Almost 16 years ago, The Portrait Gallery was a dream turned into reality for Claudia Page Carter. After graduating from Randolph Community College with a degree in Portrait Photography, she was led to Concord, NC, where she worked at a well-known portrait studio as an assistant for several years, learning new tools of the trade. Later, she moved back to her roots in Winston-Salem and worked as a free-lance photographer while maintaining a full-time job at a professional photofinishing lab. Through these work experiences, Claudia learned all the “tricks of the trade” and when the timing became just right, she took that leap of faith and opened her very own studio in Clemmons. She has had a thriving portrait studio ever since, photographing newborns, children, and families all around the Triad area.
“Not only do I get to go to work every day and LOVE what I do, but I have to say that I have the coolest job there is! Where else can you go to work and make new friends, act like kid, be creative, evoke emotions, laugh, and cry all in the same day?” states Claudia. “I am blessed beyond measure. To be able to have watched babies turning into teenagers and know that I have been just a small part of their life by taking photographs that their parents will always see and remember that special day or moment. I recently had a customer, Beth, tell me that every time she looks at the portraits I did of her son and daughter, I cross her mind as well. That brought tears to my eyes! By making that type of connection with my customers, I can give them exactly what they want with my photographs. I sincerely consider all my customers to be a part of my extended family”
Claudia’s talent and passion for photography along with her special ability to connect with people, has proven itself with three awards during 2011. The Portrait Gallery won Best Family Photographer with Triad Moms On Main “2011 Choice Awards,” the Best Photographer from the Winston-Salem Journal’s “Readers Choice Awards,” and Claudia won Member of the Year with the Lewisville-Clemmons Chamber of Commerce, where she holds the Board position VP of Events and Meetings. She is also a Board member with CareNet Counseling of Winston-Salem and is on the planning committee for the Dog Park at Tanglewood.
Through the years, portrait photography styles have changed. Claudia’s art has stayed true to the more classic style of portraiture. “Not every image has to have a huge a smiling face in it”, she said. “Sometimes, the simple, this-is-me look is just what my customer is looking for”. The studio likes a consultation prior to the session to discuss what type set, whether in the studio or on location, what style portrait, clothing, and the best appointment time for the subjects being photographed. During the session, Claudia works “her magic” to create not only beautiful photographs but a memorable experience. “I want my customers to feel at home when they are here. I want their session to be as stress free as possible. I want them to remember what a great experience they had here!”
Here is what one of Claudia’s customers, Andrea, had to say about the studio:
“The first time that I took my daughter to the Portrait Gallery she was 6 months old. I had taken her to a department store for her first Christmas photos and was highly disappointed in them. Claudia was able to work us in and made her first Christmas pictures the beginning of a wonderful relationship. Over the years Claudia has sang to my daughter to get the perfect smile, tromped around bushes and spiders for awesome outdoor memories and has been like a member of our family.
Everyone that sees my daughter’s pictures wants to know who takes them and I tell them that she is the best at what she does. Our family recently had our fall pictures taken at Tanglewood and as always we had a great time, which made my decision even harder when the proofs arrived. I chose a beautiful picture of my daughter in front of a tree and decided to get a 16 x20. When I got to the studio to pick up the framed portrait, I cried. This was the most beautiful picture of my 6 year old. So of course Claudia teared up and I thanked her for all of the beautiful pictures that she has taken over the course of my daughter’s life and she replied that it was all my daughter. But it’s not. You have to have a wonderful, exciting, fun photographer to get the right tilt of the head and the perfect smile. This is why our family has our photos taken by Claudia at the Portrait Gallery.”
*Sponsored by The Portrait Gallery