Classic Process

I went to the Kansas City Art Institute to study photography. However what I learned in photography class wasn’t nearly as valuable as what I learned from Art History class. My favorite art history class was the study of Baroque painting. I didn’t realize how much studying the portrait styles of Rembrandt and Vermeer would effect me in my career as a photographer. Their use of light was masterful. The “Rembrandt triangle” which is the little patch of light opposite the main light source which occurs below the eye, and gives roundness to the face in such a dramatic way. If you look at Rembrandt’s Self Portrait from 1629, you can see how he used this technique to add shape and form to the face.

It was years later before I realized how much influence Rembrandt was to have on my portraits. The Rembrandt lighting effect is still one of the most appealing ways in which to shoot a portrait.

    Rembrandt self portrait 1629

    Rembrandt self portrait 1629


Family Process

If you have ever had a family portrait done, there is no doubt that there were always a couple of people who didn’t look their best, but this was usually what you were stuck with. No matter how well you plan or how lucky you get, if you are photographing 10 to 20 people (or more) you just can’t get everyone looking their best at that all important 1/125 of a second.

Our technique for doing a family portrait ensures that we get everyone looking their best, even though not all at the same time.

We photograph each family member separately in a variety of poses as well as with other members. This way, we have lots of options to choose from. It’s not unusual to shoot over one hundred shots or more to make sure we have every possibility covered.

We will photograph every member of the family this way.

Then, back in the studio, the editing begins. Typically we will pick the best shots of each person in a variety of poses. Then we begin to assemble a rough portrait to show the clients. If someone doesn’t like his or her picture, we will choose another image to work with. This may or may not effect the others around that change. We typically spend several days working out this 1st draft. The next consideration is the tonality of the image and the background. Once the image is starting to come together, we will get preliminary approval via emails and then test prints will be sent by FedEx so that the client can see the exact color and tonality. That way, the client has a good idea of how the final piece will look.

The final print may be on canvas, watercolor paper, or on watercolor paper coated with encaustic wax.

The whole process usually takes four to six weeks.


Conceptual Process


The portrait experience begins with the interview. By getting to know you, we can begin visualizing and designing the elements of your unique portrait. How do you see yourself?

Once we have a visual concept of what the portrait might look like, we will meet with you again to discuss the concepts and to talk about the next step, the creation of the image.

During the creation of the image you will remain involved.  We will show you working proofs along the way to realizing your vision, the final finished portrait.