photographer, educator, artistmaplesphotographer shadowadrienne

Holy Wedding Photographers EVERYWHERE!

Recently engaged and in the throes of planning a wedding? Are you struggling on choosing your photographer?

Did you Google weddings and found yourself overwhelmed with the sheer number ‘wedding photographer’ options?

Well, you are NOT ALONE! It’s a sign of the times my friends! 

 There are currently close to SIX HUNDRED photographers listed with The Knot here in Kansas City! Compare this with the hundred or so photographers listed when I first relocated here in 2005!?!

That’s RIDICULOUS growth!!

But choosing your wedding photographer is unlike the other decisions you’ll make for your wedding. You’ll select your photographer without knowing EXACTLY what it is your getting. Therefore it’s important to do a fair amount of research before making this very important decision. 

I’m sharing my top three tips on how to find the PERFECT wedding photographer for you.

Look through LOTS and LOTS of images…

First things first, you need to decide what you DO like and what you DO NOT like. Knowing your taste will help narrow the list somewhere. Many photographers coin themselves with terms like ‘photojournalist’ or ‘natural-light photographers’…

Don’t let buzz words fool you! Just LOOK through the photos and you’ll see for yourself what kind of photographs they really shoot.

As you look through an individual’s work, ask yourself these kinds of questions?

  • Are they creative? (RE: Do all of their images look repetitive.)
  • Were their images heavily manipulated in Photoshop?
  • Are their images a mix of candid and posed? Or is their style heavily one or the other?
  • Can they light a room artificially?
webster house ceremony

Fall in LOVE with your photographer.

Yes. I am serious! Once you’ve stumbled across images you LOVE- do a little more research on your photographer. Is this someone who will make you feel comfortable?

Reach out and connect DIRECTLY. Don’t leave your conversations specifically to emailing and messaging! It’s important to feel some connection when you talk with your photographer about your wedding plans. Try to match with someone who shares your energy level.

You get what you pay for-

One of my first photography jobs was working for John McManus– an architectural photographer in Savannah Georgia. I often quote things John once said while we were working. While several of them stick with me, my favorite was;

‘The bitterness of poor quality lingers long after the sweetness of low price. “

In this business, you get what you pay for and most of the time you’re paying for experience. Don’t get swept away with products & gimmicks they’ll include with their services. Look at THEIR IMAGES!! You’ll also notice some larger studios have several photographers on staff.

For instance, some wedding studios have multiple photographers on staff. If you want your wedding photographs to be personal, you’ll want to connect with your SPECIFIC photographer prior to the wedding day.

best wedding photo moments

This doesn’t mean meet in person! More than half of brides plan their wedding remotely, so if you’ve found images you LOVE don’t hesitate to set up a time to Skype, Facetime or hold a Zoom meeting with your photographer!

through the mass amount of individuals who’ve recently discovered photographer and don’t yet have the cat-like reflects which come with decades of shooting weddings!

xoxo adrienne signing off

Don’t Underestimate the POWER of a Bad Headshot! #truth

I get it. I really do!

Who has time for scheduling a headshot? It feels like a daunting task when you already have enough daily items on your ‘To-Do-List’. This can easily live at the bottom of everyone’s list.

If you are like me, there are some things I’ll can always find an excuse to avoid… like taxes- bleeeh!! No thanks.

For some, it’s having their photo taken. BUT if you choose your photographer wisely, you’ll look amazing AND feel like yourself.

But have you thought about what your current headshot says about you?

headshots professional photographer grey standard
Paul Verslius took my latest headshots.

Don’t underestimate the power of a BAD headshot!

Does your headshot make someone want to know more about you? Or does it make you look fake & untrustworthy? The truth is a bad headshot WILL turn people away.

As a portrait photographer, it’s my job to direct YOU.

Bring several options for clothing and together we will decide which outfit(s) look best. Professional hair and make-up is ideal for certain clients while others prefer less fuss! Ultimately it’s up to you; but based on my OWN experience- having someone fix my hair was well worth the additional cost.

I’ve helped hundreds of other business professionals, artists, educators, politicians, and fellow entrepreneurs showcase their best selves to potential clients!

Here are a few tips on what you should expect to get the BEST portrait-

Still plenty of individuals and businesses alike, rely on snapshots taken with a cell phone or poor quality images taken by an in-experienced photographer. The fact remains= better photos get more likes!

Portraits sculpted with light and crafted to perfection distinguish you from your constituents in a way few other things can.

