Owen’s superawesome 1st birthday party

Owen is the adorable son of some long standing clients of mine. I shot Nikki & Ryan’s wedding 3 years ago, their brand new baby last december, and now that baby is 1 year old! 

 Getting to photograph this incredibly well planned visual feast of a party was SO much fun. Already planning out the book that we’ve planned to make, to truly be able to remember the event the way it should be remembered!

More pictures to be posted soon from a full shoot with this awesome little family.

Now, PARTY time! this post may be a bit longer than usual, but we’ve got to see this party through from beginning to end.

                                                                       beginning           I            end

skipping to the end.

wait! back up! let’s go back to the beginning and take a look at the decor…

enter the little man!

exit the little man! Then retrieve a shoe and enter again….

Ryan got up at 3am the night before to put this pork in the smoker. Best pulled pork I’ve ever had. No exaggeration.

nobody knows how to enjoy a party like THIS dude.

bring on the CAKE!

CYBER MONDAY (yes, we can do it too)

    The dust has settled. I’ve gotten in my time off. I’ve gotten in my own shopping. Now that I’ve had a chance to catch my breath, I sat down to set up a few specials of my own for the one-and-only CYBER MONDAY.

                                                             Here we go….


  • 30% off gift certificates [can-not be purchased for your own session!]

                   gift certificates can be purchased for amounts of $50, $100, $200, or $500.        

                   they are good as print credit/session-fee credit toward any type of session.

                    today only:     $50 cert for $35        I      $100 cert for $70

                                          $200 cert for $140    I      $500 cert for $350

  • 40% off of all session books ordered today; 60% off of additional ones.

                    If you were thinking about ordering a book from you recent session or even a     

                    session from earlier this year, now is the time to do it!

                     8 x 8 books will be$180 (usually $300) and 6 x 6s will be $120 (usually

                    $200). Even deeper discounts on additional books added to the order (or on

                    an extra session book if you’ve already ordered one earlier in the year).

  • 20% off of 16 x 24 and 24 x 36 metal, framed, or canvas wall portraits.
                      I’m going to let you guys do the math on this one. check out our rates page
                      to see the original prices… just take 20% off if you order or pre-order today!

GOOD thru DEC 1st: 

  • 30% off  of  christmas cards

                  christmas cards normally $100 for each pack of 25; if you order or pre-order                                              

                    them this week, you’ll get them for $70 per pack of 25.

  • lo-res disk specials

                 our custom-printed, lo resolution (facebook quality- 850 pixels, 72dpi)

                  session disks are normally priced at $200; order one this week for $60. 

For questions or to go ahead and place your orders… call (417)-622-1379 before 5pm, or e-mail markn@9artphoto.com before midnight tonight. Happy shopping!


I had thought 2011 was a big year. I mean, it was. 2011 was a giant bag of mixed emotions…

  • tornado «< unimaginable response & kindness
  • business ‘getting there’  «< completely overwhelming 

Then 2012 happened. Again, a crazy mix; terrible, awesome, and everything between. Again, a really big year. I had hoped 2012 would be that calm ‘recovery year’, but alas, no, it was not meant to be a calm year at all. And yet, in all things good and bad, so much was learned this year; so much growth for my family, for me individually, and for me as a business-owner and photographer.

My wife’s dad passed away this spring. That was hands down the hardest thing- it has been incredibly hard for her and for us to handle the passing of someone so close and meaningful in our lives. And yet, again, we were taught a lot through that.

The best of this year? Oh man. My daughter moved into putting sentences together. My son moved into putting paragraphs (and battle plans) together. Lots, lots more family stuff.

This is, however, a photography blog, not a ‘listen-to-mark-ramble-about-his-personal-life’ blog.

That being said, in celebration of thanksgiving, I’m going to list out some pretty cool things that have happened in my business this year that I’m thankful for.

And let it be known. Every accomplishment and awesome blessing listed here is the result of God’s goodness. Not me. I thanked God for nachos saving me from a tornado. Now I’m thanking him again, for a huge year for 9art.


  • hired an employee. Can’t tell you how thankful I am for Michelle, who came on board early this year to handle my editing workload. Being a one-man-show couldn’t last forever…she does an awesome job and truly cares about her part in making the 9art experience a top notch one. In addition, she’s a great friend to have around.
Michelle & her sweet little Ava!

