Taking Care of Business: J.H. Findorff & Son, Inc.

J.H. Findorff & Son, Inc. has designed and built some of the most recognizable structures in Madison. Focal Flame Photography recently created professional headshot portraits of several Findorff executives, leading to fascinating insights about the past, present, and future of the city. Read more about Findorff's role in shaping Madison's skyline. 

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Corporate Photography in Madison, WI: SEH, Inc.

by Deborah Proctor

Corporate photography is an important business tool for Short Elliot Hendrickson, Inc. (SEH®), a multi-disciplinary engineering firm that specializes in building safer roads, bridges, parks, and trails with an eye toward renewable energy and sustainability.As engineering professionals, SEH values corporate photography for its ability to add a human factor to an otherwise technical business. As an ongoing part of their business and marketing strategy they commission corporate headshots of new hires and update existing employee photographs every 2-3 years.

Recently, when the Madison, WI office needed a corporate photographer to update the professional headshots of their employees, they turned to Madison corporate headshot photographer, Clint Thayer, of Focal Flame Photography, because his technical skill balanced with his mastery of design closely matched their own technical design skills.


Transportation planning employee Darren Fortney recommended Focal Flame because of his"experience with them on the athletic side." Because Clint had photographed him at various endurance events, Darren knew that Clint had the technical skills and the ability work quickly that is important to a busy firm. "They (Focal Flame) set up a mini (corporate photography) studio in a conference room...were friendly and courteous, knew what they were doing, and did not waste staff time," he said. All are important traits for a professional corporate photographer; in the business world, time is money.

"I am not a smiler, but the photographers gave good direction. I got in and out quickly so I could go on with my day," project engineer, Dean Stodola, commented.Fortney added with a laugh,"They got me to smile and it looks like me, so they must have done something right."

Darren, Dean, and their project manager Jill Fuhrman were part of a team of engineers, architects, planners, and scientists who were involved in the design and installation of the Cannonball Path bicycle and pedestrian bridge over the Beltline in Madison, Wisconsin.


This was a complicated project, shown here with a photo courtesy of SEH. It needed to address the concerns of key stakeholders: the City of Madison, looking to beautify an abandoned rail corridor and create pedestrian and bicycle access across a busy highway to reach downtown; the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, concerned about how traffic would be affected now and in the future; environmentalists, seeking the preservation of the area's natural resources; and residents or business owners concerned about how the project would affect access to their home or of clients to their business. Additionally, the bridge had to allow crossing the road at a significant skew (angle) while avoiding high voltage power lines traversing the narrow right-of-way.

The end result included two 180-foot prefabricated steel trusses. The structure addressed all the concerns and brought to life the city's vision of an artful design with minimal impact to a sensitive environmental area.

One interesting aspect of this project was that the final installation, setting the trusses over the highway, resulted in the total nighttime closure of this major highway (USH12, 14, 18 &151) in both directions. Doing so offered a unique opportunity for workers and SEH engineers to stand in the middle of a 6-lane highway without significant safety concerns. "It was fantastic to see the number of people that gathered to witness the trusses being placed," project manager, Jill Fuhrman, stated. "It is beneficial for people to understand what goes into enhancing and maintaining our transportation system."

Stodola spoke for everyone when he said, "It felt good to be part of a project that turned an abandoned railroad corridor into a attractive means for bicyclists and pedestrians to cross the busy Beltline."


Like their corporate headshot photography project, the Cannonball Path bridge project was accomplished quickly, efficiently, and resulted in a lasting artful image for all who pass.

What do you think of the new Cannonball Path bridge? Did you watch it being installed? Are you looking forward to using it? How and why? Share your thoughts!


Realtor Headshots: Standing Out From the Crowd

by Deborah Proctor

If you are a real estate agent you know the importance of creating a positive image. It is your job to present the properties you sell in their best light and from the best angle. Do you take the same care when creating your real estate agent portrait?

Mindy Wittig, a newly licensed REALTOR®, grew up in a family of home builders.  Admitting that "given the choice of going to Home Depot or a shoe store, it would be a tough call," she has, over the years, bought and sold several houses —the kind that needed some TLC. Her five brothers taught her how to fix up her properties and move on to the next challenge — a good lesson for her life today. After years editing medical records, her career path ended unexpectedly and she decided to turn her love for buying and fixing up houses into a real estate career, a challenging but rewarding choice she says"suits her perfectly."


One of her first priorities was to have a professional REALTOR® headshot created.  "Having a professional take my headshot was extremely important to me. I knew the picture would be used on all my marketing materials, business cards, and personal website. This is the image that is in front of all potential clients as I build my business."

Being from Milwaukee, Mindy chose Focal Flame Photography because "they came highly recommended by a friend and they were willing to meet with me on short notice when I was going to be in Madison for a meeting."

Jered Schroeckenthaler is turning his love of architecture, especially the mansions of the early 1900s, into a real estate career. The father of four children, ages 2, 3, 4, and 6, chose real estate as a family-friendly alternative to flying all over the country calibrating instruments and computers in power plants and mechanical systems.  