While I provide branding sessions to help small businesses, artists and other entrepreneurs promote themselves; I also provide larger businesses, law firms, medical practices, etc. with headshots for all staff on site. Creating continuity throughout all headshots for staff directories and web presence.

The following list of questions is designed to get you started on the right track!

What style/ look does your business require?

Are you matching your headshot to a company standard? If so, tell your photographer so we can recreate similar lighting and background colors.

If you are starting fresh and building your brand, your images should illustrate your business in a way that resonates with your ideal clientele. Often this requires multiple scenes or what we often call ‘looks’ in branding photography. What kind of environment tells about your business? What type of ‘look’ connects you with your clients?

Do you need more than one ‘Look’?

Clothing can say a LOT so plan accordingly. Do you identify with ‘the suits’ or do you see yourself with your sleeves rolled-up? How many different ‘looks’ do you need?

Communicating your ideas to your photographer?

Open communication is the best way to receive your desired outcome from your branding session! Together we’ll brainstorm and make a list of ways to tell a story about your company. Screenshot & collect images which inspire you. Seek out photographs which demonstrate the feeling/look/style/lighting you’d like to achieve with your own images. Share all of this with me.

Here are a few examples to get your brain running-

  • Urban cityscape- business portraits in the heart of the city
  • Park Setting walking dog, everyday man
  • Talking with people & shaking hands
  • Place of Business, working at your desk, making calls
  • Fashion Portraits in-studio, Dynamic portraits
  • Singing in the shower, (Just kidding, checking to see who’s still reading!)

Standard Headshot Requirements for applications

If you require a headshot to complete an application, verify the requirements before booking your shoot. Typically a 3/4 length shot is required on a standard grey background. However a few different lighting variations have gained popularity in recent years.

  • Corporate Professional- Standard Grey Background
  • High Key- White Seamless Background
  • Low Key- Black Background
  • Black & White or Color

How much do headshots cost?

Just like with anything, you get what you pay for. On the low end you can expect to pay $200 for a decent single headshot. On the high end expect to pay $1000+ for several set-ups and a variety of ‘scene’ options.

It’s best to discuss what makes your business dynamic and determine how you stand out from the crowd. The best way to achieve this is by hiring a professional photographer who can create magazine quality, editorial images to promote and illustrate your brand.

These days we buy and sell everything online. Images are what grab our attention95% of the time our decisions are solely based on the aesthetic look of packaging!

So friends? How will you stand out from the crowd?

What does your current headshot say about you?! Send us a message. We’d love to help update your headshot to help promote your business, artistry or organization!!

xoxo adrienne signing off

What to Wear for Photos?

Do you have anxiety over choosing what to wear for photos? In fact, this is a frequent reason many people put OFF getting family photos.

This is the number one question I’m asked: What do I wear for my Photos?!?

Rest easy, friend cause I’ve got you covered! I’ve put together some guidelines to help prepare you for your next photo session. Remember download my TOP TIPS when preparing to be on camera or in front of an audience.

https://youtu.be/0kaFapW1_uo

psst: check out this fun video to see how I prepared for my latest headshots!

Don’t overthink what you’ll wear & bring several outfit options.

Select what to wear based on clothes YOU feel comfortable, confident and beautiful wearing. But here are a few things worth considering.

  • Darker colors have a slimming effect vs. a light color palette provides a fresh, lighter look good for Spring/Summer.
  • AVOID Prints and patterns UNLESS… used in small doses or as a splash of color.
  • Try to avoid sleeveless clothing unless you are laying with a cardigan or jacket.
  • NO short pants. (Think hairy MAN legs in your photos. Ya? No!)
  • Accessories can add flair but don’t over do it!
  • If you wear glasses, make sure they are clean.
  • Get a haircut at least ONE week prior to photos.
family portrait first baby

Dress in layers! Leggings + a camisole make a good bottom layer-

You don’t want to be tugging at your pants or re-adjusting your top because it doesn’t fit quite right! Therefore it is important to wear something that fits you well. Choose something that flatters YOUR figure.

Should I wear heels for photos?

Do you have an awesome pair of shoes you never get to wear? Well this is the perfect opportunity to show them off; however you’ll wear comfortable shoes to your shoot. A cute pair of flats should always be in your bag!

When choosing colors for your family, use the rule of three’s

Rule of three Choose 2 colors that work well together + 1 splash of color!

Personally… I love applying this rule to creamy whites & ivory’s with a splash of color. Once you have your 3 colors, the rest is easy! Vary your use of color by opting for a different fabrics with varying textures. Look at how each texture absorbs or reflects light. Pair with accessories that add bits of color and personality.

