VTalk Radio Spotlight
Today’s Guest: Don Puckett of Camelot Barefoot Portraits in Fairhope, Alabama
Today’s Host: Damien Allen


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ANNOUNCER: This VTalk Radio Photography Spotlight is sponsored by morephotos.com the online photo sales solution to professional photographers worldwide.  Welcome to the VTalk Radio’s Photographer Spotlight with your host, Damien Allen.

DAMIEN: Good afternoon and welcome to the VTalk Radio’s Photography Spotlight.  My name is Damien Allen and today we have with us in the studio via phone, Mr. Don Puckett.  Don is the owner/operator of Camelot Barefoot Portraits, in Fairhope, Alabama.  Welcome to the program, Don.

DON:  Thank you.

DAMIEN:  We understand you have a thriving photography business down there in Fairhope.  Why don’t you tell us a little bit about it.

DON:  Well we’re located in beautiful downtown, Fairhope, Alabama.  Fairhope, if you’ve never been to Fairhope it’s a gorgeous little town.  They pull the flowers up at night and replant before daylight so you never know you’ve changed them out.  We do a lot of beach photography over to Orange Beach, Gulf Shores areas.  The most beautiful beaches in the world so…if you haven’t been to Fairhope, Orange Beach, Gulf Shores, come on down.

DAMIEN:  It’s been a long time since I’ve been down to Gulf Shores, but it is most definitely a very beautiful area.  What types of photography services are you doing down there in Fair Hope?

DON:  We do a lot of family portraits at sunset on the beach.  A lot of wedding photography. Weddings on the beach.  A lot of destination weddings.  We’ve got the Grand Hotel here which is local Fair Hope which does a lot of weddings.  It has beautiful grounds, but a lot of people come down just for the beach only.  They’ll show up on the beach with a few family and friends and get married and have a beautiful experience and beautiful pictures to remind them of getting married on the beach.

DAMIEN:  So you said you do destination weddings.  How far out from Fairhope do you travel for weddings?

DON:  We go all over.  Anywhere someone wants us to go, we’ll go.

DAMIEN:  That’s a good deal.  Have camera; will travel.

DON:  That’s it.  Free vacation.

DAMIEN:  Well you mentioned the Grand, is there any other places in the Fairhope area or the Gulf Shores area that you tend to shoot a lot of receptions and weddings at besides the beach?

DON:  We’ve got a lot of condos at the Gulf.  The Phoenix is real big for weddings.  We’ve got the Corebe which is gorgeous for weddings.  Corebe has just got into weddings and redone the facility for weddings.  It overlooks the Gulf area where we do most of our family portraits.  It’s beautiful.  Sea Oaks starts blooming about the first of June and if you’ve never seen sea oaks, they are absolutely gorgeous blowing in the wind.  It kind of looks like wheat in the midwest only it’s on the beach and there’s the sea oaks.

DAMIEN:  Now being in such a picturesque area and doing so much outdoor photography, is there certain times that you prefer to do your photography?  Is there, you know, is it better to shoot in the mornings, better to shoot in the evening?  What’s your personal preference on this?

DON:  In Fairhope, we also have oak trees where we shoot many of times during the day, but on the beach and around the water and the sand, the brightness…the only two times you can shoot is at sunrise or an hour before sunset.  What we really look for on a beach session, and we tell our people our people we’re going to stand around and wait for the shadows to disappear.  Once the shadows are gone is a sweet time to shoot and the lighting is gorgeous and we get our best shot.  Any other time, you’re going to have squinty eyes and you’re not going to be happy and we’re not going to be happy.  So basically, two times a day on the beach is about the only time we can shoot.

DAMIEN:  Well I have a large conglomeration of children.  I want to bring my family down for a session on the beach, what should I know going into that session to get the most out of my photo session?

DON:  The main thing to realize is that as I said earlier, you’ve got one hour before sunset or sunrise.  That’s the only time to shoot.  Any photographer that will try to do it any other time is going to waste your time and money.  Kind of color coordinate your dress.  We call beach formal khaki and white.  Any kind of pastels look good.  Any kind of earth tones look good.  Anything to keep in mind is it is the beach.  You’re going to have wind; you’re going to have elements.  We can not guaranty you’re going to have the same sunset every night, because every sunset is different.

DAMIEN:  And thank God for that.

DON:  Once you do your beach pictures, you’re going to have a custom designed beach portrait that no one else is going to have one like.

DAMIEN:  How long have you been a photographer now, Don?

DON:  I’ve been a photographer for 35 years.

DAMIEN: And has this business been in existence that long?

DON:  Yes, it has.

DAMIEN:  So you’ve seen the change from film to digital.  Are you still shooting film at all?

DON:  No, I’m 100% digital.

DAMIEN:  So what made you decide to become a photographer in the first place, Don?

DON:  I started early in my career with yearbook photography in High School and took a camera and loved the camera, loved shooting with it.  I don’t know who was the smartest of the two of us.  There’s two of us from Furman University work shop and another guy said, hey why don’t you be the photographer so I started with a camera, did my first photography class at Furman while I was in high school and had a camera in my hand ever since.

DAMIEN:  Well, we’re going to need to take a quick break here for a commercial announcement.  If I could get you to please give your website address and contact information real quick before we go into the break.

DON:  Yeah, the website is…two web addresses www.camelotphotography.org or justwww.ilovefairhope.com.