  • did more business than any year past. This has been true of almost every year so far, but thankful every year as people spread the word and I have more customers than ever. So thankful for my loyal fans who continue to trust me with their family’s portraits, and for new ones who decided to give me a try this year.
  • reached nearly 2800 fans on facebook. I know this doesn’t matter, but it’s cool anyway.
  • saw a huge surge in third thursday photo booth attendance. This spring we went from having a trickle of people here and there throughout the night, to a line-out-the-door nearly ALL night. So many people now attend the photo booth events that we had to move it out of our little studio into a space that can better handle the traffic.
  • had a photo make it onto a billboard.  yep. that was pretty cool. The photo I’m referring to is on a different hard drive that I’m too lazy to go get so that you can see, but I promise, it’s true.
  • had a 9art image chosen to be the joplin ‘names & numbers’ phonebook cover.
(and it’s my own kiddo on the cover. double bonus round.)
  • became an LLC.   We’s legit now.
  • Streamlined, organized, and re-branded the company. It takes awhile to get a business running smoothly. I’ve been at this a few years and have awhile to go before I get things ‘just so’, but more smoothing-out of the rough edges has happened this year than in any past for 9art. And my good friend Matthew Spiel re-did our logo, which I am pretty excited about.
  • hugely expanded the commercial side of 9art. Gained some amazing new clients for advertising campaigns and other commercial work, including the Joplin convention & visitors bureau and Christ in Youth. 
  • had our images published in 2 page spreads in not one, but three national level magazines. My good friends the Scotts- with ‘Whitney Scott photography’-asked me to do the pictures for the Black River Imaging ad campaign in which they are featured.   I was honored to be asked by one of my main competitors to capture them in an image; but after all, we’re not good at being ‘competitors’ and much better at being friends. 🙂  The spreads were featured in ‘Rangefinder’, ‘Professional Photographer’ magazine, and ‘Click.’

[stole this image from the scotts’ blog. whitney is excitedly holding up copies of her magazine; the spread with my photo is below the image of her.] 

  • teamed up with local framing company, ‘cherry’s’. Josh LeMasters with Cherry’s, out of carthage, mo, approached me about framing earlier this year. After seeing their awesome attention to detail and hearing good things about them, 9art and Cherry’s became partners.
Plenty more happened this year as well, but I feel like that’s a long enough list. 
Finally, I am thankful for everyone who helped these accomplishments happen, either directly or just by encouraging me over the last few years. My wonderful wife, supportive family, inspiring friends, fellow photographers, big hearted customers, and excited fans… thank you guys. 
To end things, here’s something most personal of all… my very own kiddos. This is the most ‘studioish’ picture I can get of them… and I’ll take it.


Enough sappy. Enough rambling. It’s turkey time. Hope you have a great one.

See you all next week!  

baby Maeve

    The Lanyons- Beth, Heath, & little Mave- have become photo booth regulars this year, and I’ve been excitedly awaiting them to ask me to do a photo session with their adorable little family. They are people with an awesome vintage style and big ol’ hearts, and their daughters’ huge blue eyes are just made for taking pictures of. 

   This shoot was short and sweet… no need for fancy lighting setups or multiple locations, I just took advantage of the beautiful light and time of day, and the fall colors that were blazing so brightly that day. 


the Greers

   the Greers are among a larger family that holds a soft place in my heart. A soft place because back over a year-and-a-half-ago, after I lost my home, belongings, and yes, my camera in a tornado- Aanna Greer participated in a blog effort on my behalf.

Doesn’t sound powerful? Well it was. Aanna, Lance, Colby, Ellie, Jason, and a few others worked hard to raise money for me to replace my livelihood, my income, my passion- my camera.

That being said, it’s so awesome now that Aanna, her super-cool husband Logan, and their beautiful daughter Valentine ( I LOVE this name) are in front of the lens of the very camera that they helped me buy.

These people are also just really sweet and really fun. This session- set in the forest that this family frequents on long walks- is just gorgeous. Enjoy!


Caroline, session 3 (+ olivia)

    If you’ve followed my work or this blog for any length of time, you’ll recognize these two…a couple of my favorite little muses from springfield missouri, Olivia & Caroline. Olivia wrapped up her baby’s 1st year plan last year and Caroline began hers this year. Can’t believe we’re already on our third session…

As always, a million thanks to Sarah (the mama) for putting so much thought into outfits, props, & location- her planning always makes it worth the drive to springfield- and for just being awesome and having such outrageously cute children. My goodness.

almost just seems like this one has never had her portrait taken, you know? 😉

the set up. sometimes that’s my favorite picture of all.


   I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again… I looooove when clients have their own spots in  mind for a shoot. I’ll gladly brave a 45 minute drive & miles of dusty kansas roads, as I did on this day, to get to that awesome location on your uncle’s farm… or wherever that awesome location is to you.

