All Smiles at Sunset | Emily

She warned me up front.  “I’m not good at serious faces.”  And why should she be, with that dazzling grin at her disposal?  Emily trotted out the pearly whites (along with a fabulous yellow dress) in downtown Kansas City yesterday.  Labor Day seemed to have drained the city sidewalks of passersby, and we walked up and down the empty streets of the business district.  We had perfect weather and a slow, cloudless sunset, which sent warm rays bouncing through the glass buildings above us.  It was one of those evenings where you felt lucky to be alive and doing exactly what you’re doing.

Emily is the oldest of five children, and she is as athletic as she is gorgeous.  She’s dedicated to her studies and diligently balances a packed schedule, but whenever you’re around her she seems calm and relaxed, no matter how busy you suspect she really is.  That’s a fabulous life skill, and I can’t wait to see where it takes her.  But yesterday, we just chatted and snapped photos while the holiday slipped quietly into the night.

If you’re a regular blog stalker, you’ll probably notice something different about these photos.  Until recently, I’ve been too chicken overwhelmed to use off-camera flash in my shoots.  I felt I’d been thrown into the deep end with shooting manually, and had finally paddled ashore to where I was comfortable walking into any situation and creating a good image with existing light.  I told myself I needed to focus on natural lighting first, but to be honest, that was just a big fat excuse.  The truth is that it’s intimidating to add MORE settings and triggers and numbers to a live shoot where there are already a hundred variables at play.  But not being able to use flash limits what you can do.  And since the cure for being overwhelmed is to take action, it was time to just start already.

So, with beautiful Emily’s patience, I dove back into the deep end yesterday.  In a sense, I’m learning to take photos all over again.  I hope you enjoy these first results.


(Okay, I snuck a few in with natural light.)


Probably my personal favorite from the shoot:

   Thank you, thank you, beautiful Emily!  You’re stunning inside and out, and I just love getting to hang out with you.

Also, a huge shout out to Emily’s sister Savannah for assisting me on this shoot.  These photos would not have been possible without her help.  (If you look in the setup image below, you can see her on the left balancing my reflector.)  Stay tuned for Savannah’s turn in front of the lens!

P.S.  Emily’s fabulous mom made an appearance on this blog earlier this summer.  We also did that photoshoot downtown, shot entirely with natural light.  Click here to check it out – it’s interesting to see the differences between lighting styles!

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