Stick within a tonal range:

  • Pastels (pinks and blues)
  • Primary colors (red and blue)
  • Earth tones (navy, tan, burgundy, or green)

You can safely add cream, whites and ivory to any color combination.

Solid colors or small simple prints work best.

Typically, only children should wear small prints while the adults stick to solid colors. If you want to incorporate plaids, bright colors and patterns- just tone it down by layering with a neutral jacket or sweater.

Portraits of Mom and Baby

what to wear for baby photos

Soft colors and pastels work well for babies & toddler. Although truthfully, chubby cheeks, budda bellies, stubby fat fingers & toes… these are some of my favorite things that define babies. Simple is better.

I prefer to photograph babies and children barefoot because I like tiny toes!

Choosing Clothing for CHILDREN

Avoid large animal characters or logos! Your clothes shouldn’t distract from the subject matter- your beautiful children.

Preparing for a LARGE Family Photo

Large family reunion type groups need special consideration. If you are the lucky person organizing for this, determine if your family is more formal or casual.

It is important all family members know the “theme” of the photo. If one family comes in suits and dresses and another comes in jeans and T-shirts, it might look a bit odd. Women will often be seated, so be certain skirts cover knees and are comfortably loose.

Again, keep things simple!

  1. Give them three colors
  2. Encourage variety in fabrics
  3. Suggest jeans or khaki’s
  4. NO shorts & NO sleeveless
large family portrait good examples of what to wear for photos

Tips to Remember:

Ladies remember to lipstick and powder.

Men don’t forget to bring a belt.

If you need a haircut, have it done at least a week before so that it has time to look natural

Don’t be afraid to mix it up to make your portraits unique- For instance, if you have a fun dress for your little girl (as seen below), select colors within the outfit to dress the rest of the family.

For more ideas, visit our Pinterest Page with things to get you inspired!

xoxo adrienne signing off

The BEST WORST week of my life; the week gramma died

Today was her birthday. December the 7th, on her last birthday she turned 90. I couldn’t return home last year and it was her last birthday…

For the first time since her death, she came alive in my dreams last night. She was the size of a child and we each took turns holding her carefully like an infant. Her laughter filled the air as we clamoured to profess how we missed her.

My alarm chimed for the day and the harsh reality of her death shocked me out of my happy dream.

It’s been six months since we buried her.

It still feels like yesterday and a million years all at once.

In March 2019 we learned suddenly Grandma was terminal. Yet as I rang in the New Year, I somehow knew it would be the year we lost her. Still, I sat in disbelief when my mother told me the news.

From the other end of the phone, I only heard the words ‘cancer’ & ‘aggressive’ before she put Grandma on the phone.

‘Hey little darlin’!’ Her happy sing-song voice chirped from the other end of the line.

‘Now, I know you’re gonna be worrying about this but don’t! I’ll be alright. Come Summer time we’ll all be back in the pool!’

Even as she said it, I knew we’d never be swimming in the pool together again.

That night after I put my daughter to bed, I gave in. I lost myself in my tears. My legs felt weak and my sobs could no longer be contained within my chest. I felt the weight of her inevitable death upon my shoulders.

As always she had a way of making everyone else feel better. She was ‘one tough cookie’, around for 90 years. Her body was spent but her mind was still everything we’d always known and loved.

Sharp as a tack but her speech couldn’t quite keep up. She was a proud woman bound and determined her entire life to do things herself. She believed she could do anything she put her time into and she was right.

‘I know what’s going to happen and I’m ok with it my little baby. You’ve got to learn to be ok with it too.’

Rubye & Max when they married and again 70 years later.
Rubye & Max with their great grand-daughters. My daughter, Emmaline is pictured in the middle.

Within a week of hearing the news of her cancer, I published my sloppy first episodes of the conversations I recorded with them. It forced me into learning how to record audio but I’m still an amateaur when it comes to video & editing.

Of course, I’d only wished I’d started sooner…

I immersed myself into my recorded footage and produced five more episodes before I stopped.

Listening to my discussion with them about death, I stopped. Paralyzed by the thought, knowing the hard truth; we were loosing her and it was coming soon.

Her wisdom and her laughter- the joy she brought into every room… in no way are we ever ready to conclude these chapters in our lives. We want to hold on, even as her body failed her. She was NINETY years old but it was not enough.

She died on a Saturday. We buried her on a Tuesday.

She went peacefully in her own bed surrounded by the ones she loved the most. It was a rainy Saturday morning the eighth of June. As the thunder boomed she drew her last breaths.

grandfather helping grandmother in bathroom
My grandfather helped my grandmother every morning. This photograph was taken the last morning she was able to sit up in her wheelchair. While I’d watched this routine for years, this was the last and only time I took photos.

