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adventures in photography and other stuff

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Breakfast and Pictures with Santa!

Come see Santa and Mrs. Claus in West Fork this weekend!

Trying to decide where to take the little ones to visit Santa here in Northwest Arkansas this year? Skip the lines at the mall!  The Friends of the West Fork Library are hosting a Breakfast (and pictures) With Santa on Saturday, Dec. 3rd , from 8:00 to 11:00 in West Fork at the Community Center. All proceeds will go to buy books for the children’s section of  the West Fork Library.

Breakfast will be pancakes, juice, milk, bacon or sausage, and coffee and will be (a suggested donation of) $4.00 for adults, $3.00 for children 4 to 12, and $2.00 for children under 4.

Photo Pricing: $5 – One print in a holiday folder, $20 – 2 image files on CD with full printing rights, NEW THIS YEAR: $30.00- all images of your child/children (6-8 images) on CD with full printing rights. WOW! Try finding that deal with the mall Santa! These images would be perfect for all your family cards and gifts.

I’ve done this event for several years now and it has the most family-friendly atmosphere and the best Santa you could ask for.  The kids love being able to sit down and eat pancakes and get their little eyes filled with Santa Claus for as long as they want.  This is a very relaxed atmosphere for them to visit with Santa Claus, and even kids who are shy to approach him at first loosen up after they have sat there and watched him interact with the other kids while they eat.  You can have their pictures done first, then eat, or bring a change of clothes and have them put their “good clothes” on in the bathroom after breakfast. No matter where you live in Northwest Arkansas, it is worth the drive south to West Fork to see Santa at a low-stress event that benefits a good cause. Hope to see you all there!

Main Website: www.steelyjoestudio.com

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NWA Senior Portrait Photography – Katie Class of 2012

I had the pleasure of meeting Katie when I photographed her dad’s wedding to one of my cousins earlier this year. Right away we decided it would be great to do senior portraits together. She wanted something fun and unique, which of course I love to do. Katie is a country girl, and also loves fashion, so we shot with several different backgrounds in the studio, then headed down to Dixon Street in Fayetteville.  After a quick stop at the Greek Theater on the U of A campus, we headed out to a rural swimming hole to do some in-the-water portraits. We had so much fun hanging out! The images below are some of my favorite page designs from her brag book.

Studio portraits

I love the glamorous look of these portraits using sheer curtains!

Country girl!

Portraits near Dixon Street.

The Greek Theatre was a fun place to take pictures, and her outfit was perfect for this location!

Swimming hole portraits near West Fork. I have the inset picture hanging in the studio 🙂

senior portraits at a swimming hole

Even in the middle of a drought, this spring-fed swimming hole is deep enough to jump into. Katie just couldn't resist, so at the end of the shoot she took the plunge!

Wouldn’t you love to have this much fun getting your senior portraits done? See our website for galleries and rates for your own awesome senior portraits!


Thomas and Kathryn’s Cooper Chapel Wedding

Thomas and Kathryn were married on July 23, 2011 at Mildred B. Cooper Memorial Chapel in Bella Vista. Luckily this was a morning wedding, as it landed right in the middle of a record-breaking heat wave here in  Northwest Arkansas. I thought it was kind of ironic that the couple who currently holds my personal record of coldest engagement session is now also the hottest wedding day I have shot on! We did the bridal session at Bogle Park in Bentonville to showcase Kathryn’s amazing Lazaro wedding dress a week before the big day (you can see more of the bridal portraits on my FB page). The wedding itself was really beautiful, with a color scheme of purple, ivory, brown and yellow. The decorations for the chapel (which doesn’t need much since it is so pretty on its own) were kept simple with sprays of white hydrangea and orchids. The reception was held nearby inside Papa Mike’s at the Kingsdale Golf Course. Papa Mike (aka the brides father) closed the cafe for the day to convert it into an intimate reception hall for his daughter. The decor was a cheerful mix of burlap, simple flower arrangements in mason jars, and paper lanterns hung from the ceiling to match the color scheme. Each place setting also got custom paper bibs in order to fully enjoy the delicious barbecue served by Papa Mike’s catering. Rick’s bakery made the beautiful wedding cake that perfectly fit the simple yet elegant style of the event.

