Joplin restaurants (CVB part 2)

  In the midst of my usual work w/ families & brides, I’ve had my fair share of commercial work as of late, the top gig being a re-branding project for the Joplin CVB (convention & visitors’ bureau). I’ve meant to share more work from this ongoing series & am finally getting around to it.

     The project has covered a variety of subjects that make our fair town so unique… but this post is dedicated specifically to the restaurants I’ve shot so far. Because food is always close to my heart…


this first shot is a ‘behind the scenes’… the lovely ladies of the CVB helping me prep a shot at the Eagle Drive In.


One of Joplin’s finest eateries… seafood specialties that will make your mouth water.

manager Damien hard at work…


don’t you just want to pluck it straight off of the screen?



a wonderful Italian eatery in the heart of downtown.

fine dining with small town charm…


outstanding pie, delicious breakfast… good ol’ fashioned americana in edible form.


one of Joplin’s favorites… greek cuisine done right. Cheese served on fire? Yes please.

Owner George was quite the willing model in his kitchen. A truly nice guy and a great cook.


One of my own personal favorites. Founded by culinary genius Jason Miller- who also runs ‘Instant Karma’ across the street from my studio. Justin will make a burger out of just about anything (my favorite experiment was his scallop burger). The menu includes burgers made from leg-of-lamb & elk, and the ahi tuna steak is out of this world.

The house ‘Eagle burger’ pictured below is topped with a quail egg. Yep. a quail egg.

The Eagle features a cozy little bar as well. Got some candids of a lunch among friends…

some of my shots ended up a little more (or less?) candid than I predicted, thanks to Doug, our fella on the end…

I was blessed with a nice blue sky the day of the shoot. I love a great blue sky.

more later…. this weekend is booked with more shoots w/ the CVB for an upcoming ad campaign. So excited to be involved!


   I’ve worked with a lot of babies lately… which I love… but I forget how fun it is to work with older kids too. When I say ‘older’ I mean 6 years old in this case… mr Charlie. Charlie, originally from guatemala, has an infectious little smile and a sweet personality, and he just flat out makes you laugh.

I had so much fun w/ Charlie & his parents Becky & Tom, hanging out around the train (a very awesome spot for any little boy, I can assure you) and making fart noises. Oh, if only fart noises made all my adult subjects laugh as easily…

Charlie really is a serious kid… mmmph….

yeah, they could be a rock band.

Brian (eyeworks) DeMint

     We all have fellow professionals we look up to. Most of them I admire & follow (in a non-stalker-ish way, of course) from a distance… well, most of them live too far away to follow in person anyway, so…

Yeah, I know, I DO sound like a stalker.

   Moving on. One of those professionals I personally look up to is mr Brian DeMint, a tour de force in the world of fashion photography who, oddly enough, lives right here in Joplin missouri. Brian’s inventive & beautiful work, under the name ‘eyeworks photography’ has been featured internationally. Brian speaks at photography conventions both locally and out of our American borders, and works with models from all over the country. If you have a moment, you can view his outstanding work here.

   Meeting Brian for the first time- which I did a couple of years back- is a startling thing. When you see his work, you wouldn’t expect him to be one of the humblest, most down-to-earth people you’ve met… but that’s what he is. That and he has a razor sharp sense of humor that leaves you reeling and rolling.

I’ve wanted to shoot Brian’s portrait since I met him, both for the challenge and just because he’s so interesting. It was the beginning of a thought I had, to shoot a series featuring other artists of all different mediums. I feel like with this shoot, I’ve finally gotten a jumpstart on that idea. 

I got the chance to shoot Brian when a local photographers’ group collectively decided to take portraits of each other- each photog was ‘assigned’ another photog as a subject. As a side note, I had the pleasure of being shot by Angela from Artistic Expressions- maybe I’ll share an image or two from that somewhere down the line. Let’s say it was pretty ridiculous. 🙂

To banter with Brian is an experience all its’ own… as demonstrated when I was called a B**** & a w**** within the first 10 minutes… but somehow you’re never insulted by Brian’s insults because it’s all in good fun. The fun was enhanced by the presence of brian’s lovely wife Dena (who does all the hair &  makeup for the models) & his aspiring photog daughter Natalie, who is holding the fan in the final shot. It’s very much a family affair, and the models are treated like family too. 

I really wanted a true ‘environmental portrait’ for this- so I had to shoot Brian IN his own studio, which is a whirlwind of color, outfits, outrageous props, paintings, backdrops and more. I asked him to bring a couple of models he enjoys working with to help form the ‘background’, so the very talented models Bree & Skyler were also in on it.

Let’s start by saying a shoot with me  is never all serious… so when the models were eating some sonic as we set up the shot, I told them to use their food as our initial props…

And then I brought Brian in, too…

But he had to finish his makeup before we finished the shoot (not sure how he felt being the one the makeup was being applied to).

Finally, we had everything in place… and after me taking 2+ hours to get every light PERFECT (4 lights in this shot- most I’ve ever used- aren’t I fancy?) and the composition just right, we ended up with this image- one of the pictures I am most proud of to date.

One of my favorite aspects of this image is the light that Brian himself is holding- I had him hold it to light the model directly behind him, and realized before I started shooting that I needed some barn doors (adjustable metal flaps you attach to better direct the ‘spill light’) for the light. In true innovative (he would say ghetto) fashion, he duct taped a cardboard box to the light. Perfect. That’s a little lesson to photographers everywhere…the best solution is not always the coolest looking or most expensive one. If it works, it works. 

And we ended things with a simple headshot of Brian- keepin’ it classy.

 Here’s a couple of outtakes to finish things out. Hope you enjoyed… stay tuned for more artist portraits down the line! 

NOTE: if you want to learn more about Brian & his own work, please take a few minutes to read an interview with him conducted by my good friend lance schaubert. 

Beverly + Dillon :: engagement

      So…. my clients are awesome. For reals. What makes Dillon & Beverly awesome? Well they bribed me, for one. They gave me this tomato plant. How awesome is that? Told you.

Ok, so they’re not just awesome because they bribed me. It was also nice to share some great laughs and get to know these two better. 

The couple has a fantastic garden- of which I’m more than a little jealous- and of course we started there. We moved into stealing a few blackberries from the neighbors’ yard (the neighbors weren’t picking any, someone had to!) getting some shots in front of their lovely home, and then exploring downtown bentonville. Such a great night, and I really enjoyed hanging out in bentonville for the evening.

I might’ve said this a time or two before after an engagement session… but I can’t wait for the wedding! 🙂

so guilty….

ended it with a not-so-typical ring shot… love it!!!

Kristen + Billy:: married


Crazy, hilarious, fun. Billy & Kristen are a couple to not take their wedding day toooo seriously (of course they take the marrying each other part seriously)

– and all for the better. From the gorgeous preparation shots to the ridiculous reception ones, this was a great day to shoot! 🙂

more after the break!

kristen’s brothers got to co-serve as flower girls! 

you can only hold the romantic poses for so long before a little of this has to slip out.

It was important to the couple to do a couple of shots by the (still standing) cross of st Mary’s… so cool!

I love this guy. Another to add to my growing album of fun relatives w/ cameras at weddings….

a cruel penance for whoever ‘lost’ (made less) the dollar dance… push ups, for both bride & maid of honor…

how else would a football player do the garter ‘toss’?

A fun little game where bride & groom had the chance to hold up the shoe of whomever they felt qualified best for the question asked. The question in this shot might’ve been something along the lines of ‘who will be in charge of the checkbook?’ I am pretty sure it wasn’t ‘who will wash the dishes’…

and then everyone BOOGIED!