Happy 2015 from Ironside Photography!

2014 was a great year for me and my business. It was my most profitable year yet, with another fantastic international trip, and the addition of some major clients. I opened my first studio, got published in numerous publications, had a great time at some workshops (and even taught my …

University of Arkansas Honors College A+ Magazine | NWA Editorial Photographer

Back in June, I got to shoot a profile story on Donna Freeman, a UA student doing a project on a local farm. I have some friends who live out next to the farm, so I had been there before, but hadn’t spent any time actually on the land in production. Donna was a natural — here are a few of the images I liked from the shoot, and some screen shots from the publication! It’s always a pleasure to work with the Honors College, and this was no exception. And who’d have thought a quick photo of chickens would have made the cover!

More photos after the jump.

Chaco Footwear | NWA Outdoor Lifestyle Photographer

What a whirlwind of a summer. It’s been busy ’round these parts, and I haven’t had a chance to update this blog much…but here’s a good one! I was fortunate to add a big client to my list this spring. Chaco is a US-based footwear company that I’m sure most of you have seen or heard of. At least in Arkansas, you can see Chaco’s sandals everywhere, especially around the university.  This shoot was a big one. Three days, five models, six locations. Lots of planning, lots of food. But also…lots of rain. Big shoots like this happen (mostly) rain or shine. Sadly, rain took over. We got rained out of three of our six locations, including the ever-popular Hawksbill Crag. The last day was cut out early all together — we only got about an hour in at Indian Creek, after a late start, before it really started coming down. So, of course, we had some food at Ozark Cafe in Jasper before deciding that we were done. Here are the shots that Chaco chose to buy from the shoot.

Since then, I’ve done two more shoots for them — shooting their Chaco Tour at Wakarusa, and then a product shoot of their Outcross shoes from the Spring/Summer 2015 line, yet to be released. Another fall lifestyle shoot is currently in the planning stages.

Outdoor commercial work is something I love doing, so I hope more of it comes my way!


Hey guys! I’ve been swamped the past few weeks, for one main reason: I’M OPENING A STUDIO! It was an unexpected decision, and I’ve had to devote a lot of time to it over the past month. But it’s almost ready!   I’ll be having a drop-in Open House this …

I’m in Bolivia! | NWA Travel Photographer

Realizing that it’s better late than never…hey internet world! I’m in Bolivia! I came here shortly before new years to shoot a wedding, and am now traveling around solo until February. Expect more updates when I return home, and I’ll be updating my Facebook page more regularly when I have internet access. After spending a couple of weeks in the country’s largest (and wealthiest) city, Santa Cruz de la Sierra, I’m currently sitting at over 12,000 feet near the Salar de Uyuni, the world’s largest salt flat, in the altiplano region of southwestern Bolivia in the Andes mountains. I ate a pizza with llama meat on it today. From here I’ll probably head to La Paz, the country’s government seat, where I’ll peruse the markets, head to Lake Titicaca, then see where the adventure takes me. No complaints. Here are just a few photos from the trip so far.

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Once again I’ve neglected the blog too long…I’ve been busy! First of all Happy Thanksgiving to all of you — it’s been a great year for Ironside Photography. The best yet, in fact! Cheers to all of my great clients, friends, and family who made it possible. Couldn’t have done it without you. I’ve got lots to be thankful for. Things around here have been busy, with the next big thing being that I’m starting to prepare for my trip to Bolivia! I’ll be shooting a wedding there in the first week of January, then traveling around for the rest of the month after that, and possibly doing another exciting shoot…more details on that later. Lots to consider when deciding what photo equipment to take, how to carry it, etc., not to mention figuring out where I’ll be going! Here are a few recent shots, just because. More after the jump. Hopefully you’re following along on my Facebook page for more frequent updates!   2013-11-13_0001

The Importance of Your Network


This past month has flown by. Such a busy August, and September has shown no signs of slowing down. And, for some reason, today I’m thinking about one thing: how important it is to have a great network of people around you.

As a freelance photographer, I’m always in need of help. Help answering questions about pricing, contracts, equipment, locations, and so much more. Sometimes I need an assistant, sometimes I need to know what a location looks like before I get there. There’s no one book, no one website, no one person that has all of the answers. I might be a “one man show,” but that doesn’t mean I don’t or can’t rely on others to help keep my passion and my career not only alive, but thriving.

So, here are some tips I have on how to build and maintain relationships with other like-minded and helpful individuals who can help you succeed.

Seattle Portrait 2-1

Symphony of Northwest Arkansas | NWA Music Photographer

A while back, I had the opportunity to photograph a dress-rehearsal for the Symphony of Northwest Arkansas. Usually when I photograph musical performances, I’m not allowed to wander around on stage, so this was particularly fun. I always like photographing music, be it classical or otherwise, since it feels kind of natural to me. Having been in band from 7th grade until I graduated high school, and being a percussionist on top of that, I always feel very aware of the different beats, when things are about to get louder or softer, etc., and can anticipate when the best shots will occur, when I should stop shooting when the music gets quiet so I don’t disturb the audience, and even when the conductors’ hands will be in a visually appealing position. Always a fun challenge! We’ve got a great group here in NWA, so if you’re into classical music, check out SoNA!

Long overdue: Alyse’s Bridals | NWA Wedding Photographer

Even though I’ve stopped booking most new weddings in favor of expanding my commercial work, here are a few from a fun bridal session on the University of Arkansas campus last fall that never made the blog. Robert and Alyse were married a while ago, but I still like the outcome of this shoot!

