March of Dimes Signature Chefs – Illinois Valley (Central Illinois Event Photographer)

I was honored to serve again this year as the event photographer for the March of Dimes Illinois Valley Signature Chefs event in Utica! There’s no event quite like it. You’ve never seen an event with so many smiles, hugs, tears, and people ready to have a great time. Thank you to the March of Dimes staff for the opportunity to be your partner again!

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Holiday Mini Session Kickoff – Phoenix, AZ (Bloomington-Normal IL Photographer)

Last weekend, I spent a lovely and fast weekend in Phoenix with friends and family, celebrating my nephew’s first birthday (check out his cuteness on my Instagram feed) and squeezing in a couple of shoots – one portrait session and one architectural/real estate session.

One of the greatest blessings of running this business is reconnecting with old friends, especially when they are repeat clients like these guys! We met at their home in Central Phoenix on a beautiful Sunday morning, and we all agreed that the results were so lovable, they upgraded their mini session package so they could keep more images. (That’s always my goal…make it impossible to choose only 5!)


Their purple-based ensembles worked so well against both their brick home and their dark features – thinking about those color combinations is so important!

Finn is a smart, beautiful girl, and I love capturing moments like these:



Thanks friends…Always a honor to be invited back, and loved seeing you!

Stay tuned for Bloomington – Normal based mini sessions to come in the next few weeks!

xoxo – HBA

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2015 Holiday Mini Portrait Sessions (Bloomington Normal Portrait Photographer)


It’s that time of year! Time for family portraits, leaves, and holiday cards.

WHEN: Saturday, October 24, 2015

  • Morning times as needed/requested
  • 3:30 pm
  • 4:15 pm – Booked
  • 5:00 pm

Bad Weather Date: Sunday, October 25, 2015

WHERE: Ewing Park II, Bloomington, IL

COST: $150 – includes 30 minutes on location and 5 digital files with print release

Contact me ASAP to schedule! If these dates don’t work for you, we can find another one that does…but don’t delay; our nice days are numbered!




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Industrial Setting – Family Portraits in Holland, Michigan (Central Illinois Photographer)

A couple weeks ago, my family and I spent a glorious weekend in one of my favorite places in the US: Holland, Michigan, which is one of many cute beach towns in along the west side of Lake Michigan. (If you aren’t familiar with the area, add it to your bucket list and cross it off next time you are near Chicago!)

One of my best friends from college, Kate, lives in Holland with her gorgeous family.


Kate has had a huge influence on my life. She helped me cultivate an appreciation for art(ists) and writing; she is a gifted hostess, full of grace, and a patient and devoted mother. Kate and I have so many memories beyond college including traveling Great Britain and the Nederlands together and being in each other’s weddings. Kate was at my bedside along with other mutual friends during my bedrest with Rawley. I could go on. She means the world to me and it’s so fun to be closer now and watch our kids grow together.

I was happy to make some family portraits for them while we were there, in between lots of yummy food, playtime for the kids, a trip to the beach, and some good local brews.

We wandered down the street from their historic home to nearby Washington Elementary School. The brick school ceased operations in 2005, and is soon to be redeveloped (possibly as condos). The setting provided lots of industrial elements and interesting architectural lines as a backdrop for their portraits.

Meet Jack, Vivian, and Willem:

20150731_BlogPost_BoltPortraits-1As you can imagine, this was a rather kinetic shoot, and some of the outtakes were too good to destroy:

20150731_BlogPost_BoltPortraits-2The kids all delightfully different from one another and each uniquely entertaining. Jack looks just like his dad and is already a talented violinist; Willem has his mom’s brown eyes and is a California soul; Vivian is a blonde Kate, and tough in the way you’d expect a girl to be with two older brothers. (She effortlessly hauled a SUP paddle, barefoot, from the beach parking lot to the beach, about a 1/4 mile and long flight of stairs away.)

20150731_BlogPost_BoltPortraits-4Kate and Dan are such good parents and friends. So thankful for them, and for such a great weekend! And, thanks for the opportunity to make these portraits for you! xoxo


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Selling Stock Photography: DIY versus Stock House (Central Illinois Photographer)

Debate continues among photographers about whether to contribute to stock houses like iStockPhoto, Getty, Shutterstock (etc.). I do not contribute to any stock houses. But, I’ve considered doing so; I have mixed feelings.

I’ve talked a lot on this blog about how important it is to blog effectively, and to make key-wording part of your workflow from the outset. As a result of those practices, I generally enjoy a decent amount of direct sales from old work every year. I like being in control of who licenses my images, and for how much. I enjoy the relatively passive income (who wouldn’t?), and it helps carry me through the slow winter months when I don’t get many new commercial assignments.

