Say Hi to Tai (aka. Yoda)

Please welcome Tai to the blog!

Tai came to us before he was even born. We first worked with Tai while he was still all warm and comfy in his mommy’s tummy. He is now a part of our “Grow With Me” plan and this is his 6 month session.

Dodge City Kansas Maternity Photographer

Dodge City Kansas Maternity Photographer

For this session we tried to start off in the studio, but he just wasn’t havin’ the lights and being enclosed in the dimly lit room. The decision was made to move it outside! It was a warm sunny early spring day afterall, and he LOVED it!

Dodge City Kansas Baby Photographer

Dodge City Kansas Baby Photographer

We just LOVE this outfit! Tai makes the CUTEST.YODA.EVER! The hat was made by his aunt and the shirt by Tai’s mama. You just can’t help wanting to squeeze those cheeks.

Dodge City Kansas Baby Photographer

Dodge City Kansas Baby Photographer

And the hair! They don’t make a gel strong enough to keep that hair down. And why would you want to?!? Besides being insanely cute, this hair is Tai’s trademark.

Dodge City Kansas Baby Photographer

Dodge City Kansas Baby Photographer

Thank you Tatiana and Tuan for sharing this little man with us, we just adore him!

Cimarron, Kansas Engagement

Janelyn and Jared grew up in the same school system in Cimarron, KS. Even though they attended the same rural Kansas school system since Janelyn started Kindergarten, their first distinct memory of being around each other was when Janelyn was in the eighth grade (Jared was a Freshman). The local hang out in Cimarron was Clarks Pharmacy, which is also a really cool old school ice cream/soda shop. Janelyn was there with some of her girlfriends and as they left they ran into Jared and a couple of his friends. Well what do guys instinctively do as soon as they see a group of pretty girls? You got it! Show off! Jared pulled off a back-flip into a large pile of snow, that turned out to actually be a pile of ice and rocks! OUCH!

Cimarron Kansas Wedding Photographer

Cimarron Kansas Wedding Photographer

Apparently the pain and embarrassment eventually paid off, because he got Janelyn’s attention. They got to know each other over the next couple of years through hanging out with mutual friends, as well as attending school classes together. In her sophomore year (Jared’s junior year) Jared asked Janelyn to the Winter Formal dance. By this time it had become “blatantly obvious” (Janelyn’s words) and it wasn’t long after the dance, Jared asked her to be his girlfriend!

Cimarron Kansas Wedding Photographer

Cimarron Kansas Wedding Photographer

Janelyn and Jared love the farm and farming! It was this love that set the scene for Jared’s proposal. Jared had been putting up alfalfa and he asked her to come with him to pull the rakes in front of the baler for him that night. They left for the field and started getting the equipment situated for a night of baling. Soon, Jared asked Janelyn to go back to the tractor and get a phone number he left on the seat. Without any suspicion, she headed to retrieve the number. However, when she arrived at the tractor, she was greeted with an open ring box with what she describes as the most beautiful ring gleaming up at me from the driver’s seat”. She picked up the box and climbed down as Jared took her hands in his and hit one knee. He asked Janelyn to marry him in the hay-field just as the sun was setting. That was June 8, 2011.

Cimarron Kansas Wedding Photographer

Cimarron Kansas Wedding Photographer

Along with being a farmer, Jared also runs a feed yard with his Dad and Brother. When all that isn’t keeping him busy, he hauls hay to local people for Janelyn’s Dad. Janelyn is currently a Nursing Student at Dodge City Community College in Dodge City, KS. Once she graduates DCCC she plans to continue her education at Fort Hays State to achieve her bachelor’s. Ultimately she plans to get her Masters of Science in Nursing.

Cimarron Kansas Wedding Photographer

Cimarron Kansas Wedding Photographer

Jared and Janelyn love the farm and plan to spend their lives together right there. They have big plans for expansion and improvement, and Janelyn plans to continue with her nursing career as well.

These are two hard-working and driven people who have their entire life ahead of them. There is no doubt they will achieve all their plans and dreams. Just look at how they look at each other! This union is out of their hands. It was planned by a power too big to resist.

Cimarron Kansas Wedding Photographer

Cimarron Kansas Wedding Photographer

On July 21st, at the Church of the Nazarene in Cimarron, KS, these two will exchange vows and be husband and wife! We will be there to capture all the special moments and we can’t wait!

