Back to Guatemala!

Well here we are again, currently sitting on a plane heading to one of my all time favorite places! In case you don’t really know me very well I am en route to Lake Atitlan Guatemala to spend the week with Impacto Ministry. (Read more about it here)
I am going to try my best to make a post once an evening (pending internet access) with a photo of the day and a story to go along with it. Please feel free to share with those who have a heart for missions, and spreading the good news of hope & joy.


I pray these post inspire you to reach out to your missions circle where ever that may be! I am a firm beloved that we are all called somewhere different. Some keep it local, some like me travel a few hours outside of the US, and others travel to the opposite side of the globe! Where ever your heart is drawn to, please travel with love in your heart, and joy in your eyes. Even the smallest smile can make the worst of days a little brighter.
– Chris W

What’s Next?

We’ve been back in the United States for 4 days now, and it’s still difficult to put the past three weeks into words. Although we’ve been to Guatemala before, this was the longest amount of time we’ve spent there since Chris’s first trip in 2010. We went this year with the goal of creating a video for the Impacto Ministries staff to use for ministry and fundraising purposes, and we agreed that one week was simply not enough time for us to obtain all of the footage we needed. Three weeks, however, would be a good amount of time to shoot, edit, and deliver the finished product. Unfortunately for us, three weeks felt more like three days, and we were packing up to leave long before we were ready to say goodbye.

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Within the weeks to come, we will be posting more photos and sharing more stories, but for now, we want to tell you about a group of the most loving, giving, and faithful followers of Christ that we know… the Impacto staff members. From the moment they met us at the airport to the time we said goodbye with tears in our eyes, they never stopped treating us like family. In fact, I’m pretty sure each and every one of them said to us on more than one occasion that we are now a part of their family. We were greeted with hugs and kisses every single morning, all of our meals were practically fit for royalty, and we were blessed to be a part of their staff meetings. Neither one of us had any idea we were going to have the privilege of spending so much time with the staff, seeing how the ministry operates “behind the scenes”, but it was being a part of this team that so radically challenged and encouraged us!

WhonPhoto_FredDixonMost of the staff members are on-the-go from sunrise to well past sundown 7 days per week, whether they are out doing ministry activities with teams, driving 4 hours (one way!) to pick up new teams in Guatemala City every weekend, or triple checking details to make sure everything is prepared for the next days missions. During the busy season (February-September), Chris and I honestly have no idea when they are able to spend any quality time with their families, as they all are constantly working to ensure that the Lords work gets accomplished. We have never witnessed a group of people so consistently place others before themselves!

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Within the short time we were there, I only hope we were of some help to them! Whether it be putting together a slideshow or just being an extra presence on a worksite, I hope the staff members were able to breathe just a bit easier when we were there. Knowing that we will be able to bless this team with a few videos and hundreds of photos brings so much joy to our hearts, and we only wish we could ease every burden they bear.

This year, it wasn’t the precious Guatemalan children that brought tears to our eyes as we said goodbye, it was our new family members. They all told us we could come back anytime we wanted, and we’re wondering if maybe we’ll be going back sooner rather than later. At this point, all we know is that for the past four days, we have missed them all terribly and can’t wait to see them again! What’s next for the WhonPhotos? We’ll let you know when we know!


~The WhonPhotos


(and family :) (Tyler, Dusty, Fred, Sarah, Dinora, Pastor Luis, Andrea, Tony, Daniel, David, Freddy, and Bryce)


Guatemala: Week 1

Hola, amigos, from San Juan la Laguna! We have successfully completed our first week here in Guatemala, and the time is just flying by!!!


We are absolutely loving working alongside IMPACTO Ministries staff, serving the people of the Lake Atitlan region of Guatemala. Today we said goodbye to two teams (one from North Carolina and one from Tennessee), and we welcome two more teams later this afternoon. We have already captured so many wonderful images and video footage of teams building homes, loving on the children of Happy Tummies, and dancing with the “Abuelitos”. It’s going to be difficult to pick only 3-5 minutes worth of footage to use in the video we’re making!