Wakarusa 2013 | NWA Music Photographer

(c) 2013 Stephen Ironside / Ironside Photography Whew! I can’t believe it’s been so long since I updated this blog. It’s been a busy busy summer, but luckily it’s a “busy” that I’ve enjoyed and been able to keep up with. Let’s go back in time a little bit and revisit the 2013 Wakarusa Music & Camping Festival on Mulberry Mountain in Ozark, Arkansas, that happened the first weekend in June. I’ve shot Wakarusa for the past 5 or so years. This year, I shot it again for the Fayetteville Free Weekly. Arriving a day before the general crowd, and staying all the way through Monday morning (most people leave Sunday), it was quite a ride. The weather threw this year’s Waka for a spin. Rain, thunderstorm and tornado warnings, and most impressively, MUD. Lots and lots of mud. Lots of mud. Mud. Maybe the photos will show you a little more about the mud, since I don’t really want to say much more about it. It was a little miserable after a few days, but it was worth it. (I even ended up on the news talking about the weather, but that’s a longer story.) Shows got cancelled, people had to hide out in their cars, and it was generally just a wet, dirty time. But it was fun. Snoop Lion, Widespread Panic, Dispatch, The Black Crowes, Umphrey’s McGee, and more all headlined. My favorite was Of Monsters and Men. Great show! One interesting tidbit that came out of these photos: the one of the bubble sitting in the mud went “viral” on Facebook.  The official Wakarusa Facebook page shared it (and my album), and within hours it had hit over 30,000 views, the “Likes” on my page had grown by a couple hundred, and in general the page was buzzing. With 84 shares, 229 likes, and almost 30 comments, I think it’s the most popular photo I’ve ever put up there! Click through to see more photos!

Continuing Education: After Dark 2013

I spent this past week in St. Louis, Missouri, attending a big photography workshop called After Dark Education. I had been asked by a great local photographer to be one of about 50 assistants at the workshop, so, of course, I said yes.(THANKS MELANIE!) Around 500 people from across the country attended for a week of hands on education about lighting, posing, business practices, and more. And, as the name “After Dark” implies, most of the good stuff happened well after midnight…so all normal sleep schedules went out the window. But, it was definitely a blast — I met a lot of great people, saw a lot of great photographers showing how they do what they do, and came back having learned a lot. Can’t wait to start implementing all of it! Most attendees took a lot of photos at each class, but I decided to take a step back and set the camera down so I could take notes and absorb the info from the classes. I did get to go to the Arch one night, and I snagged a few behind the scenes and Instagram shots…so here they are! Image (c)2013 Stephen Ironside / Ironside Photography (21) Image (c)2013 Stephen Ironside / Ironside Photography (20)

Help-Portrait Seniors 2013

On Saturday, we held another Help-Portrait event for high school seniors in Fayetteville. With five photographers shooting over 20 students, it was a great day and we saw a lot of smiles! The seniors event serves as a refresher and motivator for the big event in December. Huge thanks to Fayetteville High School for hosting us this year! Can’t wait until the next one! Image (c)2013 Stephen Ironside / Ironside Photography (2)

Prayer Flags Explained

So, this post is a little different than most of my others, which are mostly updates on what I’ve been up to. Last week, I had to take my car in to get serviced, and got a shuttle ride home. When Phillip, the driver, got to my house and saw …

UA Global Campus Headshots | NWA Portrait Photographer

A while back, I did headshots for some of the faculty and staff of the University of Arkansas’ Global Campus, which is essentially the university’s program for online and distance education. A fun group to work with. Most of the time when I do staff headshots like these, the people aren’t used to being photographed, so my primary job turns into making them feel comfortable in front of the camera and making the real smiles and personalities shine through their uncertainty. This group was no exception–but in the end, we came out with some good shots and had a good time.  You can see the images in action here. Images (c) 2012 Stephen Ironside / Ironside Photography (10)

Wagar Family | NWA Family Portrait Photographer

Wow! It’s been a while since I’ve updated this. Things have been a bit hectic around here, with some big life changes and an unexpectedly busy start to the new year. I’ve got a lot of backlogged posts, so I’m going to try to get some up regularly for the next few weeks and catch up. Here are some photos from a family shoot I did last fall at the Tanyard Creek nature trail in Bella Vista, AR. Fun family!   Images (c) 2012 Stephen Ironside / Ironside Photography (12)

Help-Portrait NWA 2012

On December 8th, I took part once again in one of my favorite charities: Help-Portrait! Photographers don’t have many opportunities to directly give back to their community using their skills, but this event is perfect for us. Each year, globally, photographers and other volunteers get together to donate portraits to those in need. You can see my posts from the 2010 and 2011 event in Fayetteville if you haven’t already. This year, ladies from the Paul Mitchell beauty school came and donated hair and make-up services, Tyson donated a LOT of chicken, and Arvest Bank donated a huge grill and team to cook it all! Thanks also to Root Elementary School (my childhood alma mater) for letting us take over the school that day. It was a wonderful event. Warm and fuzzies all around. If you’re intersted in more information, please contact me! We’ll have a high school seniors event this spring, and another big event next December. We always need a few extra hands. Image by NWA Commercial Photographer Stephen Ironside / Ironside Photography (8)

Beth & Chris | NWA Wedding Photographer

Wow! It’s been a VERY busy month, and I can’t believe it’s been so long since I updated this blog! If you’re keeping up with my Facebook page, you’re probably much more up to date. Today’s post will feature Beth and Chris’s awesome wedding at St. Catherine’s at Bell Gable in September! Small, short, and sweet. It was my first time to shoot at Bell Gable, and I love it. Many people don’t like shooting there because inside the chapel is very small and dark, which isn’t exactly the perfect situation for cameras. But you gotta do what you gotta do! Northwest Arkansas wedding photographer Ironside Photography. Beth and Chris's wedding at St. Catherine's at Bell Gable. (22)