For his official real estate agent portrait, Jered chose a distinctive pink with blue paisley tie that his grandfather gave him. When he wears the tie, he feels a special connection to his grandparents who inspired him to "create a legacy by doing things that matter every day, something to be proud of." He chose Focal Flame Photography to create his Realtor® headshot, because they understood that it was important to him to have a portrait that would reflect that legacy and  "identify myself as a brand."


Since many potential clients view listings online, your REALTOR® headshot is essential in connecting with potential buyers and sellers. It may be your only chance to make a good first impression.

So what does your portrait say about you?

Does it say you are personable? Professional?  Reflect your current age and experience? Does it tell the viewer a little about you without being over the top or tacky? Not sure what I mean? Take a look at some of thesecringe-inducing examples.

Your real estate agent portrait should tell your story without distracting props or backgrounds, outdated clothing, overdone makeup, or the family pet.  In other words, it should express the professional you are at a glance. 

How do you make sure that your REALTOR® headshot expresses the real you, sets you apart from the mass of other real estate agents, and truly connects with the clients who will appreciate your unique talents and skills?

Whether you are a new REALTOR® in need of your first professional real estate agent portrait or an established pro wanting to update your look, the photographers at Focal Flame Photography will meet with you, get to know you, and then create images that tell your story to potential clients.

To discuss how Focal Flame Photography can help you create a REALTOR® headshot that will stand out from the crowd in your marketing channels — direct mail, social media, business cards, Website, and more —  contact us.

For an interesting take on how to present yourself in your headshot, read Kimberly Brook's Huffington Post  Blog, The Art of the Headshot: Everyone's a Real Estate Agent

Are you a REALTOR®? Do you specialize in a certain type of real estate transaction? Why did you become interested in the profession? Share your thoughts!

Headshot Photography: Putting your Best Face Forward

Portraying Yourself at Different Stages in Your Career

by Deborah Proctor

"Careers are sets of decisions, where you have the chance to emerge from the chrysalis every so often and show the world, show yourself, how you’ve evolved."- Hunter Walk, who recently left YouTube and Google to strike out on his own.

Whether you emerge as a Monarch butterfly or a Luna moth, no matter where you are in the career search lifecycle — new graduate seeking that first real job, seasoned employee making a mid-career change, or experienced executive seeking new challenges — searching for or changing jobs depends greatly on the image you project online.  In most cases, younger job seekers want to appear more mature and experienced while older workers want to showcase their experience with a generous dose of youthful vigor. So how do you present that experienced yet youthful image to a potential employer at different stages in your career?


In an article for US News and World Report, Alison Green, author and creator of the popular "Ask a Manager" blog advises new graduates, "Make sure that your email address, outgoing voice mail message and online presence all portray you as a professional, mature adult, not a partying college student."

Career Services Professional, Jill Wesley, says,  "Presenting too casual an image...not toning down a Facebook page...and thinking that 'If an employer was cool, they would understand,'" are some of the biggest mistakes younger workers make. Citing a well publicized case where a job offer was pulled after the applicant Tweeted about it, she adds, "You can easily damage yourself on Facebook or Twitter."

Wesley went on to say, "Younger employees, just coming out of school, need to help an employer see that they understand the rules of the work environment and part of that is projecting a professional image... to relieve the employer's fears about lack of experience and responsibility (will you show up on time, represent the company well, etc.)"

It is similar for older workers. Despite their perception that employers want younger, cheaper labor, Wesley points out that  "Anecdotally, it appears employers are leaning toward experience."

Yet, older workers need to show they are keeping up with the times. "Stay current with attire and hair" says Enterprise Solutions Technology Group, President and CEO, BJ Pfeiffer, that's the"most effective way to impact the stages of one's career." As in the commercial where the man combs in color to cover some but not all the gray in his hair, an older work wants to give the appearance of both youth AND experience. "Employers are always going to question the energy and relevancy of older workers," states Wayne Breitbarth, author of "The Power Formula for LinkedIn Success" in a recent AARP article.

Both Pfeiffer and Wesley agree that cultivating a professional image is the best way to get hired, and a professional career portrait will present that image better than any do-it-yourself photo. A professional image can even help freelances and entrepreneurs who are creating their own path - a well-composed headshot may help build trust with potential investors, clients, and business partners.

When you schedule a portrait session with Focal Flame photographer Clint Thayer, he will consult with you ahead of time to determine the image you wish to project to a potential employer and then capture that. So whether you are a new graduate just emerging into the workforce who needs to express all the maturity you hold inside or an older worker reemerging as an experienced worker with a lot of life left, Focal Flame Photography will create that image for you.

Do you know a recent graduate looking for their first career job? Or perhaps you know a more mature worker looking for a promotion or career change. Why not give them a boost in the job hunting process with the gift of a professional career image for their online profiles!  

To discuss possibilities or schedule a career portrait session with Focal Flame Photography call 608-772-0048, e-mail us, or fill out an inquiry form by clicking here