Lauren and Trevor's Farm  Wedding

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Lauren and Trevor's Farm Wedding

There's something to be said for a wedding day that allows the little moments, interactions, personal touches to just breathe. And there's something about a Kansas field that just makes everyone breathe a little easier, at least it does for me. Lauren and Trevor's wedding day was such a joy to photograph, because the setting was beautiful, the weather was lovely, the details were pretty, but most of all because Lauren and Trevor just stayed focused on what the day was all about. No stress. Just happy.

Thank you so much for trusting us with your story. Thank you for letting us join such a fun day and soak it all in with you. Enjoy the photos from their wedding at Stone Hill Barn below. :) 

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Love in the Flint Hills of Kansas

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Love in the Flint Hills of Kansas

I can think of few things I enjoy more than the Kansas Flint Hills at sunset on a mild summertime evening. Except when you add in an awesome couple who are SO in love with each other, and a restored vintage family heirloom truck, and then you have the makings of a shoot that goes well into the evening and even past when the sun sets over the western green hills. Nate and Megan are a dream to photograph, and I am so excited for their wedding this fall. I can't wait to share more of their story.

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Elizabeth & Matthew on Squam Lake

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Elizabeth & Matthew on Squam Lake

There's a lake in New Hampshire where the water is deep blue, rain rolls in and just as quickly out, cliffs rise up around it, wooded islands scatter throughout the waters, and where life just feels a little slower paced. It's a lake where memories are made, families retreat for a season, sparks fly, and the sweet parts of life happen. And it's a lake that welcomes guests warmly, as ties are tied, dresses zipped, flowers arranged, and two people speak vows to one another, musicians play, candles flicker, and partygoers celebrate into the early hours of the morning.

Elizabeth and Matt invited us in to their story, one that was overwhelming in all good senses of the word. They are thoughtful, warm, loving, kind, and simultaneously focused on the details and the big picture. Their wedding weekend was such a joy to be a part of, and we are thrilled to share with you this TEASER video from the weekend. While we filmed for three days, and have a wonderful longer, rich story to tell about the whole weekend, this teaser film gives a sneak peek into the wedding day and what made it so special. We're saving a lot of footage from more special moments to be revealed in their longer film, but we just love this sneak peek.

But be careful when watching it, because you just might fall in love with a lake called Squam. :)

(For best quality playback, please make sure the HD option is turned on. Then press play, then pause and let it load all the way before pressing play again!)

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Ashley & Bryce: Engaged

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Ashley & Bryce: Engaged

It's a love story waiting for a romantic comedy plot. Classy Cat (the dance team at K-State) meets a member of the marching band. :) Ashley and Bryce have the natural, comfortableness that comes with knowing someone really well, and liking someone a whole bunch. It's a good recipe for a great start to marriage. I'm so excited to celebrate with Ashley and Bryce on their wedding day next May, but for now, we braved the (extreme) heat together and captured some fun photos of them around Kansas City, the location to their summertime of engagement while they both happen to be here for work and an internship... in the same building!

Ashley and Bryce, I'm so honored that you've trusted me to preserve this time of your lives. Enjoy the sneak peek!

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Welcome, Baby Emma

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Welcome, Baby Emma

Their wedding day still feels like a dream to me. It was one of those days where everything was just perfectly beautiful. The two of them, their love for each other, the venue, the lights, the surprises, the details. Just so much love, and it was a day where everything just clicked (pun intended...) in my camera, too. I've come to realize that it really has nothing to do with me. Their wedding day (and engagement photos, and day-in-the-life photos at home before they were parents) were all so beautifully authentic because these two just have something special. So seeing them as parents was a real joy for me. Watching how they soothed their baby, worked as a team, looked lovingly at this new little life, gently spoke her name. It was all beautiful. Just so full of love like everything I've ever witnessed between them. :)

I couldn't be happier for you, and your sweet baby girl has some amazing parents! Congratulations. :)

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Baby on the way

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Baby on the way

There is nothing quite like the anticipation that comes with first-time parenthood. It's bittersweet to be at a place that feels further away from that time with each season that passes, but it also feels like yesterday. The planning, prepping, dreaming, name-discussing, and wondering are all so unique to that stage of life. Even the second time around, it's not quite the same. As a parent, I want to say "soak it all in!" but remember how annoying it was for people to say things like that (and "go to movies while you can!" ha ha...).

