Of my 37 years on this planet only two people have had the ability to make me laugh so hard that bladder control becomes compromised, my husband and my cousin Holly… until now.  Enter Beth Powell, or, Elizabeth Ladean as her clients and the online world affectionately know her.

Five years ago I received an e-mail from one of Mark’s childhood friends.  His wife Beth, whom I’d only met once, was starting a photography business and he wanted to know if I’d be willing to answer some questions to help her get off on the right foot.  It all started with lengthy, detailed and formal Q&A e-mails that grew in to helpful texts then humorous texts followed by an annual short but sweet in person visit when Wes & Beth would come out to Colorado.  What began as mentor and mentee evolved to respected colleagues and now, to my delight, the best of friends.

In the last couple of years, Beth’s business has blown up just as I suspected it would.  Her devotion to her craft relit a fire in me and my own business at a time when the burn out was palpable.  She continually inspires me to push myself to be a better photographer and has reminded me of all the things I know about this business that have simply become second nature to me.

With Beth in Kansas City and I in Colorado, our friendship has been primarily text and e-mail based.  So earlier this summer, on a bit of a whim, I booked a flight to KC.  It didn’t matter that it was the middle of wedding season and traveling meant getting behind in my workload, it didn’t matter that I could only stay for 2.5 days, all that mattered was that I finally got some face-to-face time with one of my favorite people in the world.

I fully expected to have a great time but I never would have predicted that we would laugh until we cried (numerous times), talk until we lost our voices and connect on even more levels than we already had.  We explored Kansas City, photographed the sites and each other, jumped in puddles, played in the rain, ate tons of Mexican food and generally relished being two creative professionals that love exploring and documenting it all along the way.

What you’re about to see are A LOT of photos of me, something I wouldn’t typically share.  In fact, only one other time in my life have I spent so much time in front of the camera and that was for my senior portraits.  But, I learned something from spending so much time in front of the camera that week…it feels good, REALLY REALLY GOOD, to let your guard down, to play, to be silly and to feel pretty.  This experience reminded me that I hope I’m able to do the same for every client that steps in front of my camera.

Everyone should be so lucky to laugh as hard as we did during our visit.  To laugh so hard that you nearly BUT DON’T ACTUALLY pee your pants : )

My Kansas City tour began with stops at some of Beth’s favorite wedding venues.  Why did I absolutely love this?  Because these are places I’ve seen on social media and Beth’s blog for years.  Seeing them in real life, seeing the beauty and the unique challenges that Beth works with was such a treat.  We love comparing the differences between our two regions and wedding markets as the Midwest and the mountains are two very different beasts.  Fun fact: One weekend in May I texted Beth that an intense hail storm and near freezing temps made our wedding that weekend a challenge, she replied that she had shot a wedding in a barn with no a/c and it was 100 degrees out.

From there Beth took me to roam the streets of Weston, MO.  Just like me, Beth loves a good rural American town with old-fashioned roots and small town charm.  We strolled around town for hours taking photos, jumping in puddles, laughing hysterically and generally living life like no one was watching…though I think a few people might have been watching and wondering what the heck we were up to.

Beth set her sights on this little puddle and was determined to get the perfect puddle jumping shot.  Between my timing being off by 1/1000 of a second and her too-focused expression, we struggled to nail it.  But the outtakes and the laughter that ensued made it all worth it.  I will forever remember Weston, MO as Puddle Town.

The next day we headed downtown to explore the city.  I love a good mural and Beth delivered by starting off our downtown tour with a stop at this awesome wall, a photographer’s dream.

The laughter and expressions that result from trying to get THE SHOT, those are always my favorites.

Then it was on to Loose Park, another spot I recognized right away from Beth’s blog and Instagram.  This was also the point where I began to get a real taste for the humidity of the Midwest which is absolutely nothing like the heat of the AZ desert that I grew up in.

At this point my ability to remain serious in front of the camera was fading.  And besides, the below photo is a far better representation of my personality anyhow : )

Sometimes I look back at photos and can’t help but wonder what in the world was said to get these types of reactions.  Whatever it was, it was perfect because the below sequence is so good.

Our last stop downtown was River Market.  First on the agenda was FOOD.  Beth & I have a lot in common but more than anything may be the fact that we are first and foremost motivated by food, good food.  With that, I knew I wouldn’t go hungry on this trip which was quite comforting for a girl that’s used to having food and snacks with her at all times.  We ate at the Opera House, savored the most delicious macaroons then finished off our tour of downtown with a little walkabout and a few more photos.

That afternoon we got back to Beth’s house and realized there was one vital task that needed to be accomplished before I flew back to Colorado that evening…get a photo of the two of us together.  And then, total chaos ensued.  Leave it to two professional photographers to struggle with getting an in focus shot using a tripod and remote.  That simple fact left us in a uncontrollable fit of laughter.  Only Beth & I may really see the humor in the photos below, who knows, but these will forever make me laugh out loud.

Beth, what can I say, you’re one of the coolest people I know.  Five years ago I never would have guessed we would be the friends we are today and I couldn’t be more grateful for it.  My life just wouldn’t be the same without your wicked sense of humor and your huge heart.  I can’t wait to see where we meet in 2019!

Hi there! I’m Michele, owner of IN Photography.  I’m a runner, wanderer, aviation-lover and road-trip obsessed mountain girl.  Fourteen years ago the dream of this business was born at a campground in Breckenridge.  Today I pride myself on delivering a superior product and exceptional client experience to couples that love the Rocky Mountains as much as I do.

follow along on instagram @inphoto.michele