GRANITE?FALLS - Melissa Syring knew there was a market for professional-quality photography when she heard the Frozen In Time studio in Granite Falls was on the market. She knew because she'd been successfully operating out of the basement of her home on a farm outside Hanley Falls for seven-and-a-half years.
"I knew the clientele was there because they came, even driving down gravel roads in the middle of winter," Syring said.
Scott Dreier started Frozen in Time in 2000. This summer, he decided to put the business on the market and move to Texas to be closer to his family. Surprisingly in this economy, it wasn't on the market very long at all.
Photo by Steve Browne
Melissa Syring bought Frozen in Time photography studio in July after operating a successful studio out of the basement of her home on a farm near Hanley Falls for seven-and-a-half years.
"We were contacted by a couple of people who were interested, but she was the best fit for the business," Dreier said. "We spent 12 years building the business in Granite Falls, our customers are important to us and we felt she'd be good for our customers."
Syring learned photography by experimenting with cameras, taking online courses, and a course in St. Paul offered by a camera outlet. These helped her direct and discipline her passion for photography.
"We were taught an exercise, to sit in one spot and take 20 to 50 photographs. Now, even if I'm stuck here all day I'll still sit in one spot and look at things from there," Syring said.
After growing her home business, Syring found the space too limiting. When a friend told her Frozen in Time was on the market, she jumped at the chance to expand.
"I came in on a Wednesday, saw it on Thursday, and had the papers drawn up on Friday," Syring said. "As soon as I went to the shooting room I knew I wasn't leaving until we had something set up. We closed on July 15."
Syring said her business has been mostly weddings, school pictures, sports, and a lot of passport photos, up to four or five a day. She doesn't have any staff right now, though her husband comes in to help with setting up and tearing down sets, but she said she's definitely thinking of hiring somebody next year to help with scheduling and bookkeeping if the business keeps up.
Asked why photography studios still do a thriving business in a time when digital cameras make shooting, downloading and printing photos easy and cheap, Syring said there is still a demand for professional quality prints, and something that comes from having a certain way of looking at things.
"You have to have a photographer's eye," Syring said. "We just have a different eye for things and we can see things that aren't even there for other people. If you have a little girl, you don't just see the little girl, you see the potential of the photography before you."