Hope Ahlers | Bernheim Forest, Kentucky

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Hope has such a beautiful soul. I’m so grateful to be able to call her a friend of mine. She recently released a song titled “Dear Sparrow” . . . it’s out on spotify, Apple music and soundcloud so you should definitely give it a listen while you look through this post! Annd I’ve included it in the soundcloud link above, so there’s really no excuse.

The vision for this shoot was to portray the beauty & strength that is found while being in chaos. Maybe that chaos is a major shift in your life or too many dramatic things happening at once or maybe you just don’t feel like yourself. I’ve been learning to sit in the chaos, in the mess. I’ve always strived to control or change situations instead of excepting them for how they are. I wanted this shoot to represent the peace you can find even while a fire is raving. Hope understood my vision SO well.

Ironically, the day we did this shoot I was struggling with a lot of anxiety driving to and from the shoot. When we arrived at Bernheim (one of my favorite places!) we were told they were closing earlier than normal and we had less than 30 minutes to complete the shoot. And every ten minutes, security came driving by to remind us with a siren & megaphone that we had x amount of minutes before the park closed. That sent my anxiety to another level, especially when they started honking at us to leave as honking is a big trigger for me from being in a car accident. (Yeah, bernheim is great, but the security guard REALLY want to have everyone leave that night even before the park was actually closed lol.) I tried to just be okay with how I was feeling instead of trying to change it for the idea that I had in my head of how I was going to feel for this shoot. I told Hope that I was anxious and not okay and she was very comforting . . . even just admitting out-loud that I was struggling was comforting. It’s weird how that works. The meaning of the shoot was exactly how I was feeling: finding beauty among the chaos. Because even though I was stressed as heck, all around us there were gorgeous trees that were lit with color and beauty.

Even more ironically, Hope’s new song goes along with what I’ve been learning and what Trent has been telling me for the past year. I have had injuries to work through, physically and mentally, from last year and I have been constantly trying to attack them to try to get myself back to the “old me”. I want to be myself again, I want to be free and beautiful without the pain or PTSD from the car accident. But the thing is, I still am Kendra. I’m free, I’m beautiful. Beautiful even with anxiety, even though sometimes I’m absolutely terrified to get into a car. I can’t rush healing. Traveling all the time, being able to hang out with people all the time and being able to get a lot of work done were things I used to really associate with my identity. All that was stripped from me in 2018. I was/am terrified of driving. I get waves of anxiety that hit me when I walk into a room of crowded people and feel like I’m going pass out if it’s loud. (Even the grocery store — it’s weird.) I have needed Trent SO much for helping me with my business as I just haven’t been able to work as hard with the physical injuries. All things things and more make me feel like I’m no longer Kendra and no longer worth anything.

Thing is, we can’t earn our worth. Me and you are already beautiful as we are. Your soul is already whole, you are already a whole human being. This post ended up being longer than I planned but if you’re reading this, please know that you are valuable and needed and loved. You’re already whole as you are.

please don’t forget that and enjoy the photos xoxo

Oxmoor Garden & Estate Wedding in St Matthews, Kentucky

What a beautiful day this one was! Matt and Claire are every photographer’s dream couple. They’re laid back, ready to have fun and some of the kindest, down-to-earth people we’ve met.

They got married at a gorgeous venue outdoors, but the mansion indoors was beautiful as well. Oxmoor Garden & Estate holds the largest private library in Kentucky and we definitely took advantage of it! We chose to do the first look indoors because of the library & hot temps outdoors. The ceremony took place on the back lawn which was decorated with bright, colorful wildflowers supplied by Pure Pollen. Afterwards, there was plenty of live music and celebration at the reception. At sunset, we snuck Claire and Matt away to grab some couple portraits of them.