She had the chance to tell everyone she loved, ‘Good-bye.’

Back in March while grandma was still in the hospital, she had ‘the goodbye’ conversation with me. It’s a conversation few are lucky to have with someone before they leave this world. It was over the phone but I longed to snuggle up next to her and feel her warm skin against mine.

I closed my eyes and listened intently, imagining her hand in mine.

‘I’ve lived a long full life. And you need to do the same. I’m so proud of the mother you’ve become and I’m so happy to see you free and soaring again. I always knew you were so special.’

But you must get up everyday and try.

That’s the secret.

Remember, if you don’t toot your own horn- it won’t get tooted!’

Death is truly a thought impossible to understand until you watch it happen.

Similar to birth, when a new life begins- we can not imagine how life will be with this new person until they are here. In death, all of of sudden, the life we knew is gone. The memories of time spent together is all that remains… and of course, photographs.

Ultimately THIS is the reason I document LIFE. I want to preserve every precious morsel of love and joy she gave.

Our last summer days with Grandma

As the month of May ended and children cheered for the days in the pool. Grandma very quickly lost her ability to do anything for herself. Our fears were being realized- her body began to give out.

The first week of June, I cancelled plans, called Southwest Airlines and hopped on a plane heading south. (*Southwest Airlines were AMAZING! I am a loyal, life customer for the way the handled my situation! Fly Southwest!)

In her last 5 days on Earth, she was surrounded by family. Each day we gathered around her hospice bed in the living room where once watched the nightly game shows- Jepardy and Wheel of Fortune. Tuesday evening was the last time we’d ever see those shows together.

The night she died, I held her hand and sang her the same songs she once sang to me in childhood. I held my tears until I left the room.

Photography Tips to help you Shoot like a Pro

Do you want to take better photos but don’t know where to start? Do you currently have a-zillion photos on your phone and no plans with what to do with them?? In this post I’m going to share a few photo tips to get you thinking like a pro!

Just like everything, Photography has some basic rules to follow. ‘Photography rules are essential because they provide a foundation for more advanced photography tips and tricks later on. Learn the rules first, so you have more creative control when breaking them later. Learn as you go — don’t let it prevent you from picking up a camera.’ (borrowlenses.com)

1) Change your Viewpoint 

Spend a few minutes analyzing your subject from all angles. Otherwise- MOVE! Don’t stand in one spot… walk around your subject! 

Get on the ground, climb a tree! {ok not literally}

As you move, take into account how the light moves as you do. Look past your subject to notice what’s distracting in the background.  Are there colors or objects that should be cropped from your frame?

Challenge yourself to snap 5 frames from each vantage point and analyze the results. Do not change your camera settings, just focus on your subject, shoot then move. Repeat.

MAKE NOTE:: When your viewpoint changed, how did this effect your subject within the frame. How did this influence the implied story? 

photograph child and puppy

2) Find the Light

Photography is ‘painting with light’. This will never change. The most dynamic photographs are ones with beautiful light and natural light is something every photographer must learn to master.

This is really the number ONE thing you need to learn but it can take a while to develop a photographic eye for seeing light.

Light is ALL around us! It doesn’t just come from the sun.

It can be reflected light as well, which is why you see photographers using reflectors on a bright sunny day. They are bouncing the sunlight off the reflector and into their subject’s face!

Try this tip!

Extend your arm out in front of you with your palm vertically facing you. Now rotate with your palm facing you until you turn 360 degrees. As you turn, watch the light on your palm. Notice where the shadows fall as you turn and how the lines in your hands become flat or gain dimension. Notice where the light is illuminating your hand in an appealing way. 

Now coax your subject into THAT light!

3) Don’t ask your subject to smile and say cheese!

We *think* we want everyone smiling at the camera. But do we? Really??

Whenever we ask someone to smile for the camera, what usually happens?!? 

They stop, reach out their arms awkwardly embracing the person next to them. They freeze a smile. It’s fake, boring and it does nothing to help us remember the experience we are attempting to document.

The most interesting images are the ones we can look at again and again without getting bored. For me, this means subjects interacting and enjoying the photo experience. The moments where the individuals I’m photographing forget I’m there. 

Children are the best subjects before they’ve been trained to ‘hold a smile’ for the camera. 

Try it out. Just sit with your camera in hand until the people and children around forget you have a camera!

Hopefully these simple photography tips will have you on the way to creating beautiful images!

