An Open Letter To Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson

Governor Hutchinson, 

I am a lifelong resident of the state of Arkansas, and I am proud to call our great state home. I am also a professional photographer here in Little Rock. My first Arkansas business license as a photographer is dated January 1, 2009 and I've enjoyed a successful business in this field for the past six and a half years.

I have been the chief photographer for the Clinton School of Public Service for the past five years, and I am a regular contributor to the New York Times, Reuters, Getty Images, and the Associated Press. I also photograph dozens of weddings and events throughout the state of Arkansas every year.

There is a bill on your desk known as SB-79.

If enacted, this law would make it extremely difficult to do my job as a photographer, and I am writing this letter to kindly request that you veto the bill.

According to the text of SB-79, which I have read in its entirety, the next time I shoot a wedding, I would be legally required to have all the wedding attendants, guests, family members, musical performers, and officiants sign photo releases giving me their express written consent to publish photos with their likeness in the state of Arkansas, and I would also have to track down the parents of the flower girl and ring bearer to get their express written consent as well. And we can't forget all the servers or bartenders at the reception, and the limo driver, and anyone else that happens to appear at the event. The videographer of course would also have to do the same, and he and I would have to sign forms giving each other express written consent in the event that either of us might appear in each other’s photographs or videos. 

I would honestly have to hire a new employee to follow me around at every wedding and reception with a stack of forms, handing them out to everyone as I take their photos, and explaining to them that the Arkansas Legislature enacted a law requiring me to do this, and as you might expect, many people would be put off by this request, and refuse to sign, and I would be restricted from using any photos where those people are identifiable when I post the final photo gallery online for the client and their family and friends to view. 

This entire process would also be required at any other event that does not fall under the exempted umbrella of “news, public affairs, or sports broadcast.”

This law effectively makes wedding and event photography in Arkansas illegal. 

Mr. Governor, please veto SB-79 before it kills a valuable industry in this state. 

Thank you very much for your time and service to our great state.

Jacob Slaton


To read the full text of SB-79, click here

To read more about the bill, and what you can do about it, including writing a letter to Governor Hutchinson yourself, click here

This bill must be vetoed by Tuesday, March 31, or this law will stand.

Please consider sharing this post and writing a letter to the Governor.

Old School Studio Style Kids Portraits

So a couple of weeks ago I was at home playing with my kids and decided to shoot a few quick portraits of them with a small light setup in our living room. I was playing around with using a stripbox as the key light and I really liked the results. The stripbox (with grid) plus the wrinkled grey backdrop gave the portraits an interesting old-school style studio quality. 

I posted a couple of the photos to instagram and offered to book a few kids shoots in the same style for anyone that was interested in kids portraits that weren't the standard issue kid-in-a-field thing. The whole idea was to simply create the space and encourage kids to be their normal, natural, goofy selves. Within a couple of hours of posting the first few images online, I had already booked several shoots for the following week. Here's some of my favorites (including a few more of my own kids).

BLOG008.JPG
BLOG014.JPG

I really like the way these shots turned out, and just as I thought, when you give kids permission to be goofy, they will generally run with it and do some pretty awesome things. I've got another week of shooting these kids pictures before we head out to vacation, and I may or may not start it back up after we get home - so if you want to book a shoot, now is the time! Right now I'm only booking these shoots for the week of August 4-8. Write me an email at jacob@jacobslaton.com for more details or just send me a message through my contact page at the top of this website. 

Thanks for reading! Now check out the rest of this blog or read my personal story of photography on my about page!

The Realist // Stephen Cefalo - Cool Local Businesses

Last week I jumped back into the Cool Local Business Owners series and got things started off right with one of the coolest and most talented guys I know. Steve Cefalo is a painter, but that word doesn't really do it justice. He's not just a guy who paints good pictures, he's like an alien from another planet with superior abilities that landed here on Earth just to demonstrate to us humans what is truly possible with paint and canvas. 

I stopped by his Argenta studio last week to hang out for a bit and chow down on a Big Bacon Classic while he worked on one of his current projects. It was really interesting to talk with him about light from a painters perspective. As a painter, he can really create whatever light he sees in his head, but for him - as a realist - his light must be believable, and he lays it down masterfully. 

I set up a few lights in his small studio as he worked and shot a few photographs of him in his element. Here's a few of my favorites. 

Stephen Cefalo in his studio in North Little Rock, Arkansas. February 2014. Photo credit: Jacob Slaton

Stephen Cefalo in his studio in North Little Rock, Arkansas. February 2014. Photo credit: Jacob Slaton

With the limited amount of room for my big clunky gear in his studio, I basically had just enough room to set up a big octabank (high to camera left in this photo) and I made use of one of his studio lights for the rim light, which had a nice orange color tone, and it complimented his style nicely.

Stephen Cefalo in his studio in North Little Rock, Arkansas. February 2014. Photo credit: Jacob Slaton

Stephen Cefalo in his studio in North Little Rock, Arkansas. February 2014. Photo credit: Jacob Slaton

Stephen Cefalo in his studio in North Little Rock, Arkansas. February 2014. Photo credit: Jacob Slaton

Stephen Cefalo in his studio in North Little Rock, Arkansas. February 2014. Photo credit: Jacob Slaton

Stephen Cefalo in his studio in North Little Rock, Arkansas. February 2014. Photo credit: Jacob Slaton

Stephen Cefalo in his studio in North Little Rock, Arkansas. February 2014. Photo credit: Jacob Slaton

I love these two portraits (above) - especially the one on the right with the skeleton peeking over his shoulder.

My favorite from the whole shoot is this last one (below). For this shot I changed out my big octabank for a small gridded strip box and pushed it as far left as I could without knocking over various paintings and books stacked on the wall. I moved his big orange studio light around to the right, pointing both at the back of his head and the painting on the easel, and dragged the shutter just barely to give the light a small amount of influence. I also placed a small speedlight on the wall behind the easel and aimed it at the amazing minotaur self-portrait on the wall in the background, just to show that it's there. I also had to sneak the skeleton in there a bit closer. 

Stephen Cefalo in his studio in North Little Rock, Arkansas. February 2014. Photo credit: Jacob Slaton

Stephen Cefalo in his studio in North Little Rock, Arkansas. February 2014. Photo credit: Jacob Slaton

It was really cool photographing a guy who knows so much about light and posing. He was more self aware (in a good way) than anyone else I've ever photographed. He knew exactly how and where the light was hitting him and he gave me the exact expressions I was looking for every time. His painting style is dark, emotional, moody, and even somewhat disturbing, and working in his studio made it really easy to motivate that style for these images.

Double big thanks to Steve for letting me crash his studio for awhile! It was super cool getting to see some of his works-in-progress and to just watch him do his thing for a while. If you're interested in painting and realism, check out his website here. I guarantee it will completely blow your mind. All of his paintings are for sale and he is available for commission. You should also follow him on Instagram, where he has over 10,000 followers. Awesome. 

Thanks for reading! Next up in the Cool Local Business Owners series: White Goat in the Heights, Georgia James Creative, Waffle Wagon, and hopefully Hillcrest Artisan Meats! If you know of a cool local business owner that I need to feature on here, submit a nomination anywhere you can find me online!