The staff members here at IMPACTO have absolutely blown us away with their care and concern for us, always checking to make sure we are doing ok and that we have everything we need. As was expected, we’ve already decided that it’s going to be difficult to go home, as Guatemala has once again stolen our hearts! We are thrilled to be here, and we already have seen God move in HUGE ways in the hearts of so many!


Please pray for the staff this week, as this will be a very busy week for them with all of the various activities they will be involved in with the teams. Pray for rest and strength for them all as they work effortlessly to meet the needs of all those they serve. Thank you for your prayers! We can absolutely feel them here in Guatemala, and we will keep you posted as we are able to do so!


Chris & Steph

Final Countdown – 1 week!

One week from today my wife Stephanie and I will be in Guatemala!! A huge thank you goes out to everyone who helped make this trip a possibility! We are beyond excited to see how the Lord will work through this trip. Here is a little preview of one of the ministries we will have the pleasure of working with, Happy Tummies!

Tools of my Trade

Recently Paired Inc. approached me do put together a post for their Tools of the Trade campaign. The topic of the post is essentially, what tools do you use on a daily basis in your business? This is a crazy open-ended question.. Each shoot requires a very specific set of tools that I tailor to the particular project (Look at these 2 specific posts on projects Traveling with Photo Gear and Weekend Survival Kit). Other factors that determine what I bring and use on a shoot include weather, location, personality of business, timeframe of the shoot, and many more. But if you boil every shoot down to the bare essentials there is a list of items that I typically always bring along no matter what the subject of the shoot is.

Read More

Guatemala Bracelets

Steph and I are blown away by all of your kindness! We are over 50% covered for our time in Guatemala this July! (News to you? Read about it here!) We still have just under $800 each to raise for our trip. We have no doubt that the Lord wants us to spend part of our summer serving Impacto in the villages around Lake Atitlan, so raising enough money isn’t a worry. However, the more we raise the more impact we can make!! Impacto has several full time positions that need our donations to keep their salary. Positions like managing Happy Tummies, a ministry that helps feed and tutor children in need!

One way we are trying to dual purpose some donations is through our friend Carolina and her hand made bracelets! (Pictured below with her daughter) For a donation of $10 or more (through PayPal) we order a custom bracelet from Carolina and bring it back for you! Get your name, nickname, favorite phrase, whatever! (nothing vulgar please..) Choose your favorite colors and any simple designs you would like to see and we will get it made up for you! Although I would trust Carolina with the designs, she is awesome! Average bracelets are about 6 inches of beads and about 3 inches of cord on either end. If you need one longer (like the dog collar Carolina is holding below :) let us know in your notes on name/design/colors. Contact Chris to get your bracelet ordered! Thanks again for your support!






New Love – Aerial Photography

Ladies and Gentlemen. I have found a new love, well its an old love that just got rekindled!

Photography + Helicopters = Pure Bliss















Overcoming Photography Ignorance

After reading my cousin Scott Troyer’s guest post on David Santistevan’s blog ‘The Ultimate Guide to Overcoming Musical Gear Ignorance‘, I decided to make up a similar post on overcoming photo ignorance.

There is a three tiered scale when it comes to photography. Where you fall on this scale determines your ability. You are forced to balance your technical ability, people personality, and artistic flare. There is no right or wrong way to shoot. It’s all based on your personality. However, regardless of how you approach your day-to-day shooting, at some point in the day you are forced to think or act technically. (There will be other posts about shooting emotionally and working with clients in the future!) So many of us aren’t even aware of the science going on behind the lens. Being able to answer the following questions at the drop of a hat will force you to memorize some technical facts, and by doing so will give you a better understanding of the limitations of your gear. The more you study, the more the information will be stored in your subconscious. All of this subconscious thought will surface on a shoot without you even thinking twice about what you are doing or why you are doing it, giving you more time to think about interacting with your talent or focus on your artistic side.

There are no particular order to the questions because we really need to know it all. So what if you are an all natural light shooter? The exact same principals of strobed light apply to the sun coming in the window you are using.

This will be an ever growing list so if you have a good question send it in! I would love to expand the list to cover as much as we can.

