The Ultimate List of Best Locations for Your Kansas City Senior Pictures | Kansas City Senior Photographer Merry Ohler
The school semester has begun, PSL is back (can I get a hallelujah?!) and cardigans and Halloween have taken over my Pinterest feed, which means it’s officially time to schedule your Kansas City Senior Pictures! A few years back, I wrote a blog post highlighting the top five (in my opinion) spots for senior pictures in KC, and this year is the perfect time for a fresh take. Without further ado, here is
THE ULTIMATE LIST OF BEST LOCATIONS FOR YOUR KANSAS CITY SENIOR PICTURES
The Crossroads District
The Crossroads District in Kansas City is at the top of my list for good reason. There are dozens of great restaurants, hip and trendy stores and shops, and what I consider Kansas City’s BEST graffiti art. Scheduling your senior portraits in the Crossroads District will give you no shortage of variety. The amazing alley near Grinder’s Pizza, gorgeous architecture complete with overgrown vines and vibrant walls, not to mention the elegant lines of Kansas City’s Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, all work together to make this one of the most desirable destinations for Kansas City Senior Pictures. Bonus? Pop in to Thou Mayest for a cup of coffee to warm you up and a healthy dose of Kansas City culture. A word to the wise - don’t schedule your senior session on a First Friday in the Crossroads Arts District - but plan to go see some of Kansas City’s amazing local artists!
What Kansas City portrait location list would be complete without a nod to Kansas City’s own National WWI Liberty Memorial Museum? The stunning monument, clean lines and unforgettable view overlooking Union Station and all of downtown Kansas City make this location a no brainer. For an unexpected take on this classic Kansas City location, tuck inside the vestibule to the left of the large monument to catch a few portraits with the exquisite blue mosaic tiles, or venture down the steps on either side of “the wall” for a larger than life view of our gorgeous city. Alternatively, catch some gorgeous fall colors with the trees lining the front lawn on either side, or set up camp on the grassy lawn - there’s really no bad angle here!
A Coffee Shop
Kansas City is home to an amazing number of incredible restaurants, cafes and coffee shops, each with a unique personality. For tall ceilings, incredible natural light and a trendy, neutral vibe, check out Messenger Coffee on Grand or The Roasterie’s Factory Cafe. If you are after something a little more eclectic, consider The Opera House or City Market Coffee. For a more classic coffee shop vibe, Parkville Coffee, Headrush Roasters or Broadway Cafe are all excellent options. Whichever spot you choose, make sure you and your photographer contact the business before showing up to take your senior photos. Most businesses are gracious and welcoming, so make sure you go above and beyond to be respectful of their patrons and staff, and make sure you buy something while you’re there!
The River Market
Nestled just south of the river and surrounded by quaint boutiques, restaurants, coffee shops and cafes, Kansas City’s River Market is an amazing location for senior pictures. A short walk in any direction will afford you with recognizable Kansas City views, unique, colorful backdrops and your choice of outdoor cafes - the perfect setting for your metropolitan senior session. Schedule your senior photo session on a Saturday morning if you’d like to incorporate the Farmer’s Market, but make sure you ask permission before posing in front of a farmer’s floral bouquets or bins of produce.
If you are tired of feeling land-locked, or are after a more unique Kansas City Senior Session, consider hitting up one of the many lakes in our area - or beyond! Longview Lake, Lake Jacomo, or Smithville Lake all boast some gorgeous views and lend a different feel than the usual Kansas City spots. Furthermore, talk to your photographer about a little road trip down to Lake of the Ozarks, Pomme de Terre or even Stockton Lake! I have traveled into Kansas, all over Missouri and many other states for sessions - you never know! A good photographer will want to work with you to create an unforgettable session experience, and there’s nothing we like more than creativity, so just ask us if you are interested in something out of the norm!
As Shakespeare wrote, “All the world’s a stage.” Kansas City is home to some amazing venues, and if you are involved in plays or musicals, or another type of artistic performance, consider trying something out of the norm and setting up your senior photos on the stage! You could use your high school’s stage, sure, but think bigger! Many venues in Kansas City are open to allowing photography with a fee or permit. Talk to your photographer and reach out to area venues to find out what their individual policies and requirements are. You may have to pay a use fee, but think of how unique and perfectly YOU your Kansas City senior photos will be.
