Archive for portrait

Greg Leding Campaign Photos | NWA Commercial Photographer

A few weeks ago, on a very windy day, I had the pleasure of photographing Arkansas state representative Greg Leding (D-Fayetteville). He was looking for some photos of himself for his reelection campaign. We went to some Fayetteville landmarks such as the U of A campus (which was under heavy construction — not too great for photos), Dickson Street, and the Square. Greg was pleased and had some very kind words after he saw the images:

The photos are amazing, Stephen. Thank you. I’ve never been excited about pictures of myself… I think they all look fantastic. Is it okay to start using them? Again, I’ve never actually wanted to use any photo of me, so the fact that I’m excited and eager to use them is amazing. Thank you again.

I’ve received a lot of compliments, so thanks again. One of the pictures I like the most, though, has received the most comments. It’s the one of me sitting on the train, looking down, with my hands out in front of me. I remember I was just kind of talking to myself, and I happen to talk using my hands quite a bit, and you snapped a few. I love the shot. I think it’s one of the most casual and spontaneous. One friend, though, said I look like I’m making invisible pottery. Another said it looks like I’m petting an invisible dog. It’s still one of my favorites. I’ve been using it as my Facebook personal profile pic.

Just the response I love to hear. I love taking pictures, but I love happy clients even more. Best of luck on your reelection, Greg!

Image (c) 2012 Stephen Ironside / Ironside Photography (12) Image (c) 2012 Stephen Ironside / Ironside Photography (11) Image (c) 2012 Stephen Ironside / Ironside Photography (10) Image (c) 2012 Stephen Ironside / Ironside Photography (9) Image (c) 2012 Stephen Ironside / Ironside Photography (8) Image (c) 2012 Stephen Ironside / Ironside Photography (7) Image (c) 2012 Stephen Ironside / Ironside Photography (6) Image (c) 2012 Stephen Ironside / Ironside Photography (5) Image (c) 2012 Stephen Ironside / Ironside Photography (4) Image (c) 2012 Stephen Ironside / Ironside Photography (3) Image (c) 2012 Stephen Ironside / Ironside Photography (2) Image (c) 2012 Stephen Ironside / Ironside Photography (1)



Artosphere Conductor Corrado Rovaris | NWA Commercial Photographer

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of photographing Corrado Rovaris, the conductor of the Artosphere Festival Orchestra, for promotional material for the Walton Arts Center. Straight from Italy and the music director of the Opera Company of Philadelphia, Corrado has an impressive musical history. He has led the Artosphere Festival Orchestra for two years, and will be in Arkansas again this year. He was a good sport and a good subject. Bravo, Mr. Rovaris!

One of the main purposes of Artosphere is to unite art with sustainability and the environment. So, in an effort to show this, I photographed Corrado outdoors at Lake Fayetteville. There wasn’t much greenery to help show the “greenness” of the event, but I made do. Also, thanks to Jodi and Jason of the Walton Arts Center for helping out during the shoot! It’s always great to have an extra hand.



Here’s the Walton Arts Center’s spring on-stage program; the bottom photo, as well as the one of the woman in the red jacket, are mine. There are more of my photos inside, but I don’t want to bore you!

Bottom image by Stephen Ironside.



Images (c)2012 Stephen Ironside. Images (c)2012 Stephen Ironside. Images (c)2012 Stephen Ironside. Images (c)2012 Stephen Ironside.Images (c)2012 Stephen Ironside.Images (c)2012 Stephen Ironside.


Three Brothers | NWA Portrait Photographer

I’m back in the country after a trip to China on assignment, and I’m slowly getting back in the game of “normal” life. More on that later.

For now, here are some images from a shoot I did before Christmas. These guys’ uncle bought them a session as a gift to his parents. How sweet.

The images were taken at Lake Fayetteville. Such a beautiful place to shoot! The shoot lasted about an hour, and we caught part of a nice sunset. It was laid back, and one of the guys even mentioned “I don’t know about you guys, but I’m having a great time.” My clients usually DO have a great time. You should be one of them!

You can see more images here on Flickr.


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Renee’s Senior Shoot | NWA Senior Portrait Photographer

A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of shooting Renee’s senior portraits. Renee had a bad experience and mix up with another photographer and didn’t end up with a single print to call her own…so she became one of my 2012 Senior Reps for Bentonville High School! It was a very windy day at Lake Fayetteville, but we had a good time and walked away with some great shots. If you’re a Bentonville High School senior and know Renee, ask her at school for a rep card and you’ll get a discount on your senior portraits!



Baby Belly #1 | NWA Maternity Photographer

A few weeks ago, I did my first maternity shoot on a local first-time-to-be-expecting mother. Each time I dive into a new genre of photography, I’m both humbled and excited. There are small nuances that differentiate each type of photography — newborns, families, seniors, weddings, landscapes, wildlife, etc. — and each takes a different skill set and vision. I haven’t done this much, so I’m not sure how these really turned out; I hope they aren’t too bad! There are a few with the baby’s name, but that’s hush-hush for now. Check back at the end of December :)

You can see more images here on Flickr.


