Auckerman boys :: on the cover of the rolling stone…

auckerman boys family rock star shoot, joplin mo family photographer-- 9art photography-9

The Auckerman brothers had a pretty sweet idea.

‘We want a family shoot… but we want you to shoot it like we’re a rock band.’


I rarely do an entire shoot in the studio these days, but this one was fun to do on the plain paper background, channeling some ‘rolling stone’ covers and getting those Johnny Depp expressions perfected for a batch of images that could go on a record cover far more easily than in grandma’s photo album.

The boys pulled it off beautifully. After getting the proper motivation from some U-tube time on the studio couch, that is…


auckerman boys family rock star shoot, joplin mo family photographer-- 9art photography-6


pulled out for behind-the-scenes…


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oh yeah. The hulk hands had to come out for that last shot…

auckerman boys family rock star shoot, joplin mo family photographer-- 9art photography-1


for photographers:: how to shoot a wedding, part 2

9art photography, joplin mo wedding and engagement photographer, engagement photo for teresa & zach

So last week, I had a first… a blog post dedicated just to photographers (specifically, wedding photogs). You can see that HERE. I figure if you have something to learn… why not share it? That’s how I’VE learned. Not that I don’t have a whole lot more learning to do…

So, in further celebration of what is WEDDING WEEK at 9art (scroll down the blog to check out the special we have running for future brides this week), here’s part 2 of ‘how to shoot a wedding’.

[Just as a note… this is meant for those who have little or no experience with weddings].

We last discussed what goes into shooting a wedding… before you even get there.  There’s a lot of stuff to think about before you ever set foot in the venue. For more on that, go back to post 1.

Today, we’re delving into the big day itself . Picking up where we left off last time…

#5- Check your camera bag over before you leave.  No, I mean, REALLY.

Well duh, right? Yeah, you know that already, but seriously, don’t assume you’re prepared until you’re 300% sure.  Make sure you’ve recently tested every piece of equipment you might use on site.  Doublecheck everything is charged, all your memory cards are cleared, your lenses are cleaned, you have a backup camera battery… it’s charged too… if you have a backup of your backup… charge it too… if you don’t, charge the first 2 again… really, you can never overdo this stuff.  Common sense can be taken for granted so easily when it comes to prepping for this.

And if you don’t have backups of batteries, cords, etc… get some. An ideal rule in photography is to have at least 2 of everything. I say ideally, because obviously, we can’t always afford to do that when we’re starting out (especially when it comes to the camera itself), but you can double up on the more inexpensive items like batteries, sync cords (if you use flash), memory cards, strobes, etc.

#6- scope out portrait locations before the timeline of the day actually begins.

Sometimes you can explore before the day, but you don’t always get a chance to do that… plus, the lighting may be totally different when you come back.  Usually what I do is show up pretty early the day of, and look around for awhile. I like to line up my portrait locations (including backup locations) before I actually go in and start shooting ‘getting ready’ pictures.

If you’re looking outside and there’s going to be a sizable amount of time between scouting and when the portraits take place, try and think about where the sun will be when you come back. What’s in shadow now may not be later, or vice versa.  You also need to have indoor spots in mind, in case it’s too hot, too rainy, or even too humid (sometimes a bride will not set foot outdoors because her  2hr updo is going to get kinked up the second the outside hair hits it).

Be aware of the lighting conditions in both ceremony & reception, and be prepared for them. This might involve checking out the church/venue before the wedding day… if it’s super dark and your camera can’t handle it, you need to know that and figure out how to prepare for it. Sometimes borrowing or renting equipment isn’t a bad thing if it saves you stress later.

#7- Plan out/check on what’s ok for you to do during the ceremony.

I don’t mean ask if it’s ok to leave your cell ringer on in case you get an important call during the ring exchange. I’m talking about your movement.

Check with the bride (and if it’s in an older, more strict church, the pastor/priest) about how close she is comfortable with you getting to the stage during the ceremony, and how much moving around she’s ok with you doing during that time. I’m going to say it’s pretty obvious to never be on stage during the ceremony, but there are a variety of setups and situations and you need to know where you can and can’t go for this specific wedding. Getting behind the couple on a smaller church stage is likely not a good idea, but grabbing a shot from the other side  in a very open, outdoor ceremony might be ok.

I’m typically all over the place during a ceremony, but I try and do it in as sneaky a way as possible… if I’m up front in the middle of the aisle, I’m quiet as a mouse and kneeling down so I’m not obstructing anyone’s point of view, and the rest of the time, I’m sneaking around the edges to get multiple angles.

