From under the brim of a ten-gallon hat, the stern face of a rifle-toting man peers out across a table laden with liquor bottles. Despite appearances, this isn’t Wyatt Earp. Rather, he’s the subject of a signature old-time photo taken at The Solvang Photographers and Photo Gallery. Here, modern-day subjects slip easily into the period garb of Southern belles, gun slingers, bar ladies, and outlaw cacti to pose for sepia-toned photographs. Started by Geoffrey T. Grant in 1976 and now helmed by his daughter and her husband, the family-run business welcomes subjects of all ages into its camera’s scope for unique portraits of families, couples, kids, and friends.
Tara Jones takes a picture every day, whether she’s working or not. This passion for aesthetic excellence landed her at the Brooks Institute, and her restless ambition led her to open Flare Productions a year before graduating. In the decade since, Tara has composed stunning shots of the Californian landscape, documented countless weddings, and captured the smiles of subjects lit by both natural light or the natural shine of teeth that’ve mistakenly gnawed on glow sticks.
Tara shares her infectious enthusiasm with the clients she shoots and the students she teaches. During introductory workshops, she elegantly explains how to manipulate manual camera settings to enhance the story woven into every still image. She also takes time to answer any questions that students may have in regard to printing or eating photos.
"I have always been a sucker for a good love story." So says Madison Hunter, one half of the photography duo behind i heart my groom, who attests in her online bio that she still sheds a tear at every wedding she captures from behind the lens. Along with her business partner and fellow romantic Felicia Greenwald, Hunter travels the country and the globe to capture all manner of love stories, from engagements to nuptials to the ethereal glow of mothers-to-be. Their past projects have led them to sandy beaches to snap candid shots of couples exchanging vows, feasting on barbecue, and prying horseshoe crabs from the bride’s train to romantic country carriage houses replete with vintage charm. Regardless of location, the snap-happy duo work closely with their subjects to ensure each shot is as unique as it is memorable so that the images will feel timeless for years to come.
Professionally trained as both a photographer and psychologist, Joseph Braun uses both skills to put his subjects at ease so that he can capture candid moments of joy and curiosity. He churns out authentic black-and-white and color images of adults and children, as well as artfully composed portraits of their animal companions.
Professionally operated by licensed California photographer Lindsey Kimball, who specializes in digital editing and light-handed retouching, Left Coast Design Studio offers groups a one-hour, high-quality photo session (up to a $150 value) at the location of their choice with up to four people (a $15 fee applies to each additional person). Photographees can create their own personal photo-session theme and pose for 60 minutes as Lindsey rips reflected light beams out of the air. Families can commemorate a new baby, or newly engaged couples can celebrate the traditional way by setting their photos in the nearest post office. Once the session is complete, choose five high-quality digital images with printing rights (a $75 value) or five 5"x7" prints (a $60 value), with the option to purchase additional prints at 15% off.