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Getting ready in the office at Cooper Chapel. I like how many layers of helpers you can see in the pic on the right. This dress wasn't exactly easy to get on 😉 Shirley's Flowers did the purple bridal bouquet.

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Beautiful chapel filled to capacity - check. Adorable flower girls and ring bearer - check. Live string quartet playing - check. And just outside the door you can see the bride arrive on her father's arm. Perfect! BTW - the cool shot on the left is one of Ed's. I can't pass up a chance to brag on him!

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A beautiful ceremony for a couple who have been planning this day for a long time. Congrats!

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Thomas and Kathryn had no adult attendants in the wedding - just kids. So the shot on the right is actually the full bridal party! So cute 🙂

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They say most human communication is body language. It was very sweet to watch the bride and groom's hands while they watched the minister sign the marriage licence. Look how tight Thomas is holding her hand! And I love the really romantic vibe of the image on the right.

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I love how this image turned out! Middle of the day portraits can be tough but having a great assistant (Ed) and an easy to work with couple really helps.

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Some of the details from the reception. Kathryn made the banner that hung over the head table herself! Each place setting included a paper bib for keeping the excellent bbq sauce off good clothes and a glass to toast and take as a favor.

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The beautiful tree branch wedding cake from Ricks Bakery, and a cool picture of the wedding rings on a Gerber daisy in one of the table arrangements. Thomas and Kathryn had a wonderful idea instead of a bouquet and garter toss. They gave them to the couple who had set the best example for them by being married the longest! 65 years later, he still carries a picture from their wedding day.

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There was hardly any breeze at all when it came time for the send off, which is exactly what you need for a good bubble send off! And with lots of kids in attendance, you are sure to get lots of bubbles. In fact, they were having so much fun, we did an impromptu to fashion shoot 🙂

Thomas and Kathryn, you have been a pleasure to work with and I wish you guys all the best!

Vendors Links:

Photography: Steely Joe Studio, Ceremony venue: Mildred B. Cooper Memorial Chapel, Reception and catering: Papa Mikes, Kingsdale G.C., Flowers: Shirley’s Flowers, Cake: Ricks Bakery


Sanchez and Bobby’s Little Rock Wedding

Sanchez and Bobby were married June 25, 2011 at Holy Temple Church of God in Christ in Little Rock. It was a big wedding (7 flower girls!) full of family, friends, and celebration. The reception was held at the Bess Chisum Stephens Community Center Ballroom. A “Cinderella” theme was used for the style with red and white as the wedding colors. The centerpiece of the reception was a huge multi-layered wedding cake done in a classic style with columns and staircases connecting the layers. After a full dinner was served, the cake cut and the toasts made, the party got started on the  dance floor. It’s always fun to shoot a reception where people are having so much fun. I also really love to take pictures of kids at weddings, and I think there were almost as many kids at this wedding as there were adults!

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The hustle and bustle before the ceremony as Sanchez and her bridal party prepare.

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The shy little junior bride led the procession of 7 beautiful flower girls.

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I had to get up in the balcony to get the whole bridal party in one shot!

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The image on the left was taken just after the couple "jumped the broom". I love the big smile and tears on the brides face! We had fun getting some portraits outside on the classic car that was used as the "going away" vehicle.

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The first dance at the reception.

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Look at that huge cake! Fit for a princess and her prince, it even had a Cinderella wedding carriage on top.

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Now that is what I call enthusiasm! These girls were serious about catching the wedding bouquet (which as you can see from the picture, didn't survive the encounter).

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There was a big crowd on the dance floor as the celebration went on into the evening. This was a really fun reception to photograph 🙂

Congratulations to Sanchez and Bobby, and best wishes for you and your fabulous family!