The idea is to be as unobtrusive as possible. That also means if you’re a girl and the church has hardwood floors… do NOT bring high heels. Also, don’t wear orange. Blend in. step lightly. Don’t stand in front of grandma. Take a ninja course at your local community college.

And lastly, if you are moving around a lot, Just make sure you’re back in the middle in time for the first kiss. You don’t want to forget to leave yourself enough time to get back to the right spot during the pivotal moments.

I learned my lesson years ago when I was still in the balcony for a wide shot and suddenly it was time for the first kiss… picture me in a slow motion movie scene, whispering ‘Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!’ to myself as I aimed the camera blindly toward the stage while running down the stairs…

yeah, it was too late. never again.

#8- don’t forget the details.

For some photogs, that’s impossible since details are their favorite part… but it can be easy to forget sometimes when you’re so focused on the people involved. If you leave out the back of the dress, the cake, the reception table settings, the bouquet… someone may be frustrated later, because someone went to a lot of work and/or paid a lot of money for those details.

Plus, getting great shots of things like the cake and the flowers will help you form great relationships with other wedding vendors. If you have awesome photos of their work to share, they’ll be much more likely to recommend you to brides later.

I usually grab shots like this when little else photoworthy is happening- the 20 minutes before the ceremony, the time when everyone is eating at the reception, the few moments before the bride puts her dress on and needs me to leave the room, etc.

9art photography, wedding photographer, joplin mo- detail cake shots from Jessica & caleb's wedding

#9- be confident.

So you’re quaking in your boots. You don’t feel qualified for this. You may not have much (or any) wedding experience.You pull the camera out of your bag and wonder ‘why did they hire ME for this?!’ But the truth is, if you were hired… there’s a reason. You have a gift.

‘I don’t know how to shoot a wedding!’ is what you’re thinking… but you know how to take good PICTURES, right?

Well… yeah…

Then just concentrate on each shot in front of you, as it comes. One moment at a time. By the end, you’ll have a whole set of good pictures that captured different moments, and together, they will form the story of the day.

If you’re not confident… fake it. 🙂 No-one need know.  How everyone responds to you that day, depends on how you act. If you ACT sheepish and scared and afraid to take charge, THAT’S when you look like you don’t know what you’re doing.

Something to keep in mind is, some of those pictures are ones you can’t even get without that projected confidence. Family will line up much faster, wedding parties will go along with your crazy idea, and the bride will start to relax if you just let them know that you’ve got this.

For example… if the bride pauses next to a cool door on the way to somewhere else and the light is hitting her just right (assuming there is a little time to spare), it’s a sin to be too afraid to ask her to stop so you can grab a shot. You never know when you’ll run out of time later and will be so glad you took that shot.

#10- stay calm, be and be tuned in to the bride at all times.

What I said last still goes. You need to believe in yourself and take charge when it’s picture time. If you know what has to happen to get the right shots, you’ll need to not be afraid to (politely) speak up and make it happen.

BUT…. the OTHER mistake that’s easy to make is the exact reverse of being under-confident… placing too much importance on yourself and your vision for the day.

Don’t be clueless to what’s going on. Don’t be stubborn about getting the pictures you want if the timing is wrong or the bride is extremely uncomfortable.

You need to pay very close attention to what is happening with the Bride and everyone around her. if the whole day is running behind, and everything seems to be going wrong- they can’t find the unity sand, there’s an off-color applique on the dress that has to come off, the mother isn’t there on time, and the flower girl didn’t get a nap, it’s up to you to help keep everyone calm, assure them that things going wrong is normal, and then judge where pictures realistically fit into the new flow of the day. If folks need reminded of the timeline, do that… but carefully, gently, and with extreme consideration to the bride.

It’s up to you to read the brides’ mood.  If she excitedly discussed elaborate portrait ideas with you beforehand but her hair appointment ran an hour late, she may not feel the same about that idea now and you might just have to let it go. In other words…

Never let taking a photograph create stress for the bride.

if you don’t have the time you thought you’d have to get portraits, be willing to abandon the more elaborate shots to get the ones you HAVE to get and know you can take quickly. If you’ve got the perfect spot picked out but the bride is afraid of getting dirt on her dress, respect that and find an alternate location.

Again, it’s your job to help alleviate stress- not create more of it. You do that by remaining calm yourself (even if you feel like screaming inside). You also do that by knowing  when to take the reigns and when not to. Observe the emotion of the day so that you know when it’s NOT your show, and when it is.