Maybe I’d make more sales – in terms of quantity – via a stock house, but I am doubtful that I’d gross more money, especially when most are non-rights managed and typically pay only a few dollars (or cents!) per sale.

Case in point: so far this year, it’s been a good year for me in terms of licensing old images, with 40% of my gross income to date coming from stock sales that I managed.

Oklahoma City / Devon Energy Tower Aerial Photography

In 2011, I shot a series of aerials of OKC when we lived there, and Nathan was helping to manage the Devon Tower construction. Those images have been licensed many times over. So far this year, I’ve sold the two files below a total of three times: 1) a printable digital file for individual use and 2) for commercial use, and 3) shipped a 24×36 canvas to a local businessman.

Downtown Oklahoma City and the Devon Energy Headquarters (under Construction), 2011

Downtown Oklahoma City and the Devon Energy Headquarters (under Construction), 2011

Downtown Oklahoma City and Devon Energy Headquarters (with I-40 relocation project underway, top left), 2011

Downtown Oklahoma City and Devon Energy Headquarters (with I-40 relocation project underway, top left), 2011

Dana Kennedy Portraits 

In 2010, Dana Kennedy hired me to make portraits for her to use in her Phoenix City Council Campaign. Now, Dana is currently working as the State Director for AARP of Arizona. Recently, the Business Journal used one of those portraits for an article in which Dana was quoted, and AARP itself licensed two of them for use in their own PR and marketing materials.

Dana Kennedy, 2010

Dana Kennedy, 2010

Camelback Mountain / Praying Monk, Phoenix, AZ

I was privately commissioned to make artistic images of this Phoenix landmark in 2010 by an old colleague. Recently, Oregon Catholic Press licensed one of the images for use on the cover of an upcoming CD release.

Praying Monk, Camelback Mountain, Phoenix, 2010

Praying Monk, Camelback Mountain, Phoenix, 2010

All of the above sales were possible because of my careful workflow, including a good archive system, and an understanding of the importance of protecting my copyrights and maintaining ownership of all of my work, key wording and watermarking every image before it goes online in any capacity, blogging every shoot, and putting all of my work out there, even when it was originally for a limited purpose. You just never know when you will make residual income down the road when you put forth these efforts.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on stock sales and stock houses, and any tips you have about how to generate residual income from your work.


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Generational Portraits (Phoenix Family / Portrait Photography)

On my most recent trip to Phoenix, I had the honor of, for the second time, making generational portraits for long-time friends and clients, Ben and Sarah.

In Sarah’s family, they’ve maintained a meaningful tradition through five generations of women: each female family member is photographed around age 2 wearing the same dress and standing on a chair.

Here is Sarah’s portrait from over 3 years ago (photographer unknown). Sarah has similar portraits of her mom, grandma, and great-grandmother.


Sarah, circa 1980 (Photographer unknown), wearing the traditional family dress and standing on the same chair as her three daughters, below.

In 2010, Sarah asked me to make the official portrait of her eldest daughter (and her baby, not yet the “right” age or wearing “the” dress,  jumped in just for fun. Later, when the curly haired cutie turned 2 herself, I was living in OKC, and couldn’t make her official portrait, so another Phoenix photographer did hers). Now the baby from 2010 is the middle sister, and I just added the new baby sister’s official portrait to the lineup.

Indulge yourself in the nostalgia and cuteness:

Big, middle (in 2010), and little (in 2015) sisters: On left and right, wearing the same dress; all standing on the same chair.

Big, middle (in 2010), and little (in 2015) sisters. On left and right, wearing the same dress; all standing on the same chair.

Middle sister looked up to her big sister in 2010, and now in 2015, looks out for her baby sister:

Middle sister, looking up to big sister in 2010 and looking out for baby sister in 2015.

Middle sister, looking up to big sister in 2010 and looking out for baby sister in 2015.

Look how much big and little sisters look alike at age 2 (above, far left and far right)!

Here’s one more shot I love of the youngest during the most recent shoot:

Baby sister, 2015

Baby sister, 2015

I feel sentimental, knowing this will be my last generational portrait session for this family! The dress is literally starting to fall apart, so the family is planning to preserve it in a box frame for safekeeping.

As a photographer, it is really an honor to be invited to participate in, and be trusted with, these kinds of valued family traditions. Portrait collections like these will be cherished for generations, and being trusted with making them is a gift. If you’ve ever considered beginning or continuing this type of tradition in your family, do it! You will never regret contributing such a meaningful heirloom to your family.


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20 Years.

Thinking of loved ones and our life in Oklahoma City today on the 20th anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing, and praying for peace. (See more images of the Oklahoma City National Memorial in my original post.)






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