Germans Kyla & Walt's St. Louis Engagement Session -!

Now THIS was a crazy Engagement Session-! Before we tell you about the Engagement Session itself, we want to talk about how this fell into place, how we know them, and all about these two! (Since we have quite a story behind this Session, we’ll share 50 photo Teasers from their Engagement Session in between our words!) Kyla & Jenny had attended the infamous Brooks Institute for the MFA in Fine Art Photography program out in California together for their first semester in 2012 (the same time that Jason started his additional degree of BFA at Brooks). Kyla had just graduated college (with her degree in graphic design already knowing how to work Photoshop and more) and Jenny had been working as a wedding photographer already in Ohio for 3 years after graduating with her two university degrees in the summer of 2009. Kyla and Jenny got to know their classmates and each other pretty well immediately upon starting the program since the class was so small (just 7 of us that later through the years narrowed down to 4) and because they both came from the Midwest to attend the MFA program & had to completely establish new friendships. Kyla worked at Best Buy then and she and Jenny hung out sometimes after school and had classes together for 18 hours on the weekends. We still have one of Kyla’s fine art photos on the wall of our bedroom actually (along with 30 other individual artist made pieces of art hanging on the walls of our bedroom).

After first semester of the Fine Art Photography MFA Kyla landed an amazing job that not only paid well, but also fully covered her lodging, utilities, transportation, and more in Qatar, so she moved abroad and worked/ lived there for 3 years in media as a photographer and designer for a military base. After 3 years of contracting work in Qatar and amazing benefits, Kyla moved to a different contracting job in Germany the same month we moved back to the Midwest with our photography business in mid-2015! She’s been there in a different field of work for 3.5 years now (so 6+ years living & working abroad) and amidst her time there she met Walt! She and Walt hit it off quickly, are both contractors, and have an amazing life abroad together! These two LOVE snowboarding and told us of all of their amazing adventures at the tops of mountains, traveling around to different countries, vacationing abroad, and more! Walt is originally from Mississippi (though claims Florida also since that was his home as an adult after his teens) and Kyla is originally from Missouri. They come back in to the States sometimes throughout the year, but do have a limit as to how many days they can be back in the United States and stick mainly to Europe. These two are such foodies and chatted with us more about the amazing food near them, the amazing foods they’ve gotten to have, and the language idiosyncrasies that they’ve picked up on while living abroad. Walt has actually lived abroad since 2003 a whopping 16 years ago, so the two of them combined have a whopping 22 years of living the dream abroad under their belts!

About 2 months ago at the end of November Kyla and Jenny started talking about Kyla & Walt’s engagement and upcoming 2019 wedding. These two got engaged in beautiful Italy while on a trip together and the photos shared online were gorgeous. Kyla filled us in on all of the amazing details that they have been working out (venue BOOKED, dates BOOKED, wedding planner BOOKED, wedding officiant about to be BOOKED, etc.), and we sent her our magazine on our 2018 wedding pricing & packages. That was where we were all at until about a week ago when Kyla messaged saying that she and Walt would suddenly be in for work to Missouri for the weekend in St. Louis (with her being across the state near her home/ Kansas City for the rest of the week)! Since the top wedding package that they were leaning toward comes with an Engagement Session AND since they’re rarely in the United States she thought that maybe we could come down to capture the Engagement Session that comes with a wedding package-! We don’t have a built-in last second sitter for our big dog, so we tried to figure things out and began planning!

Kyla & Jenny hadn’t seen each other in 6 full years as of literally this past week, so we wanted to make this Missouri Engagement Session happen-! We booked Friday night for a cheap dog friendly AirBnB (ever RARE), planned the Engagement Session for Saturday morning, confirmed details, and then started picking locations that would look gorgeous under the blizzard of snow that was in the forecast for that day. We found 6 separate locations, but planned to utilize at least 3 spots at the first venue (that Kyla chose of our listed locations). Sadly leading up to the weekend the Saturday morning suddenly called for rain and sleet, so we pushed the shoot back to the afternoon (3-5 i.e. sunset) and we got a second night at a different AirBnB out of town since ours was booked for the rest of the weekend.

