By Starrla Cray
DELANO, MN A silly smirk on the face of a toddler, a family laughing joyfully together, a bride and groom gazing tenderly into each other’s eyes . . . these are the moments Wendy Weiman adeptly captures with her photos.
“I love emotion,” said Wendy, who recently moved her photography business to 300 Railroad Avenue in Delano (the former site of Jewel’s Bridal Boutique).
In order to snatch those dynamic, timeless images, Wendy lets her clients act and move naturally during the session.
“I don’t mind when kids run around and get crazy,” she said. “That’s when I get the most personality out of them.”
Wendy began her business about eight years ago, out of a desire to create vibrant photos that show life as it’s unfolding.
Her own children were small at the time, and she started out by taking creative shots of them.
“My kids grew up with the business,” Wendy said. Under the direction of a master photographer, Wendy experimented with lighting, backdrops, poses, and expressions.
Pretty soon, other people were calling her to take photos for them, as well.
“It’s grown significantly,” she said.
She typically starts with traditional indoor settings and poses, but often does location shooting at clients’ favorite places.
“It was part time when I started, but now, it’s just kept growing,” said Wendy, who also has a full-time corporate job. In the next six months, she plans to transition exclusively to photography.
Before moving into her studio, Wendy shot out of a room in her home.
“The house just wasn’t big enough,” she said.
Wendy said her work is about 25 percent family shots and 25 percent high school seniors.
The rest of her time is spent photographing weddings, confirmations, anniversaries, and other special occasions.
Hot Mama photos
Wendy is also the primary photographer for Hot Mama, a company that offers designer clothing for moms and maternity clothing for moms-to-be.
Her partnership with the unique store got started in 2006, nearly by accident.
“I was in Maple Grove, looking for a boutique where I could put my photos up as a way to market my business,” Wendy said. She found the Hot Mama store, and learned about the company’s business model.
“I was just absolutely enthralled with everything they’re trying to do,” she said. Wendy’s husband, Tom, e-mailed the company’s founder, and they set up an initial meeting.
“We just really got along well with them,” Wendy said.
Natural and fun
Wendy said she is constantly pushing herself to master new techniques in her photography, and she also strives to help people feel comfortable during the session.
“People like the way she treats them. That’s what keeps people coming back,” said Wendy’s mother, Pam Petersen.
Pam, who has a technical background, does “behind the scenes” work such as website development and record keeping at Wendy’s studio.
Wendy’s mother-in-law, Karen Weiman, is also involved, serving as the studio manager.
“The three of us are a really good team,” said Karen, who has an extensive sales background. “We all bring our skills to the table.”
“It helps that we’re friends, as well,” Pam added. “Our goal is to help Wendy be successful. We so believe in her work. She’s done some really precious photos.”
“I couldn’t do this without them,” Wendy said.
Wendy’s other relatives aren’t directly employed in the business, but they’ve helped her develop her skills in subtle ways.
A few of the men in the family, for example, don’t like having their picture taken.
“Most of the time they’re fun guys, but when the camera comes, their expression is like the photos from the 1700s,” Wendy laughed.
As a result, Wendy’s learned how to help make photography fun, even for people who don’t normally enjoy the experience.
“That’s one of the things that sets Wendy apart,” Karen said.
Wendy also knows how to help timid children feel comfortable in front of a camera.
“I keep trying different things,” she said. “If I see them getting overwhelmed, I step back.”
Even though some people might not want to go to a professional photographer, Pam said it can be a wonderful way to savor once-in-a-lifetime memories.
“You go to a photographer to capture those pivotal moments,” she said.
Sometimes that means big events like weddings or graduations, but other times, it’s the everyday occurrences that have special meaning.
Wendy recalled a collage she made of her youngest son at age 2, in which he’s wearing a Los Angeles Dodgers cap from an extended family vacation to southern California.
“The hat did not come off,” Wendy laughed. “We actually had to get him a replacement because it eventually wore out.”
“I treasure those photos,” Pam added. “We were all part of that trip.”
Wendy encourages her clients to incorporate significant items into their sessions.
Sometimes, a child will have a favorite blanket or toy along, and parents won’t want it in the picture at first. More often than not, however, Wendy said parents end up purchasing at least one photo with the special item.
At Wendy’s studio, people are free to purchase as many, or as few, photos as they want.
“There’s no pressure to buy a certain amount,” Wendy said. “If you want to buy just one 8x10, we’re happy to sell you just one 8x10.”
Wendy Weiman Photography will be hosting a grand opening open house at the studio Saturday, April 16 from 1 to 5 p.m.
People will have the opportunity to learn more about the business, visit a photo booth, and win door prizes.
To learn more about Wendy Weiman Photography, go to www.wendyweiman.com or call (612) 636-8594.