I’d love to hear your thoughts on what worked and what didn’t?

Share your stories on Facebook and Instagram @amaplesphoto!

xoxo adrienne signing off

How to Photograph the Best Moments on Wedding Day

wedding photographer photographing groomsmes
Behind the scenes, photographer Adrienne Maples working with the groomsmen just before the wedding ceremony in Lawrence, Kansas.

When I started photographing weddings, I obliged to the requests of my clients accepting ‘wedding shot lists‘ assuming they knew what photographs they wanted. Tirelessly I worked capturing lengthy lists of details and various combinations of group photographs.

  • Details: the cake, the rings, the dress, shoes,
  • Flowers: boutineer, bouquet, special flowers
  • Bride with mom, Bride with dad, Bride w/ mom & dad…
  • Ceremony: each bridesmaid/groomsmen walking into the ceremony, bride with dad, groom seeing bride…
  • yada, yada…

I called these my ‘Where’s Waldo’ wedding treasure hunts and most of these requests were obvious to me. (Re: Photos with your parents! Of course I’m gonna do that!!)

Eventually, I’ve devised a way to coordinate group shots making them efficient yet allowing enough flexibility for real moments to develop. I began engineering ways to guide individuals, capturing beautiful details while snapping moments in-between the line items on my ‘list’.

But looking down checking a list, was making me miss the action taking place in front of me! After many years and hundreds of weddings, I’ve learned wedding day is full of wonderful stories. Yet it takes a skilled and capable photographer to anticipate and effectively capture these unexpected moments.

best wedding moments flowergirl and bridesmaids

After the wedding is over, the in-between moments are the most cherished memories from the day. Loved MORE than any list of expected shots!

best bridal portrait

So I want to review some of my favorite moments on wedding day and some tricks I use to achieve the photographs for which I am known.

bride ringbearers flowergirl

#1) Just after ‘I Do’

Sure this is on the most obvious moments to be ready with your camera! However sometimes couples forget to give themselves a moment to just breathe after the ceremony!? They quickly rush to the next event leaving no time to savor the moment.

I advise my couples to give themselves a 5-10 minute break between the conclusion of the ceremony and their next activity.

Why? Because these first moments can bring a sense of finality and closure to the entire process of planning for a wedding. Upon reflecting back on their wedding day, the majority of my couples say these were their favorite moments of the entire day! And oftentimes, they don’t even remember I was there.

Photography Tip: Ignore your photographer immediately after the ceremony! Relish the moment you are in and simply BE MARRIED!!

This moment occurred just after the guests blew bubbles while the bride and groom exited the church. I was disappointed the guests weren’t more engaged in the background, if they were it’d make the shot spectacular.
wedding moment leaving ceremony
This photograph was taken from the front seat of the vehicle just after the bride and groom exited the ballroom where they’d attended their traditional Hindu wedding ceremony.

#2 ) The Bridesmaids

Who wouldn’t want to photograph a bunch of fun-loving, beautiful girls in formal wear??

From the doating bestie to the girlfriend who’s more concerned about how she fits in her dress, the bridesmaids are sure to provide entertaining photography moments all day long! In recent years, it’s become more challenging to convince bridesmaids to put away their phones and live in the moment. But when given the opportunity to play for the camera, the bridesmaids are sure to bring lots of enthusiasm to create some memories.

During these photographs, the longevity of the flowers need consideration. On a hot summer day, flowers will wilt quickly! Once I had a thoughtless bridesmaid set down the bridal bouquet in the noon sun. My assistant was quick to notice and promptly returned it to a bucket of ice but not before the hydrangeas began to wilt.

Beautiful flowers can quickly turn into something less than gorgeous. So you might consider keeping the flowers indoors until after the ceremony. Wedding day is full of compromises and your photographer might decide to take photos without flowers in order to keep them fresh and lovely.

Photographer Tip: When playing with your friends encourage everyone to wear comfortable shoes! Most likely your feet won’t appear in the photographs up and comfy footwear goes a long way in keeping everyone comfortable during photos.

#3) The Bride getting into her Gown

Something magical happens when a bride slips on her wedding gown. She is immediately transformed into a bride and this moment can be very powerful. This moment was once a standard ‘bride looks at herself in the mirror’ which was noted on my ‘Where’s Waldo treasure hunt. But much more is going on that the bride noticing herself.

Mom wipes away tears, girlfriends beam with admiration and the bride finally feels like a bride!