We got into Missouri on Friday afternoon with our dog, scouted a ton of spots in person (our dog loved exploring her 8th state in 2.5 years), checked in to our AirBnB, hit up a Contemporary Art Museum opening, got Jack-in-the-Box late night at 9 pm (missed that from the West Coast), & came back to prep and watch tv with our dog while making sure to stay in contact with Kyla & Walt. Little did we know that on Friday night Kyla- 24 hours into being in St. Louis- got word that her aunt (her mom’s only sibling) suddenly passed away out of no where that week in Missouri. Kyla & Walt were visiting with friends that night, so she tried to remain calm and made dinner with them while trying not to focus on the tragedy at hand (thought she did cry later in the night with Walt). The next morning we hit up the Griot Black History Museum for MLK Jr. weekend, checked out of our AirBnB, location scouted another few spots that we had pre-planned within St. Louis with our dog, noticed that it was suddenly 16 degrees outside with 40 MPH winds & panicked (there also wasn’t pretty snow, rather brown dead scenery), then checked into our next AirBnB. We left our dog with the great house’s owner & his dog, then met with Kyla & Walt! We had no idea yet that Kyla’s aunt had just passed away & that she’d found out the night before.

We all nervously decided to go through with the frigid Engagement Session at least to the closest spots chosen and drove everyone around in our warm car from one spot to the next. Next thing we knew we were all laughing and photographing at 3 locations within the 2+ hours. Kyla & Walt were AMAZING dealing with all of the adversity. NEVER in 10 years of photography business have we EVER photographed in such inclement, freezing and windy conditions! It was about 15 degrees outside with up to 40 MPH winds which may not sound THAT bad, but was extremely difficult for a plethora of reasons. None of us could feel our hands, our ears, our feet, etc. which is not particularly ideal when your hands need to work to physically constantly change camera settings AND when the couple is supposed to look comfortable, cuddly, and have their hair & clothes stay out of their faces. Kyla & Walt decided not to wear gloves, hats, or coats in the photos, so they were the REAL MVPs. We literally have NO idea how they braved the conditions and even smiled during the process. These two are SO TOUGH and it’s a testament to their attitudes, relationship, toughness, adaptability, and go-getter work ethics.

After the Engagement Session we all met for dinner and chatted for about 6 hours about their lives past and present. We were so excited to talk about Kyla’s dress shopping that she did earlier this week, their relationship, their jobs, and more, but were SO devastated to hear about Kyla’s aunt passing just days prior. These two are so loving, tough, and open that we felt lucky to be with them even if just for an evening. They had evolving plans for the next day/ coming week, so we bid them adieu and we cannot wait to see them later this year in Europe to capture their beautiful wedding-!

That’s the long, winding story of how we were able to photograph these two in Kyla’s home state of Missouri on a frigidly cold day!

Our friends in Illinois that we saw for the first time in 5 years (on our drive home to Indiana) explained to us that one of the parks we chose & photographed these two at in Missouri was the site of one of the Worlds Fairs back in the day-! Shockingly there had once been even MORE gorgeous structures throughout the park-! Currently it houses a theatre, two massive museums, and literally 26 bridges (which made it NECESSARY for us to scout to find our original 2 favorite bridges on Friday).

The white stone bridge you see in these photos is actually a suspension bridge, so it’s fun to run down and bounce on since there is nothing forcing it to stay still. The porous bottom though meant that Kyla and Walt had a very challenging first location since the wind not only whipped around them on all sides, but also through the grates at their feet. The other bridge- the black one- is victorian and was constructed in 1884-! It reminded us very much of the draw bridges that we’ve photographed on in Chicago-! Another location was shockingly in that horrific weather bombarded (after we wrapped up at sunset) by a grumpy photographer with a couple and their entire bridal party-! We originally expected to maybe see a few other photographers around since it was an expansive park, but we were delighted that we saw none all evening until then. The temperature dropped down to the single digits, so the bridesmaids in their dresses looked so frigid and we felt awful for them having to stand in what was quickly turning into a wind tunnel.

Thank you SO MUCH, Kyla and Walt for having us come down to capture your love. We are so glad that despite the crazy weather that we were all able to meet up for this and capture some gorgeous photos of you two before we see you again later this year-! We hope that you have safe travels back home to Germany soon and that you’ve enjoyed the time with each other, family, and wedding planning!

Unrelated: Coming up next Weekly Wednesday blog post next week on the 30th we are sharing our BEST OF 2019 weddings blog post-!! We will be curating a beautiful gallery of our favorite photos from ALL of our gorgeous 2019 weddings with amazing couples this coming weekend and cannot WAIT to share these with you-!! Check back next week for some gorgeousness-!!

Since is it January, throughout next week we are also UPDATING our website photos, our pricing, and our catalogues to reflect our new pricing for future bookings. Most of our 2019 wedding calendar is already booked, so for weddings these prices will most likely apply to 2020 weddings and the new pricing will also apply to new bookings of 2019 Family Portrait Sessions, Baby Sessions, Headshots, Event Photography, and more. Since this is the first time that pricing has changed in the past 3.5 years (of the past 10 years) these investments are still SOLID and non-negotiable since the quality of work, products, experience, and education have evolved substantially. We cannot wait to share our new gorgeous products and packages with you-!!