Though Randy Taylor’s passion for photography has taken him to the Iditarod dogsled race in Alaska and back, he spends most of his time at Taylor Made Photography capturing shots of families and kids. Back in the studio or outside in its gardens—complete with footbridge, tire swing, hay bales, and stone archways—Randy and his staff compose classic portraits marked by vibrant colors and flattering light. To keep his skills up to snuff, the 30-year industry veteran regularly participates in photography competitions and acts as a judge himself at national circuit conventions where he’s impervious to bribes, no matter how much saltwater taffy they entail.
Kevin and Carolyn Whitaker, the photographers behind Whitaker Portrait Design, have been snapping photos for more than three decades. They specialize in formal portraits of subjects such as families, bridal parties, and high-school seniors. They also have a special knack for working with children, and they can recommend various props and backgrounds for kids' photo sessions. Depending on the client's preference, the Whitakers might take photos indoors at their studio or outdoors amid natural light.
Take 2 Productions specializes in digital media, snapping photographs, filming events, and preserving past memories with video transfer services. Photographers travel to athletic competitions to capture team pictures and memorialize family trees with traditional portraiture. To enhance existing reels, Take 2 Productions edits and transfers VHS and camcorder footage to DVD format, adding in background music, title cards, and celebrity cameos for posterity.
Bearing the titles of Master of Photography and Photographic Craftsman from Professional Photographers of America, David and Ally McKay embody the keen vision and aesthetic prowess that separated good photographers from great ones. They share these skills during classes at McKay Photography Academy, where they train eyes, fingers, and imaginations to work in tandem as a snapshooting dream machine. Their classes help aspiring photographers progress from neophytes to seasoned pros; the Beginning Digital Photography course teaches students to harness the intricacies of their instruments, and the Pro Academy offers inside tips on how to successfully snap wedding portraits, pose recent grads, or tease out candid emotions. When not busy instructing the next generation of shutterbugs, David and Ally also devise photo safaris, which send small teams of photographers to capture shots of famed landmarks including San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge; the Lincoln Memorial of Washington, DC; or Yosemite's 60-foot statue of Yogi Bear.
When photographer Annamarie Garcia peers through her lens, she scopes out moments that reveal her subject's personality or capture the emotion of milestone events, from weddings to pageants. In the last 10 years, Funny Face Family Photography has blossomed from a single shutterbug to a team of eight determined to artistically frame smiles and disprove the existence of bunny ears. Using whimsical backgrounds and props, professional lighting, and wardrobes, the photo team snaps families in kinetic poses and couples with love-locked eyes. In addition to dynamic in-studio work, flash poppers travel as far as Houston to shoot weddings, senior photos, or UFO sightings, and they can even set up shop at the hospital to capture images of proud new parents and their bundles of joy.
Colorband PhotoArtisans are Roy Groat Jr. and Jamie Chen, whose photographing abilities transform beautiful scenery into beautifully crafted images. Before on-camera debuts, models have the option to meet with the photographers and discuss the shoot. During the portrait session, the picture makers will make pictures while subjects pose through two outfit swaps and two background changes (a $150 value). Emphasis is placed on creating great images in the studio with minimal digital darkroom enhancement. However, digital manipulations can be added upon request, from adding texture overlays or halos to simply shuffling faces around to confuse future generations.