Dean Jones and the Walton College of Business | NWA Commercial Photographer

Over the past couple of months, I’ve been doing some shoots for the Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas. You might have seen my images of the former dean on the cover of the alumni magazine here. But now there’s a new dean–Dean Jones! He’s a fun guy to be around, and seems to genuinely care about his students. Here are a few shots of him, along with some from the Walton College’s newly remodeled atrium. These images and more should make it into the fall alumni magazine. Image by NWA Commercial Photographer Stephen Ironside / Ironside Photography (14)

Christina & Alvaro | NWA Wedding Photographer

Well hi, there! It’s been crazy around here, and I haven’t had much time to update my blog. So, today, I’m writing some posts that you should see over the next couple of weeks. Today’s features images from a wedding from July that I never got around to blogging! Christina and Alvaro came from California to get married at the Cooper Chapel in Bella Vista and had their reception at the Fayetteville Town Center. This was my first Latino wedding, so the extra events such as the “snake dance,” as well as when the guys throw the groom in the air three times, were just icing on the delicious cake. Congrats again, Christina and Alvaro, and best wishes to you both! Ironside Photography - Northwest Arkansas Wedding Photographer (30)

Office Plants for DK Designs | NWA Commercial Photographer

A while back, I did a shoot for DK Design LLC, a local landscaping/fine gardening company, for an article written for Arkansas Gardener magazine‘s July/August issue by the company’s owner, Daniel Keeley. He had some different types of indoor plants set up in his office, and, appropriately, the article was about office plants. Here are a few of the images from that shoot, as well as some scans from the magazine. I always love working on editorial shoots, even if it just involves plants! Image (c) 2012 Stephen Ironside / Ironside Photography (7)

LeAnne & Aaron | NEA Wedding Photographer

A couple of months ago I shot LeAnne and Aaron’s wedding in Jonesboro, Arkansas. You might have seen their engagements or LeAnne’s bridals in earlier posts–and now it’s time for the wedding! The held the ceremony at the First Presbyterian Church in Jonesboro, with the reception a couple of blocks away at The Station. Such a great evening for a great couple. Congrats again, guys! Image (c) 2012 Stephen Ironside / Ironside Photography (21)

Beth’s Bridals | NWA Wedding Photographer

Wow! I’ve been waiting anxiously to share these awesome bridals with you for weeks. Beth and Chris tied the knot this afternoon, so now they’re fair game. Beth, who I’ve worked with for a couple of years shooting events and other things for the Walton Arts Center, wasn’t planning on doing a bridal shoot at all — but we made it happen! We shot these at the new Arsaga’s coffee shop location off of Dickson Street in Fayetteville, then walked over to the courtyard in front of the Walton Arts Center where the Stickworks sculptures from this year’s Artosphere events were still up.  Image (c) 2012 Stephen Ironside / Ironside Photography (8)

Ray Bunch for Judge | NWA Commercial Photographer

Whew! It’s been a busy week. Last Sunday I shot an event for Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville–and they loved the photos, which is always a good thing. Lots of photo editing this week as well, and I’m officially all caught up! This is a quick portrait …

Sherry Beth + Brett | Northwest Arkansas Wedding Photographer

At the end of June, I had the pleasure of shooting Sherry Beth and Brett’s wedding at her grandparent’s house in Springdale, Arkansas. It was a small affair, with a tent in their “backyard,” around 50 guests, some good catered barbecue, strawberry pie, and even an old western movie projected into the top of the tent to entertain guests while eating. Her family entertained with some home-grown music, and there was even a golf cart to move people around. It was a short, sweet ceremony. Sherry Beth and Brett flew down from New York to have their wedding here, and I’m glad they did! Congrats to this lovely couple!   Image (c) 2012 Stephen Ironside / Ironside Photography (23)

Dean Worrell and the Walton College of Business | NWA Commercial Photographer

Commercial shoots, either for editorial or advertising purposes, are my favorite types of photoshoots. Earlier this spring, I did an editorial shoot for the Sam M. Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas‘ Spring 2012 alumni magazine. This biannual magazine updates alumni about the happenings of the college, and got a new look this year. The theme of this issue was “Faces & Spaces,” as the college recently received both a new dean and some renovated rooms. I ended up shooting the outgoing dean, Dan Worrell, as well as various rooms and even a department group shot. Doing commercial shoots like this one is a different ball game from weddings, nature, or any other photography — not just in the type of equipment used, but also in how you have to envision the outcome of the publication. Here’s a link to view the magazine. My photos can be found on: Front Cover, 2, 3 (top, Worrell, New Department), 5 (Worrell), 6-7 (all), 14-15 (spread), 16-17 (all), 20, and 35 (1, 12, 13, 15, 16). That’s 39 photos in all! Below are a couple of spreads. I’m looking forward to working with the college again. I shot the new dean, Dr. Jones, in June, and should be doing more photos soon. A great bunch to work with, and of course, it’s always nice to make the cover!   Image (c) 2012 Stephen Ironside / Ironside Photography (4)

LeAnne’s Bridals | NWA Wedding Photographer

Since I shot LeAnne and Aaron’s wedding last weekend, I can finally share LeAnne’s bridal portraits! We shot them in her hometown of Powhatan, Arkansas, in June. We stopped by the Powhatan Courthouse, then at a friend’s pond, and then at her parent’s house. It was hot, and there were lots of mosquitoes, but we ended up with some great images. (Thanks to my lovely wife for assisting!) Don’t forget to click through and see more images!

Kristen and Brandon’s Engagement + Wedding | NWA Wedding Photographer

A few months ago, I shot Kristen and Brandon’s engagement portraits on the University of Arkansas campus–and a few weeks ago, I shot their wedding at The Gardens on campus!  So, this is a combined post, with lots of images. I’ll still be doing Kristen’s bridal/trash the dress session in a few weeks, so be sure to check back for those. Congrats, you two!  

