Going against the Grain

 When we got the call to work with Sydney, we were immediately ecstatic. She came to us with an open mind and ready to get dirty. In planning for her shoot we wanted to find the perfect mix of "Generation Z" and "My mom will still love this". So we started pretty tame and ended with everyone covered in oobleck.  What we caught was pure magic and honestly one of our favorite senior portraits to date. 

We are proud to share the steps we took to ensure that Syd's photos were one of a kind.

Photographer: Ozark Collective

Christen Sluyter

Photo Stylist: Savanna Sluyter

Model: Sydney Raymond

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Location...Location...Location

Extensive research is needed to ensure that the location matches the model, outfit, and aesthetic of your overall shoot. For Syd's we decided on the Sit & Spin to create the retro feel she wanted, murals downtown to do amazing full body shots, and solid walls to show her beautiful features. Create options, and if something isn't working; move on. The location can make or break a shoot, take the time and do the research. 

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Catch the candid moments

Any photoshoot can be awkward, so bringing one person can help relieve the tension and creates a dialogue between the photographer and model. You also get amazing photos, like the one below of Syd with her mom, sitting around while our photo stylist was trying to find our next location. Even in the moments, the shoot is on "pause" our photographer is always ready to go. Whether it's walking down the street or pausing for a coffee break, continue shooting.

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Get a new perspective

Sometimes you just stumble upon a great idea. While we were walking down the street, the vibrant flowers were just speaking to us. We joked, "wouldn't it be awesome to get a photo with those" and a lightbulb went off in our heads. Next thing we knew, we had Syd laying down in the flowers, and Christen shooting from above. It stopped traffic and we would like to formally apologize to the city of Fayetteville for destroying those flowers, it was well worth it. 

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Experiment

The end of the shoot. We have gotten all the shots we wanted and now wanted to try something completely out of the ordinary. As an art student, Syd was pumped to work with texture. She held her face while we poured oobleck everywhere and modeled her way through it. She was the perfect model to experiment with this new material. We ended this shoot able to represent our model and ourselves, which is a beautiful thing. It's only been a few weeks and we can't wait to work with her again. 

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The Portrait Project

As Americans, we all originally come from different parts of the world. Whether our ancestors immigrated one generation ago or twenty, we are able to call this one country our home. These photos show where each individual came from, the heritage of their mother and father. There are many beautiful things in life and The Portrait Project shows the beauty of our heritage.

 

All of it is history. Who we are. Where we came from. We are all part of a family history. A lineage that we can call our own. Look at the similarities. Look at the difference. All of it is beauty.

Kiara... Korean / Puerto Rican

Aislinn.. British / German

Savanna... Irish / Dutch

Afsaneh... Persian / Mexican

Christina... Czech / Polish

Christen... Peruvian / Hawaiian 

How Content Creators Build our World

Producing great and unique content takes incredible content creators.

So what are content creators?

 

They are exactly what it sounds like; a person who creates content for your business. Whether that comes in the form of videography, social media, blog posts, etc., their number one goal is to take your ideas and translate it into appealing content that is valuable to your business. Ninety percent of marketing companies use content marketing as part of their strategic plan. There is a whole community of artists that are ready to tell the world how they should interact with brands.

 

Content creators are constantly evolving with the business. They understand the need to build brand awareness in an organic way. Today’s consumers are wary of traditional marketing ploys and are attracted to a creative and educative material. This is why inbound marketing is at the forefront of every good content creator’s mind. Inbound marketing is a technique using social media, compelling content, search engine optimization and branding to naturally draw customers to a business’s products and services. This creates a level of trust and therefore a long-term relationship with your ideal consumer.

 

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A great content creator can be anything you want them to be. While you may have never heard their names, they are the driving force behind some of the biggest marketing campaigns. Like Ian Durkin, who is changing the way outdoor photography/videography is done and also curates Vimeo’s Staff Picks. He decides what the whole video community see’s day after day.

 

If you are looking for something thought-provoking and all about women empowerment, Nanette Burstein is your jam. She is an Academy Award-nominated documentarian, who is now famous for creating Always’ #LikeAGirl movement and Microsoft’s ‘Make What’s Next’ campaign.

 

Or if you want beautiful cinematography and a good cry, John X. Carey’s work with Apple and Dove is honestly just amazing. He perfectly melds human interest pieces into relatable stories that sell nothing but a feeling. These are the people who are shaping the future of marketing. Rather than consistently selling an item, they are selling an idea that leaves a lasting impression.