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NWA Senior Portraits – Jordan class of 2012

I had so much fun with Jordan, one of my High School Senior Portrait ambassadors for the class of 2012. She was creative and relaxed, and we got some great portraits on Dixon Street in Fayetteville before going over to my aunt-in-laws house to get some awesome pool portraits. Check out some of my favorites from our fabulous portrait session:

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I like the "fashion model" look to these pictures.

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Hats off to Jordan's mom, who went into a pool hall to ask if we could use the motorcycles parked outside for pictures! Needless to say, the owners were happy to oblige 🙂

The Walton Arts Center Rose Garden made a great backdrop for some "sweet and pretty" pictures.

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What a great swimming pool my aunt let us use! And I love Jordan's "lounging by the pool" outfit with the big floppy hat. Very posh!

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Its fun to do something a little out of the ordinary for your senior portraits, you just have to save these kind of pool portraits for last 🙂

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This is my personal favorite from the session. Love this shot!

We had so much fun with Jordan and her mom, and I can’t wait to do a fall color senior session later this year. If you are looking for a NWA Senior Portrait photographer, I would love to meet with you. We will make your session unique and perfect for your individual style, with pictures and products that will be the envy of your classmates! 2012 Seniors are already getting pictures done, and  fall sessions can fill up early. Plus, if you “like” Steely Joe Studio on Facebook before you book, you will save $20 off your session fee!

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Amanda and Jared’s Paris, Arkansas wedding

Amanda and Jared were married in the small Arkansas River Valley town of Paris on June 11, 2011 at Bethel Missionary Baptist Church. Ed and I made a little field trip out of our first trip to Arkansas Wine country by eating lunch at Wiederkehr Vinyard and stopping in to see the amazing view from St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Altus en route to Paris. The day started out as a typical June day in Arkansas (hot and muggy), but by the time the reception got underway, storms rolled in and made it way too soggy to do outside pictures. Amanda’s color scheme was pastel shades of pink and green, and the focal point of the reception was the beautiful wedding cake from Harp’s Bakery in Van Buren. Many of the decorations followed the popular trend of the “DIY bride” with colorful paper pom poms in the windows and a pretty “money tree” made from branches painted white. The DIY trend is going strong in weddings big and small, and I have seen some really nice favors, decorations and programs made by creative brides this year! Amanda and Jared were great to work with and we wish them all the best in their new life together.

The reception hall at Bethel Baptist Church was decorated in the pale pink and green color scheme. Wedding cake from Harps Bakery. The rings are sitting on a mirror with scattered water-soluble heart shaped "rice" that was used for the send off.

I like these images using the mirror in the bride's changing room. The little flower girl was so fascinated with the preparations!

The ceremony at Bethel Baptist Church.

Ed did this series of candid images in the hallway right after the ceremony in front of a bright white wall in the lobby. Love these pictures!

Details from the reception. The middle image is another one of Ed's. He was on a roll for this wedding!

We had to do most of the portaits inside while the storm blew over, but we stepped out on the porch when it let up a bit for few shots, too.

We did some "going away" images on the front porch of the church, but it was just too wet to have everyone stand outside. So the wedding guests grouped up at the covered back door for a send off before the couple made a dash for the car.

Vendor Links

Wedding Cake and finger foods: Harps Bakery, Van Buren

Wedding Dress: Always and Forever, Fort Smith

Eco-friendly wedding “rice”: bridesvillage.com.

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Nancy and Tony’s Lake Wedington Wedding

Nancy and Tony were married on May 14th, 2011 at the Lodge at Lake Wedington. It was an unseasonably chilly day for May in Arkansas, with temps staying put in the mid 50s. But the nice thing about the historic lodge building is that it is really pretty inside with lots of windows for doing portraits indoors. Nancy and her team of family and friends did a great job decorating with simple, charming decorations that perfectly suited the location. This was another wedding that opted for a more unique desert option. Instead of a traditional wedding cake, the couple chose to fill the desert table with miniature pies and tarts, which fit very well with the rustic setting in the Lodge.

