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

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Blossoms and Mud; Celebrating the Beauty of Spring with the Alderson Family {Kansas City Family Photographer}
 Family portrait in a grove of trees at Loose Park, golden hour family session, Kansas City creative  family photographer, Rebecca Clair Photography

Spring holds so much beauty, like a gift the earth unwraps after the cold gray of winter. There are the crocuses that push through the snows of early spring. The soft warmth of the sun coaxing us out of our houses. Trees laden with fragrant blossoms. And tiny leaves unfurling from every branch and thawing patch of ground.

But there is also rain. And mud. There is wind and cold drizzle and sometimes unexpected frost or snows that wipe out the flowers and seem to push us back into winter.

The beauty of spring is mixed with messiness and mud.

Yet somehow the mud and rain highlight those spring blossoms and make them feel that much more lovely and welcome.

Sometimes I think new seasons of our lives are like that, with mud and mess framing the beauty unfolding. It takes a conscious effort to lift our eyes from the mud and fix our gaze on the beauty and new life.

It was such a privilege to watch the Alderson family do just that, to fix their eyes on the sweetness of their new baby, on the wonder of their older son’s curiosity and energy, on the goodness of their love for one another through the ups and downs of these seasons, and on the abundant beauty of this season of their family.

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!)

Not About Cancer: A Shoot for CURE Magazine’s Extraordinary Healers Publication {Kansas City Lifestyle Photographer}
 Rebecca Clair Photography Kansas City MO lifestyle photographer CURE magazine Extraordinary Healers nurse and patient cancer survivor at Lake Jacomo

Cancer has altered the course of Danielle’s life. Diagnosed at just 17, cancer undoubtedly changed many areas of her life and family and ultimately led her to a career with a cancer organization.

Cancer has also defined Donna’s career as she has worked as an oncology nurse for years, helping countless patients walk through the practical and emotional side effects of their diagnoses. 

And cancer is what initially brought these two together, when Danielle first met Donna in that awkward doctor's office visit, shortly after her diagnosis. 

But this session was not about cancer. It was about two friends, sitting by a lake on a spring day, catching up on life. It was about sharing stories of children and grandbabies. It was about laughing (a LOT of laughing) and maybe a bit of hugging. Because that’s a huge part of what set Donna apart as a nurse for Danielle: she cared about Danielle as a person, not just as a cancer patient, and she made her feel comfortable enough to laugh, even in the most uncomfortable situations. 

I'm so grateful to CURE Magazine for connecting me with these two extraordinary women and featuring a few images of their sweet reunion in the latest edition of their Extraordinary Healers publication. If you're able, I suggest reading Danielle's moving tribute to the impact Donna had on her cancer journey, along with the other essays in the collection. (And I have to say, it's super fun to see a few of the photos in print in the book of essays that CURE just published!)