A different kind of homecoming: back at Heritage Christian

June 16th, 2016/Personal/

Summer is such a great time for everyone, with the nice weather and family vacations, especially us here at Studio 13! Summer has always been our busiest time, but this summer takes the cake. This week and next week, we are booked solid every single day. Lesle says that last time we were this busy, there had DOUBLE the people on staff!

Our job on Tuesday of this week took me close to home: my alma mater Heritage Christian School. My brother and I have attended Heritage since 2008, when I was in third grade and he was just in kindergarten. The teachers and staff there have impacted us in so many things and we both have made so many lifelong friends there.

The mainstream of our business is working with companies and ad agencies. Most schools don’t have the budgets to hire commercial photographers. But in this circumstance, my mom Lesle feels it is important to give back, both as a generous person and as a parent who has received the gifts from this organization and seen the school’s work in her kids’ lives. So the majority of this project was a donation and a great volunteer opportunity for us both. Kind of a mother/daughter bonding day!

Our contact at Heritage is Lauren Schneider; also an alumnus, Lauren works as the marketing manager and is in charge of creating postcard mailings, posts for Facebook, and loads of other tasks to get the word out about who Heritage is and what they stand for.

The images we were taking that day were for admissions materials such as brochures, trade show displays, and most importantly the quarterly parent, faculty, and alumni magazine: The Messenger.

First, we photographed Dale Shaw, a graduate of Heritage, a pastor at College Park church, and a past HCS teacher. At first he seemed a little stiff behind the camera (as a lot of people do when not accustomed to the lights and shutters and smiling constantly) but after talking with him off camera and with a little fake interview, his exuberant personality was as evident in the pictures as they were in conversation.

As he left, he gave me a handful of about 20 tic-tacs and said, “Now you’ll think of me all day.” And I did. And as terrible as I am with names, I still haven’t forgotten his.

Next we produced nearly 20 shots of various teachers and support staff (security, marketing, accountants, etc.) in both a large group and in smaller groups of three and five.

When the teachers got to the location, I immediately made my way over to Mr. Dan Stroup, the 8th grade Bible teacher (most likely the most beloved teacher in the whole school) who is known for writing a letter to every student on their birthday. Every student he has ever had. For EVERY SINGLE BIRTHDAY EVER (and you can read the news article about the wonderful Mr. Stroup here).

He asked me how my first year of college went and what my major was. Even 5 years out from when I was in his class, he still cared so deeply about my life and made me think about the legacy and impact he is leaving here at this school.

We also captured the middle and high school robotics teams to promote the college-preparatory STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education that is coming an increasingly important factor in middle and high schools across the country. The teams have won state- and world-wide competitions (in the 3 years since it’s creation!) including an all-girls middle school team who took home the world championship in programming.

Although there were only about 15 students there for the shoot, a vision of an attempt to herd cats comes to mind. They always said in movies to never work with animals or kids, but someone really should have warned us photographers.

The robotics portion of our shoot really hit home with me because it involved two recent alumni and personal friends of mine: Nate Beadle and Meg Matthias. Nate Beadle was the head of the robotics team (and set building, and seemingly everything) before he graduated this year and Meg, an aspiring writer was in charge of writing the article for The Messenger about the robotics team.

In true millennial fashion, I texted Nate to ask him about his experience with robotics and he said, “The robotics team is a special place. It’s a place where you can show you skill while learning more about what you don’t know and compete against people with similar mindsets”.

An important thing when approaching this shoot, and most shoots when working for a specific client, is asking, “What are you trying to accomplish or communicate through this?” so that we, as the photographers, can use the tools at our disposal to best accomplish what the client wants.

When we asked Lauren, she said this: “We want to let people know what we can offer; not only for students and their families, but for teachers as an employer.” She went on to explain that what sets their teachers apart from those of public schools is their commitment to the students regardless of the sacrifices. These teachers could be paid significantly more by public schools, but feel called to be at Heritage to shepherd and disciple children and young adults and that’s something they couldn’t do at a public school.

I know personally, my brother and I wouldn’t be where we are today if it weren’t for HCS. I wouldn’t be here, writing this blog with correct grammar and confidence, if it weren’t for the support and encouragement from the teachers who guided me through grades 3-12.

We at Studio 13 are always glad to give back to the community and those organizations that have made a difference in our lives, and Heritage Christian School is one that holds a special place in all our hearts. Can’t wait for our next shoot!

Check back next week for more of our exciting adventures!

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