We get asked, most years, to do "Career Day" at Glover Middle School. Yesterday was the day this year and we had a fun time engaging with photo-interested students. They were great, with good questions and what seemed like real interest. We did a few minutes of show-and-tell, with a small portfolio of images on-screen, then we moved to a demonstration. Four separate groups moved through in about three hours- pretty intense and busy, but good fun. The "demo", in order to be manageable in the time and space, was a macro image with liquid - squeezing and orange slice in extreme close up and "splash" photography, again very close-up. These kids showed great excitement as the rapid-fire images came up on-screen and the students we picked to "squeeze" got applause at the end. We used our new super high-speed ProFoto power supply with a bi-tube head to really freeze the movement and they loved it. Some wanted to phone-picture or monitor screen to post the image. We'll help with that here:

AuthorJ. Craig Sweat

We were asked by the new owner of Nicks Custom Boots to help with a new website and marketing effort. The owner is a gent who comes from a marketing and writing background and he contacted us after seeing our website including some work we have done for White's Outdoor- other boots and footwear. We did several batches of work and casual boots as product photography and then a great session at the factory. It is kind of a old-world factory, not large but very full and very busy. The craftsmen and women are really skilled and it is a wonder to watch them take the full cowhides and cut and work and sew them into the best boots you can buy. They sell to linemen (and women, I'm sure) loggers (with the spikes all over the sole), smokejumpers and other heavy-use outdoor trades. They do a ton of rebuild work too. Some of their boots have been in service for decades. When they are comfortable and right, they are worth rebuilding.

Nicks Boots are hand-made in Spokane, Washington

Good heavy leather, hand selected and matched, sewing intricate patterns with machines that can sew through a half-inch of leather effortlessly, other machines that sew the soles- some an inch-plus thick, old tried-and-true finishing buffers and strange devices that have more history than most people do... this is the stuff of Nicks Custom Boots. Superb craftspeople who really get it when it comes to quality. Shooting there for a day was a great pleasure and the client responded to the proof gallery with an email saying " Wow- these are a gold mine". His web designer told him that these images were "as good as he had seen". I hope it is true. At the least, it makes us feel good about what we did for them. This is the kind of business I like and admire from a lot of different perspectives. Scale, locality, artisanship, personality, quality- a business with real heart. You can view their website HERE.

Follow Nicks Custom Boots on Instagram.


Coeur d'Alene Casino came to us to get some "lifestyle" images of their top-notch casino. They asked us to find talent and make-up services and go all-out for their gaming facility. They have used them widely in print and web dispositions. This was a great shoot for us- getting these fairly dark spaces and backgrounds lit for the right mood (not too dark and mysterious) and directing the talent for excitement and energy was the goal. The art director was real happy with the production and the results.

spokane commercial photographer cda casino

This casino has come a long way and is a very nice facility with several restaurants (good food- we've tried three of them), great hotel rooms, spa services, a beautiful golf course, meeting facilities, and just about anything else you might want at a resort property. It's remarkable how successful they are even as far out in the beautiful Palouse country as they are. It is the high quality amenities that bring folks here. The distance may even help: it feel like a real break from the everyday. I always look forward to our jaunts to the Casino. The drive is beautiful and the client is superb- appreciative and helpful.


Bouten Construction remodeled their offices with the help of the design agency helveticka. We photographed the result for helveticka's and Bouten's uses. It was a good exercise in interior photography- smaller spaces with mixed lighting (window, direct sun, fluorescent, tungsten, and some track fixtures). This is a common problem to solve with interior photography and there are several tools we use. Planning counts as some sources need to be isolated as we shoot, other balancing methods are done in post-production (editing). As a working office, we had to be a little careful with clutter and noise but the Bouten folks were great to work with, even helpful. Main lobby, entry hall, small and large conference rooms and a few details were done in less than a day. Bouten's projects are many and of usually of large scale. You can't live in Spokane without seeing and using Bouten constructed buildings. They are exceedingly good at heavy construction and have a reputation for careful, nicely finished work.


CK Anderson of helveticka came to us to photograph the various interiors at Rockwood Lane Retirement to help build their occupancy. These are all lived-in homes and their owners were good to us as we tried to represent what seems a very agreeable lifestyle. This is a well-maintained facility with everything from free-standing homes to small apartments available with a range of dining, support and nursing services on call. The folks I met seem real happy living there and the food looked great. 