DAMIEN:  And is there a contact number where people can reach you?

DON:  Yes, Don Puckett, (251) 928-8082.

DAMIEN:  We’re going to take a short break to pay some bills.  You are listening to the VTalk Radio Photography Spotlight, and we will be right back.

ANNOUNCER: This VTalk Radio Spotlight is sponsored by morephotos.com, the online photo sales solution to professional photographers worldwide.

VTALK RADIO:  VTalk Radio. 

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DAMIEN:  Good afternoon and welcome back to the VTalk Radio’s Photography Spotlight.  My name is Damien Allen and once again we are in the studio via the phone with Don Puckett of Camelot Barefoot Portraits in Fairhope, Alabama.   Welcome back to the program, Don.

DON:  Thank you.

DAMIEN:  We’ve been talking about beach photography, and we’ve touched on weddings a little bit.  You also said you’re doing business photography.  What type of business photography are you doing down there?

DON:  We do a lot of head shots for corporate executives.  We do a lot of real estate head shots for publicity, pictures they can use in their advertisement.  We’re kind of custom design our realtor packages.  We’ll talk to a realtor and find out what areas they work, their hot buttons, what they really want the client to see, and then we go out in the community with a realtor.  We do headshots in the studio and then we go out in the community with a realtor and find a favorite background whether it be the pier at Fairhope or the Rose Garden in Fairhope, the Grand Hotel, or we go over to Gulf Beaches.  We’ll find the individual session that will customize what they’re looking for and give them something different for their client to look at.

DAMIEN:  Do you do the design of the brochures and everything in house?

DON:  We do.  We design brochures or we will put the images on CD for them to take and go to their own printer with.  We actually post the prints on our website for them to look at and make their selection in lieu of the studio, because as busy as realtors are they don’t have time to be running back and forth so once we take the session and complete it and retouch it, we make them look good.  We go in there and completely retouch everything, clean up the lines.  We tell our client we want them to look like they’ve been on a three week vacation, came back home fully rested and had their pictures made.  So it’s the effect we’re looking for and they love us for it.

DAMIEN:  So are all your services available online if I wanted to proof my wedding or order my portraits or make sure, you know, Uncle Bob in Washington who didn’t make it to the wedding is able to get a complete memory of the wedding or our day at the beach, he can order online?

DON:  Yes sir.  Once we complete a session, it’s all posted online to view.  A lot of our families at the beach are all from out of town, but when they’re in town for the sprint in town, they can sit down in the convenience of their home, pull up our website which is through More Photo and look at the pictures, make their selections.  They can make a favorite file and once they pick out a favorite file, they can kind of compare one to the other, look at them close.  Once our customers view the pictures online and they have their favorites picked out, they can call us and we can look at them one on one with them and decide what changes need to be made.  Normally on any of our beach sessions any hair that is up above the head we’ll usually clean up.  Retouching is automatically included on all of our packages.  We’re going to retouch them and make them look good.  You have to keep in mind that it is the beach and you’re going to have some windblown hair.  You’re not looking for a studio portrait on the beach, but we try to make people look as good as we can in the situation we’ve got to work with.

DAMIEN:  So you seem to be doing it all, destination weddings, beach photography, business photography, studio photography.  Tell us a little bit about your studio.

DON:  The studio is a studio set up.  Most everything is done outdoors.  We do studio shots, do a lot of babies, do a lot of moms, mom and babies in the studio.  If we have a session that comes into the studio, usually before it’s over with, we’ll end up outside Fairhope.  If it’s local Fairhope shoot, we’ll end up outside, because Fairhope has got just beautiful environmental places to shoot as far as walls and flowers and scenery that’s gorgeous usually year around so we’ll be out in Fairhope shooting around downtown also. And some families strictly want a good formal studio picture and we’re able to do that.  We also offer water colors and oils on all of our portraits.  We’re a studio where it can be beach portraits or downtown Fairhope portraits.  We do the gallery wraps, the canvas wraps, canvases.  Basically anything in photography line we offer.  Heavy oils it all can be done once we’ve got your picture taken, at that point you can decide what you would like to do with the picture.

DAMIEN:  Do you have any advice for a client who wants an event shot?

DON:  The main thing is research your photographer carefully.  There’s a lot of photographers out there that claim to be photographers that’s been in business for a year and there’s some photographers that have been in business for a year that are fantastic photographers.  But there’s certain things to be said for experience and a lot of experience under their belt.  The key to a good photographer are if things go wrong is knowing how to flow with it and make it flow and not have a problem that could pose disaster for the client.

DAMIEN:  In deed.  Could we get your website and contact information one more time, Don?

DON:  Yes, it’s  www.camelotphotography.org or  www.ilovefairhope.com.

DAMIEN:  And that contact number one more time.

DON:  Contact number is (251) 928-8082.

DAMIEN:  We’d like to thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to speak with us today, it’s been an absolute pleasure.  We’ve been speaking with Don Puckett of Camelot Barefoot Portraits in Fairhope, Alabama.  Thank you for joining us today, Don.

DON:  I’ve enjoyed it and if you get down to the gulf coast, come see us.

DAMIEN:  In deed, sir.

DON:  You would love it.

DAMIEN:  And you’ve been listening to the VTalk Radio’s Photography Spotlight.  I’m Damien Allen, have a great afternoon.

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