  • 1) What does DSLR stand for?
  • 2) List full aperture values between 2.8 and 32
  • 3) List full shutter values between 1/30 and 1/1000
  • 4) List full ISO values between 100 & 1600
  • 5) Define the principle of reciprocals in photography.
  • 6) How much additional light are you letting into your camera by opening your aperture from f/5.6 to f/4?
  • 7) How many stops of light do you lose if you double the distance from subject to light source?
  • 8) What are 3 ways to change your depth of field?
  • 9) Is light softer when you are closer or farther from the source?
  • 10) What gives you softer light, a large or small light source?
  • 11) What is White Balance?
  • 12) How does light from a flash differ from traditional lamp bulbs (tungsten)?
  • 13) What type of gel should you use to balance a flash to tungsten light?
  • 14) What is the 1/Focal Length rule?
  • 15) What does a cropped sensor do to your focal length?
  • 16) What is dynamic range?
  • 17) What are the color spaces and how do they differ?
  • 18) How many megapixels do you need to add to double your image size?


I love thinking about all of this data!! Its amazing how it is all connected. Like combining questions 5, 9, and 13 to shoot ambient light one shot and flash the next to produce 2 drastically different looks! Remember, I’m not saying you HAVE to know all of this. I am saying that when something unexpected happens to your gear/setup/art direction (and it will!), if you have a great grasp on these topics, you will have the technical knowledge to figure out what is happening, why it is happening, and how to solve the problem without freaking out in front of your client.

If you would like more hands on learning check out one of my workshops! I would love to sit down with you and explain anything here in greater detail! 
Keep Shooting!
-Chris W ‘WhonPhoto’

Guatemala 2013

Guess what, folks? We are going to Guatemala once again (shocking, I know)! This year, we are blessed to be able to spend 3 weeks in this beautiful country with some beautiful people!  Even though the trip is not until July, we are already preparing to go! Whether it be brainstorming fundraiser ideas, collecting shoes and toys, or coming up with kid-friendly crafts, everyone who has committed to go this year is busy prepping! WhonPhoto’s primary task this year is to produce a promotional video for IMPACTO Ministries. Once the video is completed, viewers will see a glimpse of the various ministries that IMPACTO staff and mission teams are involved with as a means of helping to better the lives of our brothers and sisters in Guatemala.

As mentioned previously, once again this year we will be working with IMPACTO Ministries, which is a ministry organization operating primarily in the Lake Atitlan region of Guatemala. Over the years, we have been a part of several different ministries including Happy Feet, Happy Tummies, Help Portrait, construction projects, vacation Bible schools, and a basketball camp, and this year’s activities are panning out to include a lot of the same. But no matter what we are doing, of course, there will be plenty of photo ops!



Thanks to Epson, we have been able to take a portable printer (Epson Picturemate) with us for the past 3 years and actually print portraits on location for the Guatemalans that we interact with while serving in various villages. Sometimes it’s a family portrait and sometimes it’s just a plain ol’ individual portrait. Last year we were able to take portraits of participants in the basketball camp and give each person a 4×6 photo of themselves holding a basketball! This doesn’t seem like anything special to us here in the United States, but to the Guatemalans, just a simple photo of themselves is a precious gift. It’s incredible to be able to witness the beautiful smiles of the folks we provide with portraits, especially because most of them have never seen a photo of themselves, let alone owned one!


Epson’s gracious donation of a Picturemate Printer two years ago has been a huge help, as we have been able to double the amount of photos we’ve printed while in Guatemala. And, it’s been great to have a “back-up” in case one of the printers malfunctions or gets damaged (which did happen during our most recent trip). We always are in need of donations, whether it be printer paper for the photography ministry (Help Portrait), shoes for Happy Feet, stickers for the VBS, or simply money for one of the many other ministries we do while in Guatemala. If you are interested in donating or in finding out more information about the various ways you can get involved in this year’s Guatemala trip, please visit our Give page to find more info on our trips and how you can help make a difference!! We are all super excited, and we can’t wait to share more with you in weeks to come!

Keep Shooting!
Chris W ‘WhonPhoto’