Kansas City Public Library
While this may be an unconventional choice, Kansas City’s Public Library is recognized as one of the most unique libraries in the country. The giant books lining the walls of the building outside, the unexpected rooftop garden with sweeping views of the city, not to mention the aisles and aisles of glorious books within, make the library a stellar choice for Kansas City senior photos. This is the perfect spot for the avid reader, or anyone who enjoys writing, poetry, etc. Even if you are not a die-hard reader, the Kansas City Public Library holds a variety of great options for your senior pictures. Make sure to have your photographer get permission and a day permit before you go, and be mindful of the individuals there to study or read.
Historic West Bottoms
The historic West Bottoms have long been a favorite location for Kansas City senior pictures. The gorgeous juxtaposition between abandoned and fresh… historic buildings and creative graffiti art… gorgeous light spilling between tall, silent buildings overgrown with ivy and vines and the wide variety of backdrops within a short walk in any direction… There is just so much to love about the West Bottoms. Be mindful of how popular this area is, and try to schedule your session for a time that is less likely to be busy if you don’t want to play the waiting game with other photographers and their clients. First Friday weekends are also very busy, so I advise to choose a different weekend if you have your heart set on this spot.
Greater Kansas City holds some amazing options if you would like to catch the majestic Missouri in your senior photos. English Landing Park offers some great up-close-and-personal views of the river, as does Berkeley Riverfront Park. Kaw Point Park is another great alternative, and it includes a unique view of Kansas City, as well. If you are open to driving a bit north, you can check out the view from Weston Bend State Park. The River Market also boasts a great bridge walk way just to the left of River Market Event Place, complete with sweeping views of the Missouri River.
The Konza Prairie
This location is not technically located in Kansas City, but it is close and unique enough to warrant a mention. The Konza Prairie is about a two hour drive from Kansas City, but I promise you it is so worth it. Sweeping vistas, rolling hills, tall prairie grasses, and a wide open sky like nothing you’ve ever seen are just a few reasons to make the trek for your senior photos. This is an amazing location for the senior who wants photos with gorgeous surroundings and has a flair for the dramatic. Think flowing boho dresses, styled sessions or photos with your violin or guitar, etc.
Doing Something You Love
What makes you, YOU? Are you an avid painter? Do you love anime? Are you into football or cooking or playing guitar? Times have changed. The hokey senior photos of fifteen or twenty years ago are no more! And can I just say, THANK GOODNESS! I remember my own senior photos, and while I SO appreciate my parents’ paying for them, they were just that…hokey. Half of them included me, posed with a giant “20xx” and my school colors, and they were anything but ME. The conversation has changed regarding photography, and there is no reason why you can’t have a session tailored to you and your skills and hobbies which DOESN’T make you cringe. A good senior photographer will work with you to find out what you are all about and effort to infuse what makes you unique into your senior photos. One of my favorite senior photo sessions of all time involved one of my sweet seniors, Emily, and her gorgeous mare, Chloe.
Kansas City is rife with some gorgeous college campuses. Liberty, MIssouri is host to the beautiful WIlliam Jewell College campus, UMKC downtown, Park University in Parkville, or even KU in Lawrence, Kansas. Any of these choices will afford you some beautiful architecture, manicured lawns and a rich background for your senior photos.
While the woods may seem a more natural fit for maternity photos, I’m here to tell you that the woods are a GREAT spot for your senior pictures in Kansas City! With many gorgeous parks and hiking trails nearby, you have your choice of amazing locations - especially if you are after some of those fall colors we love so much. For those in the Northland, consider Watkins Mill State Park, Line Creek Trail or Parkville’s Nature Sanctuary. For those further south, Burr Oak Woods is a gorgeous spot with tall trees that lend an enchanted, ethereal feel to any session.
The City of Fountains has so much to offer, and while this list is a fantastic resource for the best locations for your Kansas City senior pictures, be creative! The best senior photos are the ones that tell your story, so think about what is important or unique to you and roll with it! Have fun and be yourself, and make sure to hire a professional photographer who gets you and your vision - you won’t be sorry you did!