Commercial & Editorial

The Perfect {professional} Headshot - Fairbanks Portrait Photographer

In April, I was able to complete a project that was a long time coming: a day-long event of headshots.  But not just any headshots.  PERFECT headshots.  In which the subject is polished, poised, put together, personable, and eminently professional.  

See, when I say "perfect," I'm not tooting my own horn insofar as photography skills, I promise.  I'm referring more to the considerations taken to ensure a spot-on outcome.  This whole project actually came out of a wayside thought from a conversation I was having with a commercial photographer in Anchorage, as I was asking him for tips on how to break into the commercial and editorial markets.  He said something along the lines of, "I don't have any great advice, but I can tell you Alaska businesses sure need it - all you have to do is look at the number of HORRIBLE Linked-In profile pictures to see how much."  

This 1) really made me laugh, and 2) made me resolve to fix it.  Because I knew exactly what he was talking about.  We're all guilty of it, especially women, especially in the small-business world: shifting the focus, neglecting self-promotion, avoiding things that make us uncomfortable (not many people love facing the camera!).  It's a harsh awakening when you realize that in doing so, you're often doing your business and/or professional reputation a disservice.  It's a measure of confidence to take yourself, your business, and your professional persona seriously enough to represent your brand, and to do it well.  

Truth be told, I wanted to make this special.  I wanted clients to walk in confident that they would walk away with portraits that were natural, professional, and above-all-else flattering.  I invited my attendees to come in ready to relax for an hour, asking them to consider it a tiny exercise in self-care: indulge in a bit of pampering while also crossing a mammoth of an item of your to-do list.  Clients arrived clean-faced and enjoyed a beverage while a makeup artist worked her magic and helped touch-up hair; and then we settled in for a half-hour of portraits.  

And I cannot tell you how happy I am with the results.  

One of my subjects was Amy Komar, artiste extraordinaire (whom I've had the pleasure of photographing before), and she was kind enough to share with me how she used one of her headshots.  Would it be bad form to moon over this postcard for her First Friday show?  Because I love it.  

The next round of Perfect Headshots is coming up on Saturday, October 1 with makeup artist Diana Voorhees.  If you'd like more information or would like to book your spot, please give me a holler!  

Amy Komar ART

Amy has long been one of my favorite local artists (Amy Komar Art) - I love how original and fueled by passion her work is.  In addition to her invaluable contribution to the Fairbanks art scene, she's a pretty rad woman and an amazing mama to boot.  

This shoot was actually several years in the making - we first talked about it aaaages ago, before our now-two-year-olds were even a thing.  :)  It took us a while to actually make it happen, but perhaps it was fated - because I just love the blend of lifestyle family and editorial/commercial photography that we got from this shoot.  We needed to stock her website, and they were also long overdue for family photos... two birds, one stone.  As Amy noted, she does her work at home, surrounded by her family, and her husband and daughter are both participants in the process - from Lola's help selecting the perfect Katchemak Bay stones, to the frames Matt builds to house each of Amy's wall art pieces.  It was important to her that we capture something that LOOKED like her actual process - her actual life, workspace, surroundings, and inspirations.  

This is some of what we came up with.  Love.  

Serenity Grows: Pregnancy & Postpartum Retreats

Serenity Grows is a remarkable business run by a remarkable woman, Maranda Bowers.  Though based in the Palmer area, it sits poised to serve the entire state (and beyond) through pregnancy, postpartum, and women's retreats; an active blog; the published volume Birthing in Alaska and another volume in the works; and an online store full of herbal and self-care goodness.  Large-scale, Serenity Grows exists to empower women in pregnancy, birth, and motherhood.  There's so much more to say about the scope of her business, but instead of butchering it myself, I strongly encourage you to check out her blog or join her online communities on Facebook or Instagram for a dose of community and long-overdue reminders of affirmation and self-care.  

Almost two years ago (!), I was invited to photograph her very first retreat, for pregnancy and birth workers, in Anchorage, and it was a really touching experience I was grateful to be a part of.  Over the past few years, we've been fortunate enough to have Maranda bring several Serenity Grows retreats all the way up to Fairbanks, and I've been able to attend and photograph them as well.  This post contains a sampling of images from all three retreats I've attended, and you can see more on the Serenity Grows site as well.  

Talk about commercial work right up my alley!  Being a part of Serenity Grows' growth has been an amazing experience that I'm excited to continue.  If you need a photographic relationship for your business, please don't hesitate to contact me - I'd love to work with you.  

Alaskan Earth Mama: Aromatherapy and Herbal Products

Most people associate Alaskan Earth Mama, a local business with a cult following here in Fairbanks run by my friend Monica, with herbal products - in particular, a healing salve (Soothe & Heal Balm) and an all-natural mosquito repellant (and herbal baths...and soy candles...and teas...and beard conditioning products...and a lip balm colored from Alaska cranberries...the list goes on!).  But few know about a growing arm of her business: essential oil education and aromatherapy sessions.  

To be honest, I really didn't understand what an aromatherapy session entailed until we arranged a model so we could photograph one.  I guess I pictured...smelling things?  I feel like the word "aromatherapy" has been coopted ever since the introduction of "aromatherapy dishsoaps" and the like within the last decade (so you can have indulgent self-care while washing dishes?  Um....).  I see it everywhere from shampoos to candles to dish soaps and everywhere in between.  A personalized aromatherapy session, however, goes far beyond a pleasant aroma.  Instead, it's a customized bodywork session that incorporates essential oils chosen for their unique therapeutic attributes, based on the information Monica gathers pre-session - are stiff muscles an issue?  A sore neck?  Insomnia?  You get the idea.  