Janelyn and Jared…you two are AWESOME! Thank you for letting us be a part of your lives!

Bucklin Kansas Engagement

We are excited to present Bradley and Misty, our very first couple on the blog!

Bradley and Misty first met 9 years ago during a family get-together in Bucklin for one of her cousins, who was leaving for Iraq. Their first date didn’t happen until 5 years later! Well, obviously they really enjoyed each other’s company. After dating for a few years they decided they just couldn’t live without each other and decided to start making plans for a wedding.

Bucklin Kansas Wedding Photographer

Bucklin Kansas Wedding Photographer

They spent time shopping for the perfect ring. It was ordered and arrived while Misty was away in Lawrence, KS. Bradley just couldn’t wait for her to get back, so he took a picture of it and texted it to her with the message, “Will you marry me?” I think she said yes! (or we wouldn’t be involved yet, right?)

Bucklin Kansas Wedding Photographer

Bucklin Kansas Wedding Photographer

BTW…we understand they have the beginning of their own video store starting up. They are real movie lovers and I am told they own over 500 of them!

Bucklin Kansas Wedding Photographer

Bucklin Kansas Wedding Photographer

On October 13, 2012, Misty and Bradley will be pronounced husband and wife! Guess who gets to be there photographing the entire amazing day!?! WE DO!

Bucklin Kansas Wedding Photographer

Bucklin Kansas Wedding Photographer

Congratulations you two! We are so excited for you and we love working with you!

Two Cuties!

We are definitely still trying to get used to fitting a blog into our schedule! How often are we supposed to update these things anyway? My guess is more often than every two weeks?!? Well we are through the winter months and heading face first into spring, so we should have plenty to share with you in the next several months!

This addition brings you 2 little cuties!

First, meet Ryker! Ryker is 3 months old, but this isn’t his first rodeo. He was brought to us as a newborn and he has grown so much over the last few months! He is a part of our “Grow With Me plan”, so we will get to document his progress as he grows into a toddler!

Dodge City Kansas Baby Photographer

Dodge City Kansas Baby Photographer

This little cowboy had a hard day of ropin’ and ridin’ so he just needed to rest.

Dodge City Kansas Baby Photographer

Dodge City Kansas Baby Photographer

He didn’t even have the energy to kick his boots off.

Dodge City Kansas Baby Photographer

Dodge City Kansas Baby Photographer

Next, meet Brielle! This little beauty is 3 months old as well and came to us for newborn pictures, She is also a part of our “Grow With Me” program. Unlike Ryker, this little sweetheart wanted to take it all in! She worked those pretty little eyes for the camera.

Dodge City Kansas Baby Photographer

Dodge City Kansas Baby Photographer

Dodge City Kansas Baby Photographer

Dodge City Kansas Baby Photographer

However, after some exhausting modeling work, she finally gave in to the Sandman and we got some precious images of her dreaming about snuggling with mommy and daddy.

Dodge City Kansas Baby Photographer

Dodge City Kansas Baby Photographer

Thank you SO much to the Williams and Tuxhorn families for sharing Ryker (Williams) and Brielle (Tuxhorn) with us, and trusting us with their first year of portraits! We are so blessed to have this honor!

10 questions for a prospective wedding photographer, before plunking down the retainer and signing a contract.

Let’s face it; hiring a wedding photographer isn’t cheap, am I right? You don’t want to hire someone who is just doing it for some side cash, but doesn’t really understand the challenges that are unique to photographing a wedding in a dimly lit church, when they have one chance to get most of the images that are going to be important to you. Hiring someone who has that knowledge is critical to capturing the best images possible. This will require finding a photographer who has not only put in the time and expense of getting educated and has the experience, but also invested in the equipment that will handle the job. This is a day in your life when you want to make sure you have the beautiful images to look back on and show your kids and grand-children. Hiring a “discount” photographer and saving a little money won’t mean much if the pictures you get are disappointing and the experience is tainted by them. Your photographs will be the one thing you will have, long after the cake is eaten, the flowers have dried up and the dress has turned from white to some shade of tan.

