Bob Caldwell Photography Displays at Mall For 30+ Years Running, Latest Ends March 14

Published Monday, February 29, 2016 at 1:59 pm

Bob Caldwell Photography’s cuurrent “Family Portrait Display” at the Boone Mall runs for two more weeks.

Feb. 29, 2016. For more than 30 years straight, Bob Caldwell Photography has displayed its work in the middle of the Boone Mall for shoppers to see. These days, the photo firm is averaging two displays per year.

The most recent “Family Portrait Display” has been up for about two months now and closes on March 14.

“If you are going to show your work, the best place is where people go,” Caldwell said.

When he was 10 years old, Bob Caldwell developed his first roll of black and white film. Today, he photographs with a Nikon DSLR and there are no darkrooms involved, but he still loves the craft just as much as he did back then.

Caldwell grew up in Gastonia, then attended and graduated from Appalachian State University in 1972 with a degree in marketing. He went on to study photography –“focusing on portrait photography”—at a technical school in Asheboro.


Bob and Sharon Caldwell

He returned to the High Country, launched Bob Caldwell Photography and has since established himself as one of the area’s premier event and family photographers.

When he married his wife Sharon in 1983, they began to work together in photography. Through the years they have provided photography for practically any type of photo session—from weddings to sporting games, to sorority and fraternity functions to birthday parties but now Bob and Sharon focus primarily on family portraits.

Caldwell personally believes in the importance of documentation. At certain key points in your family’s history, he said, you want more than a photo you can take on a cell phone.

“Nationally, people are professionally photographed five times in their lifetime on average,” he said. “Weddings, family reunions, social functions… there has to be a special reason for it. Everyone has a cell and can snap their own photos.”

He sees it as his job to make sure a family’s personality shines through in a professional photo session. He makes the setting lighthearted and he treats each client as a close personal friend. In fact, he often becomes friends with the clients afterward.

“We work for local people,” Caldwell said. “You hope photographers aren’t just technicians or just artists. You hope they’re good people with good hearts. The camera is secondary.”

Bob and Sharon’s office is inside their home in Boone. Framed photos show off the artists’ work. When discussing potentially working with a client, Bob and Sharon use a different approach than most photographers they know.

“When I was in college I hated the idea of being a salesman,” Caldwell said. “I hate to be sold something. I’m still the same way.”

He never discusses money with a client right off the bat and does not have a set price list. Instead, he tries to work with individual clients before a scheduled session to decide what they really want from the experience. The end result is a collaborative effort between photographer and subject, he said.

“I want to make sure I’m the right photographer for them,” he said. “Price is important, but what are you buying?”

“If you work with people and you like working with people it all works out fine,” Caldwell said. “It’s a personal job. It’s not a business job. If someone’s happy—there’s where we get our referrals.”

A display of Bob and Sharon’s photography can be seen now at Boone Mall through the middle of March. They are encouraging families to plan now for spring and summer family portraits.

For more information about Bob Caldwell Photography and to see examples of the team’s work, check out


This is Bob Caldwell’s parents, William and Mildred Caldwell, holding his older brother, William. See the text below.






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