Also don’t be too proud to make yourself available for whatever the greatest need is at THAT moment. If I can’t get the shot right at the moment anyway and what needs done RIGHT THEN is to move those chairs, I’ll put the camera down and move the dang chairs. You have no idea how much respect people will have for a photographer that is there for anything, not just taking pictures.


Good grief.  That was forever long. Next week, it’s pictures. Just pictures. Thanks guys. 🙂 

wedding photography joplin mo, flower girls down the aisle

Meryl & Anthony (get MARRIED)

It is my privilege, during 9art’s ‘wedding week’, to present a very special wedding for one of the sweetest couples I’ve had the pleasure of working with.

Meryl & Anthony have a long history of long distance relationshipping  (don’t question my vocabulary), thousands of miles traveling, and a million other hurdles that could do nothing to stop a beautiful love.

I know the passion can’t be stopped when they BOTH cry during the vows. 🙂

Add some super cute flower girls, an amazing backyard ceremony, and an overflow of family support (many family members flew across the ocean to be there), and it was a day to be remembered. And this time, I’m just going to let the photos speak for themselves.

9art photography-- joplin mo wedding photographer. Meryl & Anthony's wedding-1 9art photography-- joplin mo wedding photographer. Meryl & Anthony's wedding-2 9art photography-- joplin mo wedding photographer. Meryl & Anthony's wedding-3 9art photography-- joplin mo wedding photographer. Meryl & Anthony's wedding-4 9art photography-- joplin mo wedding photographer. Meryl & Anthony's wedding-5 9art photography-- joplin mo wedding photographer. Meryl & Anthony's wedding-6 9art photography-- joplin mo wedding photographer. Meryl & Anthony's wedding-7 9art photography-- joplin mo wedding photographer. Meryl & Anthony's wedding-8 9art photography-- joplin mo wedding photographer. Meryl & Anthony's wedding-9 9art photography-- joplin mo wedding photographer. Meryl & Anthony's wedding-10 9art photography-- joplin mo wedding photographer. Meryl & Anthony's wedding-11 9art photography-- joplin mo wedding photographer. Meryl & Anthony's wedding-12 9art photography-- joplin mo wedding photographer. Meryl & Anthony's wedding-13 9art photography-- joplin mo wedding photographer. Meryl & Anthony's wedding-14 9art photography-- joplin mo wedding photographer. Meryl & Anthony's wedding-15 9art photography-- joplin mo wedding photographer. Meryl & Anthony's wedding-16 9art photography-- joplin mo wedding photographer. Meryl & Anthony's wedding-17 9art photography-- joplin mo wedding photographer. Meryl & Anthony's wedding-18 9art photography-- joplin mo wedding photographer. Meryl & Anthony's wedding-19 9art photography-- joplin mo wedding photographer. Meryl & Anthony's wedding-20 9art photography-- joplin mo wedding photographer. Meryl & Anthony's wedding-21 9art photography-- joplin mo wedding photographer. Meryl & Anthony's wedding-22 9art photography-- joplin mo wedding photographer. Meryl & Anthony's wedding-23



d9art photography-- joplin mo wedding photographer. Meryl & Anthony's wedding-259art photography-- joplin mo wedding photographer. Meryl & Anthony's wedding-24

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Wedding week, day 2:: finally, the BRIDES get a special!


Some of you will notice we’ve run some pre-fall specials here in the past few weeks. The soon-to-be brides got left out, and this is the perfect time to rectify that… not to mention, we’ve recently COMPLETELY RE-DONE our wedding packages!

We’re excited about these new, simpler, packages… all of which come with one of our awesome, modern, lay-flat wedding books, and a high res disk.

PLUS, all sessions now come with a complimentary engagement session… (sitting fee paid, in other words)… pretty awesome.


So, to pile on top of that, we’d like to offer a sweet new deal, just for engaged folks looking to book a 9art wedding:


$200 off, ANY 9art wedding package- good for those who contact us THIS WEEK only.

That’s it! If you give me a call, send me an e-mail, or contact our 9art facebook page with your wedding date by the end of this week, we’ll check the availability and set up a wedding consultation. As long as you contact us this week and schedule that consultation (even if the meeting itself and official booking happen next week), we’ll honor the special.

Here’s our new packages for you to take a peek at… and stay tuned to the blog for plenty more wedding images the rest of this week!

9art wedding packages


It’s wedding week!

We have a lot of wedding images passing through the halls of 9art this week. (what I mean is going back and forth across hard-drives, but ‘halls’ are much more epic sounding).

So on that note, we decided, it’s WEDDING WEEK for 9art.