Photography Tip: While I don’t like to ‘direct’ on wedding day, I do encourage important players to be ready just prior to the bride getting into her gown. Since there can be tender moments with loved ones, it’d advisable everyone is dressed and ready to be photographed.

giddy bride smiles as she shows off her gown
bride hugs mom with tears
bridesmaid hands bride a handkerchief
 bride getting into gown matron of honor helps

#4) The Toast

By far, one of my favorite parts of wedding day are the toasts! No one is paying attention to your photographer by this point in the evening and I have free range to move about the room, scanning the crowd and watching emotions run wild.

Typically, I’ve taken some time to set up dynamic lighting throughout the reception with the intention of highlighting important key figures. This extends beyond the bride and groom to their parents, friends and close relatives. Ideally the reception is set up in a way that makes these important people easy to find and photograph.

I set up with a long lens and keep my eyes peeled. There are plenty of stories waiting to be told.

bridegroom wiping away tears

Truthfully, every wedding day is full of amazing moments worth photographing! From the gorgeous floral displays and adorable children to the intimate moments between loved ones that can easily be over-looked. When film was precious and photographers counted their frames, the wedding ceremony was dubbed THE place to capture the intimate details of wedding day but it’s not like this anymore.

The times have changed and we should expect more than mediocre photographs checked off a pre-determined list!

Your photographer should have the ability to anticipate key moments as well as take advantage of elements of the day. In the two frames below, I used elements of the wedding day to create something memorable. With some simple direction and creative lighting- beautiful portraits can be taken in a matter of minutes.

Photographer Tip: Simply allow yourself some flexibility on wedding day if you want creative portraits. Communicate this to your photographer and together you can devise a plan to make it happen.

photo moment bride groom kiss in car
best bridal portrait kansas city Clubhouse

Weddings are beautiful chaos and a skilled photographer will anticipate where to be in order to capture the moment before it happens. Remember to choose your wedding team wisely!

xoxo adrienne signing off

Little Girls Grow Up; The Senior Portrait Experience

It’s been several years since I’ve seen her.

I met her and the rest of the family several years ago when her oldest brother was a senior at Blue Valley. While the entire family towered over me, Macy and her younger brother were about my height. They were both in their early teens and not yet finished growing. Now Macy had returned to see me for her senior photographs.

blond girl fashion portrait pantsuit

The grey paper background was pulled down in the studio blocking the view of front entrance. As I finishing up with my session on the other side, Macy quietly slipped into the studio. As I walked around the corner and saw her sitting there-

I let out a gasp.

She sat with her long legs crossed in front of her and long blond locks cascaded down her back. She looked like Malibu Barbie sitting there and I was in awe of her transformation. I couldn’t believe my eyes.

“Is that really you??” 

Surely this couldn’t be the same little girl that was MY height only a few years ago??

I definitely didn’t look so composed when I was seventeen…

best senior portraitssenior portrait blond girl in jumpsuitbest senior portraits in overland park

 

When Macy stood to greet me, she let out a nervous giggle quietly telling me she felt so tall.

I smiled back, reassuring her we are each blessed with individuality. There is a benefit she owns by her height and there is some talent in my ability to fit into small spaces.

Opposite of her, I felt every inch of my 5’1’… admiring her towering presence and a slightly sad to see the ‘little’ girl I met years ago had disappeared.

My instinct was to hug her instantly!!!

…but with teenagers you haven’t seen in a while, it’s slightly creepy looking at them in bewilderment like they are still the kid you once knew. Instead, I wrote this blog post thinking some of you could relate!

Until Next Time,

xoxo adrienne signing off

This Kansas City Wedding Photographer still LOVES capturing weddings

After a week of phone tag, I dialed Anna’s number preparing to leave another voicemail. Instead this time I hear an anxious voice speaking as if she were mid-sentence…‘Oh! Adrienne!! I’m finally talking to you! Please tell me you are available ..’

Her voice was radiant, beaming with the kind of excitement for which Anna is known. She’d heard my name from several other wedding professionals she’d consulted and she had already decided I was her girl.

So…’ Anna continued- ‘Can you be there for my wedding, please say YES!’

wedding flowers bride portrait

But the word was out in the wedding world..“… Adrienne might not be taking on more weddings!?!”

{GASP… long pause! Say WHAT?!}

I’ve held the esteemed title of wedding photographer for the last 16 years.  On average, I’ve taken 10-12 weddings a year along with a hundred or so other assignments. However there was that year I recall shooting 32…. Yeah, that about killed me!

Not only did my body hate me after 32 weddings but I was consumed. In order to maintain quality and consistency, my wedding count needed to be cut- significantly! I needed to take a step back and learn from the experience before moving forward.

