Q&A’s with Muffet…
Is Muffet your real name, or just a kind of nickname?
Yes, Muffet is my real name. I was named after my mom’s friend, Muffet Webb. It’s great having a unique name. Once people know my name, they don’t easily forget me!
Speaking of being “unforgettable”, this is how many people describe your photography. What is it that makes you and your work different from others?
I have been told more than once that my images have an “angelic” quality about them – to me that is the highest praise I could ever receive. Blessing people with wonderful images and at the same time creating an amazing experience while being photographed is a blessing to me!
I understand you live and work on a farm…
Yes, I photograph on my nine acre farm. During a child’s session, it’s almost magical – its like one big adventure. Often times we will have treasure hunts along one of the many trails that lead through fields and woods. If I know that a child loves animals, I will make sure that my horses are out in the pasture so the kids can give them a treat. Sometimes we even play with my son’s golden retriever puppies. We have a 150-year-old barn that makes for a great backdrop, and occasionally we may even trek out to local creeks, junk yards or even make a trip downtown. Of course we also have a full indoor studio.
For seniors, couples, and families, I strive to make their session just as fun. It is like being a model for a day, but in a very relaxed sense.
Most of all, I want my clients to feel comfortable and have a lot of fun at their sessions. I love taking the time that it takes to get to know them well. I want them to shine – to be in their element – to be real.
Your customers say that you are able to find the essence of who they are on the inside, as well as on the outside, capturing the “beauty of their souls”. That is quite a compliment. One of your previous clients stated that your photos are “right in sync with all that is important, real and true.”
Ultimately, it’s all about telling their story and capturing their moments and emotions. I truly believe that those results are easily seen in my images.
So when are the best times in someone’s life to be photographed?
I would say that the best times to be photographed are as a new born, then when they are sitting up at six-seven months, each birthday through age 5 before they lose their baby teeth. Because kids change a lot during this time in their life, it’s important to photograph them more often… then their pre-teen years and as a high school senior.
Then, consider special events, engagements, weddings, family groups, the grandparents… and then on towards the next generations.
What is your favorite part about photographing kids?
I really enjoy having a relationship with the kids and watching them grow up through the years. Sessions with newborns through high school – it’s a true blessing to be able to interact with kids over an extended period of time.
I truly love it when, after a shoot is over, the kids don’t want to go home because they had such a great time with me! Once I was on the phone with one of my clients who told her granddaughter, Brooklyn (who I had photographed several times) that she was talking to Muffet. Brooklyn responded with, “My Muffet?” I LOVED That!!
And recently, after photographing a one-year-old, the baby turned to me and held out his arms for me to take him (out of his grandmother’s arms). I love that too! To be a special part in a child’s life is very rewarding, and I think they can tell that I really care. They are much more than just a job.
For those who are perhaps considering you for work outside the Kansas City area, do you ever do out-of-state work?
I do. I feel quite honored to have photographed clients in Oregon, Minnesota, Kentucky, and Florida and Cancun, Mexico. I also have long-distance customers that come to me, one of them driving all the way from South Dakota and NYC.
And you have also traveled extensively in other countries as well, correct?
Yes, I have always loved to travel and have had many opportunities to photograph overseas, including trips to Switzerland, Italy, France, China, Czechoslovakia, Mexico, Honduras, and Chile. Some of those trips have been for photography education purposes, other times for volunteer mission’s work, and other times just for fun. I have been blessed with several award-winning images which were captured during some of these trips.
Can you talk about your career successes as a photographer?
I’ve been recognized as one of the Ten Best Photographers in Kansas every year I’ve competed. In 2008 I was PPA Photographer of the year. Then in 2012 I was awarded the title of Master Photographer from the Professional Photographers of America. I received the prestigious FujiFilm Masterpiece Award for a book I created of images of a child’s open heart operation, which played a major part in raising over $650,000 in a fund raising project for Children’s Mercy Hospital. My work has been featured in the Professional Photographers of America Magazine. My work has been featured in a variety of brochures and advertisements in the PPA. My images have been in print and video for Down Syndrome Guild, PhotoOne Software, Mid-South Color Lab and several others.
I understand that you used to be in the modeling industry, is that correct?
Yes. I have modeled in over seventy TV commercials, business videos, and advertisements.
Do you feel that your previous experience in modeling has helped you on this side of the camera?
Through my professional experience in this area, I am able to incorporate what I know into each and every photo session that I do. I know what modeling agencies are looking for, so I am also able to assist clients who are entering the modeling field.
What are some of your other passions?
My faith, three kids! Spending time with friends, riding my horses, playing the guitar, speaking Spanish, and hanging out on the farm.