She’s more than a pageant queen… My photo shoot with Miss Kansas


I had the pleasure of meeting Emily Deaver who is the reigning Miss Kansas and, she isn’t your typical pageant girl. Emily has represented our great state as a wholesome home town girl with grace and, dignity for the past few months and, will hand over her crown in June. During her reign she has made many appearances and, has been an excellent role model for every young Kansas girl with a dream. Emily plans to resume her status as a college student after her commitment to the title of Miss Kansas is fulfilled. Many people in the general public might think that as a beauty queen, Emily could be a Diva. She is quite the opposite. She is a talented young lady who not only has beauty and, grace. I was elated to find that she is also a “down to earth” Kansas girl with big dreams to become a famous singer.

Emily is a very talented vocalist and, pianist with the drive to do some big things with her talent. I fully expect to hear her on the radio some day soon. She’s focused and, driven to succeed. Listen for her name on your favorite  station  in the near future. It won’t take her long to get there.

When I met her for the first time ( 10 minutes before we started shooting ), I just had the feeling that we were going to have a great shoot. I was very grateful to have the opportunity to not only take her portraits but, to meet her in the first place. I fell in love with her happy-go-lucky personality and, just wanted to capture that side of her.

When we began our photo shoot I asked her to just relax while I checked some settings on my camera. I wanted to capture the real Emily Deaver and, not Miss Kansas. For the last year she has had thousands of pictures taken with that “Miss Kansas” pose and, smile. I pretended to check settings on my D300 until she relaxed and, then quickly snapped a few shots that she wasn’t aware of. I got a couple of great “test shots” that she liked. I think when she saw that I was trying to find the real Emily Deaver she new she could relax and, have some fun. My assistant, Michelle Rufnak was fantastic at getting Emily to open up. Michelle is a free spirited woman who is so much fun to have around. I found that this pairing of Michelle and I, worked wonderfully to put Emily at ease.

The three of us walked around down town Wichita to a few sites that were not the typical places a beauty queen would have her pictures taken in. We found some great locations in an alley and, started shooting away. As we went from one location to another, we spotted a man leaving his place of business on his motorcycle. After a little coaxing from Michelle, he was very happy to stop and, let Emily pose with his bike. Impromptu things like that are always a great photo op. She had fun with it and, we got some different pictures that she wasn’t expecting to have. After we played around down town, it was off to the  studio that is owned by a friend of mine, Jeff Cowell. He has been so wonderful to me in my quest to learn and, grow as a photographer. This was only my second time in the studio so Jeff was right there if I needed help. He helped me set things up while Emily changed and, freshened the hair and, makeup. Thanks to him and his support I got some really nice portraits for my portfolio.

We had a blast at the studio and, I got some great  high key shots that Emily really liked. All in all, I would say that my experience with “Miss Kansas” was one that I will always remember. Emily was so sweet and, funny. I just loved that she was such an all around good person who was just having fun with a couple of new friends. She was Emily! And, she was fabulous.


6 thoughts on “She’s more than a pageant queen… My photo shoot with Miss Kansas

  1. Greetings, Left Wing Lucy! My name is Lori O’Toole Buselt, and I am the interactive content editor for The Wichita Eagle. I am working on a course on social media and would love the chance to get your thoughts and ideas, as someone who is involved in social media here in Wichita. Will you please e-mail me at if you’re interested? (I’d like to simply send you an e-mail with a few questions.) Thank you so much!

  2. Greetings, Left Wing Lucy! I am the interactive content editor for The Wichita Eagle, and I’d like to interview you for a course I’m taking on social media. I’m interested in your thoughts as someone who is involved in social media in Wichita (through Flickr, Facebook and your blog, for example). If you’re interested in participating, would you please e-mail me at

    Thank you!
    Lori O’Toole Buselt

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