9art photography, joplin missouri wedding photographer- camille & Luke's wedding, featuring bride & bridesmaids

What does that mean? Our blog, facebook, and twitter will be devoted to the awesomeness of weddings this week… AND we’ll be posting a special for new brides (those who haven’t booked with us) in the next few days.

PLUS part two of our ‘how to shoot weddings’ blog post. (for photographers)!

I’m going to start this off with a beautiful review that was written by a freshly married couple I had the pleasure of working with a few weeks back.

It started off very sweet. Then it just got better and better… I guess you’ll probably be able to tell which half the groom wrote.

Mark just photographed our wedding this past June, and did a fantastical job.  Aside from generally being a good time, Mark was very professional, and took amazing photographs in a very organic and unscripted manner.  We would certainly recommend 9Art Photography to anyone for any occasion, including tasteful nudes.   Like a man from a distant (read: better) epoch, Mark smokes a pipe, and is more than likely wearing tweed in some way, shape or form.   Mark beckons to shadows, and dances in the light, shaping the environment around him to form fanciful, but practical art.  In short, invite this man into your life, and set him free.  You can thank him later.

Thanks, Kaitlyn & Dak, for giving my week the start it needed. 🙂

9art photography, wedding image from Joplin missouri wedding at springhouse gardens

For photographers:: how to shoot a wedding, part 1 (BEFORE the day)

THIS POST IS WRITTEN FOR PHOTOGRAPHERS.  That being said, if you’re a future bride stumbling across this, this may help you out too when it comes to choosing your photographer and planning your day! So read on. I promise we won’t say bad stuff about you.   😉

9art photography, joplin mo wedding photographer :: hannah & carl at springhouse gardens


I recently had someone let me know that they’d been asked to shoot their first wedding.

Firstly. WHEW! There’s nothing like being the one chosen to capture life-altering moments that can never be repeated again. That’s awesome and amazing. On the other, more stressful side…

You’re the one being chosen to capture life-altering moments that can never be repeated again.

That’s a lot of stress. And that’s why I know amazing, professional, experienced photographers that will never TOUCH a wedding.

But every photographer is different.  Some absolutely live to photograph weddings, and chances are, whether you plan to make weddings your specialty or not, you’re going to be asked to shoot a few.

So whether this is your first wedding or you’ve been at it for a little bit already, here are some tips on how to go about this thing… including several lessons I learned the hard way and would like you to not have to. (so listen to uncle Mark, kiddies).

#1: when you meet up with the bride to talk about her day, listen. very. closely.  

Yes, you have YOUR style, YOUR approach, YOUR equipment, YOUR favorite shots to take… those are important, and these things probably play a good role in why you’ve been hired.  So there’s that… but one thing to never, ever forget is that this is the BRIDE’S day, not yours. If she’s seen your work and hired you, she already trusts your style.  Now it’s time to ask her what she wants from her wedding pictures, and to listen.

Ask her about her wedding day. How she met her fiancee, what her family is like, her sense of humor, how she’s decorating the reception, what’s unique about her big day, what things she’s seen wedding photogs do that she HATES… watch her get excited. Take notes.  Get excited with her! Get as solid a feel as you can for what is important to her. Showing that you care and are listening will help her trust you more later, and knowing what’s important to her is  what you’ll want to remember on the day of.

9art photography, joplin mo wedding photographer :: epic high five wedding party

#2: Make a contract.

Don’t know legal jargon? That’s ok. Chances are,  the bride you’re working with won’t know it either. There are several ways you can go about this… including checking out sites like legalzoom to see wedding contracts that other photographers and lawyers have already written up. You can use one of these for now, altering it how you want, or you can use a couple of these to help give you an idea of how you want yours set up. There’s some big reasons for having a contract. No-one wants to think about them, but they CAN happen.

  • the bride needs to know EXACTLY what she is paying for. Don’t assume. Don’t let her assume. Spell it all out. Explain it in person. Write it down. If prints or a disk or a book are add ons and not included in the fee you’re getting paid, make sure it’s typed up somewhere.  If you’re only planning to be there X amount of hours, clear that up before the day. Then no-one can misunderstand later, and you’ve got the agreement in writing if she wants to say later that you didn’t provide what you promised.
  • The bride can use all the peace of mind she can get.  That contract isn’t just for you, it’s for her too…  you signing off on statements like ‘I’ll be there at the time we agree on and won’t leave before that’ will help set her at ease.
  • If something goes wrong outside of your control- a zombie army hijacks your camera bag and you never see the big-day-memory-card again- you need a contract in place that basically says you can’t be sued. I know you’ll wrestle zombies to the ground to save those wedding images if you have to, but they can be overpowering. And people can still try to sue you in the midst of an apocalypse.

