New policy at Kauffman Memorial Garden shocks some photographers, visitors

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Starting July 1st, The Ewing and Muriel Kauffman Memorial Garden will no longer allow organized photo sessions. The Garden has been a back drop for senior pictures, wedding pictures, you name it. But now, professional photographers will have to find a new spot.

Sharon Hoevet's daughter's dance team took photos at the picturesque setting a few years ago.

"We liked the location so we wanted to do our senior pictures here," Hoevet said.

Her other daughter, Clara, was taking those professional pictures Friday, maybe for the last time.

"When I walked up and saw the sign I'm like, 'oh okay,' a little shocked. On the website, it does mention that it`s good for photography, so it was just kind of shocking that they switched their rules," Hoevet added.

The Garden has a new photo policy that only applies to organized portrait photography:

"Through the years the garden was open to professional photographers to use for wedding parties, proms, etc. The Garden staff has asked photographers to follow some simple, common courtesy guidelines. Unfortunately, the group photos are now so numerous that they have become a disturbance to other visitors."

"I was just really disappointed," said Roxanne Rankin, a photographer. She uses the Garden as a backdrop regularly because she loves the landscaping and colors.

"The flowers are just beautiful," Rankin said, "It really adds to the pictures... the vibrancy."

She says she always tells her clients to stay on the path and tries to be respectful of others.

"We`re definitely going to have to look for another location, we can go to a lot of parks, but parks don`t have the flowers and the color," Rankin added.

Rankin says this isn't the first time this has happened to photographers.

"The Arboretum in Overland Park, I used to go there and take pictures, because they have some beautiful waterfalls, and they changed their rules, but they actually allow you to pay for a membership to come in and do pictures," said Rankin.

An option she and Hoevet feel Kauffman should look into.

"Maybe do appointments or something like that, so it would be available for both photography and for individuals to enjoy the gardens," said Hoevet.

Visitors will still be allowed to take snapshots here, but after June 30th, portrait photography will be prohibited. The new rules will not be in place until July to accommodate one more wedding/graduation season.