Shave the Planet | NWA Commercial Photographer

It’s time for a very summery post! While I don’t really care much for snow cones, I am quite fine with shooting them! I recently created some images for a very popular local snow cone stand called Shave the Planet...so popular, in fact, that loyal customers started stopping by for a snow cones before 10:00a.m. while we were shooting even though the stand wasn’t even open yet! They wanted some images for their new menu, to use on the side of their mobile trailer, for use on their website and Facebook, etc. Here are a few! Image (c) 2012 Stephen Ironside / Ironside Photography (12)

Annette’s Senior Portraits | NWA Senior Portrait Photographer

A few weeks ago, I shot Annette’s senior portraits. I had donated a couple of portrait sessions to the Single Parent Scholarship Fund of Northwest Arkansas, and Annette’s family was one of the recipients. We went to Gulley Park in Fayetteville for a morning shoot. It was a short and sweet shoot, and we had a good time. Annette graduated from Haas Hall Academy in Fayetteville–congrats, Annette!  

Profile: Don Marr

This past spring, I did a profile on Don Marr, the Chief of Staff for Mayor Lioneld Jordan of Fayetteville, Arkansas. I’d never done an extended assignment like this, where I had to return multiple times to get a variety of shots of one person. While the images weren’t difficult to take, it was a miracle they were taken at all–Don Marr is one busy guy! I took some in his office, some at an Arkansas Razorback baseball game, at a presentation he gave about the city’s recycling program, and even at some city trail and sidewalk construction sites. Below are a few images, as well as the multimedia project I did featuring interviews with Marr.  

Brittaney’s Bridals | NWA Wedding Photographer

Brittaney and Chris got married in late May, and I went down to do her bridals in Little Rock a few weeks before. We took them at the Arkansas Arts Center, their reception site and a place where Brittaney had spent a lot of time in her childhood. I’d never been there before, so it was a great experience and we got some cool shots!  

Andrew’s Senior Portraits | NWA Senior Portrait Photographer

I finally have a little time to catch up on my blogging! It’s been sparse the past few weeks, so expect many posts over the next few! A couple of months ago I shot Andrew’s high school senior portraits at Lake Fayetteville. As one of my regular assistants, it’s rare for him to be the one in front of the lens–but we got some good shots anyway.   (He’s also my brother. Can you see the resemblance?)   Image (c) 2012 Stephen Ironside / Ironside Photography (9)

The Aibangbees | NWA Family Photographer

A couple of months ago, I shot a sweet couple and their foster child up in Rogers. It was a short, sweet, 30 minute session in the downtown area, with natural light and some quick lens changes! I went at these with the angle of “engagement portraits,” since this couple was married fairly recently and, to me, still had a newlywed feeling about them. They were fun to work with, and really seemed to have a good time! Image (c) 2012 Stephen Ironside / Ironside Photography (16) Image (c) 2012 Stephen Ironside / Ironside Photography (15)

Help-Portrait 2012: Seniors Edition

On April 28th, we held a small Help-Portrait event in Fayetteville to donate portraits to some high school seniors. If you haven’t heard of Help-Portrait, you should click on that link. Seriously. We did portraits for about 15 seniors that day, and next year I think we’re going to make it even bigger. With 5 photographers and 3 editors, it was a smaller event than the main event in December. But we still had a good time and captured some great memories. Want to get involved for the December “main event” and help change some peoples’ lives? Shoot me an e-mail and I’ll fill you in. Anyone welcome; photographers, photo techs, hair/makeup artists, bilingual awesome-ers preferred. Here are a few of my images from the day.

Jesse’s Senior Portraits | NWA Portrait Photographer

A few weeks ago I shot Jesse’s senior portraits on Dickson Street in Fayetteville. My one idea to work off of was that his mom told me he liked literature and spent a lot of time at the Dickson Street Book Shop, a well-known, aging local bookstore with tons of character. A funny story about this one: Jesse’s mom had set up the appointment to do these photos, then cancelled because she thought that he might smile more or be more comfortable with a female photographer. About a week later, she calls me saying that she had shopped around, and still liked my images the best. She wanted to book again. Here are some images from Jesse’s shoot. I decided to go all black and white for this post — don’t ask me why.  

Food Photographer of the Year Competition Results: Shortlisted Twice!

A few months ago, I entered an international food photography competition. Wait — food photography? While I’m not a food photographer, I figured I did have some pretty good images involving food! This was the first paid contest I’ve ever entered. It was the Pink Lady Food Photographer of the Year competition, and I entered 7 images. I went for it.   Here are the categories and my entries: Cream of the Crop: We want to see the very best product shots, from muddy bunches of carrots to a bowl of rice or coffee beans, to a side of beef or a gleaming platter of fresh fish.

Holi: The Hindu Festival of Color

On Saturday, I photographed my first Holi festival in Wilson Park in Fayetteville. Holi is a Hindu festival each spring where people take to the streets and throw colored powder and water all over each other. (Long story short.) I’ve been wanting to photograph this in India for years, but I guess a local park is good enough for now. :) Put on by the Friends of India, there were some delicious samosas and other Indian goodies, and a lot of people showed up! More images after the jump, and click here to see even more on Flickr.

Arkansas Baseball vs. Alabama

A few weeks ago, on a mission to capture some images for a profile story I’m doing, I got to go to Baum Stadium and watch Arkansas play against Alabama. It was my first baseball game in as long as I can remember, and I got to see it from a box! I also took the opportunity to shoot a few images of the game. Also, the box had catfish and all the fixins. Yep.   Image (c) 2012 Stephen Ironside / Ironside Photography (4)Image (c) 2012 Stephen Ironside / Ironside Photography (10)
Image (c) 2012 Stephen Ironside / Ironside Photography (6)

Fayetteville, Arkansas mayor Lioneld Jordan enjoying the game.


