By Alyssa Schnugg
While creating frames for photographs, Oxford resident Renee Wofford discovered a new talent that she now uses to capture a family’s joyful moments forever.
About five years ago, Wofford and her husband were making photo frames from reclaimed wood from various homesteads around Mississippi to sell. She needed high-quality photos of the frames to post online for marketing purposes.
She bought a new DSLR camera and started taking pictures.
“I found that I enjoyed photographing my products more than I enjoyed making them,” she said. “It was then I began investing more time in learning about photography.”
Now the owner of studio1825, Wofford specializes in documentary family photography, a fairly new style of taking family portraits that “captures the beauty of authentic and natural family life.”
“Photographers like me don’t use any posing techniques, special lighting, or filters,” Wofford said. “Instead we photograph families connecting and engaging with each other in activities that are meaningful to them, while framing them in great compositions that already exist in their environment, balancing beauty and timelessness with authenticity.”
Wofford’s educational background is in psychology/counseling; however, while working on her master’s degree, her education was put on hold when she and her husband moved to Calhoun City to help care for a family member.
“In addition to working with people, art and design have also always been a passion of mine, so I started exploring different creative disciplines with the hopes of finding one that I might be able to build a business around,” she said. “Photography ended up being a wonderful fusion of the two subject areas I enjoy most, and once I spent some time honing my skills and practicing on some very patient and understanding friends and family, I decided to make the jump and create a business out of it.”
Photo sessions are very laid back, according to Wofford, who visits with clients before the shoot to learn about their personalities and take time to get to know each other.
“I’ll never ask a client (or their kiddos) to sit uncomfortably or to hold a forced smile, but I will gladly capture your family’s authentic laughs, mistakes, triumphs and moments of love and affection,” she said.
Wofford works with families to find activities that feel natural and authentic to them, then a session is planned around those activities.
“I’ve photographed everything from just simply blowing bubbles on a picnic blanket in the front yard to following a family’s day at the state fair,” she said. “More athletic families like for me to come to photograph a day of games outside, either at their home or a park, while other families prefer to emphasize a simple day at home spent baking or gardening.”
Wofford said that documentary photos convey what it really feels like to be in your family, more than just what a family looks like.
“There’s humor, silliness, struggle, triumph, happiness, and love that all find their way into my work,” she said.
Wofford said another plus to her style of photography is allowing “moms” to be a part of the fun.
“I find that moms are many times the ones photographing those real-life family moments, so they tend to get left out of the actual images,” she said.
While Wofford has lived in Oxford now for about 10 years, her photography has helped her to get to know her fellow Oxonians better as her business grows.
“I’m truly honored to have the opportunity to work with families here, and I’m excited to see what the future brings,” she said.