thoughts on the trend + my kids

So I’ve been busy for sure, but not the super glamorous/exciting kind of photography that you really put in a blog post. I photographed two factories and, wait for it, a truck stop… yes, when I tweeted the other day that I was literally editing photos of a truck stop bathroom, I wasn’t joking.

Not to complain, in the least. I always enjoy photographing something new, no matter how unexciting it may appear at first. It’s an invigorating challenge to me take a subject like… a truck stop bathroom… and figure out how to make it interesting to look at. How to still make the viewer feel something when they’re seeing that image.

In this case, ‘Man. I want to use THAT bathroom.’

Since I haven’t posted in awhile and I’m pretty sure no-one is going to be enthralled to view my truck stop photos (even if it IS a very nice truck stop), I’m going to my default… pictures of my children. Because they’re cute, and we all know it. But here’s a little more thought on these photos, first…

I’ve been playing with some new editing techniques. I’m the guy that’s remained stubborn and steered clear of the whole VSCO trend up to this point. If you don’t know what that is… it’s the set of presets that make every photo look like it’s from 1965 even though it’s 2015. It’s the photographic equivalent of replacing all your furniture with mid-century-modern. [I hate to admit it, but I LOVE midcentury modern].

But I’ve been a grumpy old man and wanted to not do what everyone else is doing and said I’d NEVER use one of those damn presets. Until…

I received some advice from a trusted and very talented colleague who’s far and away in the next phase of photographic success. His advice pertained to some of my images appearing ‘too digital’. Very interesting.

After looking back through the particular project I’d showed him, I realized he was absolutely right. I’d worked hard with the lighting and setting to create a mood, but there was still something missing. Too crisp. Too perfect. Too digital.

So… I did some research. I broke down and downloaded some presets. I slapped some of them on photos and yep, sure enough…. they looked beautiful. In a sense.

A very very trendy sort of sense. As in, ‘oh. THESE are the presets that every photographer who has entered the photographerforce in the past 5 years is using.’

Love/hate relationship there. I never want to be stale. I always want to be changing, growing, learning, experimenting. But let that thinking carry too far, and you become one who is simply swept away with every new trend. (selective color, anyone?)

It reminds me of a line from a C.S. Lewis book… ‘the greatest triumph of all [for those who might work to stop us, from doing our best] is to elevate this horror of the same old thing [emphasis mine] into a philosophy.’ In other words, if we’re TOO scared of becoming stagnant in our work, we actually become obsessed with staying ahead of the curve and go from being trendsetters to being trend chasers.

I heard it best in a recent Tim Ferriss podcast: ‘when you try to chase what’s cool, you’re already too late.’

That’s always my question. How do I be ‘modern’ and ‘now’ with my work? How do I do that… but walk away with images that might still be considered timeless and original when I look at them again in 20 years?

I don’t have an easy answer. I think it has something to do with never compromising your original voice. [and if you’re a new artist and haven’t found that voice yet, read THIS BOOK].

So the question shouldn’t be ‘is this effect cool?’ it should be ‘is this effect something that helps my images say what I need them to say?’ Keep the question the same. But yes, playLEARNplay, keep learning new techniques, figure out what others have done well, just so long as you know how to then make it your own.

That’s probably enough philosophizing for now…

So here’s the first batch of experimentation. The one where I’m just using photos of my kids, and yes, these photo edits look film like and dreamy and, probably overdone and SUPER trendy. But I’m working through the experimenting to find a new look that’s all mine again… that’s what it’s all about, right?

Stay tuned.

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this little lady loves getting her hands dirty…

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this is what happens when I try to take a ‘serious’ photo of my son with his soccer medal [because, on principal, I stubbornly refuse to pay for the team photographer’s photos when I do this for a living and can take my own…]

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Hey you guys…. mini sessions!!!!

mini sessions- june

Once… maybe twice… every year, 9art busts out the mini sessions. They are mini pieces of awesome.

Why? Well, let’s be blunt. They’re cheaper. Not an event that you have to work quite so hard at saving for. But you still get some really great pictures out of the deal.

Here’s the breakdown, Joplin:

My main thing… what I REALLY get excited about… are full sessions. a ‘full’ session means one in which we figure out some unique, and possibly crazy concepts and locations to base a shoot around. We take our time, we plan out where, and what is going on in that shoot and it’s very personal to you and it’s very artistic in nature.

It’s the kind of shoot that may not happen every year… and when it does happen, we talk about bigger purchases, like session books and wall portraits… keepsakes for life and for the lives beyond your own, with specialized images to keep in your family for decades to come.
Full sessions might result in shots like this,

or this-
adara's bookbrush- concept fairytale image from southwest mo commercial photographer 9art photography

A mini session, on the other hand, is short and sweet. We stick to one location… something simple… and we focus on a 10-15 minute time slot. That time is just focused on your kiddo, not the whole family, and rather than talking about the higher end of products, we keep it simple.

Here’s a couple of shots from mini sessions last year…



We have two easy options for packages. They are as follows:

#1:  mini session w/ prints: $100

  • sitting fee included                                                                                                                                                                              
  • one 8 x 10
  • one 5 x 7
  • two 4 x 6    

#2: mini session w/ digital images: $150

  • sitting fee included
  • 5 high res digital images included

And of course, you can add on any other products you like, ‘a la carte’.

Interested? Just drop me a line…

The times are, June 12th from 3-6pm, & June 13th from 10:30am to 1pm. Since I’d love to do these sessions in a more natural setting, we will be at the mercy of the weather, so stay tuned for backup dates if it gets rainy.

Can’t make one of those times? Get ahold of me and I’ll see if we can’t find another time that week that will work for you.

Spread the word!


Emily & Grant engagement

   Hey guys.

It’s been 4 days since this shoot, and I admit I’m STILL scratching chigger bites (if you don’t know what a chigger is, stay in the city, folks).

But it was worth it, so very worth it, to get these pictures of this lovely couple in a spot hidden away on the outskirts of town.

We began with some shots of these two with their beloved doggies… whose names are Romeo & Grandma.

‘Grandma’ was the brainchild of Grant- a brilliant idea inspired by the thought of how funny it would be to be able to say things like, ‘I need to take Grandma for a walk,’ or ‘grandma’s going to the bathroom in the yard again’ or ‘grandma kept me awake in bed last night.’

Humor always wins.

Enjoy the photos!

joplin mo engagement & lifestyle photographer 9art photography- emily & grant portrait1b
joplin mo engagement & lifestyle photographer 9art photography- emily & grant portrait2b99b 100b 105   joplin mo engagement & lifestyle photographer 9art photography- emily & grant portrait3b joplin mo engagement & lifestyle photographer 9art photography- emily & grant portrait4b