A few weeks ago, I tagged along with Mark and Dana of Stone Ridge Photographers on an interesting shoot. A couple wanted to do something a little different for their engagement photos…so they had their friends dress up as zombies! This was a great shoot. I was there to practice shooting some video. It was my first time to really shoot video with the D3s, and my first time editing video as well. Hopefully I didn’t do too poorly for a rookie! Here are a couple of my still images from the shoot, and you can watch the video below.

U of A Dark Sky Discussion

Last Sunday I photographed an event for the University of Arkansas Honors College. An honors student had put together an event to explore the effects of light pollution on our view of the starry skies, with a discussion at Hog Haus and some sky meter testing afterwards. The clouds were out in full force, so even though the “star” portion of the event was a bust, the attendees had a good time. The next night, the college showed the film The City Dark, which won the Grand Jury Prize at the Environmental Film Fest at Yale and the Jury Prize for Best Score/Music at the 2011 South by Southwest Film Festival. The film’s creator, Ian Cheney, was there to speak as well. It was a fun event! Here’s the press release.  This event made me love the low-light capabilities of my camera. I sometimes forget how good it is. Some of these were at ISO 6400 and higher!

Woolsey Wetland Prairie Prescribed Burn

I took some photos at a prescribed burn at the Woolsey Wetland Prairie next to the West Side Wastewater Treatment Plant off of Broyles Road in Fayetteville on Tuesday. The burn helps bring back native plant species instead of invasive plants. It was quite the fire!   Here are some images. More here. Image (c) 2012 Stephen Ironside / Ironside Photography (14)

Greg Leding Campaign Photos | NWA Commercial Photographer

A few weeks ago, on a very windy day, I had the pleasure of photographing Arkansas state representative Greg Leding (D-Fayetteville). He was looking for some photos of himself for his reelection campaign. We went to some Fayetteville landmarks such as the U of A campus (which was under heavy construction — not too great for photos), Dickson Street, and the Square. Greg was pleased and had some very kind words after he saw the images:
The photos are amazing, Stephen. Thank you. I’ve never been excited about pictures of myself… I think they all look fantastic. Is it okay to start using them? Again, I’ve never actually wanted to use any photo of me, so the fact that I’m excited and eager to use them is amazing. Thank you again. I’ve received a lot of compliments, so thanks again. One of the pictures I like the most, though, has received the most comments. It’s the one of me sitting on the train, looking down, with my hands out in front of me. I remember I was just kind of talking to myself, and I happen to talk using my hands quite a bit, and you snapped a few. I love the shot. I think it’s one of the most casual and spontaneous. One friend, though, said I look like I’m making invisible pottery. Another said it looks like I’m petting an invisible dog. It’s still one of my favorites. I’ve been using it as my Facebook personal profile pic.
Just the response I love to hear. I love taking pictures, but I love happy clients even more. Best of luck on your reelection, Greg! Image (c) 2012 Stephen Ironside / Ironside Photography (2)

Engaged: Alyse & Robert | NWA Wedding Photographer

A few weeks ago, I had the PLEASURE of shooting Robert and Alyse’s engagement on the Fayetteville Square during the Lights of the Ozarks. I had never done an engagement shoot while the lights were up, so I gave them a bonus engagement session on top of the more outdoorsy one we’ll do this spring. Robert and Alyse are getting married in Eureka Springs on July 7th, and they totally deserve it. Here’s a link to the images on The Wedding Post of Arkansas!   Image (c) 2012 Stephen Ironside / Ironside Photography (16)

A Very Chilly Painty Shoot | Happy V-Day!

First of all, Happy Valentine’s Day to all of you! I’ve been waiting to post these images for a while. I figured that V-Day was the perfect day for me to post images from a photoshoot I did with Darby, my lovely bride, as a model with the painting expertise of B. Gutierrez. It was a frigid day in December, and the paint cracked far too soon, but Darby held her own and did a great job. Here are a few images from that shoot. I know, I know. I’m lucky she’s mine. Image (c) 2011 Stephen Ironside / Ironside Photography (9)

Engaged: Aaron & LeAnne | NWA Wedding Photographer

On Christmas Eve, I was lucky enough to shoot Aaron and LeAnne’s engagement photos in downtown Jonesboro. LeAnne had scouted out a parking garage with some great colored walls, and we spent a couple of hours getting some great shots. With my lovely wife assisting, this was a fun way to share some love on Christmas Eve! Aaron and LeAnne are getting hitched this July. Can’t wait for the bridals! Here is a link to the images featured on The Wedding Post of Arkansas.  

A Monk Teaching Non-violence and an Opera Performance | NWA Event Photographer

In early January I photographed two small events at the University of Arkansas. Geshe Dakpa Topgyal came to speak about non-violence in a Students for a Free Tibet and Associated Student Government sponsored event at Giffels Auditorium in Old Main. Sarah Mesko, a UA Honors College Alum, had a homecoming performance in the Stella Boyle Smith Concert Hall sponsored by the John Harrison Opera Foundation. Two very different events with very different images — but I thought I’d share them both with you today. Image (c) 2012 Stephen Ironside / Ironside Photography (5)

Kemper’s Newborn Photos | NWA Newborn Photographer

A few weeks ago I shot little baby Kemper’s newborn images (after I shot his parents here and him in the oven here). It was a great, straightforward, relaxed session — as usual! Since I prefer shooting on location, I brought my lights, camera, and self to the clients home. When baby was sleepy and momma was relaxed, we began the session. Doing it this way lets me wait out the fuss and mess of bringing babies to a new scary place at just a week old. Baby gets hungry? Go feed! Baby starts crying? Go put him in his OWN crib or do whatever you do to calm him! The parents enjoy it more, the newborns are more relaxed, and, an added bonus, I get to capture a new little face in familiar surroundings. This is a family’s home…often their first! This environment deserves to be captured more than studio backdrops and props. This session is more valuable than that. It’s just how things are done at Ironside Photography, I guess. He’s gonna be one tough little dude.   Image (c) 2011 Stephen Ironside / Ironside Photography (6)

Late to the Blog Party: November Mini Sessions | NWA Portrait Photographer

This post SHOULD have come last year. But, things always get in the way, don’t they? Last November I ran a quick “mini-session” special, where I had multiple time slots available throughout the day and offered 30 minute portrait sessions at a reduced price. It was a fun couple of days! Here are some photos from the sessions.(And of course I had to snap a quick one of my lovely wife while she was being a great assistant…one of my favorite photos of her!)