But I will admit that it smelled really good.  

Alaska Family Health and Birth Center | Fairbanks Commercial Photographer

The Alaska Family Health and Birth Center is one of my favorite places to work, so naturally I jumped at the chance to help them update the imagery they use on their website and in their printed materials, etc.  We tackled a whole range of topics, from simply documenting their beautiful 'new' facility (it's been around for a few years now, but still seems new to me!), to staff headshots, to photographing the variety of services they offer, whether that was childbirth education, prenatal care, early dating ultrasounds, non-stress tests, at-home postpartum care, well-woman get the idea!  

Fairbanks Children's Museum GRAND OPENING

On January 31 of this year, something remarkable happened: the Fairbanks Children’s Museum opened its doors. The museum is the product of almost ten years of work and dedication, but you don’t even need to know that backstory to see what a remarkable addition to the Fairbanks community it is. I’m already giddy at how positively it will affect my sanity next winter when we just NEED to get out of the house (at-home parents, I’m sure you know what I mean…). Every single bit of the museum is curated with love and care, and it is committed to providing kids the chance to explore, learn, and play. It’s only been open a few months, but it’s already an irreplaceable part of our day-to-day life; my kids beg to go on a daily basis – and we go frequently (a family membership is TOTALLY worth it, btw… for several years in a row, my aunt has given our family a membership as our Christmas gift, and it’s pretty much the best present ever – talk about the gift that keeps on giving!!).

The day of the grand opening was spectacular (and FULL!) – and of course I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to take photos! Capturing kids in action – especially such giddy, joyous action as they were when unleashed into the brand-new facility full of TOYS – is, after all, one of my favorite things to do. I was fortunate enough to have two colleagues in the Fairbanks photographic community volunteer to help provide coverage of the whole day: Annie Enderle of Enderle Photography and Jenn Williams of Arctic Flair Photography both came and spent a couple hours snapping away.

Here are some of the shots the three of us took during the opening day! (SO. MUCH. FUN.) For more information about FCM – or their story times, birthday parties, summer camps, and other programming – I highly recommend you connect with them on the web or on Facebook. And I hope you have as much fun as we do!

Alaskan Earth Mama: A Spring Harvest - Fairbanks Commercial Photographer

Sometimes, one session can be the “stone” for several birds at once. You see, Monica is THE mama behind Alaskan Earth Mama, which is Fairbanks’ source for locally-made holistic goodness, body care, and custom essential oil aromatherapy sessions. Monica wears many hats: in addition to being an independent mama, Monica is also one of the smiling faces that will greet you daily at the Alaska Family Health and Birth Center. Alaskan Earth Mamas’ products are prepared in her kitchen in her “spare” time (a story every mom knows too well, I think!).

Alaskan Earth Mama makes a range of herbal products in addition to its other services (which include essential oil education, customized aromatherapy bodywork, and a growling line of other offerings).  AEM's products include balms and salves that aid in postpartum mamas' recovery; soothing sprays; and mama’s milk tea, to name a few. Around Fairbanks, AEM’s Soothe & Heal balm has a cult following, and every spring AEM’s all-natural mosquito repellent is pretty much the interior’s Most Wanted.

first mosquito of 2015

We’d wanted to do some photos to document her business in action for a while, but of course our lives were both hectic enough that we talked about it for a lot longer than we should have. When we were finally in a spot to do something about it, luck would have it that it was just time for Monica to be out harvesting cottonwood buds – a crucial ingredient with healing properties that is used in many of her products. And of course, if she’s out harvesting, the odds are that Matthew, her son, is harvesting with her – and so I floated my idea for Mother + Child sessions by her.

I originally began offering Mother + Child "little sessions" only during the month of May in honor of mother's day, but I've come to love them so much that they're now a permanent, around-the-year offering.  These aren’t your everyday mini-sessions – instead, these are 40-minute sessions custom-designed and shot on location to document the special relationship every mother has with each of her children. My vision for these sessions was to find an activity that mother and child love to do together, to basically open the floodgates of everything that’s there already. The good *and* the bad – the eye-rolls, tantrums, or disagreements, but also the smiles, connection, cuddles. A real life – beautiful and raw.  

I have a real passion for these sessions, not least because it’s so important for mom to get in front of the camera. Too often moms are hiding behind the lens, choosing to be the ones doing the documenting of everyday life – and even the moderately big events, sometimes – and are leaving themselves out of the picture.

Mamas, get in the picture. It is so important.

But back to cottonwood buds!

We gathered in North Pole in the streaming sun of early spring (and the slush of breakup) and it turned out that indeed, documenting an Alaskan Earth Mamas harvest session and coordinating a Mother + Child session was the perfect marriage. Mmmmmmmmmagic.

You can find Alaskan Earth Mamas products at Gulliver’s Books, Fireweed Boutique, Heart Stream Yoga, and many other places around town.

Portraits of Local Athletes: Commissioned Commercial Photography | Fairbanks Commercial Photographer

Last summer, I had the incredible opportunity to work with Tanana Valley Clinic on producing artwork to display in their (then) soon-to-be opened Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine satellite clinic. I recruited my friend and fellow photographer Annie Enderle to help me tackle the project, and tackle it we did. TVC had a vision of local athletes adorning the walls of the office - and apart from that, they gave us creative freedom.  Annie and I decided that we wanted to portray these athletes doing what they loved, in the environment that we all love.  Playing with athletes in some epic Alaskan was not a terrible way to spend the summer.  :)