 

One good thing about this ever-changing world we live in is that the rules are constantly being rewritten. What we see today is going to be completely different tomorrow, but an emotion lasts forever. Like the great Don Draper said, “Success comes from standing out, not fitting in.”

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HowBoutTheBlankenships

Possibly our favorite wedding to date, sometimes we're blessed enough to score on every level. This couple holds a special place in the heart of OzCo and the wedding planner was no slouch either. The Blankenships hosted a perfect mix of detail and grace. It's typically not a venue that carries a spirit but the people that fill it. This wedding was filled with love, truly. Take a moment and re-live this journey with us. 

Photographer: Ozark collective
Venue: Kindred Barn
Dress: Tesori
Flowers: Brenda Baker
Hair: Fallon
Makeup: Abby
Cakes: The Wooden Spoon

The Brew Room Sessions

Welcome to an immersive experience, a night out with artists from around the country. The Brew Room sessions are a concert series hosted by Bike Rack Brewing Company, designed as a listening room experience. We take advantage of this atmosphere to record live audio and video of the night. Tickets are ten bones at that door, but we will be releasing these nights on our youtube channel over the cold months. Join, settle in and have a beer or two. 

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How often should I get a family portrait?

Family portraits are like spring cleaning… Should be done once a year, but usually pushed back because, you know, life. When the day comes to finally take that dive with your photographer, most parents worry that the kid’s outfits won’t stay clean or  they will refuse to smile. Family portraits are vastly more important than all the dramas of life. It is so much fun to look  back on photos capturing your rapidly growing child or laugh at when you tried that hairstyle.

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The hard and fast rule is once a year. Make it like a doctors appointment; as soon as one shoot is done, you make an appointment for the next. If you know you love your pictures to be during springtime, then reserve your time. It is common for people to wait until November to try booking one before Christmas, but this is usually one of the busiest times for photographers and your favorite might be booked already. If you do have time booked during the winter months, it is best to do in-home sessions. It’s a great way to capture your family as they are, and also your home. Like people, home trends come and go and it is a precious moment to see your family at their most comfortable,  and a testy child may behave better in their own environment.

 

You can replace your annual family portrait when there are special occasions such as weddings, graduations, birthdays, or baptisms. These are times when a photographer may be hired anyway and you can add it to your contract to include a family portrait to commemorate the special day. It is also recommended to hire a photographer shortly after a birth or adoption. It’s important to commemorate the moment a person joins the family. A photo session is an amazing gift for any growing family.

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According to research conducted by Venture New Generation Portraits in the U.K., 58% of people’s favorite photo was one taken with family. They stated, “For children in particular, looking at photographs is part of the socializing process; learning who you are and where you fit into the family. By displaying photographs of our children at different stages of their lives, we are making a very public statement that we are proud of them."

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Once a year, that’s all you need to create memories and document your family at that exact moment. Remember, these pictures will be passed on for generations so make sure they are done right.

 

-Savanna Sluyter

Create or Die

Our option to create is a foundational law that very few of us understand. Our mandate and image is creation, but we have fallen into the belief that we are somehow in control of our identity. Identity is the most explored word we have. Maybe not in day to day conversation but it’s the underlying motive to every move we make. With every breath, we are considering all the possibilities of our next steps. Soul-searching is trendy; it's also an epidemic. We’ve made identity a contextual option instead of a foundational truth.

Don’t be alarmed, the real you is still there. Nobody can take the image you were created in. All you need has been taken care of, and all you have to do is accept and expect. God gave the mandate to be fruitful and multiply. He gave dominion and authority. He says all good things are prepared before you, for you. This theme is pretty consistent with God because it’s the only way to walk with God.  Our issue lies in the vulnerability of it all.

There have been times in all of our lives where hearts are stripped away because of the opinions or doings of others. We can’t remember every good thing we have got in life, but we can for sure remember those dark moments or those one liners that crushed our spirits growing up. Vulnerability becomes a far cry and gets replaced with something else. Thus begins the life we know.

So what are we talking about again? Identity or creativity. Both. You see, both are written into our DNA. You can’t have one without the other. We worship in Spirit and Truth. The Truth gives authority for the Spirit to live. The spirit gives testimony for the Truth. When we operate from the Truth of our identity, we begin to create with the Spirit.

 

 

I’m not saying you are an artist; You don't have to start finger painting at your desk job. But you were made to be creative. Put your heart to work and forget about rest. It’s not an overnight event, but the new you is going to change the world because you were always meant to. Oh, and it's gonna be fun.