Image (c) 2012 Stephen Ironside / Ironside Photography (10)

Artosphere Conductor Corrado Rovaris | NWA Commercial Photographer

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of photographing Corrado Rovaris, the conductor of the Artosphere Festival Orchestra, for promotional material for the Walton Arts Center. Straight from Italy and the music director of the Opera Company of Philadelphia, Corrado has an impressive musical history. He has led the Artosphere Festival Orchestra for two years, and will be in Arkansas again this year. He was a good sport and a good subject. Bravo, Mr. Rovaris! One of the main purposes of Artosphere is to unite art with sustainability and the environment. So, in an effort to show this, I photographed Corrado outdoors at Lake Fayetteville. There wasn’t much greenery to help show the “greenness” of the event, but I made do. Also, thanks to Jodi and Jason of the Walton Arts Center for helping out during the shoot! It’s always great to have an extra hand.     Here’s the Walton Arts Center’s spring on-stage program; the bottom photo, as well as the one of the woman in the red jacket, are mine. There are more of my photos inside, but I don’t want to bore you! Bottom image by Stephen Ironside.    

Images (c)2012 Stephen Ironside.

Three Brothers | NWA Portrait Photographer

I’m back in the country after a trip to China on assignment, and I’m slowly getting back in the game of “normal” life. More on that later. For now, here are some images from a shoot I did before Christmas. These guys’ uncle bought them a session as a gift to his parents. How sweet. The images were taken at Lake Fayetteville. Such a beautiful place to shoot! The shoot lasted about an hour, and we caught part of a nice sunset. It was laid back, and one of the guys even mentioned “I don’t know about you guys, but I’m having a great time.” My clients usually DO have a great time. You should be one of them! You can see more images here on Flickr.  

Help-Portrait 2011

Last Saturday, December 10th, was one of my favorite days of the year. It was Help-Portrait day, a day where photographers and other volunteers get together — all over the world — to donate portraits to those who need them most. It’s a fascinating, inspiring, and heart-warming movement. Here’s an AWESOME video explaining Help-Portrait. It does a better job than my words ever could.   Click here to read my Help-Portrait post from last year.  Click here to see the video edition of last year’s event.

Renee’s Senior Shoot | NWA Senior Portrait Photographer

A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of shooting Renee’s senior portraits. Renee had a bad experience and mix up with another photographer and didn’t end up with a single print to call her own…so she became one of my 2012 Senior Reps for Bentonville High School! It was a very windy day at Lake Fayetteville, but we had a good time and walked away with some great shots. If you’re a Bentonville High School senior and know Renee, ask her at school for a rep card and you’ll get a discount on your senior portraits!

Help Support the NWA Las Fotos Project

It’s not often I ask people to donate things (or money!), but this is one of those times. One of my good friends, Be Gutierrez, is embarking on a project she heard about on a recent visit to L.A. After meeting with the founder of the project, she decided to bring it to Northwest Arkansas. It’s called Las Fotos (The Photos in Spanish). You can see more about the project here, or check it out on Facebook.

Baby Belly #1 | NWA Maternity Photographer

A few weeks ago, I did my first maternity shoot on a local first-time-to-be-expecting mother. Each time I dive into a new genre of photography, I’m both humbled and excited. There are small nuances that differentiate each type of photography — newborns, families, seniors, weddings, landscapes, wildlife, etc. — and each takes a different skill set and vision. I haven’t done this much, so I’m not sure how these really turned out; I hope they aren’t too bad! There are a few with the baby’s name, but that’s hush-hush for now. Check back at the end of December :) You can see more images here on Flickr.   Image (c) 2011 Stephen Ironside / Ironside Photography (14)


There are many things to be thankful for at this time of year — friends, family, and all of the usual things. But as far as my business is concerned, there is one thing I am especially thankful for: my clients. You. This has been an incredible second year. Business has more than doubled, and if the trend continues, next year should be even better. So, many thanks to you. Thanks for being the best clients anyone could ask for. Thanks for supporting me and putting your faith in my ability to deliver. Thanks for letting me do what I love while giving you something that you love in return. It’s a win-win.   As a token of my appreciation, here’s a deal too good to pass up.

Costa Rica 2011 | NWA Nature & Travel Photographer

In the middle of September, the Mrs. and I finally went on our honeymoon in Costa Rica. I had been there once before on a study abroad trip in 2009, and boy was it good to be back! We both love to travel, so it was a nice break from the daily routine.   Image (c) 2011 Stephen Ironside / Ironside Photography (30) More images after the jump!

Ann’s Newborn Shoot | NWA Newborn Photographer

I recently had the privilege of taking some newborn photos of little Ann in Fayetteville. Even though she would not go to sleep even once (no matter the bribe), I think I ended up with at least a few keepers. It’s pretty tough to do newborn shoots when the baby won’t close her eyes or look at you, much less be asleep, so I consider this a successful challenge.

Newborn image by Stephen Ironside.