Image (c) 2011 Stephen Ironside / Ironside Photography (14)

Image (c) 2011 Stephen Ironside / Ironside Photography (13)

Image (c) 2011 Stephen Ironside / Ironside Photography (12)

Image (c) 2011 Stephen Ironside / Ironside Photography (11)

Image (c) 2011 Stephen Ironside / Ironside Photography (10)

Image (c) 2011 Stephen Ironside / Ironside Photography (9)

Image (c) 2011 Stephen Ironside / Ironside Photography (8)

Image (c) 2011 Stephen Ironside / Ironside Photography (7)

Image (c) 2011 Stephen Ironside / Ironside Photography (6)

Image (c) 2011 Stephen Ironside / Ironside Photography (5)

Image (c) 2011 Stephen Ironside / Ironside Photography (4)

Image (c) 2011 Stephen Ironside / Ironside Photography (2)

Image (c) 2011 Stephen Ironside / Ironside Photography (1)



Ann’s Newborn Shoot | NWA Newborn Photographer

I recently had the privilege of taking some newborn photos of little Ann in Fayetteville. Even though she would not go to sleep even once (no matter the bribe), I think I ended up with at least a few keepers.


It’s pretty tough to do newborn shoots when the baby won’t close her eyes or look at you, much less be asleep, so I consider this a successful challenge.



Newborn image by Stephen Ironside.

Newborn image by Stephen Ironside.

Newborn image by Stephen Ironside.

Newborn image by Stephen Ironside.

Newborn image by Stephen Ironside.

Newborn image by Stephen Ironside.

Newborn image by Stephen Ironside.

Newborn image by Stephen Ironside.


Kelli’s Senior Photos | NWA Senior Portrait Photographer

A couple of weeks ago, I shot Kelli’s senior portraits at Wilson Park in Fayetteville, as well as at the Fayetteville Square. Kelli is one of my “Senior Reps” at Heritage High School in Rogers — if you know her, ask her for information about senior portraits by me!






Baby Awesome | NWA Newborn Photographer

A couple of weeks ago, I had took my first shot at newborn photography for a lovely couple in Pea Ridge. Quite different from what I’m used to, but it wasn’t too bad!

It was short and sweet, and baby Awesome did a great job. At just a couple of weeks old, Awesome held his own and saved his one accident for the very end. Thanks for being a good sport!

(And yes, his name really is Awesome!)







Avril’s Bridal | NWA Bridal Photographer

Today is Avril’s big day, so of course I get to release her bridal images to you! While Avril normally isn’t the “big white dress” type, she handled it well and knew how to smile when she needed to most. In fact, she didn’t even want to do a bridal shoot in the first place.

Her gut reaction when seeing them for the first time:

Stephen, that’s awesome!
You’re amazing. I consider myself to be painfully NOT photogenic but that looks great!
Thank you so much ;). I didn’t realize how much they would mean to me until I saw them like that.
Thanks again!!!!
 - Av

I’d call that a success.

We shot at the downtown Square in Fayetteville a few weeks ago. Look for her wedding photos soon!


(This post is scheduled to go live as she’s walking down the aisle…so if she’s late, no peeking!)




Reagan & Reese | NWA Children Photographer

At the end of August, I photographed Reagan and Reese, two energetic 10 month old twin girls. Even though they lasted about 15 minutes, I got more shots than they bargained for! With matching tutus, hair bows, and toothless grins, these girls were a joy to work with.




Mary Beth’s Bridal at Carnall Hall

On Saturday I shot Mary Beth and Doug’s wedding, so today I’m posting some images from her bridal shoot at Carnall Hall a few weeks ago! Congrats, Mary Beth, on your big day, and I wish you two the best. Check back soon for the wedding preview post!


Deal: Half-price Portraits on NWADealPiggy!

I’ve got a deal running TODAY ONLY on, a site similar to Groupon but local to Northwest Arkansas. Click on the screenshot below to see the deal, and don’t pass this offer up!


Artosphere 2011: Trail Mix and Peter Lane Portrait

A few weeks ago, I was hired by the Walton Arts Center to be the photographer for their Artosphere event. Artosphere is a 6 week festival which promotes sustainability through numerous musical and otherwise artistic events at very low (or free) prices. It’s pretty much the coolest thing they do all year (in my opinion). They have everything from orchestras to NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC photographers who come to speak. Annie Griffiths and Joel Sartore came to speak, and both were incredible (and were nice enough to talk with me at length after their presentations!)

These photos are from one of their biggest events, the “Trail Mix.” Musicians set up shop along the Lake Fayetteville trail, and people walked along to see all of them playing. Complete with costumed dancers and chameleons, this was a fun event.


I also shot a few portraits of the WAC’s CEO Peter Lane, for an article on powerful men in AY Magazine. Fun!


See more photos here on Flickr.



Emily & Her Boys

A few days ago I met with Emily and Jacob and their adorable pup to get some portraits out at Lake Fayetteville. Emily was the winner of a free matted 5×7 print for signing up for my Daily Photo at one of the previous First Thursday Fayetteville events, and it turns out she wanted some portraits done!

