Images Studios goes beyond digital files and makes your memories meaningful

In our smartphone age where just about everyone walks around with a camera in their pocket, memories are easy to collect.

But Susie O’Connor has come to a deeper appreciation of real, printed photographs—especially for something important like a family portrait.

This isn’t some stubborn old-fashioned streak. O’Connor is a young, forward-looking professional photographer who embraces the amazing capabilities of emerging technologies. She loves digital pictures. The problem, she says, is what happens to them after they are taken. 

Too often they are seen, shared once, and then they are forgotten.

“Computers crash, Facebook accounts get hacked and USBs corrupt. People lose their phones and don’t back them up. That is now a life of memories gone,” she said. 

“We’re drowning in photographs on our phones, and they become less valuable. That’s why a historical record and legacy heirlooms are so important.”

O’Connor is the second-generation owner of Images Studios, a family business founded by her father George Fraser. She is accredited by the Professional Photographers of Canada, holds a Master of Photographic Arts designation, and has won national awards for her work. 

She feels strongly that it is printed photographs that will endure and be passed on as a legacy to future generations. Her clients appreciate that too— that’s why families, brides and grooms, high school grads, and others come to her.

“I am proud that we are a print-based photographic studio. Print first,” she said. “Our clients always get the digital files too—they want to be able to show them off, to share them with family and friends via social media or email. Even digital photo frames have their place. 

“But legacy, and appreciating your portraits, is very important. Being able to pass on a tangible, durable photographic legacy is priceless.”

The sessions are stress-free and fun

The portraiture process is a fun family event in itself. O’Connor begins with a consultation so she can get to know the people she will be working with. Is there a goofball in the family? Is someone naturally shy? What are the family’s shared interests, or those of individual family members? Knowing these things can make the session more fun and the pictures more meaningful.

“My aim is to create a fun, authentic, stress-free experience with images you will love for generations to come,” she said. “The session is a memory-making opportunity in itself.” 

The consultations are done in-person, rather than by an impersonal exchange of texts or emails. This gives clients a chance to meet face to face, talk about location, hair and makeup, clothing, and other options that will optimize their session.  

“I can’t wait to learn more about what you’re looking for to guarantee success,” O’Connor said. “We will plan and carefully design your session to bring your vision to life. You’re going to get to know my personality and in turn I’ll get to know yours, and understand your family dynamics, before I click the shutter.”

 The result will be images you relate to and enjoy seeing on your wall, your desk, or in the album that is a part of your package — O’Connor guarantees it. She is confident in her connection with her clients. “We guarantee that people will love their portraits, or we will take them again,” she said.

That album, or the canvas on your wall or your desk art, is O’Connor’s finished product: she considers just sending you the digital files to be a job half-done. She says she was surprised to learn that when a client receives just the digital files from a photographer, only about 20 per cent of people follow through and get them printed. 

The remaining 80 per cent have ended up forgotten, if not lost, on old CDs or on computer hard drives. 

On the other hand, she says, she shouldn’t be surprised to learn this. She has paid for sessions herself where she has received digital files instead of prints, and admits she’s never done anything with them but a single social media post.

 There’s something to be said for living in the present

She is happy to advise clients on the best ways to save and present their images so they can be enjoyed for years and years. She is an expert not only at taking photographs, but also at displaying them. 

 “I help my clients with their design choices and purchasing options,” she said. “I walk them through a very easy step-by-step process, so it’s not daunting to have the Images Studios experience.”

The family portrait has long been a standard piece of family history. Most of us have old colour, black-and-white, and even sepia-toned prints of past generations. The current widespread interest in genealogy has proven the value of those cherished pictures.

 But without dwelling too much on the legacy value of having a family portrait done, O’Connor said there is something to be said for living in the present.

 “Especially since our world was upended in March of 2020, family portraits, and families being together, is even more important than it was only two years ago,” she said. “When family time was taken away, we came to realize how much the Sunday dinners, the backyard barbecues, and holiday get-togethers mean to us.”

“And basically,” she said, “I’m there to capture it for you: the love, the blessings, the happily ever after.”