Williams Family | NWA Family Portrait Photographer

A few weekends ago I shot the Williams family on Dickson Street in Fayetteville. Although the kids didn’t really want their photos taken, I still managed to snap a couple of keepers. I employed some of the tactics I learned last summer at Skip’s Summer School, a four day photo workshop in Las Vegas, regarding family photographs. This little boy did not want anything to do with photos, so I took him aside, by himself, and just talked to him. Asked him what was up. Asked him why he wasn’t having a good day. Asked him why he didn’t like having photos taken. I even complimented his dump truck. This opened him up a little — it’s amazing what the minds of children do when they’re trusted and treated as equals. (The little girl loved it.)   Image by NWA Family Portrait Photographer Stephen Ironside.

WAC’s Digging Up Arkansas | NWA Event Photographer

A couple of weeks ago I shot a small performance for the Walton Arts Center. Their Digging Up Arkansas series travels around the state to perform for young students and try to teach them about Arkansas history. I took some photos for them to update their marketing materials with–and I must say, these guys were good and got the kids involved! Shooting kids is fun (please don’t take that out of context…), especially when a) they don’t know you’re there, or b)when they know you’re there but forget about it easily. I had to be silent, quick, and had to move around so that they never knew where I was in order to get most of these candid shots. Fun stuff!   Image taken for the Walton Arts Center by Stephen Ironside.

His Holiness Ngawang Tenzin Rinpoche | NWA Event Photographer

This past weekend, the Tibetan Cultural Institute of Arkansas hosted His Holiness Ngawang Tenzin Rinpoche, a high ranking Tibetan Buddhist Monk from Bhutan from the Kagyu lineage. A recognized reincarnation of an 18th century master, His Holiness gave teachings on Saturday at Mount Sequoyah in Fayetteville. On Sunday, he consecrated the newly built (and almost finished) Land of Infinite Bliss retreat center that has been built by the TCIA near Crosses, Arkansas, and in the afternoon gave a Vajrapani initiation. It’s always refreshing to see a happy monk–and happy he was! You can view event details here. Below are a few images. You can see more on my proofing site: proofs.ironsidephotography.com.  

Image by Stephen Ironside / Ironside Photography.

5th Annual NWA Center for Equality Ball | NWA Event Photographer

On Saturday night I photographed the NWA Center for Equality‘s 5th Annual Equality Ball at the Center for Nonprofits in Rogers, AR. People of all creeds, colors, backgrounds, and sexual orientations were there in hopes of spreading the message of equality for all, especially the LGBTQ community. It was quite an event (with some great food, thanks to The Main Event), complete with Sarah Warbelow, HRC State Legislative Director, as the guest speaker. Congrats on a successful event! You can see (and purchase) photos from the night here. A portion of the proceeds will be donated back to the center.  

Announcement: Fall Mini Sessions!

Hey guys! Here’s a deal you can’t pass up. Do you want a quick family (or individual or couple) portrait you can send out as holiday cards or give as gifts? Here is your chance! Fall mini sessions will be held Saturday, November 12th in Rogers, AR, and Sunday, November 13th in Fayetteville, …

Avril & Josh’s Big Day | NWA Wedding Photographer

About a month ago, I shot Avril and Josh’s wedding here in Fayetteville. It was a small, intimate ceremony held in the field at her mother’s house, and was a perfect fit for everyone. The same man that married Avril’s parents married her and Josh, with a nice, unusual ceremony full of Mark Twain quotes, a two-person bridal party, and even ended with Avril accidentally putting Josh’s ring on the wrong hand! Every wedding has its quirks like that — you gotta love it. Congrats again, Avril and Josh, and thanks for making me part of your big day.   Catering by Little Bread Co. of Fayetteville.

Costa Rica 2009 Revisited | NWA Nature Photographer

Two years ago, I went to Costa Rica on a semester-long study abroad program through Duke University and the Organization for Tropical Studies. While studying tropical biology, I also took a LOT of photos. Today, I’m going back to Costa Rica on my honeymoon! Here are a few images from last time, and I can’t wait to come back with more. I’ve improved a lot over the past couple of years, and hopefully the images will show that. Catch you in a couple of weeks!  

Arin & Michael’s Wedding | NWA Wedding Photographer

A few weeks ago, I shot a small, sweet wedding ceremony and reception at the Garden Room in Fayetteville. Arin and Michael had an intimate, quick ceremony with their children, and the kids had a blast with the smoke machine and disco lights at the reception. Arin even made her own bouquets! It was a small group, but they knew how to have fun. And thanks, Arin and Michael, for being good sports: you didn’t think twice about saying “yes” when I asked you go come out into the rain with me for a few quick photos. Congratulations to the both of you, and good luck with all of those rowdy boys!

Baby Awesome | NWA Newborn Photographer

A couple of weeks ago, I had took my first shot at newborn photography for a lovely couple in Pea Ridge. Quite different from what I’m used to, but it wasn’t too bad! It was short and sweet, and baby Awesome did a great job. At just a couple of weeks old, Awesome held his own and saved his one accident for the very end. Thanks for being a good sport! (And yes, his name really is Awesome!)  

Avril’s Bridal | NWA Bridal Photographer

Today is Avril’s big day, so of course I get to release her bridal images to you! While Avril normally isn’t the “big white dress” type, she handled it well and knew how to smile when she needed to most. In fact, she didn’t even want to do a bridal shoot in the first place. Her gut reaction when seeing them for the first time:
Stephen, that’s awesome!
You’re amazing. I consider myself to be painfully NOT photogenic but that looks great!
Thank you so much ;). I didn’t realize how much they would mean to me until I saw them like that.
Thanks again!!!!
 – Av
I’d call that a success. We shot at the downtown Square in Fayetteville a few weeks ago. Look for her wedding photos soon!  