Lake Fayetteville is always a pleasure to work with, as was this great couple. Here are a few shots from the shoot; you can see a few more here on Flickr.




Engagement: Mary Beth & Doug

A couple of weeks ago, I spent an hour or so roaming Fayetteville with Mary Beth and Doug for some engagement portraits. Wandering up and down Dickson St. to find the best nooks and crannies for evening photos was nice, and the weather was just perfect. Sadly, the sun went down over “The Hill” more quickly than I expected and I didn’t get every shot I wanted, but it was a good time regardless. Congrats on your engagement, you two, and you can see more photos here on Flickr.


Darby’s Snowy Photoshoot

Last Friday, after a few days of being snowed in, cabin fever got the best of us. Darby dressed up and Mark and Dana of Stone Ridge Photographers and I went out and took some photos of her in the woods around the house. She braved the cold for quite a while and, a few pink fingers later, we came up with some great images. Here’s a taste of them; you can see the rest of mine here on Flickr!



Happy New Year from Ironside Photography!

Happy New Year, everyone! Here’s to a great year and a great 2011.

2010 was a great year for me, and here’s a quick recap:

• January 1st of 2010 marked the launch of this new website.
• I had a show at the Julie Wait Gallery up in Rogers.
• I applied to six grad schools for an M.F.A. in photography, and didn’t get into a single one. I’d like to attribute that to my never having taken an art class instead of my portfolio, but who knows. Then I realized that the academic/fine art route wasn’t the one I wanted to take anyway.
• My birthday, of course.
• I officially, and legally, formed a business. Ironside Photography became real.
• I got engaged. Have you seen our website?
• I showed at Art Amiss 12, and participated in many a First Thursday Fayetteville art walk.
•  I drove to Iowa to see the Dalai Lama speak.
• I shot the Wakarusa Music Festival, along with various portraits and a few weddings.
• I did some work for the University of Arkansas Honors College–most of the photos on their new website are mine.
• I went to San Francisco and Yosemite with my family and came back with some portfolio-worthy shots.
• I finished my honors thesis and graduated!
• I traveled to India on assignment.
• Darby and I traveled to Washington, D.C., to see the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear.
• Ironside Photography’s website turned 4!
Help Portrait 2010 happened, and it was great.
• 2010 ended with a nice show at Arsaga’s in Fayetteville, a contest win, and an unusually cool lunar eclipse.

How’s that for quick?

Thank you all for all of your support this year, and I’m looking forward to what 2011 will bring. I couldn’t have done it without you.


Portrait Session: Kelly & Friends

Last week, I went out to Lake Fayetteville to do some group shots of some friends from high school (well, some before then). The snow held off, the rain held off, yet, sadly, the pile of dog “mess” I stepped in did not hold off. But, it was a short, sweet session, and they all had a good time. Here are a few, and you can see more here on Flickr.


Help-Portrait NWA 2010

Some days I don’t get much done. Some days I get a lot done. And some days I do something I don’t usually do, but for a good reason. This past Saturday was one of those days.

I spent Saturday morning and afternoon at a Help-Portrait location in Fayetteville. Help-Portrait is an international movement of photographers who donate their time, energy, money, and services to people who cannot afford to have their portraits made. From Berlin to Tokyo, Dallas to Bangalore, and even from Fayetteville to Rogers, photographers worldwide held events on Saturday to give the gift of portraits to the impoverished. It is a fascinatingly simple concept:

1) Find someone in need.
2) Take their portrait.
3) Print their portrait.
4) Deliver it to them.

I cannot think of a better and more helpful way to spend an ordinary Saturday in December.

Here’s an incredibly inspiring video describing the idea. Watch it. Really.

You wouldn’t believe the difference this can make in people’s lives. One man I photographed on Saturday, who used to be a studio portrait photographer at Sears, said he hadn’t had his portrait made in over twenty years. He is now homeless. When we told him his prints would be ready in less than an hour, he couldn’t believe it; he was only hoping to get them before Christmas.

At our Fayetteville location at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, we had six photographers, three photo processors, hair and makeup people, and some other helpers. Collier’s Photo, across the street, donated the prints (THANKS!). This was a big improvement over last year’s system of printing them ourselves on inket printers on location — they looked great, and they’ll last longer.

We took photographs of families large and small, single mothers, boyfriends, grandparents, and children. Homeless. Mentally ill. Perfectly normal, but with no place to go. Many of the people who came were recruited at area churches, soup kitchens, and homeless shelters. Many did not make it to their appointments, but many did. We had food donated from Panera that people could munch on in the morning, and had sandwiches/chips/other snacks at lunch time. Some people stayed all day — it was fairly brisk outside — and some took food away with them.

Some just wanted someone to talk to.

But what that they all had in common was that they walked away with photo prints, digital images on a disk, full stomachs, and smiles on their faces. And they got it all for free. I don’t think I could think of a better way to lift spirits around the holidays. Unlike many a family portrait session where the photos seem to get dusty/misplaced/forgotten about, I think that these photos will be sent to family members, kept safe, and treasured for the first time in a long time. Or at least until next year.

