Ozark Wilds...Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri

the ultimate creative session

by John L. Ebeling

            I have been creating portraits for over a third of a century. Before that I was creating photographs for books and magazines and before that creating public relations photos used in newspapers, magazines and books.

            During this time I have also done commercial photography, aerials and sold my work as photographic art.

            When I first began doing portraits I could relate to those who were uncomfortable when being photographed. It helped me work with them and enable them to accomplish personal photography that was really them. One of the problems has been people willing to settle for photographs in which they are still uptight. Back during the days of film this was not an issue, because they did not see photos during the creative session. People came to me when they learned that there was no “Countdown Syndrome” with a set number of pictures being taken. When they saw what I created for a friend or relative they arrived with the right mindset, which was the belief that, at last, they were going to accomplish personal photography that was really them instead of some uptight fake look.

            I was reluctant to give up film and go digital, but the very first creative session proved that it was the way to go. The couple were in their eighties and it was for their 60th Anniversary. She was very uptight. I kept working and gradually began breaking down her barriers. She was set in her ways and the boss, so what worked with many she would not even give a chance. Judging that she was about to call it quits I suggested that we look at what we had accomplished. What I had created gradually got better and when one appeared on the screen she said it was as good as they had ever done, so it was good enough and they were done. When I told her they were just getting warmed up and I knew they could do even better she began to argue and he said, “Dear, this is what the man does, so why don’t we let him do it?”

            I don’t run into them very often, but when I do she always thanks me for creating that portrait. I always thank her for letting me create that portrait for those who care.

            The goal of the Ultimate Creative Session is to create heirlooms for those who care that bring special feelings through the years.

            Since digital gives us the ability to work together I spend less time visiting and orienting people to accept the creative session. I want them to participate, so I do not nix something someone suggests. We can do it and if they do not like it they can nix it. With a number of people in a photograph the odds are against everyone having their best expression, but by being able to look right away and redo we can coordinate. In fact, most have fun with it and help those uncomfortable in front of a camera accept it.

            It is very rewarding when someone who has never accomplished good personal photography suddenly accepts it and you know they will continue achieving good results.

            The fee for the Creative Session covers whatever people want. Demand this of all studios and they will benefit, as well as you. Since, this is not common I have to tell you in advance, because it is too late if you wanted your dog in some or a friend or a special hat, etc. It is a good idea for family reunions to create a list and to let me know, so I can allow enough time.

            What we enjoy we do well and we should enjoy creating photographs for those who care. I am committed to you enjoying a successful creative session.

Award Winning

Ozark Wilds  


creative photography 

21300 Highway 5 


by John L. Ebeling

Versailles, Mo 65084