There are a limited number of weekends I have with my daughter. Her childhood is limited and taking on a wedding is much, much more than ‘just showing up for one day‘ in someone’s life. It’s the beginning of something much bigger.

Anna reminded me of that…

Something significant happens when you find the right team of people to support you throughout the wedding process. When you ‘click’ with your wedding professionals, a special kind of magic happens. Every time-tested wedding professional will tell you the same thing:

“Weddings are exhaustively wonderful when you have a passion for the job AND the people you work with. We work harder, stronger and BETTER together.”

laughing bridesmaids purple gownsWithin my 20 year love affair with the camera , I’ve seen first hand how technology has revolutionized the way we think and feel about ‘the image’.  Film once limited the playing field, leaving photography for those truly invested in understanding the camera and how together light could create magic on film. Film was limiting; digital is limitless.

Today’s affordable technology affords the average Joe to take up photography overnight. Within this kind of market, it’s easy to lose your passion. I’ve watched trends come and go yet stayed true to what I do best, capture moments and tell stories.

It’s more than understanding my camera and light; it’s about understanding people and relationships. I’m there to support the team and help everyone feel at ease with me behind the camera.

three wedding moments ceremonyAnna reminded me of my passion for people.

My passion for photography is quite obvious. But photography + wedding = LOTS of crazy challenges and unexpected situations. And I LOVE IT!! Thrust me into a wonderful mix of chaos and I thrive.

In short, that’s the definition of wedding day- and on Anna’s wedding day I arrived with butterflies in my stomach! Still today, I get nervous before I start shooting.

I set up lights and reviewed the day with the wedding coordinator, Abby Church. The dance floor was in the midst of the transformation, as Landers Visions wrapped the room in luxurious fabric and Maple Lane Designs created masterful displays of greenery.

A quick tour of the property and I entered the room where the ladies were busy buzzing as the bride sat for finishing touches on her lips and hair. The smell of perfume fills the air and the room looks like someone’s closet exploded. I step in, quickly introduce myself and attempt to guess one of their names based on my strategic ‘Amazing-Adrienne-Name-Remembering-Technique’.

Wrong Asian!’ her cousin replies laughing. The girls giggle as I agree to her astute statement about my strategy. The room erupts in laughter and just like that, I’m part of the group.

They chit chat about days past and THE moment they new the boy was meant for their girl. Our times flies together while I watch the day unfold.

****

You select the most important people in your life to stand with you as you take this step forward.

You are establishing your team. When my brides find me, they are telling me they trust me to tell their story. And that means I’m entrusted with making decisions throughout the day based on a variety of factors.

In Anna’s case, we were behind schedule in getting the gals to the church. The trolley was scheduled to drop the gals at the church then go pick up the guys.  While the bridesmaids got onto the trolley, I choose to spend a few minutes on bridal portraits and portraits with her mother.

While my instinct was to follow the girls to the church, instead we tried to catch the guys.

EEK! WRONG decision… the guys left already! ACK….

Every wedding day, I work hard running a million miles an hour. Each wedding comes with it’s own set of challenges (a wicked hot day, snow in May, someone rips their pants, running behind schedule… Sh*t happens!). You’ve gotta roll with it! Perform despite challenging circumstances- every decision MAKES the day.

Re: the Unity Candle… I’ll let those photos do the talking.

****

Who doesn’t LOVE Anna?

Around this time last year, was when I had my first call with Anna. While I can’t remember the specifics after the way she answered the phone, it was clear we had an instant connection. It’s hard NOT to fall in love with her zest for life and the energy she brings to a room!

Her wedding day was a blur… big smiles, gregarious laughter, family hugs.. and the occasional unexpected tears.

But the highlight of the day was the round of toasts offered by those closest to the couple. Anna’s father stood in the center of the room and told about his girl. While his toast was full of funny stories about a child Anna, his sincerity and devotion filled the room with palpable emotion.

This was my moment to shine… I needed to tell these moments without words. I had to capture the feelings we shared together in that moment. The love and beginning of a brand new day. A new family.

***
Want More??? It’s all in the details baby!

View ALL galleries from this wedding right HERE!!

Adrienne Maples is an internationally award winning photographer based in Kansas City.

Starting Kindergarten; Survival Tips

It’s hard to believe my little daughter is heading into third grade next week. Just yesterday, it seems I was preparing to send her to kindergarten. Since it’s been a few years since we began this journey, I thought I’d share a few tips on how I prepared for her first year in school.