It was an incredibly inspiring event, and I think I received more than I gave. Much more. And you can do it too. You can spare one day a year to give back to a community who needs you. So, if you’re a photographer, find out where you can volunteer next year. You don’t have to be a pro. You don’t even have to know how to take pictures — who else would make those sandwiches or do the makeup?

Get involved. Donate. Or at least go here to hear some stories about how this event has affected people the world over.

For me, and for them, 12/3/2011 won’t come soon enough.

And a quote from one of my favorite musicians, Ben Harper:

…So, mister., when you’re rattling
On heaven’s gate
Let me tell you, mister,
By then it is too late.

‘Cause, mister,when you get there,
they don’t ask how much you saved.
All they’ll want to know, mister,
Is what you gave.


UA Honors College Website Revamp

A few weeks ago I finished some work for the University of Arkansas Honors College. They contracted me to do some photo work for their brochures and mailouts, as well as for the revamp of their website. The new website has been launched, and I’ve counted over 20 of my photos on it so far — an overwhelming majority. The new site is a vast improvement over the old one…especially visually.  :)

Here’s a link to the new site:


Homecoming Shoot: Andrew & Jaden

On Saturday, I behaved like a good big brother and donated my valuable time to shoot some portraits for my brother Andrew and his girlfriend Jaden’s junior Homecoming dance. We went to the Inn at Carnall Hall at the University of Arkansas for a few quick snaps before they headed off to dinner. Here are a few below, and the rest are here on Flickr.


100 Things I Have Learned About Photography: A Personal Take

I came across this post by Eric Kim, an urban photographer from L.A., recounting 100 things that he’s learned about photography. As I have not made such a list, I thought I’d repost his here and add my personal opinions about each one. This way, you get a good, and hopefully improved, list, and I get to share some of what I’VE learned so far in my career.

Note: I am not trying to put down Eric’s list in any way — I’m just sharing my personal views and expanding on his ideas where I can. I commend him for taking the time to put this list out there; please look at his original post here. He also appears to be an excellent photographer.

Eric’s list is in bold. My comments are italicized. Hope you enjoy.

1. Just because someone has an expensive camera doesn’t mean that they’re a good photographer.
100% correct. An expensive camera can aid you in taking better photos, but only if you know how to use it. Buying a $2000+ camera and leaving it on auto is like buying a race car and never racing it. You can also take some pretty sweet shots with cell phone cameras — the best camera is the one that’s with you. As long as you know how to use it.

2. Always shoot in RAW. Always.
Mostly true. While shooting RAW (a non-compressed, full information file format) gives you much greater control in post processing, I wouldn’t exactly shoot in it at the office Christmas party. The files just take up too much space for it to be worthwhile in some situations.

3. Prime lenses help you learn to be a better photographer.
I can’t really comment on this, as I only own one prime lens (one that doesn’t zoom). Some people swear by them, as they force you to really consider YOUR position (your feet are the zoom), and you have to be more careful in where you are relative to the subject. Zooms are more versatile, so I’ve stuck to them thus far. However, prime lenses do tend to be sharper, from what the lens-critics tell me. I also think it’s better to learn on film (like I did!) for a similar reason — you have to think more about what you’re doing than with digital. However, digital has many benefits, as do zoom lenses. It all comes down to preference and your knowledge of your equipment. Here’s a good (and new) post about the switch from zooms to primes. (OK, so I guess I can comment on this after all.)

4. Photo editing is an art in itself.

5. The rule of thirds works 99% of the time.
OK, maybe 98%, but fair enough.

6. Macro photography isn’t for everybody.
And neither is portrait nor nature nor sports photography. Everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses.

7. UV filters work just as well as lens caps.
Yeah, but it’d be a good idea to keep a lens cap on anyway when you aren’t actively using the camera/lenses.

8. Go outside and shoot photos rather than spending hours a day on photography forums.
For sure.
Practice practice practice.

9. Capture the beauty in the mundane and you have a winning photograph.
Yep. Capturing the mundane in the beautiful doesn’t usually go over that well.

10. Film isn’t better than digital.
True. It has it’s merits.

11. Digital isn’t better than film.
True. It has it’s merits.

12. There is no “magic” camera or lens.
Also true. See #1.

My favorite anecdote:

A photographer was invited to dinner with friends and took along a few pictures to show the hostess. She looked at the photos and commented, “These are very good! You must have a good CAMERA.” He didn’t make any comment, but, as he was leaving to go home, he said, ‘That was a really delicious meal! You must have some very good POTS.”

13. Better lenses don’t give you better photos.
No, but bad lenses might limit your capabilities in a given situation. Why else would sports photogs lug around those huge lenses that need their own tripods?

14. Spend less time looking at other people’s work and more time shooting your own.
Correct. Spend SOME time looking at other’s work to try to learn from both their achievements and mistakes, but getting out there and shooting is the only way to develop your skills and your style (and your stamina).

