Hi! I’m Brad Williams, founder and photographer of Model Citizens Photography . I was born and raised right here in Branson, Missouri, and can’t imagine calling anywhere but the Ozarks my home. Since I was a kid, cameras have always fascinated me! I remember my parents handing me a disposable camera now and then to get a picture of them together or something would catch my eye and I would try to capture or recreate it with the camera lens. I always had to jump up on a chair or lay down on my back…anything to make the pictures I took look different than what I was used to seeing. Music was my first calling. I started playing guitar when I was 15 and by the time I hit my twenties, I was playing in bands, both local and touring, and ended up getting to share stages with some of my heroes!
In the middle of all of that, I met and married my lovely wife, Jessica. In 2011 we found out that we were going to have a baby! I knew immediately that I wanted my child to have the kind of stable, attentive, home life that I had grown up with, so I put music on the back burner. As Jessica’s due date approached, and with me feeling the need for an artistic outlet, I grabbed the family camera out of the drawer and started taking photos. At first, I thought it would just be nice to document what was happening in our now growing family. But by the time our daughter, Layla, arrived I had already found myself truly falling in love with the art of photography. I read every book and article I could find, watched a ton of videos, took a few course, and most importantly, practiced! All the time! Of course, it was easy practicing with both my beautiful new baby girl and wife.
I started posting my photos to the usual places, Facebook, Flickr, Instagram, and, to my surprise, not only did people like them, they started asking me to take photos of them and their families! At first I was hesitant, but what really motivated me to start Model Citizens are the two values that guide my business:
Everyday “citizens” make the best “models”. Now you know where the name comes from ☺ But it’s not just a saying. I truly believe that the most beautiful and interesting photos are the ones that capture real people in real situations. I love doing commercial shoots and working with professional models, it’s a blast! But, my heart will always be in the more candid, photojournalism, style of photography.
Everyone deserves great photos! In this day when everyone has a camera in their pocket, it’s easy to forget what real photography is. But when you see a real photo, the difference is unmistakable. It’s the one’s that make you say “wow!” The one’s that make you feel amazing about yourself!
Weddings are especially dear to me. My wife and I were married here in Branson, and had a beautiful ceremony. But after the price of the venue, the catering, the dress, the rings, and the countless other things that add up in a wedding, we found ourselves with no budget for a wedding photographer. Because of that, the only photos we have of or big day are snapshots from well meaning guests. I don’t want any other couple to have to experience this scenario. As you research a photographer for your wedding, you will probably notice two main types. The first are the one’s who charge $2,500 and up for their services. These folks are, for the most part, very good at what they do and I don’t begrudge them charging what they feel is fair. But let’s face it, not everyone has that kind of cash to spend on photography. So where does that leave you? Unfortunately, a lot of folks turn to the second type of photographer, a fellow I call “The Craigslist Bandit”. This guy usually bought his camera a few weeks ago, hasn’t taken the time to learn even the basics of composition or exposure, but still wants to charge you $300 for his “services”. “$300?” Sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it? Take a look at his photos and you’ll see that it is! I’m here to bridge that gap. I want to give you photos as good or better than that high priced guy next door, without getting stuck with crummy photos of the biggest day of your life to carry around forever.
Well, now that you know a bit about us and what we are about here at Model Citizens, I hope to get to to know more about YOU! Do your research, shop around, and find the photographer whose photos really sing to you. And if that photographer happens to be me, I promise that no one will obsess more over your images or work harder to give you the greatest photography experience that you will find at ANY price point!
Bradley A. Williams