In our experience, most of the time when a bride is dissatisfied with their photographer, it is because they didn’t know the questions to ask before deciding on the one who would work with them on their day, and the week/months to follow. I chose these questions, because they address the complaints we have heard from brides when they describe things they wish they would have thought to ask their wedding photographer ahead of time. So, here are a few things to ask the photographer you are considering to entrust with your important day, to find out if you can confidently hand that responsibility over to them and never have a doubt, not to mention still be happy when you see the way they capture the important moments of the day.

1.       What is your wedding photography style?  There are two recognized styles right now.
        a.      Traditional – This is a more structured style of photographing a wedding.  All shots are posed. There is no attempt to photograph in a more natural style that doesn’t look posed. This is best described as “your mothers wedding photo album.”
        b.      Photo-journalistic – This is a style that is more natural and in it’s pure form, completely un-posed. If there are group images, they are taken as more of an after-thought, or in the moment.
        c.       I said there are two styles, but I am adding a third category here, because most photographers these days practice a mixture of the two above. For the most part the images are taken in an attempt to make them look photo-journalistic, but many are choreographed and somewhat planned out by location for many of the images. This mixture will also include the posed group images with family and bridal party at the altar. It will also include completely photo-journalistic images of the dance and reception, as well as getting ready.

 2.       Do you have any recent wedding galleries I can see online?  When you see the images photographers post on their websites, Facebook pages and blogs, you are seeing the very best images that they want to display. The very best way to know if a photographer will fit what you are looking for is if you get to see examples of recent weddings they have done, from start to finish.

Hays Kansas Wedding

Hays Kansas Wedding

 3.       What products will I get with my wedding package?  Too many times a bride and groom plunk down their entire photography budget on a package, but don’t think to find out everything that comes with it (and everything that DOESN’T come with it). Many a couple have viewed the beautiful images their photographer shows them from their day, excited  to pick out images for their album, or decide which picture(s) they want made into a canvas for their wall, only to find out their package didn’t include any of those things. This isn’t to say the photographer was deceptive, but the couple just didn’t know to ask.

 4.       Do you have sample albums I can see like the album I will receive, and are the images in the sample albums yours?  This seems like a natural question, but I am suggesting this question so you can ask to see what the product you will receive looks like. (The quality, design, layout, etc.) Your wedding album will likely be the biggest portion of your product investment and the item most likely to be cherished by the future family you will have, generations to come. The reason to ask if the images in the album were taken by the photographer is because some album companies will supply sample albums at no charge, or very cheap to their photographer clients. If you are looking at such an album, you could be fooled into thinking the style and quality of photography you are looking at is what you will get.

Dodge City Kansas Wedding

Dodge City Kansas Wedding

 5.       What turn-around time can I expect following my wedding day before I can see my photographs?  Once again this seems like it should be a no-brainer doesn’t it? But, one of the most complained about issues we hear is how long a couple had to wait before their images were ready for them to view. This timeframe will vary depending on the photographer, but it is important to know what to expect so you don’t think you will see all your pictures in 2 days and the photographer needs 2 months to properly prepare them for viewing. Part of the answer will depend on the photographers answer to the next question.

 6.       Do you edit all of the images before we see them and do you show us all images, or only the best of the day?  Different studios will approach this differently. Many studios will “perfect” images and cull out images that don’t meet their criteria for quality. Some will display every single image, unedited, un-culled. Then if you choose an image and want it edited, they will charge a fee for editing each image that is purchased.
              a.      Will all the images on my CD/DVD be edited or unedited and is there a charge for editing/retouching?  This is a secondary question if your wedding package will include your images on a disc.

Spearville Kansas Wedding

Spearville Kansas Wedding

 7.       How soon can I expect to receive my album and do I get to approve the design before it is ordered?  This again is something that too often isn’t communicated. Turn around on albums can vary, partly depending on the style of the album. More traditional albums with one image per page take less design time. Albums with a more storyboard type design require quite a bit more design time. If you are to choose the images you want in your album, the turnaround time will fall in your lap first. The quicker you choose your favorites, the faster the photographer can begin the design process for you.

 8.       May I have a list of references?  Of course, the photographer should not hesitate at this. Follow through and contact the references.