15. Don’t take your DSLR to parties.
No comment. . .

16. Girls dig photographers.
I guess it’s because we’re arsty fartsy.

17. Making your photos b/w doesn’t automatically make them “artsy.”
Amen. Color film was invented for a reason, and sometimes the color should stay.

18. People will always discredit your work if you tell them you “photoshop” your images. Rather, tell them that you process them in the “digital darkroom.”
Well, the ones that don’t know much about photography may discredit it, but they don’t know that every single digital pro does SOMETHING to his/her images.

19. You don’t need to take a photo of everything.
And some things you just shouldn’t take photos of! Be mindful, and “pick your battles,” so to speak. But never be afraid to try to capture something new.

20. Have at least 2 backups of all your images. Like they say in war, two is one, one is none.
True — and leave one copy at a friends house or somewhere safe.

21. Ditch the neck strap and get a handstrap.
I’ve actually been thinking about getting a handstrap. Funny.

22. Get closer when taking your photos, they often turn out better.
This is often true, even with landscapes — most people only shoot landscapes with a wide angle, but try your hand at using a telephoto lens and see what you come up with! However “often” is the key word.

23. Be a part of a scene while taking a photo; not a voyeur.
Unless you’re TRYING to be a voyeur. That’s how candids happen, and candids are good.

24. Taking a photo crouched often make your photos look more interesting.
Unless you’re doing a portrait looking up at someone with too many chins. But in other cases, sure. The idea here (and with #22) is to change your perspective on your subject. That’s why it’s boring to take photos of flowers from your normal eye level — get down there and don’t be afraid to get dirty!

25. Worry less about technical aspects and focus more on compositional aspects of photography.
True, until you master the art of composition. A well-composed but technically poor photograph is no good, just as a poorly composed yet technically superb photograph is boring.

26. Tape up any logos on your camera with black gaffers tape- it brings a lot less attention to you.
And ends the Canon vs. Nikon debate. Sort of. I’ve been meaning to do this–busting out the gaffers tape when I get home. (Keep a roll in your bag!)

27. Always underexpose by 2/3rds of a stop when shooting in broad daylight.
Always is a dangerous word. However, underexposing is better than overexposing.

28. The more photos you take, the better you get.
Yep — see #8.

29. Don’t be afraid to take several photos of the same scene at different exposures, angles, or apertures.
Yes, but I’d go a step further: when walking up to a scene that you know you’d like to photograph, don’t just stop in the first place you come to and start snapping away. Take a moment, when the situation permits, and walk around to find a better angle, and don’t stay in the same spot the whole time. Move around. And, while moving around, use different exposures, apertures, shutter speeds, etc.

30. Only show your best photos.
This is harder than it sounds. For one, who says which photos are your best? You? A critic? And for two, you’re so proud of all of them — why can’t you show them off?! Self-editing is an art form in itself. Be choosey when it comes to which photos you share with others.

31. A point-and-shoot is still a camera.
Yep, just like a bicycle is still a vehicle — it may get you to your destination, but it might be harder and take longer! Some point-and-shoots are really good, some aren’t. It’s good to keep one with you when your big camera is too much of a hassle.

32. Join an online photography forum.
A good idea. Forums are a good place to ask questions of fellow photographers, and also to see what questions other people are asking…and maybe you’ll even answer a few questions yourself! However, see #8.

33. Critique the works of others.
… But don’t be mean about it. The missing keyword here is “constructive.”  On the flipside, ask others to critique your work, and learn from what they say, both from positive and negative comments.

34. Think before you shoot.
It’s good to have an idea of what you want the end result to look like while you’re planning a shot. Sometimes accidents are breathtaking and career making, but oftentimes they’re not.

35. A good photo shouldn’t require explanation (although background information often adds to an image).
And since a photo is worth a thousand words, it shouldn’t need any explanation anyway, right?

36. Alcohol and photography do not mix well.
I once took some photos of liquor bottles in a bar for the university newspaper, but I don’t think that’s what he means. Maybe it had something to do with #15

37. Draw inspiration from other photographers but never worship them.
True.  Learn from them, but get out and do your own thing.

38. Grain is beautiful.
Sometimes. They don’t sell noise reduction software for nothing. Grain is one of those interesting film legacies that we’ll be seeing for a while.

39. Ditch the photo backpack and get a messenger bag. It makes getting your lenses and camera a whole lot easier.
You can never have too many camera bags. Messengers are good for urban photography, but backpacks are good when you have a lot of gear in the woods. It all depends on your situation and style.

40. Simplicity is key.
Simple as that.

41. The definition of photography is: “painting with light.” Use light in your favor.
Photography is ALL about light. When people ask me what time would be best for portraits, for example, they start to look at me crazy when I start blabbering about sunrise and sunset and golden this and that. They’ll just never understand…

42. Find your style of photography and stick with it.
I partially disagree. Yes, find your style. But don’t be afraid to change — art is an adaptive, ever-changing process, and your style should reflect that.

43. Having a second monitor is the best thing ever for photo processing.
Hallelujah. As long as it’s a good size and good quality.

44. Silver EFEX pro is the best b/w converter.
No idea about that, but sounds to me like saying “Canon makes the best cameras.” No one converter will be the best for every photo.

