LESTER PRAIRIE, MN Residents of Lester Prairie may have noticed changes at 27 Juniper Street, and may have met Laurie Ford of Laurie’s Shutter Flutter Photography and Art, as she has been spending a lot of time at the location.
Ford has been working the last two years to renovate what has become her new photography studio. She is planning an official opening sometime in March, though she has been providing occasional service to clients as needed throughout the process.
The search to find the perfect building to set up shop took Ford more than three years. She checked out places in the metro area, as well as several of the surrounding suburbs. It wasn’t until she landed in Lester Prairie that she found a building that checked off almost all the boxes on her list.
Through her artistic eye, Ford could see all the possibilities this building had to offer. Formerly a cold storage facility, and before that an implement dealer, the building was in rough shape appearance-wise. But the bones of the building were decent, and Ford could see the charm it had to offer in the small-town setting.
And so, it began . . .
Ford and her husband, Mark, tried to do as much of the work as they could themselves.
“There was an old coal chute on the side of the building that hadn’t been closed off, and several missing windows when we bought it. I must have wheelbarrowed 20 loads of dirt out of the building in the beginning,” Ford explained.
They repurposed the flooring in the front half of the studio. Ford spent hours sanding and refinishing, and the result is a rustic-looking floor.
The back half of the building received new flooring, as it was important to Ford that babies and children she is photographing have a nice space to crawl around and play.
She and Mark did all the framing for the walls, and they hired someone to do the drywall.
What was once a 3,000-square-foot open shell, has turned into eight different workspaces, to offer a variety of settings for photo shoots, storage for her vast number of backgrounds and props, and an office large enough for editing and other business purposes.
Looking forward to seeing new faces
“The folks I’ve met have been so welcoming and curious to see what we’re doing here,” said Ford. She’s looking forward to completion, so she can meet more members of the community.
The holiday season in 2018 and 2019 offered Ford the chance to meet some friendly faces. She worked in conjunction with the community breakfast group with the Lester Prairie Lion’s Club, and setup a staging area so when people finished their breakfast, they could pop into the studio for a photo opportunity with Santa.
Art has been a passion for Ford all her adult life. She began in the graphic design industry after graduating and continued for 26 years. Wanting to expand her wings, she went back to school to study photography, and she has been capturing life’s precious moments ever since.
Ford’s specialty is newborn through senior high portraits. She also does a fantastic job with pet portraits, maternity shots, and family pictures.
Over the years, Ford has built a following of clients.
Recently, she took some time off from renovations to do a shoot for a 3-year-old whose newborn portraits she had also done. The family traveled from southern Minnesota for the appointment, because they were so thrilled with the results from their first session.
“Children offer a challenge and a satisfaction that I really enjoy. You’re never really sure what they might do next,” said Ford.
Senior high school portraits have also been a favorite of hers, and she is happy to work around students’ sometimes-crazy schedules. She tells them, “Be unique. Be you!”
When Ford purchased the building, she also purchased the lot next to it. She plans to turn it into a nice grassy area with gardens and an arbor that will offer a setting for outdoor portraits.
Even though she has training in film photography and development and keeps a film camera on hand her preference is digital photography. She’s been working on digital paintings, and hopes to offer those in the future.
To watch for updates on her grand opening, to see some examples of her work, or for more information, check her out on social media; or visit her website, http://www.lauriesshutterflutter.com.
Ford is at her shop most days, and once open, will be available Tuesday through Saturday.