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!



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.

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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!

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.


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 the long string of tattered, weathered prayer flags out front, said, “What are those?”

Image (c) 2013 Stephen Ironside / Ironside Photography (24)

Prayer flags hanging above Dharamsala, India, the home of the Tibetan Government-in-Exile. 2008.

It’s a question I get on a fairly regular basis, by everyone from new friends to door-to-door salesmen. I figured I’d send an explanation out into the world.

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)