I had my first exposure (no pun intended) to photography at the ripe old age of 18 when I applied for and got a job doing discount photography in K-Marts and other department stores around the MidWest. When you have an hour-long line of kids under 2 years old with their mothers, you begin to learn what is important and what isn’t and you learn patience. I realized pretty quickly that there was more to photography than just running people through a line and taking their photograph. Needless to say, I looked for something else. I found it. I joined the Navy. (Didn’t see that coming… did you? <smile>)
When I was honorably discharged from the U.S. Navy, I found that I still loved photography and got a job as a portrait photographer with Olan Mills Portrait Studios. I loved this job! For awhile. No lines! Well, that’s not exactly true, but the line wasn’t right next to where I was taking photographs and it was so much better. I also learned salesmanship at Olan Mills or rather, NOT the way to sell photography to clients. At Olan Mills, typically someone would come in for a free 8×10 that they had a coupon for and I would go through my standard set of poses for them. Sometimes I got really lucky with a sitting. For instance, one time I had a mother bring a 3-day old baby in to have their picture taken. I knew that there wasn’t much that I could do with what I was given at Olan Mills, but miracle of miracles, I got the baby to smile. Ok, maybe it was gas, but it was still a smile. I made a big deal out of it and eventually the mother ended up buying a lot of portraits. After that, the client would come back in on a specific date, set at the portrait sitting, and then be pressured into buying additional photographs that they either did not want or could not afford. I did not want to do that.
I got a job shortly after this working with a studios and my first real mentor. This job allowed me to enter the realm of wedding photography. I assisted at a number of weddings until they thought I was ready to go at it alone. I loved the medium format Mamiya film cameras that I used. My freezer was stuffed with rolls of 220 and 120 color film that I used to photograph weddings (which was the method of long-term film storage in those days). I did that for a couple years and loved it. Unfortunately, they went out of business and I became an unemployed photographer.
My interest in computers developed out of my love for photography because while I was working at the studio mentioned above, the industry started developing something called a “digital back” for my beloved Mamiya RB-67 that I used for weddings. I decided that “digital” was the wave of the future so I started looking for positions as a programmer. Because I had studied programming right out of the Navy, I eventually got a job as a COBOL programmer (go figure). To make a long story short, I still loved photography and would take photos as often as I could but I spent the next 30 years serving my time in the I/T field.
Years of practice have provided me with a patient and prepared eye that enables me to recognize and capture images as you would remember them if only you could seize that perfect instant. I am very good at putting people at ease in front of the camera and pride myself on being able to provide my clients with a variety of images that are timeless, elegant, spontaneous and fresh, even if I do have a bad set of “dad” jokes!
At times during a photo session, I work as a photojournalist, recording life as it unfolds, but most of my portraits are a collaboration between the myself and the person or people being photographed. I always have fun during a photo shoot and even the most reluctant subjects tell me that they had fun, too. My work is usually done on location at your home or at a site of your choosing because I don’t believe that professional photography should just be in the realm of the studio. When you book a photography session with me, you will fill out a questionnaire with some of your likes and dislikes and then we will discuss possible locations. The majority of my portraits incorporate elements of the environment and are shot using available light. I do have the equipment necessary for more formal portraits, head shots and for anyone who prefers the studio that I can set up right in your home, at your convenience, not mine.
I am available to guide you every step of the way. From questions about clothing to finding your best angle to choosing the best images — I am here to help you. Even if you decide to go with another photographer, I am available to you to answer questions and guide you to get the best possible photograph that you desire.
Organizations I belong to:
- PPA – Professional Photographers of America – #8327862
- Professional Photographer’s Association of Greater Kansas City – Member ID#
- Treasurer 2018-19
- Model Alliance
- Missouri Professional Photographers Association – Member ID# 30677496
- American Photography Association