The challenge for us was the tight quarters in the smaller apartments with the dense furnishing that happens when a person, or couple, tries to narrow down a lifelong collection of nice things to fit a smaller space. In one case, there was absolutely nowhere to put a light , so we lit first for the right half, then, being very careful around the camera, we re-lit for the left half, combining the halves later, with little problem, as we edited. Good lighting for each half with just a little added editing time. We spent a full day on the interiors and then a couple of hours on a sunnier day for some exterior views. 


Follow this to the Google Virtual Tour click "Tour the Studio".

My good friend, photographer Roger Myers, set us up to do a Google Virtual Tour of the Studio. This is where, from Google Maps, Google Earth, or various other portals, a viewer can take a tour through our studio interior in some detail through navigable photographs. Roger has aligned himself with Google as a Google Certified photographer. He's the guy for this area. Roger does great work and knows how to do these "spins", as he calls them, expertly as well as entry to publish them on the Google system. From any of the camera positions you can turn 360ยบ around and up and down as well. Any public business should have this done. In a year or two it will be standard for any public business.

Roger's phone # is 509-703-2672. Website: Ailana360.com

HollisterStier Website

helveticka, a top Spokane design agency, brought us in to photograph a new look and feel for the new HollisterStier Allergy division website. Owned by Jubilant, this company is a great Spokane success story started by Drs. Hollister and Stier almost a hundred years ago. They have an international reach and uncommon expertise with allergy treatments. It is a deep site- lots of pages and a fair amount of technical information. It is designed for both physician and patient use. For us several location sessions were involved including real allergy specialists at their practices, nurses, practice managers, (and we hired two models for patients). This authenticity resonates well with the sophisticated audience who are this company's clients. A studio session for the "product" header image was part of the package. Photography of the R&D staff, the phone support group, as well as the entire national sales team rounded out the project. The challenge in a project like this is scale- the number of components in the site and the number of people who have input, normally a good part of the management team. Clear and concise communications are essential and the execution has to be flawless. helveticka proved up to the task and I hope we helped to make them and Jubilant HollisterStier look good and improve their services to the doctors and patients who they are here to help.  


Clicke here to see the website: www.hsallergy.com

ALSC Architects asked us to photograph the new snyamncut Residence Hall at Eastern Washington University. It's a beautiful facility and the students who live there are lucky. Given a difficult to pronounce native (Salish?) name, I am curious what it might be nicknamed by now. Said phonetically, the "c" is pronounced like an "s". It was just opened and populated this last fall (2013). We hoped to get the exterior but the landscaping wasn't in place yet- too limiting. We covered the interior thoroughly with images of the great ground floor common areas, the entry, and upper floor study and kitchen areas. The client was happy with the result and we licensed them to Leone and Keeble Construction, as the contractor, as well. 


Spokane design firm "helveticka" came to us on behalf of Avista Corp. to produce a print ad to express Avista's support and interest in the University District along the river in downtown Spokane. Avista Corp. has been instrumental, in fact a founding partner, in the development of the campus locus. Adjacent to the Gonzaga University Campus with elements of Eastern Washington University, Washington State University and other educational entities as partners in the location, it is already a beautiful and well used campus setting with a great future. Avista is rightly proud of their investment and the team's vision, which now lives in this superb addition to Spokane's culture. This was a way for them to express it. Happily, we had a beautiful summer evening to execute this image along with the cooperation of a group of our and helveticka's friends to populate the image. We needed to add just a touch of light to an otherwise natural scene and it all went according to plan. A very pleasant evening and we got home before dark. You should go down and walk the campus sometime- it is beautiful and has a great feel about it.

Read about Spokane's University District here: http://www.spokaneuniversitydistrict.com/avista.php

Avista: University District
BTS helveticka Avista at the University District

The lid is off, now we can say it: Clancy (Clarise) Pool has won the "Paralibrarian of the Year" award from Library Journal Magazine . This trade magazine has a circulation of over a hundred-thousand which is very respectable in the world of publishing and makes sense when you consider the number of people with library careers countrywide. This is a national competition and Ms. Pool, of St John, Washington, was judged to be the most stellar performer in the world of libraries as a paralibrarian. She has done some great things for the Whitman County Library system. She shepherded funding and support for the building of a new facility in St. John and has worked at and improved a number of the small rural libraries in their system. We were sworn to secrecy in this work, even as we went to St. John to produce the images. We dissembled when asked what we were doing there and stayed obscure in our explanations.