2011 Washington County Fair

Two weekends ago, I went to the Washington County Fair to take photos for Ozarks Unbound, a local online news publication. I hadn’t been to the fair in as long as I could remember. It was much smaller than I imagined, but I still felt my cholesterol rising the minute I got out of the car. The fair is a great place to people watch, though I’m not sure I’d go again if it weren’t for the sake of taking photos. But fried oreos…delicious! And, of course, I forgot my wide angle lens. Dang!  

Reagan & Reese | NWA Children Photographer

At the end of August, I photographed Reagan and Reese, two energetic 10 month old twin girls. Even though they lasted about 15 minutes, I got more shots than they bargained for! With matching tutus, hair bows, and toothless grins, these girls were a joy to work with.    

Mary Beth’s Bridal at Carnall Hall

On Saturday I shot Mary Beth and Doug’s wedding, so today I’m posting some images from her bridal shoot at Carnall Hall a few weeks ago! Congrats, Mary Beth, on your big day, and I wish you two the best. Check back soon for the wedding preview post!

Las Vegas and Skip’s Summer School 2011

Last week was intense. On my virgin trip to Las Vegas, I attended a 3 day photography workshop called Skip’s Summer School Yes, there is an actual “Skip.” Skip Cohen is the man behind this great program, and as the past president of Hasselblad and WPPI, among other accomplishments, he knows enough industry leaders and professionals to make any photographer green with envy. And because of this, he knows how to get the big shots to come teach at a 300-person intimate workshop.

I’m Married! + Featured Post

Whew! Well, it’s done. I got married on Saturday. It was quite an experience to always be the one in FRONT of the lens at a wedding. Now, it’s back to business!  

(Images by Lindi of Bettencourt-Chase Photography and Lena Marhsall for Stone Ridge Photographers)

Artosphere 2011: Frank Vignola and the Virtuoso Band

One of the last events I shot for the Walton Arts Center in May was Frank Vignola and the Virtuoso Band at Thorncrown Chapel in Eureka Springs and at Crystal Bridges in Bentonville. A modernized string quartet — guitars, upright bass, violin — these guys put on a good show, performing both classical songs with a modern twist as well as modern songs with a classical twist. Here’s a bit about the band from the Walton Arts Center website:
About Frank Vignola and the Virtuoso Band As many witnessed during his appearance with Fayetteville Jazz Collective last August, Jazz guitarist Frank Vignola is considered one of the most extraordinary musicians in the world today. His jaw-dropping technique and style have made him the guitarist of choice for everyone from Ringo Starr to Madonna, and has earned him countless turns performing with world-renowned orchestras like the Boston and New York Pops. This celebrated guitarist brings together a virtuosic team of musicians that shatters the barriers between classical, popular and traditional music to create a powerful new string experience.

Sounds about right.

Artosphere 2011: Artosphere Festival Orchestra

During Artosphere, I got to shoot the Artosphere Festival Orchestra (AFO) while they performed twice, and once in the largest group shot I’ve ever done. This was an amazing group of about 80 musicians from all over the country, and it really took me back to my days in band in high school. Actually, being in band really helped me shoot these performances, as I found myself being able to anticipate what was going to happen — who was about to start playing, when the percussion beats were coming down, etc. It was a fun experience. You can see more images here on Flickr.

Artosphere 2011: Old City String Quartet

One of the more intimate events of Artosphere was seeing The Old City String Quartet perform at Chapel on the Creeks in Rogers in an event called “Nature of Strings.” Coming here all the way from Philly, these guys put on a great chamber music performance. Even though the chapel was quite difficult to shoot, with heavy light coming in through large windows on either side of the dimly lit quartet, it was still fun.

Artosphere 2011: Trail Mix and Peter Lane Portrait

A few weeks ago, I was hired by the Walton Arts Center to be the photographer for their Artosphere event. Artosphere is a 6 week festival which promotes sustainability through numerous musical and otherwise artistic events at very low (or free) prices. It’s pretty much the coolest thing they do all year (in my opinion). They have everything from orchestras to NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC photographers who come to speak. Annie Griffiths and Joel Sartore came to speak, and both were incredible (and were nice enough to talk with me at length after their presentations!)

Wakarusa 2011: Day 4

Sunday at Wakarusa is always the slowest day. Many people (at least the ones who had to work on Monday) left early that morning, at noon, or at night, depending on where they had to drive to. I would have gone home, except I wanted to stay until 8pm and see the legendary Toots and the Maytals. Of course, it was still hot, but in the afternoon a little bit of rain popped up and wetted down some of the dust. It was much needed. Sun + rain = mmmm. In the morning, I went to the Satellite stage and photographed the drum circle. Later, I caught a few bands–Benjamin del Shreve (from Fayetteville), then the insanely costumed band Here Come the Mummies, then Mat McHugh from The Beautiful Girls. After that, I took a few more shots around the venue, packed up, then shot a little bit of Toots and the Maytals and headed home. Oh, and I bet you want to hear about the bear. Ha! In the afternoon on Sunday, when there weren’t any bands I wanted to see, I decided to take my hammock a little bit out into the woods (only about 200 feet from the campsite) and take a nice afternoon nap. It was hot, but needed. Suddenly, I wake up. I turn my head. There is a (I think) fully grown black bear standing about TWO FEET away from me, staring me down. Obviously, this is not something happy to wake up to. I remembered that for black bears you’re supposed to ‘get big’ and loud to scare them away, so I did. I’m glad no one else was there to see that part — I kind of felt like something from Where the Wild Things Are. The bear headed towards the media campsite, so I went through the woods and cut it off and scared it away again. I then ran to my car, got my camera, and ran back to where he was and grabbed a few shots. It was trying to get some food or something in a tent. Bad news bear! Overall, Wakarusa 2011 was great. Sure, it was hot. But there were so many good bands and good people (and good people watching) that it made it all right. And, hopefully, I got some great shots.   Can’t wait till next year.   (See more here on Flickr.)