Rebecca Clair Photography
 intimate winter lifestyle engagement photos at Burr Oak woods in Blue Springs, MO near Kansas City

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Posts in Small Business
Saving the World by Beauty; Melissa’s Senior Celebration Session {Kansas City Lifestyle Photographer}
 Latte with rose petals in a coffee shop, Kansas City lifestyle photographer, Kansas City senior photographer, Kansas City small business headshots, Kansas City lifestyle blogger, candid portrait, winter portrait session, Monarch Coffee

When we sat down at Monarch Coffee, Melissa pulled out a journal and a little paperback book titled Dorothy Day: The World Will Be Saved By Beauty. I know only a little about Dorothy Day and even less about this particular book, but the subtitle intrigued me (so much so that I just ordered it from the library).

As we chatted over lattes (Melissa ordered a pistachio rose latte with dried rose petals sprinkled on top – by far the loveliest and most unique latte I’ve ever seen!), I began to understand how that book title reflected so much more than just a random addition to her reading list.

Beauty is an integral part of who Melissa is and what brings her joy. She loves flowers, glitter, poetry, and the color purple and laughed out loud at the unexpected gift of simple things like flower petals on her latte (after she had given up on the idea having flowers for a February photo session). But she’s also a strong, determined woman who carries her warm, bubbly personality into some admittedly difficult places. After studying nursing in undergrad, she is now finishing up a master’s degree in social work. Every week she puts her ideals into action at her job at a local women’s shelter. And she wasn’t afraid to embrace the beauty of her life right now by scheduling a photo session for just herself as she celebrates finding her voice again in this season and entering a career that she is absolutely passionate about.

And as she sipped her latte, Melissa pointed out the tattoo on her wrist – a simple semicolon – and shared that it serves as a tangible reminder of her hope, a permanent declaration (to both herself and others) that the story isn’t over and that beauty will still prevail.

Do you find hope and encouragement in beauty? How do you make space for beauty in your own life?

Crepes and Russian Fairytales; A Small Business Story {Kansas City Small Business Photographer}
 Kansas City small business lifestyle photography seven swans creperie woman making crepes

Maybe it’s the former creative writing major in me, but I love telling stories. It’s one of my favorite things about this business of portrait photography. When I work with a couple or family, I get to hear a bit of their story and then I get to share a little glimpse of that story, first through the images I create during our session and then later through the blogs I write.

This year, though, I’m discovering that I also deeply enjoy hearing and sharing the stories of small businesses. As I dig deeper into my own business journey, I’m realizing that, like me, most businesses have stories, born out of their owner’s dreams and passions, personalities and relationships, and life experiences. For most business owners, their business is about so much more than just a product (though most have spent months or even years perfecting their products). Instead, their brands encompass so much personality and story. And I love hearing and capturing those stories through lifestyle branding and headshot photography. These sessions give me the opportunity to not only photograph beautiful products, crafted with passion and excellence, but to also capture the people behind those products or services and the joyful work that spurred them to start their own business in the first place.

Kate is one of those business owners and Seven Swans Creperie was definitely birthed out of a sweet story of passions, dreams, and perseverance. As Kate’s friend, I’ve had a bit of an insider’s view of her business story. And let me tell you, it’s beautiful. Her crepes and soon-to-be-finished mobile creperie (which is the sweetest little renovated trailer!) are the product of years of dreaming, longing, and waiting, of excitement and passion mixed with plenty of discouragement, shifting plans, and a TON of hard work.

I think that’s a big part of what I love about her story. I can connect with it. I’ve never made a crepe in my life (and maybe never will, if I can keep eating these fantastic ones that Kate makes!) but in my role as an entrepreneur, pursuing my passions through the ups and downs of starting and growing a business, I can relate to the mountains and valleys of Kate’s story with her creperie and feel encouraged by her tenacity through it all. Stories like Kate’s, chronicling perseverance through challenges, are my favorite kind. And now it’s so fun to celebrate with her as she watches this dream finally materialize.