45. Carry your camera with you everywhere. Everywhere.
Except when you go swimming. Unless you have a sweet underwater housing. Otherwise, yes.

46. Never let photography get in the way of enjoying life.
Absolutely, but this sort of contradicts #45, I guess.

47. Don’t pamper your camera. Use and abuse it.
But don’t drop it either.

48. Take straight photos.
As opposed to gay ones? I don’t even know what that means.

49. Shoot with confidence.
But don’t be afraid to admit when you’re wrong.

50. Photography and juxtaposition are best friends.
Best friends forever.

51. Print out your photos big. They will make you happy.
I totally agree.

52. Give your photos to friends.
But only if they want them.

53. Give them to strangers.
But only if they want them.

54. Don’t forget to frame them.
Framing is a pain, but boy do they look nice. I agree.

55. Costco prints are cheap and look great.
We don’t have a Costco, but I can say to avoid Walmart, especially for larger prints.

56. Go out and take photos with (a) friend(s).
Excellent! Go out, learn from and with each other.

57. Join a photo club or start one for yourself.
Eh. Depends on the club. Try #56 first, then see what’s available to you.

58. Photos make great presents.
Usually, but see #52 and #53.

59. Taking photos of strangers is thrilling.
Except when they chase you with big knives. But for the ones who are expecting it and are willing, yes.

60. Candid>Posed.
Absolutely, except for high fashion shoots. But see #23.

61. Natural light is the best light.
Normally I would completely agree, but in the spirit of being a jerk, I’d point out that the best light is the light you have available to you, and the best light is the light you knowingly use to make a good photo. Usually, for me, that’s natural light.

62. 35mm (on full frame) is the best “walk-around” focal length.
Back to the prime lens issue, but I’ve heard this before. 35mm on a full frame camera is said to be equivalent to what your eyes see un-aided, but I haven’t measured this for myself. I’m told it just feels “natural.”

63. Don’t be afraid to bump up your ISO when necessary.
Agreed. But if it’s too high, the photos will probably be worthless. Grain is good, but too much grain is ugly.

64. You don’t need to always bring a tripod with you everywhere you go (hell, I don’t even own one).
Yep. Don’t lug around all of your gear when you only need some of it. But to not even own a tripod? Whoa.

65. It is always better to underexpose than overexpose.
Similar to #27, but I agree. When you overexpose, you lose detail in the highlights that is difficult, and usually impossible, to recover in post-production (i.e., the digital darkroom). It’s much easier to bring out detail in the shadows than recover detail in the highlights that just isn’t there.

66. Shooting photos of homeless people in an attempt to be “artsy” is exploitation.
Actually, it’s just plain rude. If you’re sneaking photos of them and selling them, then, yes. It’s exploitation. But if you talk to them, get to know them, and ask if you can take their portrait, then it’s not. It’s helping to tell the story of a societal problem that needs to be solved, and I think that in telling that story, with good intentions, you’re doing a noble thing.

67. You will find the best photo opportunities in the least likely situations.
And sometimes the opposite.

68. Photos are always more interesting with the human element included.
Again, always is a strong word. For an urban photographer, probably. For a nature photographer, no way. It just depends on what you’re shooting and what you want to say about it.

69. You can’t “photoshop” bad images into good ones.
Too true. And you can ruin some good images by over photoshopping them. Get it right the first time, in camera, and you’ll thank yourself later.

70. Nowadays everybody is a photographer.
Everybody and their uncle. Or at least they think they are. Read my post here on why professional photographers charge what they do

71. You don’t need to fly to Paris to get good photos; the best photo opportunities are in your backyard.
Mostly true. It’s difficult to see your own familiar surroundings in a new way to make interesting photos, which is what makes travel photography so appealing. If you know where to look, though, you might come to find that you know how to convey the story of your backyard better than an outsider would. Unless your backyard is ugly. Then… good luck.

72. People with DSLRS who shoot portraits with their grip pointed downwards look like morons.
Hahahahaha. Yeah.

73. Cameras as tools, not toys.
Yep. Don’t let the camera control your photography. Learn to use it on manual. You should be able to tell it what you want it to do based on what you see, and not let it dominate you.

74. In terms of composition, photography and painting aren’t much different.
Correct. Same idea, different medium.

75. Photography isn’t a hobby — it’s a lifestyle.
For some people. Me. Eric. But for some, it’s just a hobby. Let’s keep it that way — I want to get paid for it!

76. Make photos, not excuses.
Cute. But true. Don’t blame the camera, don’t blame the lens, don’t blame this or that. Just take pictures, and take good ones.

77. Be original in your photography. Don’t try to copy the style of others.
In the long run, yes. But while you’re learning, it’s a good idea to try and emulate some of your favorites, and even recreate some of their photos. You’ll learn from your mistakes — which might have been their mistakes — and become a better photographer because of it.

78. The best photographs tell stories that begs the viewer for more.
That’s why publications like National Geographic, etc., are so popular. Their (stunning) images make you want to learn more about something, which is why you read the articles.

