• sarahrypma

Kalamazoo Commercial Advertising Photographer | The Story

I have been taking professional headshots and working with commercial clients in and around the Kalamazoo Michigan area in Southwest Michigan since 2013. When it comes to headshots, there are two main styles; studio portraiture or environmental portraiture. This post will show both styles with the same professional, Amy Goodwin, to illustrate why the mix of both traditional portraiture and lifestyle images are the most powerful combination of imagery to portray your commercial brand.



This is Amy.


In the above portrait, Amy is sitting in a photography studio.


Based on Amy's headshot, what can you guess about Amy?


A) Amy is a financial planner

B) Amy has her own cosmetic line

C) Amy is a dice quality inspector

D) Amy is an artist and philanthropist


It's impossible to tell what Amy does based on her headshot alone. But, now you are wondering if a dice inspector is a legitimate job (more on this later). The point is, we need more than a headshot to tell Amy's story. We need environmental images to learn about Amy and we can't do that in a photography studio.


When I start working with a commercial client, I get to know the client and their business through conversations and a planning survey. I want to understand what it is they do and WHY they do it. Ultimately, I am trying to understand a client's story so I can communicate it with my lens.

Let's examine the above picture. There aren't any financial documents in this image or skincare products and I don't see any dice to inspect. So, by process of elimination, Amy must be an artist and philanthropist. If I look closely at the image details, I can see the name of her non profit (Myrtle House Ministries) and handmade ceramic art, backing up my guess that Amy is both an artist and a philanthropist.


Now that we have safely deduced Amy's profession, what do we know about both artists and philanthropists? Artists and philanthropists work with their hands and lead with their hearts. They are passionate people who seek to change the world through their work. They are creators with a vision and a purpose.

They find the light in dark spaces


They know their values and communicate these through their work (and tattoos)


They believe hope is a renewable resource


They take precise measurements


They focus on the details


and make adjustments


They communicate and connect

But, most importantly, they know their WHY! Their why sustains them and makes it so they can wake up each morning and do it all over again with the hope that the work they do will make a difference in this world.


By coupling environmental images with traditional portraits for commercial clients, I am able to tell a story. This story doesn't exist in a studio or against a backdrop. The commercial story is told by focusing on the details of the work and the hands and hearts that do it.

Amy Goodwin it the Co-Founder and President of Myrtle House Ministries, a non profit organization that aims to improve the conditions for young girls in Malawi, Africa by removing the barriers of early marriage, unintended pregnancy, and prostitution. The proceeds from Amy's art and homemade products go to support Myrtle House Ministries. Amy is also a life coach at 1 Bon Bon at a Time, a life coaching business empowering moms.


Ready to tell your story? Let's connect.


P.s. - If you know Amy, you know that she could be a dice inspector. Amy is a shark when it comes to games and she will beat you in Shut the Box with her eyes closed and one hand on her sewing machine.