Photographers team up on SH studio
Mandi Calhoun’s Tiny Blessings Photography and Kelly Wells Photography have teamed up and opened a new studio on the corner of W. Atlantic Street and S. Mecklenburg Avenue in South Hill’s Garland Building.
Wells and Calhoun have been friends for years, and they both knew it was only a matter of time before they joined forces.
Calhoun began Tiny Blessings Photography four years after taking photographs as a hobby for friends who asked. Wells started her photography business a few months after Calhoun, but she started basically the same way. A friend of Wells asked her to take her child’s senior portraits, and she finally agreed, turning a hobby into her career.
Both Calhoun and Wells started with their offices basically being on Facebook, but then Calhoun constructed a studio above her garage. Wells said the partnership started with her “bumming” Calhoun’s studio. She asked to use Calhoun’s studio one day, and then she continued to ask to use it whenever it was available.
They decided to officially team up two years ago, and since then they have only grown closer. Watching them work is like watching siblings who have grown up together. They play back and forth with one another, but they have also helped each other grow stronger in the art of photography.
Between the two of them they photograph every age group and cover various occasions.
Tiny Blessings Photography focuses on newborn photography, which is any baby from the day it is born up until 2 weeks old. Calhoun said her cut off for newborns is technically 2 weeks old, but if there are scheduling problems she can push that limit a little bit.
In the back room of their new studio she has her newborn studio set up that has everything needed for photographing the babies.
“They can come in with a naked baby, and that is all I need,” she said.
She has a fully stocked rolling cart that has diapers, wipes, toys and much more to make the experience as easy as possible for the parents and the children. In the newborn studio the lighting is different from the front studio to better suit newborns, and the temperature is set higher to ensure the babies feel comfortable.
She not only photographs newborns by themselves, she can also photograph the siblings and the families with the newborns. She said as long as there is a newborn involved she will be glad to set up a session.
Calhoun has a passion for newborn photography, and now that she and Wells are teaming up she can make that her sole focus. For anyone older than 2 weeks, that is where Wells steps in.
While Calhoun does most of her work in the studio, Wells ventures out and does more on location photo shoots. Wells will willingly travel to any location her clients want to be photographed at. She said she has gone all the way to Richmond and sometimes she has even gone to North Carolina. Wells does not charge a travel fee for any location within 30 miles of their studio.
She said she loves dealing with high school seniors doing their casual photographs.
“I connect with that age group well,” she said, suggesting the main reason she likes dealing with senior portraits is because the girls at that age want to be in front of the camera.
Wells is also in connection with local high schools, and if a senior chooses to use her for senior portraits, they can be submitted to the yearbook.
Wells loves taking senior portraits, but that is not her only focus. She will photograph almost any occasion her clients can think of, such as family portraits, senior portraits, engagement photos, professional head shots and much more.
The new shared studio allows the duo to show off their organic and natural style of photography better, with more natural light and more room for their vast stock of props. They said they hope working in the same environment will allow people to see the cohesion of their photography styles and continue to come back through the years to photograph all their special moments.
Calhoun and Wells both photograph by appointment only. To make an appointment with Wells, she suggests calling her at (434) 917-0194 as soon as you know you want to have the photographs done. Calhoun said when dealing with newborns she usually asks mothers to contact her at (434) 774-4069 when they find out they are expecting in order to make an appointment around their due date.
Tiny Blessings Photography and Kelly Wells Photography offer multiple packages, and not only do they offer digital copies of the photographs, they also do prints. They said they can print on almost anything the clients request such as wood, metal, announcements, photo books, etc., and if a client has a unique print request they are glad to look into ordering the proper materials.