February 2007

Scott & Frances Moody - A Picture Perfect Partnership

Author: Linda S. Hopkins

Scott Moody was pointing and shooting a camera by the time he was old enough to say cheese. Following in his father’s footsteps, he knew early on that he would someday turn his passion for capturing images into a career. Scott moved to the United States from Saudi Arabia, seeking out a college that offered a photography program and earning a B.S. from East Texas University.

Shortly after graduation, he moved to Hilton Head Island to begin his career. For the past 21 years, he has been photographing islanders and area visitors, building his business and reputation by developing a rapport with his customers and delivering—time and again—the quality photographs they expect.

Scott met his wife, Frances, at a friend’s wedding. One dance later, they were on the fast track to a picture-perfect partnership. It’s been 14 years since they merged their lives in marriage and began the process of blending their careers.

Frances is originally from Manning, S.C. She earned a degree in psychology from the College of Charleston, furthering her studies at the Citadel, earning a graduate degree in clinical counseling. When she and Scott first married, she worked for Coastal Mental Health as a group therapist.

After the birth of their first child, the Moodys were at a crossroads. “Either I hired someone or Frances came to work with me fulltime,” said Scott. The choice was easy, and the transition went smoothly for Frances, she said, explaining that she was already helping out part time. In photography, she found a way to combine her innate love of art with her educational training, her people skills and her family life.

As Frances became more and more involved in the business, what started as a hobby for her progressed to a new profession as she and Scott began working as a team. “I don’t pretend to have the technical skills that Scott has,” said Frances. But she is quick to point out that she has studied extensively. “In everything I do, I strive for 100 percent understanding,” she said. “Even though I don’t have the B.S. degree, I do have the knowledge.”

Psychology comes into play, particularly when working with brides and families, said Frances, who has a knack for discerning desires, relieving anxieties and getting to know customers on a personal basis. Frances also has a keen eye for details, paying close attention to people’s hands, their necklaces, the background and the seemingly minute details that make such a significant difference in the final image.

For weddings, in particular, a lot of people come in asking for a photojournalistic style, Scott said. While the Moodys understand what the customer wishes to achieve, they explain that those seemingly candid shots you see in magazines are often skillfully staged. Scott and Frances know how to make this happen without being obtrusive. And they know how to capture the moment without forcing the pose. “Rarely do we ever have to tell anybody to smile. We try to elicit more natural expressions,” said Scott.

Elaborating on the team approach, Frances explained that she and Scott always get completely different shots. “We complement each other,” she said. “We don’t talk about it much. It’s odd, but it works.”

In a day and age when digital photography has made taking pictures as easy as aim and click, there’s a sort of “cookie-cutter mentality” or “a McDonald’s approach” to photography, said Scott, lending even greater significance to the kind of professional service he has to offer. “People recognize that there are a lot of technical aspects that come into play. There’s a difference when you work with a professional,” he said.

The Moodys pride themselves on the rapport they have with their customers, as evidenced by their repeat business and referrals. Customers often write, call or stop by to say hello, update them on their lives and book them to document future events—portraits, family reunions, weddings, christenings—you name it. “These are intimate times in people’s lives,” said Frances. “We want it to be a positive experience for them.”

“We take it very seriously,” added Scott. “This is what we do fulltime. It’s not a second career.”

While photography obviously pays the bills for the Moody family, neither money nor public acclaim is their primary motivation. “Being a professional means I care about my work,” said Scott, who believes in honoring his commitments and delivering his best quality work, regardless of the size of the event or the paycheck. “I don’t care if my name is up in lights. The only thing I care about is that the people who come to me are happy with my work,” he said.

Scott and Frances Moody are the owners of Pro Photo, Inc. Their services include studio and location portraiture, weddings, special events, commercial and catalog work, framing and more.

The Moodys have two children, Robert and Eadon, ages 11 and nine. In his spare time, Scott enjoys hunting, fishing and nature photography. Frances has taken up painting and is currently obsessed with palm trees. They both enjoy family activities and water sports.

The secret to their happy marriage and successful working relationship, they agree, is enjoying one another’s company. “We’re really good friends,” said Frances.

Pro Photo, Inc.
89 Arrow Rd.
Hilton Head Island, SC 29928
(843) 681-3686

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