What is Art Anyway?


What is Art anyway?


That’s a subject that will get a discussion started.  Art is in the eyes of the beholder.  Art is what you make it out to be.  In the world of contemporary or modern art, it can mean just about anything.  I had quite a few art classes in college and have painted off and on for all the years since.  I seem drawn to nature, wildlife, landscapes, atmospheric effects…you get the idea.  As I get older, I am drawn to spend more time in the outdoors in a state of contemplation…Plein Air painting is just the thing for me these days.  Watercolor, Oils, Acrylics, just depends on my mood that day and what best serves the subject.  This painting is one I completed recently.  The scene is one near the Boundary Waters area of Minnesota, just outside of Ely.  Could have been an old portage between lakes.  You can imagine the natives carrying their birch bark canoe through the shallow water on their way to a new lake that is bursting at the seams with giant fish.  Northern Pike, Musky, Walleyes…the scent of pines and evergreens in the air.  Wild Blueberries ripen along verdant shores.  Yep, I am ready to spend more time in the north woods.



Fall is in the air



This is Lily at one year old....next month she will be 2....

Fall is a special time.

Upcoming Specials….Call Now.


Family Portrait Month


Fall is a great time to get out and have your family portrait created.  Weather is usually good and the fall colors are awesome.  During the month of October, McCoy’s Image Studio will be offering location and/or studio session and 11x14 for only $99. 


Plus, you can also choose any size 16x20 and larger, Master or Canvas styles for 50% off regular price.  Frames available at additional cost.


Orders placed in October will get back in time for Christmas giving.


Call now to reserve your session time.  Locations outside of Hardin/LaRue counties have a slight additional charge depending on mileage.


November Pet Special


During November bring in your furry friend for a formal studio portrait.  Session and 5x7 for only $49.

Canvas wall portraits available at 50% off. 16x20 and larger.


McCoy's Image Studio

2791 Shepherdsville Rd.  Elizabethtown KY

270-769-5022 or 800-724-2386

Does your photographer really know what they are doing?

I see a lot of new photographers out there saying they are professionals....  Let the buyer beware!  The gushy, excited, photographer you have just hired because they are so "passionate" about their photography may know nothing more than how to turn on their camera and set it to automatic.  Yes, really.  There is a whole lot more to being a real professional compared to someone who just calls themselve that.  Sure, you may have a lot of fun out there working with this type A personality, but do the images really hold up when compared to a true pro who understands their art?   Do you know the difference yourself.

Just because someone owns a scalpel does not make them a brain surgeon.  A brain surgeon doesn't get there overnight but needs years of training and learning.  So too, does the true professional.  You simply cannot go out an buy a camera and immediately put yourself in the ranks of professionals because photography is your "passion".  There are basics that must be learned: good lighting, lighting ratios, proper camera setting, lens selection, what lenses look best for certain jobs...ie: portraits, background selection, good exposure....and being able to consistently day in and day deliver the goods under all conditions.  Can your pro deliver?

Truth of the matter is: most photographers just starting out will be out of business in 3 years or less.  If they make to 5 years, they may have a chance.  First thing any consumer should look at is how long the photographer has been in business.  If you are just out for a good time...well, you will get what you pay for.  A lot of new photographers really promote themselves not their art....I am so passionate, lets go have fun,  so and so were just so fun to work with.....blah blah blah...and their photographs look like crap.   Sorry if I am being blunt here, but its the truth.  Family portraits, baby portraits, senior portraits, wedding portraits....all these are too important to be left in the hands of inexperienced hacks.   

Your High School Senior portrait is one of the most important images you will ever have in your lifetime.  Your wedding images also.  It is so worth it to invest in an experienced pro to produce these once in a lifetime images.  That experienced pro knows what goes into making a timeless image.  

I was in Green County yesterday to photograph a young student in our Young Achiever program with her 4H show calf.  I had photographed her mother as a senior.  The farm we were on was owned by a former Youth Salute Leader of the Year that we had photographed in the 90s….these families knew we could provide them with the images and the services that they desired.  We have been doing that for second and maybe a few third generation families.  Good studios have the background and reputation to provide these things.


Think about this for a while.  Experience means something.  Good photographs don’t just happen consistently.  Some folks shoot thousands of images just to get a few good ones.  Good pros, shoot a few images and most of them are good.


Do your homework.  You will be able to see the difference after a while.