Starting Kindergarten: Tips for parent and child

starting kindergarten‘I’m ready momma… it’s time to wake up!’

My five year old giggles as she mushes my face with sloppy morning kisses, “I love you, love you, LOVE you!!” she exclaims as she jumps out of bed and runs to put on her clothes.

She’d picked out her outfit the night before and she was already dressed before I manage to reach the kitchen.

I am not a morning person. But her excitement lifts my morning fog.

‘This is going to be soooo good!’ she says as she grabs her kitty-cat backpack and pulls my hand towards the door.

“Come on momma, your wasting time!’

***

We arrive at school and walk her into her kindergarten classroom.  It’s buzzing with children, while parents snap photos of their kiddos and others attempt hiding tears from their children. I choke back a few proud tears myself, as we watch our joyous girl giggle as she finds her desk. She smiles proudly as she takes her seat & puts on her name tag.

She is ready for this day even if we are not.

Starting kindergarten is bittersweet. Some parents achieve a new found freedom at this stage while others find they are now confined within the parameters of the school day. To be quite honest, I can’t quite tell if I am coming or going and I already miss our mornings together.

starting kindergarten with your five year old

Survival Tips for Starting Kindergarten:

  1. Preschool. Any amount of preschool will help prepare your child to feel comfortable in a class room environment. Even summer camp before kindergarten can make a big difference. This also helps parents develop coping skills and understanding of what to expect once school officially starts.
  2. Positive Affirmations. Speaking positive affirmations daily will remind you both that you are ready for this change. Praise them for exhibiting positive, independent behaviors
  3. Practice. practice, practice! We play school around here.. a lot. But we also practice how we handle situations when someone is mean to you. My daughter thinks this is fun and it helps her develop confidence to speak up for herself and resolve her own situations without tears. We take turns being the ‘mean’ kid and ‘nice’ kid.
    1. Mean kid: ‘You aren’t my friend, I don’t want you playing over here.’
    2. Response: ‘That’s ok, I have plenty of friends. Besides I’m the boss of me and you are the boss of you.
  4. Play dates. Lots of them. This helps your child transition from spending all of their playtime with you to playing independently with other kids.
    • Parent Tip: Try to let them resolve differences on their own. When you hear your child arguing with another child, don’t be so quick to fix the problem for them. Give them some time to settle it on their own before inserting yourself into the situation.
  5. Rip it off like a band aid!  The first day is usually harder for parents than the kids.  When you drop off, quickly say your goodbyes.  And say something positive about your child, ‘Go get ’em tiger! You’ve got this!’
  6. No crying in front of the kid. Hold back the tears until you leave.  You want to leave on a positive note and your tears will confuse your child. They can’t comprehend the complex emotions that make this sad for us; so be certain they see you leave happy and confident that they can do this on their own!

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2016-08-15_00052016-08-15_0008***

Your Family Photographer

How the family photographer becomes part of the story.

This time, I learned the exciting news from an excited grandmother Facebook!  I’ve known Ashley & Chris since they got engaged and I was there when they said ‘I do.’  And this made it all the more exciting to learn the couple had settled temporarily in Overland Park.

Documenting this family grow and change is a joy unlike anything I prepared for in school.

Ashley has great visual style. She studied graphic arts in school & has a wonderful sense of design.  After having so much fun designing all of the stationary & paper goods from her own wedding, she began creating her own collections of stationary to inspire others Something You Design.

When I sought out to provide my artistic talents to others, I had no idea that I would become PART of something much bigger than myself.

Each time I arrive to photograph this growing family, I feel right at home. The oldest, Ryann, often writes letters that I can give my own daughter. Elsie now insists on kissing me on the check before I leave and Thea.. well she’s two. She alternates between hugs and trying to get me to chase her.

When I photograph Ashley pregnant, I strive to make each portrait different from the last. This is what I came up with when she was pregnant with her second, Elsie. (maternity photography)

And this is when she was pregnant with Thea. (maternity photographer)

Just months before the newest sister arrives, the girls came to my Overland Park Photography studio. We told the story of who the girls are before their little sister arrives. Family photography can be fun for everyone when you choose the right photographer!

Hi! I’m Adrienne

The first time I fell in love, it was with the 35mm Minolta camera my mom gave me in middle school.

 

Film taught me patience and I studied the craft before digital technology revolutionized the world-

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After graduating from the Savannah College of Art & Design, I launched my studio and I've never looked back.

 

More than a decade later, as an artist & now mother, I'm more passionate about documenting moments, telling stories & learning from every mistake.

 

My mission? Helping others any way I can!

 

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