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Tracy Frank, Published September 04 2010

Photographers look for niche in Fargo-Moorhead area

In the middle of labor, her belly swollen with twins and her mind filled with the knowledge that her babies are on their way, Erin Froslie glanced up at her husband, Dean. The love between them was palpable.

The expectant parents may not have realized that they had taken a moment for each other in the middle of all that was happening and they likely would not have remembered the look that said so much had it not been for a photographer, who quietly and unobtrusively preserved the story of their twins’ births through her camera lens.

“The moment when that baby enters the world, it is amazing,” said photographer Ann Arbor Miller. “It is an amazing experience to participate in and to be allowed to document.”

Miller’s birth story photography is an example of the unique photographic work being done in the Fargo-Moorhead market.

With the numbers of new photography businesses popping up – sometimes as many as two or three new ones each month – experienced photographers say it’s more important than ever to create their own niche.

After all, photography is more than posed senior pictures and weddings these days. Photographing kids, babies, and pets – even senior photos and weddings – as events unfold has become increasingly popular.

Milestones Photography, based in West Fargo, was one of the first area photography businesses to use this photojournalism style in its wedding and portrait photography.

Owner and photographer Dave Arntson and principal photographer Britta Trygstad both have photojournalism backgrounds.

“We cut our teeth on shooting sports and fires and all of that helps in photographing a wedding day by being able to anticipate moments, knowing how to stay out of the way,” Arntson said.

For Milestones, it’s their experience and award-winning photography that sets them apart.

“It’s those emotional moments that happen in an instant that we’re able to get,” Arntson said.

Capturing elusive moments is also the specialty of photographer Ria Czichotzki of rialee photography in Fargo. She shoots photos of newborns less than 2 weeks old.

“It’s such an amazing time in the life of a family, and you just don’t get that time back,” Czichotzki said. “You’re kind of sleep-deprived and you don’t remember those first few moments, so it’s great to have them in images.”

Czichotzki is a self-taught mom-turned-photography-entrepreneur. She has also started offering playful dog portraits shot in studio or on location.

“I do think it’s important that anybody who is looking into having a business finds their own niche,” she said.

Several area photographers offer specialized techniques or unique services that set them apart.

To make sure you’re working with a reputable photographer, Arntson and Miller suggest asking to see the photos from an entire session to get a feel for a photographer’s quality and style. A lot of people can get one or two good photos, they say.

Consumers should also ask about experience and equipment, such as what happens if a photographer only has one camera and it breaks during a wedding.


Readers can reach Forum reporter Tracy Frank at (701) 241-5526