79. Any cameras but black ones draw too much attention.
Yeah, but Ashton Kutcher and colorful Coolpix ads go so well together…

80. The more gear you carry around with you the less you will enjoy photography.
Yep. If you don’t need it, don’t take it. It’s something that’s really hard to get over.

81. Good self-portraits are harder to take than they seem.
Tell me about it. I haven’t taken a good one yet.

82. Laughter always draws out peoples’ true character in a photograph.
Ah, the human element. Priceless. Agreed.

83. Don’t look suspicious when taking photos- blend in with the environment.
And be polite when the security guards try to confiscate your memory cards.

84. Landscape photography can become dull after a while.
Unless you’re a landscape photographer. On the other hand, urban photography can become dull after a while. I’d rather be outdoors in nature than in the city.

85. Have fun while taking photos.

86. Never delete any of your photos.
What? None of them?
I delete the ones I know are bad — blurry, over-exposed, etc. I do keep some/a lot of the ones that I think are just mediocre. I’ve surprised myself by going back to shoots I did a  year ago and, upon a second look, find some true gems. But don’t be a pack rat. An overstatement, but I understand what he means.

87. Be respectful when taking photos of people or places.
This. Is. Essential.

88. When taking candid photos of people in the street, it is easier to use a wide-angle than a telephoto lens.
Not so sure. If you’re close to them, yes. If you’re standing across the street, maybe not.

89. Travel and photography are the perfect pair.
Absolutely, but see #71. It feels great to see new things and photograph them, and to bring back images from a far away land to show to your friends and family also feels good. Photography is an adventure.

90. Learn how to read a histogram.
Can’t emphasize this enough. It’s essential, especially when you can’t see your LCD screen in bright sunlight, etc. The histogram can, for want of a better phrase, save your ass.

91. A noisy photo is better than a blurry one.
True. Crank up that ISO if it means getting a clear shot. There are plenty of noise reduction techniques out there, but very few un-blurrying techniques.

92. Don’t be afraid to take photos in the rain.
Just be careful! Digital cameras are full of fancy computers and electronics, most of which don’t like water. Professional cameras are usually sealed against things like this, but smaller ones usually aren’t. The same goes for lenses.

93. Learn how to enjoy the moment, rather than relentlessly trying to capture the perfect picture of it.
Story of my life. The worst thing ever is when people just snap at every single thing they see and either lag behind or hold other people back. This is especially true at weddings, where a few rogue aunts or uncles with their new digital cameras (or cell phones) want to get every shot that the professional is trying to get, and usually interrupt and distract the pro in the process. This is why cameras at my wedding will be confiscated at the door and camera phones will suffer the wrath of our ultra-vigilant ushers. I’ll have enough photos from the professional, thanks, and I’d rather have our guests looking at us through their eyes instead of through a screen or viewfinder. (Sorry, ranting.)

94. Never take photos on an empty stomach.
Agreed — your mind isn’t as clear (or creative) when you’re hungry, and if you’re climbing or crawling or doing some other sort of strenuous activity to get a shot, it will be much less fun when all you hear is tummy grumbles.

95. You will discover a lot about yourself through your photography.
I’d never thought about that one, but he’s right. It’s like any other artform in that it’s an expression of human emotion.

96. Never hoard your photographic insight — share it with the world.

97. Never stop taking photos.
This reminded me of this story of a man who took a polaroid a day until the day he died. Fascinating. The point is, don’t stop doing what you love.

98. Photography is more than simply taking photos, it is a philosophy of life.
Too close to #75, but I get it. Like any artform, photography can become a part of who you are and how you express yourself.

99. Capture the decisive moment.
Besides light, photography is all about timing and anticipation. It’s all about the moment.

100. Write your own list.

So, that’s it. Good list, Eric. Now, let me know what you think. Leave comments below, telling me what you thought about this post, about Eric’s list, about specific entries in it, etc. If you’d like me to elaborate on any of them, let me know. Let’s hear it. I’m in the mood for a discussion.


Tear Sheet: Honors College Brochure

I recently did a bit of photo work for the University of Arkansas Honors College for their website and recruitment brochures. The few student portraits I did have now manifested themselves in the bottom half of the brochure you see below (unfolded, of course). I’ve been told more will be on the website soon, and when I see them anywhere else I’ll be sure to post it. There were more shots than just portraits, so I hope to see more of them in action soon!

(An aside: I was told my name/contact info and maybe even a short bio would appear on such publications. Doesn’t seem to be true. Hmm.)

(Download the PDF here.)


Wedding: Helen & Lindi

Last weekend Darby and I drove to Talequah, OK, to shoot our friends Lindi and Helen’s wedding. We met Helen in our freshman year, and Lindi shortly thereafter. They finally got hitched last weekend, and it was a great time. Yes, it’s true, and I’ll just say it–they’re lesbians, and, no Oklahoma does not recognize such marriages. But they did it anyway. Cake, dresses, bouquets and all.