But really, Vina and Jason, I hope you soak it all in. Enjoy this time, because it is so sweet. But I promise it's only going to get better when your little guy arrives. :)

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Summertime nostalgia

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Summertime nostalgia

Summertime is the season that is filled with nostalgia for me. Waking up in a room that already feels a little too warm, bright sun streaming in -- summer days start and end with reminiscent thoughts, almost as if the humidity carries all of those old memories. It might be because summer was when a lot of those sticky memories happened: vacations, slower days, playing outside, eating watermelon with salt from my grandpa's garden, sleepovers with best friends. 

So when, as an adult, I get to help create summertime memories for my growing kids, it brings me so much joy. And when best friends who are still best friends come to visit, it's even sweeter.

--

My best friend since we were 6 years old brought her girls and her mom to spend the night with us, play in the sprinklers, and break in our new house a little. Before they left, we also had to do a quick shoot in the backyard, because that's what best friends who are photographers do. :) Love these girls.

 

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Sow Kindness, Reap Love.

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Sow Kindness, Reap Love.

Tap tap... Is this thing on? 

Well, it's been a while. 7 months or so since I've visited this blog and written words and shared pictures. I don't even know why, except to say that when our historical blog content from 6 or so years didn't get moved over to our new site, the wind just left my sails. It stopped feeling like I was contributing to an ongoing story that had been recorded of countless people, couples, families, all connected because of my camera lens. It felt like starting over, and like the voice didn't exist. And also, life has been really busy. I'm learning a lot about seasons. Seasons where priorities have to adjust to make space for new. I thought, this is a season where I'm too busy to write. And if I don't write words to go with pictures, then how is this better than just sharing a few sneak peeks on Facebook? So I asked the question of my Facebook friends, and almost everyone who responded said: get back to blogging. Stories are bigger than Facebook.

So, here I am. Jumping back in to blog a session featuring one of those lovely voices who said, "just try again. It's worth it." And this is the perfect session to do that with, because Renee is a woman of intention, of thoughtfulness, of celebrating beauty and goodness even when things feel a little crazy.

I spent a short time last week with Renee and JP in their backyard, where they've been tending to all sorts of gardening projects. I have seen this backyard before -- most notably, as a place of celebration for a big life event, full of people and noise. But on this night, the backyard is a place for celebrating the little things that make up life, although those things aren't regarded with any less importance. This yard is a place where they retreat to do work that feels like an escape from work. A place where butterflies get saved. Where weeds are pulled to make room for the beautiful. Where mothers are honored with blooms. Where dreaming about hostas the size of people happens. Where there's room for big talks, little talks, or no talking. Where plants are rescued, just like a beloved dog. Where rocks are painted to commemorate special people, special dates. Where roots meet soil. Where the good stuff lives. 

Everything has purpose. Everything has meaning. Everything is cared for.

Renee and JP, thank you for this.

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The Hisers

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The Hisers

Snuggly session. At home. Christmas tree. Coffee mugs. Firetrucks and trains. Newborn yawns. Perfection.

(Clicking on an image below will pull up a larger slideshow).

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Baby Leo

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Baby Leo

Baby Leo entered the world in his home and remains snugly there with the rest of his sweet family, who I've had the privilege to know nad photograph from his parents' engagement stage! :) Here's a session we did at home.

Clicking on an image below will bring up a slideshow.

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A little plastic camera

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A little plastic camera

We have this little plastic toy camera that we love to use for some nostalgic-feeling videos, like this one of our family in Paris when Ben was just learning to walk. 

I (Erica) have never used it for anyone but our own family, so the Hisers agreed to let me try it out during a family portrait session in their home. I love the results. It's low-fi, simple, grainy, and shaky. But it has a certain feeling and sweetness and rawness that I just love. And this song is one of my favorites as the year ends and a new one begins.

I hope you enjoy this little video of a sweet family.

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Story time.

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Story time.

I (Erica) am sitting here in our quiet house. Our boys are asleep, their toys are still scattered across the living room. My couch is half put back together, but the rest of the pillows are still stacked in the remnants of a fort wall. The dishes are clean, but it's a minor miracle. The dog is curled up on my brand-new wool blanket that I should probably make him move from but he's so cozy that I can't make him move. The Christmas lights are on, and the house smells like frasier fir (and dinner and Vicks Vapor Rub and I'm-not-sure-what-else).