Fun story: this wedding was actually a big turning point in photography for us! This was Trent’s first wedding he shot and the start of me training him as my second shooter for the rest of 2018. Trent and I wanted to be together since I was still recovering from some mental side affects from a car accident and a broken foot, so I talked to Claire about him coming along just to take photos on a backup camera for fun. When I was going through the photos he took, I was shocked to see how good Trent’s pictures were! That was the start of Trent & Kendra Photography. If you’d like a blog post telling more about this, let me know!

huge shoutout to all the amazing vendors!!

second shooter: Robert Ahlers

hair: Allie Wood — Calvin Mitchel Salon

caterer: 502 Café

venue: Oxmoor Garden & Estate

florist: Christy O’Connell — Pure Pollen Flowers

cake: Stacey Borah

officiant: Ron Freeman

coordinator: Ina Miller

Autumn at Foxhollow Farm in Crestwood, Kentucky

This year I really learned how important it is to take space and time for yourself and how not only is that okay, but it’s extremely beneficial. Being able to go out to Foxhollow Farm to photograph nature is so healing for me . . . it’s helped me create time for myself. We had a lot going on this year. I’ve tried to write about it, but I don’t think I’ve fully processed it all. It was the hardest and at the same time, the most beautiful year of my life. I’m so grateful for it.

hope that your year was wonderful, that you take some time for yourself and that you enjoy these photos of the lovely Foxhollow Farm I took in November.

7 tips to prepare for your engagement session | Eagle Creek Park and Coat Check Coffee Engagement Session

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We get it — having your photo taken can feel awkward or make you feel really nervous. Even I was nervous when we had our engagement photos done, and hey, I’m a wedding photographer! Here’s some tips & tricks to help your session go smoothly and have some fun.

  • Do something you two would normally do on a date. We always strive to make our engagement sessions feel more like a double-date than one long photo session. What’s something that you and your partner normally do for fun? For Annah and Trevor, that’s getting coffee at Coat Check Coffee. They also like hiking (Trent and I loveee hiking and outdoor photos, so we almost always do some part of the shoot outdoors!) so we went over to Eagle Creek Park and they braved the cold for some pretty wintery photos. We’ve done engagement sessions with picnics, record store shopping, swimming in a creek or dancing in a water fountain, climbing mountains or just chilling at home on the couch. You can incorporate something that’s just fun or something really sentimental. Trevor and Annah chose to end their session at the library where Trevor proposed and they came on many of their dates, so the place was dear to them.

  • Wear something you’re comfortable in. We get it, shopping is fun, but save the new outfit for another time and buy an accessory to wear for the shoot instead. You want to feel 100% comfortable in what you’re wearing. Ask your photographer if they have a preference of what you should wear or if you have any questions.

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  • Have a drink beforehand. This could be how you start your session or something you do before you meet up with your photographer. It helps calm the jitters. And if you start the photoshoot at a bar or coffeeshop, you’ll have something to do with your hands.

  • Bring your pets! We love capturing couples with their pets. We suggest starting with the photos of you and your pets, then having a friend pick them up while we focus on the rest of the session.

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  • Be on time (or better yet, early). This will help calm your nerves even more and is a trick that I use myself to help me not me nervous for things. Leave earlier than you think you need to add extra time for traffic. If you’re late, it can cut into the photoshoot time when the light is pretty and you don’t want to miss pretty light.

  • Decide whether or not you want a morning or evening session. We typically only do engagement sessions on weekday mornings or evenings, but it’s different for every photographer. We like photographing either 30 minutes before sunrise and into the morning or an hour and a half before sunset and taking photos until dusk. Figure out what works best for your schedule & for you. For example, if you’re not a morning person at all, you probably don’t want to do the sunrise session!

  • Decide if you have a season preference. We do most of our sessions in spring and fall, but we definitely still do shoots in the summer and winter! If you really dig the fall leaves look, then make sure you talk to your photographer about scheduling in advance. If you love neutrals and don’t mind being cold, then choose a winter session like Annah and Trevor did!

Hope those tips help and don’t ever hesitate to ask your photographer questions about your session! And feel free to check out the wintery photos from Annah & Trevor below. :)

Joshua Tree, California Airstream Airbnb Anniversary Session

Anniversary sessions are the bestttttt. I’m so glad I got to photograph Brittney and her husband, John in the cutest Airbnb. Though the Airstream is more than pinterest-worthy, my favorite photos turned out to be the ones when we hiked up to the top of the nearest hill. (Or big rock pile, there’s tons of those in Joshua Tree.) I loved the fact that they were down with braving the cold, letting the wind do its’ thing and loving on each other.

enjoy the pix!