Clancy was a great sport as we put her through a lengthy session for a cover image and then photographed her entertaining and reading to kids, out on the main street of St. John (in bitter cold), and collaborating with other library folks. I'm guessing she slept very well that night. Commonly, one person runs this library- it's a small operation and she is often it, but it is more successful and of a much higher profile and much more used by the locals with her effort to build it up. The magazine has been released, so we can talk openly about her recognition- pretty good for a small-town lady of great charm.  Read the article here: Library Journal Magazine 


Integrus Architecture hired us to photograph the Architecture of Wellpinit School for which they designed and oversaw a very major rehab project. The High School/ Middle School combo is source of pride for the people who spend their days there. A lot of nice big windows and pleasant common spaces make school good for all of them. The school features some cool ideas such as drinking fountains that allow for quick-filing of your water bottle, so students can stay hydrated throughout the day, and automatic energy saving lighting.  Congratulations to the Wellpinit School District on their new Facility!

Wellpinit High School-Middle School.

Wellpinit High School-Middle School.

Road King magazine cover art

"RoadKing", a magazine for professional truckers, came to us through Michael Nott at Parthenon Publishing in Nashville Tennessee, to photograph a cover for the January/February 2014 issue. The story covers how trucker Jason Baker won a contest for losing weight and got himself in much better shape. Whatever the prize, the improvement in his health and attitude was worth more. Driving his truck to northern Canada and back routinely was not a recipe for good health. We (Chase Warnick assisting) took Jason and his beautiful truck, thanks to his company "System Transport", and prettier wife out on old Highway 2 not far from Rearden. She came to keep him company and we got pictures of them both with the tractor, just for fun. They got published in the cover story inside the magazine too. Jayson is a great fellow with a real positive disposition which made the whole process in the cold and wind, even into the dark of evening, good fun. The designer was real happy with the result and we sent a handful of prints to Jayson. He thanked us heartily. Thanks again RoadKing, and congratulations Jayson.

I love editorial work- its always a challenge to come up with something good no matter what the circumstances. No excuses.

You can view the story here: http://roadking.com

Road King Magazine: Jayson Baker

Cravens Coffee is a great, sort of medium small, coffee roasting and supply company based in Spokane, Washington. As a Commercial Photographer we've done work with them for years, including an annual holiday card. Because they believe in high-service with custom blends, delivery and super high quality beans as well as roasting, this mailing presents their staff in a way that personalizes their business. 

The bag above is a the J. Craig Sweat Blend. The design of the bag features an illustration of Simon Craven Thompson of the owners of Cravens coffee.

The bag above is a the J. Craig Sweat Blend. The design of the bag features an illustration of Simon Craven Thompson of the owners of Cravens coffee.

Simon and Becky, the owners, put great stress on fair-Trade quality suppliers. They visit, meet and know many small growers from whom they buy. What a great way to do business - devoted to their growers and their customers and committed to high quality in their coffees and their relationships. It's a great way to live too!

2013 Holiday Photo

Tipke Manufacturing is a fine smaller company that does superb sheet metal and fabrication work. They have their own invention, the "Fold-it Cart", which they make in-house and sell all over the world. They've made thousands and thousands of them and people love the product! We did some new photography of the cart to refresh the promotion and to show some of their new products. You can contact Tipke Manufacturing and order your very own cart: http://www.tipkemfg.com/foldit/

This is a photograph of the trailer attachment for use with a lawnmower.

This is a photograph of the trailer attachment for use with a lawnmower.

Studio Assistant Chris Thompson prepping the product and taking a mighty fine portrait.

Studio Assistant Chris Thompson prepping the product and taking a mighty fine portrait.

We photographed Diana Barth in our studio for Spirit, Southwest Airlines in-flight magazine, so they could feature her in a full-page layout as an exceptional employee. The magazine is always in the seat pocket in case you're on a Southwest flight and want to check it out. She was really nice and we had Julie Farley at The Make-up Studio do her make-up as a bonus for Diana. You can view the online version of the Magazine here.

As a Spokane Commercial Photographer it is a rare occasion when the "Spoon" Agency from Stockholm, Sweden emails us. After perusing our website they chose us for their project. The assignment was to talk about Hardox Wearparts, created at Spokane's own Coeur d'Alene Metals, in SSAB World Magazine; an international steel industry publication. Talk about heavy metal!

Coeur d'Alene Metals, Larry Coulsen: President

Coeur d'Alene Metals, Larry Coulsen: President