These kinds of days, these are it. These are the days that stories are made of. Not big stories, like my grandpa(s) used to tell. Not stories that make a whole room laugh at a punchline. Just life. The little things -- the anecdotes, if you'll humor me -- that make up the bigger story of WHO we are. 

We launched Anecdotally Yours back in 2012 after several years of running separate photo and video businesses. When we did, we named ourselves this silly name because we wanted people to resonate with the idea that we are capturing anecdotes (short, biographical stories) of their life when they invite us to photograph or film them. Often, it's on a really important day or for a really important milestone. But sometimes, it's just normal, just everyday. And I'm realizing those are some of my favorite things to preserve.

"Story" has become quite a buzzword. It's in so. many. advertising messages. You can't escape it. And you know why? Because we, as humans, CARE ABOUT STORIES. Our own story and other people's stories. I promise we're not about buzzwords or targeting our marketing at you. We really care about your story, and need to get better about capturing our own.


So, in honor of stories, and you, and us caring about stories and you, let's do something fun. We're going to give away a family documentary photography session. All you have to do is comment on this blog post with a short version of your favorite personal story from 2016. Tell us something you don't want to forget about this year. Could be something big, but it could be something pretty mundane. Comment below, and we'll randomly pick someone to win a family documentary photography session!

THE DETAILS:

  • For people/couples/families in the Kansas City metro area only
  • Must leave a comment below with a piece of your story from 2016. Make sure you write your name in the comment if you're not logged in to a Google or Facebook account, since your post will appear as Anonymous.
  • The winner will get a one-hour family documentary photo session (typically in your home. This isn't a "traditional" family, baby, or engagement session, and can't be used on a wedding day. It's more real-life documentary and less posed images!)
  • Digital files included
  • Photo session must be redeemed before April 1, 2017
  • Entries accepted until midnight on Friday, December 9th
  • Winner will be announced after the 9th here on our blog and on our new Instagram account, @anecdotallyyours
  • Want an extra entry? Follow our brand new Instagram account (we're really trendsetters, just now getting a separate account for AY...) @anecdotallyyours and post a photo on your own IG of one of your favorite moments of this year and tag @anecdotallyyours in the caption (that's the only way we'll be able to count your entry!).

Also, we've just launched this new website to freshen up our look and it's exciting for us! The last 5 years of our blog posts from our old site are still missing...we're working on it. And we still have some more content to add to the photo galleries (this many years of stories is kind of lot to work through!). For now, have a look around. Let us know if anything isn't working right or if you want to see more of something.

We're thankful for you all. Thank you for sharing with us, and for trusting us to tell your stories.

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Sam at home.

I can't explain how wonderful it is to see people go from engaged, to married, to parents. It's even better when I get to capture life stages with my camera for the same family, like these cuties and Sam, who has perfected facial expressions. All of them. They're all that good. :)

Enchanted forest maternity session

Enchanted forest maternity session

Okay, guys, it wasn't really an enchanted forest. That's just what I was calling it in my head as we planned and scouted locations for Rachel's maternity photos. And it worked! Love these images of Rachel right before they got to meet their second son.

Oh, Rebecca.

Oh, Rebecca.

Such a doll baby. I am obsessed with her sweet little face!

Two: the busiest age.

Two: the busiest age.

What's the secret to photographing a two year old? Just. Keep. Moving. :) Love what we captured during this session -- lots to explore, see, and do with a little guy!

They just keep growing up

They just keep growing up

I've been photographing this family for years now -- and their kids keep getting taller and cuter. We have to keep thinking of new locations to mix it up each year, and this was a fun off-the-beaten-path spot that I hadn't been to before. Loved it and I always love my time with this cute family.

Peter at the park

Peter at the park

Gosh, this boy is TOO CUTE. And this park? It's where his dad grew up playing and riding bikes. Love it. I hope when our boys are big, they live close enough to us to take my grandkids to the park they grew up playing in. Is it too soon to wish that, when they aren't even school aged yet? :)

World, Meet Eliza

World, Meet Eliza

It never gets old, documenting the arrival of a new little life and the moments where important people meet that little person for the very first time. I was honored to get to photograph big brother Abe and big sister Madeline when they meet their baby SISTER (a surprise until they entered the room!) for the first time.