Honoring Educators | Milken Family Foundation | Editoral Photography

The joy and the excitement is real.

In the early months of the 2017-2018 school year, I once again worked and traveled with the Milken Family Foundation photographing the Milken Educator Awards honoring the best and brightest educators across the country.

Being an educator is often a challenging and thankless job with long hours and few accolades of just how important their roles are in students' lives. Many educators in cash-strapped school districts often spend their own money for basic classroom needs. But if you ask any educator, they cannot see themselves doing anything else. They truly love their work and their students.

For 30 years, the Milken Educator Awards honors excellence in the world of education -- in a very public way -- by recognizing top educators around the country with a $25,000 award with no restrictions. The Milken Educator Awards targets early-to-mid career education professionals for their achievements and, more significantly, for the promise of what they will accomplish in the future.

This past school year, I traveled with the team at the Milken Educator Awards to: Alabama, Kansas, Kentucky, Iowa, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Mexico, Ohio, and South Carolina.

Let me tell you the joy and excitement, and utter shock, on the teachers faces is real and you can see it in the photos.

Every school year, I look forward to working with Milken Family Foundation and I hope to travel with them again for the 2018-2019 school year. We have fun, a lot of fun.

Congratulations to all the recipients.

Below are the highlights from the states and schools I visited.







New Mexico


South Carolina

Commercial Interiors | AR Automatic Sprinklers | Arkansas Advertising Photographer

Gone are the days of closed off, stuffy and BORING work places and work spaces. And Evo Business Environments is leading the way.

Evo contacted me early in 2018 to photograph one of their latest workspace projects: AR Automatic Sprinklers. The Cabot-based business provides fire protection and sprinkler systems for a variety of businesses. I was first introduced to the Evo's work when I photographed the Little Rock Tech Park last summer. You can see that blog post here.


As a professional photographer, I work and photograph in a wide variety of office settings and it can often be challenging to work in tight cramp and often really dark spaces with colors dating back to the '70s. It's very refreshing to see so many offices shifting towards open and modern concepts.

Below are some of my favorites from this photo shoot. I really love working with Evo Business Environments. You can see more on their portfolio page.

Commissioned Photo Shoot for Cathy Owen: Arkansas Portrait Photographer

On April 3, 2018, Cathy Owen, chairman of Eagle Bank & Trust, and chairman, president and CEO of State Holding Co. in Little Rock, was installed as the Chairman of the Arkansas Bankers Association. She is also the first female in the 128 year history of the organization to serve as its Chairman. Cathy was featured on a recent cover of Arkansas Banker magazine with an accompanying profile.

 Cathy Owen, 2018-2019 Chariman of the Arkansas Bankers Association.

Cathy Owen, 2018-2019 Chariman of the Arkansas Bankers Association.

I first met Cathy Owen a few years prior when I photographed her for a profile for Arkansas Business. Since then, Cathy has been receiving my quarterly e-mailers I send to all my clients. She contacted me back in January to discuss her ideas and desires for the photo shoot. Cathy wanted a clean, contemporary and modern setting for the photos. In addition to photos for the magazine, Cathy requested other photos for various professional needs and we updated her executive head shot.

We chose a glass stairwell located at a privately owned business. The business also had an old banking vault door dating back to the late 1800s. It was a perfect location for the secondary artwork needing for the project.

I scouted the location the week before with Cathy to determine angles, lighting placement and to discuss wardrobe. With the transparent glass that had a slight blue-green tint, Cathy brought numerous clothing choices in varying colors so we could determine which ones worked best against the glass.

Cathy changed outfits four times throughout our half day photo shoot and each one complimented her and the location perfectly. We chose the vibrant red, Eagle Bank red, as the final outfit for the photo against the brass vault door. She is pictured with her husband Steve.

Cathy Owen spread.jpg

I was very impressed with the originality and quality of her professional photography on the 2017 photos she emailed. I couldn’t have been any more impressed with the professionalism and end results of the photography work of Karen and her husband.” -- Cathy Owen.

The glass stairwell had a ton of natural light but I knew that was not going to be nearly enough. I kept the lighting clean and simple: For the stairwell portraits, I used one Profoto B1x with and my modifier was a three-foot Octabox with a simple white bounce. We needed a double arm on the C-stand to safely hang it over the top railing to give the lighting angle I needed.

The headshot was the same setup with an added smaller softbox as a hair light. For the vault, we turned off all the overhead florescent lights (it was in an office) and the key was the same B1x combo plus another B2 bounced into the white reflector to light up the vault door. 

I also used the CamRanger system to proof photos directly to my iPad so Cathy could see her photos and make requests and any adjustments as the day progressed.

Check out a few BTS below.