It’s especially fitting, because shortly thereafter, Proposition 8 got overturned by a federal judge in California, and may be well on it’s way to the U.S. Supreme Court. It’s a great thing for supporters of the civil rights of all people, and a great thing for Helen and Lindi; maybe someday they’ll be able to get hitched legally and receive the same benefits as other married couples. I’m happy that it got overturned, and happy for Helen and Lindi. Congrats, you two.

Here are a few photos, and the rest are up here on Flickr!

UPDATE 10/14/10:

Helen has written a wonderful article about her day. She really gets at the heart of the troubles with weddings, and the reasons people should get married — I highly recommend it. Plus, there are some good photos too :P .

You can read her story here.


Wedding: Andrea & Elliot

Last Saturday I shot a little bit of Andrea and Elliot’s wedding in Bentonville with Stone Ridge Photographers. I was there for the ceremony and for only the beginning of the reception, but it was a big crowd and quite a fancy room at the Embassy Suites to host them–it even had an ice sculpture! Here are a few, and you can see more here on Flickr.


Let the Mobile Uploads Begin

So, it finally happened. I finally got an iPhone (4). I’ve seen some quite impressive mobile photos, and I’m going to take a stab at it. The best camera is the one you have with you, right?

I’m still learning how to use it, but I’ve uploaded a few to Flickr (and created a new collection for them). Let me know what you think, what you’d like to see, etc.

On a related note, here’s a pretty funny video from FStoppers about doing a model shoot with an iPhone. Maybe I’ll try it sometime.


Wedding: Katie & Brent

I shot Katie and Brent’s wedding a few weeks ago with Stone Ridge Photographers at the historic (and haunted) Crescent Hotel in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. Katie and Brent–man, what a fiesty, happy couple–had a fairly small group of family and friends that made for a fun night of karaoke, dancing, and, of course, drinking. It was also one of the best cake-smearings I’ve seen…so great that it came a few inches from the front of my lens, and got on my pants and pretty much everyone around me. But, they had a great time, and I hope they have a long life together.

Here are a few shots, and the rest are here on Flickr.


Wedding: Jenny & Marty

In late May (yes, before Heather and Kyle’s wedding), Darby and I shot a small ceremony in Gulley Park in Fayetteville for Mark and Dana of Stone Ridge Photographers because they had another wedding to shoot that day. It was small, short, and sweet, and the overcast day made for some interesting lighting. This also happened to be the first wedding I’d shot without Mark and Dana being there, so at first I was a little nervous about getting the necessary shots.

We didn’t stay until the end of the reception, because the bride and groom had paid for X number of hours, and told us to leave when that was up. We obliged, but that means no photos of the band, dancing, cake cutting, bouquet throwing, etc. Their loss, but I hope they’re happy with what they got!

Here are a few shots, and the rest are here on Flickr.


Wedding: Heather and Kyle

Sorry it’s been a while since my last post. Things are, in a word, insane. I have to finish my thesis, take a family vacation, prepare and hang a show, and move…all in the next 5 weeks.

In other news, here are a few photos that I shot a couple of weeks ago at Heather and Kyle’s wedding with Stone Ridge Photographers. It was HOT, but we got some good shots. This was the first wedding I’d shot in months for them, as school was keeping me plenty busy. The rest will be on Flickr soon. I’ll link when they’re up.  (EDIT: They’re up.)

Congrats, Heather and Kyle!


Kill That Tomato

A couple of weeks ago, I took a few photos of my friend Rachel Moore, a senior math major/philosophy minor at the U of A who plans on going to culinary school, for a profile on her in The Arkansas Traveler. Disclaimer: Everything Rachel makes tastes good incredible, so much that anything she touches looks like it would taste incredible if she cooked it, including the tomato below.

Though not technically a vegan, Rachel is a vegan when she cooks at home. She’s already put together a first version of her vegan cookbook, entitled Rachel’s Book of Secrets Rachel’s Book of Secrets: Learning to Cope with Vegaphobia, and is currently working on the second. Even if you’re not a vegan, there are definitely recipes in it that you’d enjoy, so I highly recommend checking it out. She even has a glossary of the vegan equivalents/replacements she uses in the recipes, such as Vegan Sour Cream, Liquid Aminos, Egg Replacer, etc. Here is one recipe, one of my favorites, courtesy of Rachel. You can contact her (or me) if you’d like the whole book.



2 sweet potatoes, sliced into thin half-moons

1 red onion, chopped

1 red bell pepper, chopped

1-2 chili peppers, chopped

3 tablespoons oil

2 tablespoons liquid aminos or soy sauce

1/4 cup water

1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped

salt and pepper, to taste


Heat oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Once hot, add sweet potatoes, onion, bell pepper, and chili pepper. Season with salt and pepper. Sauté until sweet potatoes are cooked through and all vegetables are well browned (it’s all right if some stick!). Add liquid aminos or soy sauce and water. Scrape the bottom of the skillet to release any bits that may have stuck. When water has mostly evaporated, taste, and add more salt, if needed. Stir in parsley, and serve.

Serves 4.

Here are some of the photos from her profile, and the rest are on Flickr. Let’s just say we got some funny looks walking down the street with a tomato speared on a large knife.