This ring picture was done on one of the wooden benches inside the lodge. Detail of the brides dress.

Gerber daisies in paper cones were to decorate the Lodge.

The ceremony was simple and sweet.

The delicious pies and tarts on the desert table from Yummies by Alex Munson.

Bride and Groom portrait session inside the lodge.

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Curtis and Marcia’s Huntsville wedding

Marcia and Curtis were married on April 16, 2011 in Huntsville, AR. Their celebration had lots of thoughtful details that pulled the theme of an old-fashioned wedding together very nicely. You wouldn’t think of bright pink, lime green and orange as “old-fashioned” colors, but it looked really great! The ceremony was held at Calvary Baptist Church, and the reception was at the Madison County Fairgrounds. The wedding arch at the ceremony and the guest book table were made from reclaimed wood, and the head table and desert table were covered in old quilts. There we also lots of quilts hung along the walls behind the food tables. On the other side of the reception hall, the wall was covered in burlap and hung with crosses of all shapes and sizes. This “cross walk” displayed engagement photos as well a serving as a sweet tribute to the grooms father. The guest tables had mason jars full of colorful jellybeans mixed with small floral arrangements as centerpieces. The bride even wore cowboy boots under her wedding dress, and her bridesmaids joined in by changing into their boots for the reception. We had a great time and wish Marcia and Curtis all the best!

The ceremony at Calvary Baptist Church. During the service, Marica and Curtis poured colored sand into a glass jar as a reminder of how thier lives are joined together.

Handmade programs made with bright scrapbook paper made each one a unique memento. The flowers were designed by Huntsville Floral and Gifts.

There was a great pasture and barn area just out from town where we did the family and bridal party portraits. The Dogwood trees were blooming all around town and made the drive from ceremony to reception very pretty.

Madison County Fairgrounds wedding reception

The entryway to the reception continued the old-fashioned country wedding theme with barn wood furniture. and wrought iron accents.

Fun details from the reception. Colorful quilts were used to decorate tables and walls. Starlitght Music got folks out on the dance floor. To finish off the excellent BBQ from Boars Nest, the couple chose to have a table stacked with many kinds of pie instead of a traditional wedding cake - yum! The "cross walk" wall was a really pretty focal point at the reception.

This beautiful ring pillow was hand-made by the couple's grandmothers. The lovely picture of the bride and groom at sunset was taken by my trusty sherpa (aka my hubby) Ed as the couple were leaving the reception.

Vendor links: flowers Huntsville Floral and Gifts, catering Boars Nest BBQ, DJ Starlight Music, wedding coordinator Kim Carlton.

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Easter duckling portraits now even better!

The kids are going to love meeting some adorable animals, and you are going to love the pictures!

Easter weekend is fast approaching, and I would like to fill a few more spots for Easter portraits. So for you procrastinators out there, I have decided to sweeten the pot (for those already signed up, don’t worry, this applies to you too): $49 (+ tax) will now get you a 30 minute session with the most adorable baby ducklings and a bunny, an online gallery, and a print package including 1 8×10, 2 5x7s, and 2 4×6 prints – wow! These sessions come just in time for ordering Mother’s Day presents, too.  Sessions can be scheduled for Friday, April 22, or Saturday, April 23. Drop me an email at steelyjoestudio@gmail.com, or call (479)839-4321 to book your session. This is going to be great fun and I hope to see you there!

Jennifer Simmons Designs Fashion Shoot

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A while ago I did my first shoot in the new studio in Lowell, and although I posted some pics on my Facebook fan page, I never did a blog post about all the cool images we got! The shoot was designed to create portfolio images for talented local fashion designer Jennifer Simmons. We had fun coming up with a simple look for the session that complimented the style of the clothes and added detail without distracting from the fashions. The clothes were modeled by the lovely Carli Rosencranz. Here are some of my favorite images from the shoot:

Do you wish you could be a fashion model for a day? Call me to book a Friends and Fashion party at the studio! These sessions are SO fun, and you can check out my website for more info.

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