Your Business Needs Great Headshots, Part 2

In my previous post, we had a good heart-to-heart. You certainly understand the need for great photos. You want to represent your brand, build trust with your potential clients, show off your team, or simply incorporate great portraits into your marketing materials.

But studio photos just aren’t your jam. They aren’t your cup of tea. They aren’t your thang.

I get it. Maybe they’re a bit too traditional. Maybe you’re scarred from a collection of awkward yearbook photos throughout your public school career. Maybe your brand is about a certain aesthetic or environment that can’t be communicated with a solid color backdrop. So let’s do something different.

Let’s find a place that represents you. Maybe it’s your office or workshop. Maybe it’s the city you love or the place you volunteer. Maybe it’s a simple natural setting that gives your photos a look that can’t be replicated in the studio. Whatever the location may be, the focus is still on you: the small business owner, the consultant, the go-getter, the professional who provides the expertise and the drive to make it all work. Let’s tell the story of who you are with awesome headshots!

Your Business Needs Great Headshots, Part 1

Let’s have a chat. Your prospective clients are searching online every day for a business they can trust to provide the services and goods they need. The first online interactions with your brand become the first opportunities to build that trust. Are you making a connection with your potential customers?

Let’s keep talking. We both know your phone’s camera is pretty great. It can take some impressive photos in the right settings. But using selfies in place of professional headshots is not representing you well on your website, social media, and other marketing materials. Do you have sharp, well-lit, and nicely composed photos to go with your branding materials?

Let’s discuss one more thing. A consistent look means a lot to our highly judgmental eyes. It’s hard to get visually pleasing consistency with a team of employees who each submitted their own photo – all with different backgrounds, angles, styles, and ages (How does Larry look 25 years younger in the photo?! Well, because it was taken 25 years ago.). Do your team’s photos look like they were taken at the same place, and in the same decade?

We can solve these problems together with updated headshots. Come to my studio, or I can come to you with a traveling studio setup. Studio style photos are a great way to provide your company with high quality, consistent, professional photos for online and print marketing. Contact me today to chat about how quick and easy it is to make it happen!

Megan | Fit Over 40 | Kansas City Fitness Photographer

I remember the first time I spoke to Megan. It wasn’t ages ago or anything like that (maybe a few years now), but the interaction stuck with me. I initiated a conversation with her at the gym in an attempt to step outside my comfort zone and challenge myself to connect, even on a basic level, with people in my community. After a short time of admiring her super rad beast mode ways (we all do that while pretending not do to that at the gym, right?), I finally decided to break that little social barrier. I immediately discovered that task is a bit more challenging at the gym. Everyone is focused. Everyone is out of breath. Everyone has ear buds crammed into their heads, cranked up to 11. So the little barrier can be quite strong at the gym. But I like to think that I’m quite strong, too. That’s what too much time at the gym will make you believe. I think I started out by asking, “Can I just follow you around and try to do whatever it is you’re doing? Because… you. are. awesome.” I’m sure there were some high-level training details offered. And maybe I exchanged an admission that I don’t really know what I’m doing. However the conversation went, there was something in the dynamic that immediately changed how I perceived this person. I’ve heard it called a spark. I’ve heard it called a light. And I like those metaphors. Something intense and bright where there was once nothing. Something memorable. Something warm. That’s Megan.

She became a gym friend. That was it. And that was fine.

But in the last year or two, I’ve become outside-of-the-gym friends with Megan. Which is a pretty big deal. We’re like… real friends now. We talk about life – all the big and small things that make it hilarious and challenging and amazing. We are vulnerable and authentic with each other, because we want to know each other.

What I’ve learned while getting to know Megan is that she has a wildly unique brand of love. Her love is a straight-up, raw, awesome, unapologetic, passionate thing. She is the kind of person who loves loudly. And that’s my kind of person. In my eyes, that’s where her greatest strengths lie. Her physical strength — which is greatly admirable, no doubt — is only a surface feature of who this incredible person is. She trains hard. She focuses on health and wellness. She inspires others. Let there be no mistake: she is a badass. But, I admire her, first and foremost, for her genuine loving nature that surpasses expectations.

When my incredible friend mentioned doing a “Fit Over 40” photo session, I was ecstatic. I knew we would have an amazing time working together, and we most definitely did. I’m really proud of the finished products, and proud to call this awesome person my friend.

Women Build Week | Truman Heritage Habitat for Humanity

My first experience volunteering with Habitat for Humanity was in 2017 when a small group of Blue Springs Chamber of Commerce members volunteered on an unusually chilly spring Saturday. We spent the day working on the roof and insulating the packed dirt crawl space of a rehab home in Independence – on the same street as my first home as a baby. I learned a few new skills, got really dirty, and enjoyed wearing the most hideous safety glasses I could find. More importantly, however, I strengthened connections with the people who volunteered that day. In the process of giving time and energy to our neighbors in need, we were able to connect with one another on a level that I didn’t anticipate. Something about that teamwork and accomplishment brought me closer to everyone on that worksite.

But this isn’t about what I receive from volunteering; that’s simply a bonus. The greatest result of our day of work is that it was a tiny step toward helping a deserving family become homeowners. Habitat homeowners help build or repair their own homes alongside volunteers and pay an affordable zero-interest mortgage or repair loan. This allows homeowners to achieve the strength, stability, and independence they need to build a better life and future for themselves and for their families. This is a crucial element of strong and healthy communities.

