When searching for a local photographer one thing that comes to mind is ... "where will we do the pictures?" Some photographers have studio spaces that are great options. While others do not have that option. Either way you may be interested in something a little more adventurous when thinking about where you'd like to have your family portraits taken. If you are planning to schedule your family portraits between November and April you should keep in mind that the trees do not have leaves on them during these months typically in the midwest. There are several spots around Kansas City to consider.
One great option as you can see below is the west bottoms (this is the area just west of Kansas City where the haunted houses are in October). Now there has been some controversy about this location as some photographers and their clients have taken advantage of this location and their tenants. While the west bottoms has a ton to offer, please keep in mind we all need to be respectful of the businesses there. In fact we need to be respectful of all public and private areas in general. Some key things to keep in mind when using public areas are:
Do not leave any trash behind (This includes glitter)
Pick up after yourselves
Do not go in an area with any signs of "Do not enter" or "No Trespassing"
Do not write on any walls, even if it is with chalk. (Yes chalk can wash away, but I've been in the west bottoms and seen chalk that is a couple years old (the date was written on the wall). Would you be happy if you came home and 2017 was written on your house? Even if chalk, it's rude. It's not yours. Be polite.
Okay off my soap box ...
The west bottoms has so much to offer. It can be a very busy place for senior portraits as well as family portraits. But since there are so many buildings and nooks and crannies it can be fairly easy for everyone to work along side each other and not have to wait on "the best spot" because there are so many great spots! Also it is easier for photographers to crop out other photographers and their clients by just going around the corner and not having to have anyone in the background of your image. Below are some really cool spots in the Kansas City West Bottoms!
Another location that I just love clients choosing when scheduling family portraits is your own home. A main reason to schedule family portraits is to capture that moment in time that your family is as they are now. What better way to do that then scheduling a family portrait in your own home. This is such a fun way to look back in years to come. You never know what the future may hold for you ... you may have to make a move and leave you home behind, your kids grow and you remodel, you exchange barbie dolls for make up, exchange box cars for video games. Let's capture this sweet moment in time and put a pause button on where you and your family are currently for you to be able to look back on. When scheduling a home family session I suggest you have a couple activities planned. It's fun to get some action shots of the family doing things they normally do on a Saturday afternoon or a Sunday morning. Can't think of things to do in your home family session? Let me get your brainstorming juices flowing ...
-jump on the beds
-have a dance party
-throw a frisbie around in the backyard
-play fetch with the family dog(s)
-read a bedtime story in bed
-maybe even have the kids brush their teeth in their pjs
Now I would not recommend the west bottoms for any families that have babies that don't walk yet, and maybe even not until they are 3 years old. As the west bottoms is a city area and not really a great location to put your 6 month old on the ground and one year olds tend to still put things in their mouths. And maybe a home session doesn't appeal to you or you've already done one and are wanting something different. If this is the case then Union Station is a great location idea. It's really great during the cold months to have a family session in doors.
However there are some things to considering when choosing Union Station as your location. There is a $25 fee Union Station charges to allow people to use their space. While this is a very reasonable fee, it is something to keep in mind. (However if you go between Thanksgiving and Christmas they do waive the fee! Of course this is the busiest time of year so you do have to work around crowds. If you can go during the week it is a bit easier.) Also they do not allow any props or balloons in their facilities. But it is so gorgeous you really don't need either. One more fee you will most likely incur is a parking fee. It is usually only $5-$10 but sometimes if they are having an event it can be more. On the positive side, there are indoor bathrooms should someone need. Union Station is gorgeous and full of history. What a great location for any KC Family's portraits!