself a tad. So we went through our typical scenario and when it came time to strap my camera across my chest, I rested on it my 70-200mm 2.8 lens.

It’s easy to get caught up in the monotony of life – photography is one of those things though that you really can’t get lazy with. You can’t just always do what you do – there have to be times when you take a different approach and try something different…break your own glass ceiling…be a risk-taker.

Go – be a rebel today. Do something you normally don’t do. You may surprise yourself in how refreshing it was for you personally and how beneficial it was to you photographically.

love (stepping outside of my self-created box),
jenifriend

briley part 2 | 9 months | olathe kansas child & family photographer

Remember how I mentioned there were some absolutely heavenly images of Briley and her naked bum ala the Coppertone baby left to still be posted? Well…today is your lucky Monday!

The best, right? Myself and her parents think so!

love (dimples on baby bottoms),
jenifriend

she’s crazy in her old age

Realistically, I may not have too many more years with my oldest. This year she’s 13 – in cat years that’s…what…80? Geesh.

In my youth she took care of me. She pet me when I was sad (for those who don’t have a cat, this is when the cat rubs his/her head against your arm/shoulder/head/foot in an effort to pet their self), she laid at my head when I was sick and she attempted to protect me from the evil doings of Sasha.

The roles seem to have reversed more often these days. I find myself finding her to hand out some pets, picking her nose because she’s getting lazy in her old age and laying beside her just to hear her purrbox go nutso.

Despite her years, she can still put a mean whoopin’ on Sasha. 🙂

I love you Peachy-girl. Happy Friday all!

love (the idea of South Carolina in three days),
jenifriend