Dodge City Kansas Wedding

Dodge City Kansas Wedding

 9.       Can I provide you with a list of photographs I want you to take?  Some photographers will even have lists of common images that are requested of them to help get you started. A checklist can be very beneficial, especially if you have a large families involved and you would like several variations of images of the groups. If a photographer will allow you to provide a “check-list” of these photos, it will help prevent the disappointment of missing an important one because of the hustle and bustle of the day. 

10.      How long will our pictures be archived for ordering in the future?  Let’s face it, sometimes things happen. What if you have something happen and all of the images from your wedding day are lost or destroyed? We hope this will never happen, but wouldn’t it be comforting to know your photographer has a plan in place to save your images indefinitely, just in case?

I hope you will find these “interview questions” helpful as you choose the photographer for your special day! 🙂

Southwest Kansas Wedding Photographer

A Very Special Honor

I am both honored and humbled to share this post with you, about an organization that means so much to me, and I hope I can come close to sharing what they do properly.  One of my very biggest desires when I became a professional photographer was to become an affiliated photographer for an organization called “Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep”.  This is also known as NILMDTS*. I applied for it a couple of years ago and I was told that I didn’t have enough work that showed my use of flash with babies.  I was devastated to say the least.  When I started out I only used natural light for newborn babies, because I liked the lighting it produced better than flash photography.  Over the next couple of years I moved from using natural light with babies into using studio lighting with them, and my desire to become a photographer for this organization still fresh on my mind.  A few weeks ago, I reapplied and held my breath.  For ten weeks.  (Ok, maybe not for ten weeks but I was really hopeful.)  I didn’t tell anyone that I had applied (not even my husband) because I was scared that I would be denied again.  I got a phone call a couple of weeks ago from a sweet man named Cliff with the NILMDTS Foundation asking me if I would like to come on board with them!  I was (and still am) ecstatic.

For those of you who don’t know what NILMDTS is, I would love to share with you.  This is who they are;

They offer gentle and compassionate photography for a child that has passed away or has a fatal prognosis.  Parents may not even think about a service like this because of the sadness and fears that they are facing, and will face.  This organization will send in compassionate photographers to capture the baby’s presence and give them memories that will last forever.  If you would like to read more about this wonderful and touching organization, please feel free to visit their website by following the link below.

I thank this organization from the bottom of my heart for all that they do and I am very humbled to be a part of their team.

A little facelift!

No we didn’t have surgery! We still look the same, but you WILL see a difference if you step into our studio, especially if you have been in it before. It’s not bigger, (That’s plans for the future) but it IS prettier! We put in a nice floor to use for some of our work, added more backdrops (Not all shown in the picture below) to increase or variety. We are adding props for newborn sessions with other cool stuff still in the works! Most of all we are excited about it and can’t wait to wear it out!

Here is a little before/after comparison!!

If there’s anything that you would like to see new in our studio, let us know!!  We will see what we can do!!

First official blog post for Expressions Photography!

I KNOW! We are behind times and we have put off blogging until now because we were afraid we just couldn’t keep up with it. But we want to make sure our clients and potential clients really get to know us and what we do, so HERE WE GO!

For those of you who don’t know Expressions Photography, Andrea is the passion behind it all! Andrea is the owner/operator/photographer whose drive pushes this all forward to always find fun exciting ways to make what we do better. I am Phil, Andrea’s husband and the other photographer/techy. Andrea and I both will share input on this blog, but since I am the techy one who sets up our websites and such, I get to be the lucky person who speaks to you first! YEAH ME!

What does Expressions Photography focus on? Well glad you asked! Our primary focus is wedding photography. There is just something about being a part of the start of a couples new journey together, and being responsible for capturing the important moments of that day. Creating something for them to reflect back on for many years to come. Not only for the couple, but for the family they build and generations after them. What an honor to be entrusted with that task!

Andrea also has a very special passion for newborn portraits! She recently teamed up with the Women’s Center here in Dodge City, KS to offer her services to the new parents, so they have the chance to get awesome portraits of their new little bundle.

If you have never met us, here are some pictures of us to get this blog started so we aren’t such a mystery!

Here is Andrea! (Can you believe it was 115 degrees in the picture on the right!?! She looks fresh as a daisy!)

And this is me!

We just want to say thank you for taking the time to read our first blog post! We hope you will follow us as we keep you informed concerning all the exciting things we have planned!

Andrea & Philip Hogue

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