A New Direction

This month we celebrate 36  years in full time photography service.  In those years we have done just about anything imageinable.  We have photographed a standing president (Jimmy Carter) and a current First Lady (Laura Bush).  We have had portraits displayed in the International Photography Hall of Fame and Museum in Oklahoma City and one in the White House.  And I do believe they have one of Laura Bush in the Presidential Library.  For many years I photographed stock images that graced the insides of magazines like Sports Afield, KY Afield, Ducks Unlimited, Deer and Deer Hunting, Bowhunting, Game and Fish, and others.  I have had images used by the National Park Service for postcards and brochures, as well as souvenir books.  A Lincoln poster was printed to commemorate the Lincoln Boyhood Home coming into the NPS and another for Lincoln's bicenntennial.  Our Youth Salute program has been in existence since 1984 and continues to be a great success for the community as well as the Young Achievers program.  Over the years we photographed in the hundreds of weddings.  I quit counting after 1000 and that was 15 years ago or more.  So maybe 1500 to 2000 weddings in my career.  Of course, I couldn't have done this without the help and support of my dear wife Suzann.  Also our faithful sales person Claudette Rateau.  We have had many other employees who have also been a great help to the studio.  At one time we had two other wedding photographers to keep up with the volume.  The first 12 years of our studio we had a full color lab and BW lab and did all of our own printing...thats a lot of images to be printed by hand.  At one time, we were going through a case of 8x10 color paper a month...that is 1000 prints per.

A lot has happened in the photography industry in the last 10 years or so.  Digital changed the landscape.  Kodak is now just a shadow of it's former self.  Numerous labs and companies have simply gone out of business.  Newcomers have flocked into the field of photography and honestly, most of them don't belong here.  The quality of images has gone down as a whole with the influx of "newbies" who have had no training or education in what makes a photograph "good"...only a passion to do photography.  Most burn  out in 3 years of less  only to be replaced by another horde of newcomers.  Where will all this go?  Who knows.  The public will suffer from poor images for as long as they are willing to put up with less than great.  Let the buyer beware has always been a good motto.

So what does that mean for me, for our studio?  Well a lot of things.  We will continue to stay in operation and provide the best images possible for as long as possible but with some changes.  What changes you say?  I am not so sure yet.  I have a hankering for expanding my fine art area and intend to expand into that.  So you will be seeing more and more of that.  Photography as well and painting.  I am a member of the Indiana Pleinaire Painters Association and intend to get more involved in painting events and gallery showings.  

Retirement from full time studio is on the horizon.  I can't say exactly when but the idea is there.  36 years is a good long time for anyone to be in business and still be vital and busy.  Suzann and I have a grand baby and and farm with Texas Longhorns.  So you see there is plenty for us to be doing.  

Mulling this all around has made me nostalgic.  I can sense a change coming just like the first cool breeze of fall.  The leaves haven't changed color yet, but you know its coming.  Until then, give us a call and schedule your session.  We're still here and cookin.


I was up at our farm in Indiana over the 4th.  The Queen Anne's Lace is blooming everywhere and I had the 105mm macro lens out doing some closeups.  I came across this bud as it was beginning to unfold.  the individual branches of the bloom reminded me of the mechanical creatures chasing Neo and the ship on The Matrix.  Sometimes fantasy mimics nature, I guess.  FYI the Queen Anne's Lace is a member of the carrot family but I have never eaten one of their roots.

Nature photography has always been one of my great loves.  After all, I did get a degree in Environmental Science.  We used to go on field trips to the Red River Gorge to study the plant life and geology of the area.  I always packed a camera to photograph things so that I could have a record of images to study for later testing.  To this day, I can recall many plants and their latin classifications....Dr. Mary Wharton sort of drummed that into our heads.  In any event, I still love the natural world and being out there in it.

One of the things we learned to do was to take a line survey.  Basically we stretched a very long string through an environment and recorded every single plant the line crossed over.  You would get a list of plants as well as the frequency of occurance.  In this process  you could get a very accurate idea of how a certain local environment was functioning.  I remember doing a survey in Hart County Kentucky: Flora of  West Central Kentucky in an Old Field Progression Stage.  Filled with lots of "flowery" scientific jargon, the paper yielded an "A".

Next time you take a walk in the country, take time to closely look at all the different plants that surround you.  You may be surprised at the diversity....Naturally. 


 The last few weeks I have been engaged in research for an upcoming book concerning medics in World War 2.  My dad was a medic in the 44th AIB of Patton's Sixth Armored Division.  A good many of dad's photographs are going to be used in this book and I have been scanning and restoring these images in preparation.  In this process, I have become rather nostalgic and thinking about a lot of my family history, the history of this country and the history of our studio.  In September, we will have been in business full time for 32 years....we purchased Guy's Photos in 1978.  We have seen a lot of things come an go over the years.  Photographed a ton of babies, families and high school seniors...may 2 tons....I quit counting after 1000 weddings and that was years ago.  In photography, you have to keep up with the times...yet, I have come across some photos in my searching that are simply timeless....look on our facebook page in the coming weeks and I will try to post some of these...many are already on there....if you LIKE us on facebook you will be able to see updates as we post them.  Hope everyone is having a great summer and if you want to cool down with some cool images....stop in and take a look.