Shannon Holmberg knows all about the day-to-day operations of a photography studio, as she has handled managerial and customer service duties at Michael Cerizo's downtown business for the past eight years.
Now, she is ready to focus on the side of the business behind the camera lens, as she has opened a new photo studio and art photography gallery at 524 Lake Avenue in Storm Lake.
Holmberg, who has been involved in art photography for six years and portrait photography for three years, has opened the doors to Emagination Gallery, a business offering portrait work for families, children and high school seniors, and a gallery of Holmberg's colorful art photography.
The opportunity to open up a photo studio came when Cerizo moved to Winterset to start a portrait studio, and Holmberg said she decided to take advantage of the chance to start her own business.
"For me, this was a great opportunity, and it seemed like the right time to do this," Holmberg said. "I've always dreamed of being able to open a gallery like this."
A lover of art since childhood, Holmberg, 47, said her enthusiasm about the subject came rushing back six years ago, when Cerizo encouraged her to begin working with art photography, which involves manipulating Polaroid images by hand to create an artwork from a still picture. After improving her techniques in that field for three years, Holmberg decided to learn more about the world of portrait photography, and studied under Cerizo and other Master Photographers from around the state and nation.
Holmberg said her venture into the portrait and art photography business has allowed her to put her creative side and imagination to good use.
"Sometimes people are so busy with work and family and life that they put their creative side on the back burner, and that is what I did," Holmberg said. "It feels good to know that I'm being creative again, and I'm able to use it to start a business and provide income."
Holmberg said one of the aspects of the business she is looking forward to the most is the opportunity to capture treasured pictures of high school seniors from around the area.
"I'm really excited about being able to do that," Holmberg said. "It's always fun to work with the high school kids, and I want to be able to try some new ideas and be creative with those pictures."
She also said she also wants to take advantage of new technology in the photography field, particularly with digital cameras and computer applications.
"There are some really exciting things happening in photography right now," Holmberg said. "There are a lot of new ideas and tools to help both in portrait and art photography."
Holmberg said she will eventually expand Emagination Gallery to include wedding photography, and is also anticipating adding new art photography works to the gallery inside the building for people to purchase for home or business decoration.
The business will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday.
A ribbon cutting to celebrate the opening will be held on April 15.