    Jayanara’s location matched her spunky personality perfectly, and we had an AMAZING sky that evening to boot. I think these turned out beautifully… I hope you agree!

Jaya’s sister tagged along too and I am indebted to her for her help. these were some brave girls. 🙂

we got a couple of shots w/ her as well… matching sister tattoos. 🙂 

Jaya abandoned the model posing for a moment in favor of a more natural  ’it’s real cold’ stance… and I ended up liking this one a lot better. 🙂

gorgeous sky in both directions as the sun set… perfect ending!

why can’t headshots be fun?



Well, that used to be my response to the idea of shooting

boring/corporate/traditional/evenly lit/no different than any other blahhhhhhhh…


But here lately, my perception of headshots has changed quite a bit.

First let me back up and say ‘commercial’ work did not used to be my thing.  For those who aren’t sure what that means- it doesn’t mean I’m shooting pictures for a commercial, but rather taking pictures for other businesses (typically). That can take a variety of forms… it means the band pictures I took for a local rock-worship group, it means the joplin-IS-cool pictures I’ve been doing for the joplin convention & visitors’ bureau, it means the photographs I’ve taken for magazine features- and sometimes, yes, it means headshots.

Headshots are something I have to accept, because now commercial kind of IS one of my things.

Again, I used to say ‘oh that’s just not my thing’. But I think it was really that I just didn’t know how to reconcile the idea of headshots- typically dreaded by subjects and generally boring- with my philosophy for style. As in, there should be some. I began to think about it differently when I did these shots for a friend/client that just got his real estate license and needed some pictures for his new business cards: 

Thought they turned out pretty classy. Nothing terribly innovative, but it’s not boring either… plus, he’s a handsome devil, right?

Then when my graphic designer friend Austin- a very talented fella with an amazing eye for whats’ modern and what’s cool- asked if  I’d do some not-so-traditional headshots for local ministry organization CIY (christ in youth) I got excited, especially when he gave me some ideas on the ‘look’ they wanted for these. 

Austin’s idea was something along the lines of ‘let’s NOT take boring, standard headshots! Let’s take cool ones instead!’

‘oh. huh. yeah. well sure. why not? Yeah!

flippin’ YEAH!!’

As a result of that input from Austin, experience in general, and always trying to figure out how to be different and fun in all that I shoot, we ended up with the following batch of pictures; a nice blend of goofy and serious that the subjects had fun taking and I think everyone can have fun looking at. Not that these are anything terribly innovative either…but it’s new for me and makes me feel a whole lot better about business staff pictures/headshots.

Sorry for the rambles. Have to spill my photographic guts sometimes. 🙂

oh yeah. we did group shots too…

we had a great idea to crowd everyone on one corner of the couch and have it look like it’s tipping over (requiring a couple of guys to lift the other end). It didn’t really work out…  [cameo by Jordan Howerton Band’s own Matt Johnson]

don’t give up. we did this instead.

yep. we took serious ones too.

baby Caegan, session 2

    I don’t often split a section into multiple parts, but sometimes, the elements are against you. Such was the case in working with mr. Caegan during his 2nd baby’s first year shoot… it was an evening that was supposed to be pleasant, turning out instead to be gloomy with a very chilly wind that wasn’t exactly baby-friendly. Didn’t stop us from getting a couple of great shots in the 20 minutes we had to work before his little nose just got too red for us to keep going in good conscience…

Re-convened with mom Lisa & dad Corban a couple of weeks later for shoot 2, which was an absolutely PERFECT day. And what an awesome and increasingly expressive little fella he is! 🙂 

his expression kills me in this one.

Ashley:: senior pictures

   Ashley is a Galena, KS senior w/ an eye for what’s cool. The downtown look fit her pretty awesomely, so that’s what we went with one chilly friday morning, braving a 29 degree windchill for some pictures.

Good thing you can’t SEE wind in pictures, because in spite of it these turned out beautifully. Ashley’s fair skin & dark hair popped along with some colorful clothing choices; I worked to compliment her wardrobe selection w/ matching colors in the area near my studio.

Red chairs, yellow parking lot signs & a super blue sky… did I mention I love COLOR?

behind the scenes w/ Ashley’s mom & brother (and 9art’s own Michelle!) sometimes it ttakes an army…

hanging out at Joplin Avenue Coffee company… one of downtown joplin’s coolest spots!

I feel Ashley had a perfect ‘film noir’ look going on w/ this next setup….