#3:    Set a timeline meeting before the day.

Shooting a wedding isn’t just shooting a wedding. It’s helping plan one. More important than location scouting, knowing about the color schemes, or what cute props to bring… is sitting down with the bride to hash out EXACTLY how the day is going to roll.

What was the biggest news flash for me as a newbie photographer? The fact that bride and the wedding planner are not the only ones in charge of the flow of the day; so am I. It’s not an egotistical statement- just a realization that pictures take up a fair amount of the day, and no-one is better qualified to plan that, than the one taking them.

This is something that will be trickier when you’re starting out… if you haven’t done it yet, you don’t know as well how long to allow for the bridal portraits and other segments of the day. But chances are, you still have a better idea of how long things will take than the bride will .

There’s nothing worse than running out of time to get pictures, because no-one thought to allow time for them. The closest second to that horrible feeling is the one you get when everyone looks at you to let them know what to do next (bc they all know we’ve got to cram the pictures in somewhere) and you have no idea because you never got to talk it over with the bride BEFORE the day. And the bride is no help on the day itself. She’s got so many things, people, and dress alterations stressing her out that she doesn’t have brain space left (if you’ve gotten married, then you’ll know what I’m talking about)!

This is a HUGE part of what I do when I’m working with the couple. When the time comes around to start setting hair appointments and to tell the family what time of day they’re showing up for the formals, I tell the bride to call me, and we set up that meeting to plan out the whole day. Working both backwards & forward from the ceremony (the only locked in time of the day) we decide how long each segment of the day will take and in what order those segments will go. This discussion will vary a lot depending on if you charge hourly, which I do, so time is a very conscious decision on several levels.

We address things like:

  • are the couple open to the groom seeing the bride before the ceremony? (for everything that’s holy, talk the bride into saying YES to this).
  • are we traveling to any spots AWAY from the ceremony location to take portraits? (that’s up to you to suggest, if you have spots in mind)
  • how much of the reception is it important to have coverage of? Some brides are ok with you taking off as soon as the cake is cut… others would like you there for a couple hours of dancing.

The less questions you have to ask the bride the day OF, the better. The timeline meeting sets it up where the bride still has total control and input, but doesn’t have to think about it the day of. That’s good for both of you.

Once we go over all the hairy details, I e-mail that timeline to the bride so she can use it in her itinerary, or, at the very least, pass it on to her wedding party.

Here’s an example from the last wedding I shot…

2:30- photographer arrives. ‘Getting ready pictures’ begin (everything should be ready for the most part except the actual putting on of the dress)
3pm- ‘first sight’
3:30pm- couple portraits / wedding party portraits
5pm- family pictures
5:30pm- chill time (everyone gets in place)
6:30pm- reception begins (eating, visiting, photog gets detail shots)
7:15- reception ‘events’- cake cutting/toasts/bouquet toss/ 1st dances
8:30- photographer exits

9art photography joplin missouri wedding photographer :: kaitlyn & dak passionate wedding portrait

#4: ask for a ‘family formal’ shot list.

I don’t typically ask the bride for a full shot list; it’s common sense to shoot most of the things that are important to her…. the bouquet, her walking down the aisle, cutting the cake, etc etc. If it’s important to the day, it’s automatically important to your camera. (DO ask if there’s anything unusual or special about the day that she wants captured though, and take notes!)
That being said, there’s one part in particular that I may not be able to predict myself… and that’s which family members she wants in pictures, and what combinations thereof.  It’s obvious that mom, dad, groom, & grandparents are in there… but what about cousins, uncles, great aunts, or, in more complicated situations, dad’s new fiancee if the parents are split up? You don’t want the bride to have to make those decisions on the spot during the day, and you won’t be close enough to the family to necessarily make those decisions yourself either.
That’s why I ask the bride to create a list of the exact family pictures she wants, complete with names. After that, I ask her to choose someone (a sister, a friend) who knows a good portion of the family, and isn’t afraid to grab that list and help yell out names and usher people toward the stage so that this brief segment of the day can go smoothly.  I ask the bride to give that entrusted individual the list and inform (well, ask) them of their job.  Then for good measure, it’s also a great idea to print that list out yourself so that you have it if it’s forgotten.
That’s all for part 1. Next week we’ll go into actually SHOOTING the wedding… which is it’s own animal. Happy planning!
9art photography, wedding photographer, joplin missouri :: bridal party fun