BY AARON BREWINGTON
Photographer Jeff Richardson has a philosophy about creating family portraits—he feels they should be an experience. He says there are plenty of competent photographers who can take a photo for the annual Christmas card. What he focuses on, he says, is capturing the really special moments.
“Where we come along is when it matters,” says Richardson, 43, owner of Richardson Studio, located in the Wicks Building on the north side of the downtown Square. “For whatever reason—you hit a milestone and need a portrait that shows who your family really is—that is when we get a call.”
Originally from Seymour, Indiana, Richardson and his wife, Michelle, 42, both worked at his father’s photography studio there from 1995–2006. In February 2007, they set out on their own, moved to Bloomington, and founded Richardson Studio. While they specialize in portraits, they also do weddings and commercial work, often traveling around the country for clients.
Richardson says he customizes the entire family portrait experience, beginning with getting to know his subjects’ lifestyles and ending with framing and installation. He brings in his daughter Andrea, a senior fashion design major at Indiana University, to help select the wardrobe, often including personal shopping sessions. Michelle helps with sales, makeup, and showing clients the final product via virtual tours.
He says creating a family portrait experience takes a lot more than point-and-shoot photography. “You can’t just line everyone up and hope they look right,” Richardson says. “We go through the whole process, making every aspect of the photo look as good as possible. If you combine all of those elements and everyone looks cool, then you have an upscale, swag portrait. We’re creating art.”