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!

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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!

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Riley | Kansas City Senior Photos

I love the versatility of the amazing locations all around Kansas City. We have peaceful parks and nature preserves just a few miles from our gorgeous urban areas. The variation of soft natural backgrounds at English Landing Park to the fun lines, lights, and patterns in the architecture in the Power and Light District provided the perfect assortment of backdrops for Riley’s stylish senior session. This young lady had an amazing, warm and welcoming personality that was incredibly easy to work with. Her serious side was fierce and alluring; her smile radiated joy and kindness. We had a lot of fun working together. She even brought along her beautiful dog, Boo, to grab a few photos with him. Boo was a perfect addition to the session, as I encourage my senior clients to make their sessions all about what they love and what reflects their personalities and interests. I always welcome seniors to include family, pets, sports gear, cars, and best friends in their sessions.

I am excited to work with another class of soon-to-be-graduates as this new school year begins! Contact me today to discuss the perfect settings for your high school senior portraits!

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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!

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Blake | Lee’s Summit North Senior

I have a maniacal giggle that comes out every now and then. It’s often accompanied by a three-second happydance that would surely embarrass my children. The giggle/dance combo can be seen in nature when everything comes together perfectly to create the shot I have in my mind. Poor Blake had to witness and hear this celebration more than once during his senior portrait session in downtown Lee’s Summit and the Lee’s Summit North track. As my incredible subject, he’s at least partially responsible for it, so I don’t feel like I need to apologize to him.

I will, however, thank Blake for being awesome to work with for this very fun session that shows his magnetic personality and athleticism. I love the mix of shots we captured throughout historic downtown Lee’s Summit (one of my favorite locations for portraits), and I was thrilled with the fact that we were able to spend some time at the LSN athletic complex for some dusk photos of this Broncos track star. The sunset was absolutely superb, with amazing textures and colors that most photographers dream of. Some cheat with Photoshop after the fact, but that’s just not my style!

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Kevin | Blue Springs High School Senior

There are so many details that contribute to a successful portrait session, and only a handful of them are within my control. I have my cameras, lenses, and lighting gear. I have tons of location suggestions. I know the best times of day to shoot at the location my clients want. I have backup locations to battle the “what if” issues at all times. Being a bit of a control freak and a perfectionist, I’ve got those details covered front to back. But there are a few details that are at least somewhat out of my hands. I can’t regulate the weather (which is a shame because here in Kansas City, we have wind, rain, humidity, excessive heat, hail storms, tornadoes, ice storms, and blizzards). And I can’t determine how comfortable my subjects are in front of a camera. Sure, I can help with posing, and tell a joke or two to help people relax, but what most photographers won’t admit is that our interpersonal skills and arsenal of poses can only do so much, or it can take half the session to get someone to relax. I absolutely love it when I can tell I’ve taken someone from apprehensive to confident during our photo session. To see a natural smile or a sincere laugh come from someone who initially had a hard time showing me those things is incredibly rewarding.

But, I won’t lie, it’s awesome when I don’t have to do a darn thing to help someone look and feel completely comfortable in front of the camera. Kevin is most definitely one of those people. He has style, charisma, a great personality, and a wonderful smile.

For Kevin’s session, we explored the West Bottoms, which is a perfect spot for great colors, textures, and variety of backgrounds within easy walking distance of each other. Paired with Kevin’s classic clothing style and perfectly photogenic ways, we ended up with an absolutely perfect photo session.

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Nisha and Eric’s Maternity Session

For a while I was pretty sure that my brother Eric and his wife Nisha were the corporate-ladder-climbing couple who would spend their whole lives traveling every corner of the world, eating dinners at all the fancy restaurants, and always looking like they fell straight out of the pages of a style magazine. You know, doing all the things that people with young children rarely have the time or expendable income to accomplish.

But to my nearly-spitting-a-mouthful-of-food surprise, they announced at Thanksgiving dinner last year that they were expecting their first child. Aside from their good news that day, I was thankful that I didn’t do a spit-take in that moment. It was a close call.

I learned that day that I wasn’t wrong about who they are. But I was wrong in my assumption that their career accomplishments and lifestyle were the only goals and desires they had. Building a family is important to them too. I was wrong to think that those options are mutually exclusive. I think they’re simply the type of people who have figured out how to have it all, which is pretty incredible.

But pretty incredible things are to be expected from pretty incredible people.

For their maternity session, we explored an area in Blue Springs that has some very simple but very beautiful natural backgrounds just off a fairly busy road. I drive by this area all the time. I watch it transform from bare gray sticks and dead grass in the winter to vibrant pops of color in the fall. In the late spring, it’s lush green with tall grasses and kaleidoscopes of sunlight bouncing through the leaves. As most areas are, it’s gorgeous at sunset. And even more gorgeous with a beautiful couple on the verge of being a beautiful family…

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Special thanks to my oldest son for allowing me to use him as a lighting assistant for this session!

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Christine and Ryan’s Engagement Session | Kansas City I’m So in Love

These two adorable love birds celebrated their engagement with a Kansas City-style photo session. It was the first bitterly cold day of the season, and after enjoying such mild autumn weather up to that point, the sudden shift in temperatures solidified the KC experience for us. And they enjoyed lots of snuggles in the process. Because hypothermia is no fun.

We began our journey at the Country Club Plaza on a walking bridge where Ryan proposed to Christine. I love incorporating such meaningful locations in photo sessions, so this was a perfect place to begin. After exploring the area, looking for any place that could offer a break from the brutally chilling wind, we moved to the Crossroads Arts District to visit the recently famous “Kansas City I’m So in Love” mural on the south side of Fortuity at 19th and Baltimore. Christine and Ryan were troopers to say the least – they wore their Charlie Hustle KC t-shirts (while I was bundled in several layers and still freezing, so I can imagine they were certainly numb at this point). We took a quick walk around the block to capture some street scenes in the background, and I fell more in love with Kansas City in the process. The area we were shooting in felt alive and bright and modern, when not too long ago, it would have felt more like a ghost town. The revitalization of the Crossroads has done amazing things for the city and for people like us who love and adore it.

Congratulations to Christine and Ryan, who are so in love!

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