In learning more about Habitat’s mission and operations in eastern Jackson County, I wanted to include some of their volunteers in my Local Focus community portrait project. From there, I was given the opportunity to document the 2018 Women Build Week. I captured some highlights of the event with candid photos, portraits, and a short video as well. I met some incredible women from local trade organizations – most of them from the Sheet Metal Workers Union Local 2, young ladies studying skilled trades at local high schools, and volunteers from Lowe’s and many other local corporations that allowed their employees to take time off to serve their community. It was a great group of kind-hearted individuals coming together to rehabilitate an existing home and to build walls for a new home. It was amazing to see the progress made during this week!

Women Build Week Kickoff Event with Future Homeowners

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Check out the highlight video here!

Kansas City Band and Musician Photography

When I rebranded my photography business in 2012, I wanted to convey a focus on the other artistic love of my life, music. I wanted to begin working with more bands and musicians, both on stage and in the creation of promotional photos. I’ve loved having the chance to shoot some incredible shows this year (with a few more on the horizon that I’m super stoked about), and to create promo images for a wide variety of artists, duos, and groups. This avenue of my business allows me the opportunity to merge my two artistic passions, which is a dream. Shooting promo photos allows me the chance to envision and create a concept based on a band’s sound, and shooting live shows gives me the challenge of working in an ever-changing lighting environment while allowing me to enjoy a show from in front of the front row (there’s a bit of fangirl joy in that), for the first few songs. And it has widened my musical tastes as well. Almost every time I shoot a live show, I’m introduced to new bands or individuals that I didn’t know before. Every time I get to work with a new group for promo photos, I need to listen to their work to know what their style and sound is like, so I can do my best to ensure that my images match their style. I’ve fallen in love with lots of new albums and genres in the process. I’m thankful for that.

Here are a few highlights of some of my favorite shows and sessions so far this year:

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Elle King
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Mike Franano
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Gary Clark, Jr.
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Ehrnman and Pearson
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Echo Collider
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Mystik Catering – Kansas City Food Photography

Inspiration is such an interesting aspect of a creative career. It can’t be forced. It can’t be bought. It comes and goes on its own terms. I don’t mind sharing openly that, so far this year, I have been under a cloud of worry and doubt about the future of my business. I’m nearing my ten-year anniversary of pursuing this dream of mine, doing work that I’m incredibly proud of, yet this is shaping up to be the slowest year I’ve ever had. I can blame the continually increasing everyone’s-a-photographer industry, or the ever-slow economy. I can question my prices, my style, or my marketing techniques. I can sit around trying to figure out what’s going on, or I can focus on making myself better. And that’s what I chose. I am choosing to become more versatile and to increase my skills. With that decision, accompanied by determination to release my worry and doubt, a gust of inspiration came my way – I can shoot food! The depth of colors and textures can be absolutely gorgeous, and lighting a plate is crucial for communicating those things.

Once I have inspiration to shoot something on my own terms (as opposed to being contacted by a potential client), my next step is to find someone who can benefit from the project I have in mind. I teamed up with Nicole, who is the executive chef of Mystik Catering. She created several gorgeous plates for our session, including seared lemon tilapia with shrimp and rice, braised short rib with grits, stuffed pork chops, and a beautifully layered mixed berry sponge cake paired with champagne. It was almost painful to have to be so close to such exquisite-looking and amazing-smelling plates for so long without being able to devour it. I highly recommend contacting Mystik Catering for your next event that requires a remarkable spread of incredible food.

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Knowing I would need to be well-prepared for our session, I spent the week practicing some different lighting setups for a variety of photogenic foods and drinks. I know I still have much room for improvement, but I’m really happy with how these turned out. I learned a lot (in trial and error mode) about photographing food – not just from a lighting and styling standpoint, but from the aspect of the food’s colors, temperatures, and sitting time. Here are a few of my favorites from my week of practice:

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Carl’s Rainy Modeling Session | Kansas City Model Photographer

Carl is pursuing a career in fashion modeling. When he approached me to shoot, I knew his look would rock for a concept I’ve wanted to try for a while – using creative lighting (and a garden hose) to make some cool nighttime “rain” photos. I’d say he totally pulled it off!

His session left me wanting to focus more on creating unique and interesting setups like this for other session types: seniors, families, newlyweds, etc. So if you’re itching for some cool and different photos as well, let’s talk!
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Charles – Our Brothers Keeper

Working with complete strangers can be one of the most intimidating aspects of what I do. Luckily, Charles immediately became a friend. Meeting him first in the Destiny Audio recording studio as he laid down some tracks for a very personal song about his experience as a Marine deployed in Iraq meant that he was bearing his soul to me within minutes of meeting him. I learned so much about him with just a few verses and a chorus of lyrics. He earned my respect and admiration for the things he has witnessed and experienced that I will never come close to understanding. And he allowed me the honor of documenting some of his time in a pretty badass studio, so he gets points for that too.

During our promo shoot a few days later, I learned a lot more about who he is and his goals with his music career. It’s touching to learn about his passion for music as a form of healing. I hope that’s what it does for him. He deserves it. He deserves good things. Always.

Recording a track at Destiny Audio:

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Promo photos in the Crossroads and at Liberty Memorial:

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