And so it felt especially sweet to spend the evening with Kate and a small group of lovely people, taking these photos and watching the next step of her business unfold in the form of lovely, mouth-wateringly delicious crepes arranged on beautiful plates, surrounded by fresh fruit and flowers, glasses of wine, laughter, and chocolate covered faces.

I especially loved getting to capture some photos of Kate at work in the kitchen, prepping the crepes, because I think one of the things that makes her crepes so outstanding is that everything she uses is fresh, high quality (often local), and homemade. You can taste that quality in even the simplest of her crepes.

(The theme of Kate’s branding is “Russian fairytale” -- a nod to a bit of Kate’s personal story, which includes some extended time in Russia -- and I think with the rich reds, worn wood, and dreamy greens here, we managed to capture that!)

How about you? Do you have a business with a story, perhaps a tale of ups and downs and perseverance through obstacles? If so, I’d love to hear it and maybe chat with you about how I could help you communicate your business’ story and heart through images for your website and social media. Send me a message to start the conversation!

(And if you’re local to the Kansas City area, you should definitely follow Kate’s story on social media and visit her creperie soon as it opens!)

In This Business Together: Emilee and Anthony’s Relaxed In-Home Headshot Session {Kansas City Small Business Photography}
 Kansas City lifestyle photographer in home couples session cuddling in the kitchen with coffee engagement photos black and white photo

I really love getting to connect with other creative entrepreneurs in my area. I feel inspired by the lovely things they create and by their tenacity in pursuing work that brings them joy.

Emilee is one of those creative entrepreneurs. Though she is a photographer herself, she recently branched out into a new business venture as well, starting a wedding décor rental company with her husband Tony. As newlyweds themselves, they remember what it felt like to plan a wedding, recalling both the excitement and the stress of managing all the details and balancing a budget. As they were planning their wedding, Emilee noticed that many brides chose the same few weddings themes and purchased similar decorations. After the wedding, they then had to either sell or store those decorations. Now that Emiliee is married and settling into a new home with Tony, her recent experience with wedding planning led her to start Wedding Decor & More, a company that rents wedding décor to brides to help them save time, money, and hassle in the wedding planning process.

I loved hearing how this new business was fueled by Emilee and Tony’s own lives and experiences. I think one thing I’m learning in this adventure of running my own business is that business and my personal life aren’t as starkly separate as I used to think they needed to be. I’m realizing that who we are and the things we love really do influence the work we pursue and HOW we pursue that work.

And so my session with these two was less about what they do with their business and the products they offer and more about who they are and the way they love each other. It was about the way Tony makes Emilee laugh (something she loves about him!) and the way he supports her in every crazy idea she has, including supporting her in running two businesses. It was about how Emilee is so energetic and upbeat (which is the first thing that attracted Tony to her when they met working together at a restaurant) and hard-working. It was about how comfortable they feel together, content to relax in their home with one another and their three dogs. Doing their session at home, cuddling on the couch, relaxing in the kitchen, and sitting with their dogs, seemed to fit these two and the relaxed, cheerful demeanor they offer in all they do, including in this new business.

I can’t wait to see these in action on their new website (coming soon!). In the meantime, you can find out more about Wedding Décor & More on Facebook.  

Embracing Playfulness: Lebeka {Kansas City Small Business Photography}

Lebeka’s spontaneous personality and quick excitement over new ideas and experiences often reminds me of the simple joy of a child. I had the privilege of living with Lebeka for about a year and during that time, I came to appreciate not only her childlike joy and spontaneity, but also her unflinching commitment to serving struggling children, teens, and families. When she shared that she had accepted a job as a play therapist, it seemed like the perfect fit for her. As I have watched her step into this role, I can see that while she is childlike in her joy and enthusiasm, she is also a professional, with a deep well of compassion and a particular desire to work with adoptive families and their children.

When Lebeka recently approached me about taking some headshots to help her update her professional profile, I was excited about the opportunity to take some photos that would help celebrate and showcase those qualities in her. We chose the brick alleys and colorful storefronts of Westport as a fitting background for her photos.

(Do you need new photos for your website or professional profile? Feel free to contact me for pricing and more conversation about how I can help celebrate who you are and what you love to do.)