By Tegan Burkhard | Photography by Emily Brashier
Randy Taylor looks through the viewfinder of his camera, gently pressing down the shutter button to capture the essence of the family in front of him. At Taylor Made Photography, clients leave with a lasting portrait that both preserves their memories and helps outsiders form impressions.
“That portrait to you is just a jog of your memory and helps keep your memories alive,” Taylor says. “To other people, it makes a statement about who you are, what you are.”
Taylor has been in the photography business long enough to have mastered the art of telling stories about his subjects with his camera lens. A natural artist, Taylor made the transition from watercolorist, potter and certified jeweler in the middle of his 10-year art educator career in Sapulpa. Once he and his wife made the move to Edmond in 1984, Taylor opened his first Edmond studio, this time on Santa Fe Avenue. Nine years later, in 1993, Taylor built his current building on W. 15th Street and has been shooting portraits of Edmond newborns, seniors, families, businesses and more ever since.
“Once I learned the technical part, I was able to use my artistic training and the technical part so that way I could produce not only pictures but portraits,” Taylor says.
When Taylor first got his start, he had the advantage not only of 10 years of experience behind him, but an undersaturated market. When he switched his full-time focus to photography in Edmond, he was one of three Oklahoma City master photographers. He took his camera into many Nichols Hills, Oak Tree and Gaillardia houses for in-home family portrait sessions. Since then, however, Taylor has seen a serious shift in the industry.
With the advent of cellphones and social media, Taylor has noticed that fewer people have an interest in capturing important milestones with professional photography. They also prefer a less permanent CD, which can disintegrate within five years, instead of taking home permanent, physical portraits.
“It’s really depressing to me because there is an art,” Taylor says. “I still study. I’ve been at it 40 years, and I still study every day.”
Nowadays, Taylor has noticed that families flock to amature, unofficially licensed photographers without proper training, experience or equipment to knock out graduation photos or family pictures. When he sees the end results of these sessions, Taylor can quickly point out distracting flaws like big shadows, sun flares and spacing issues. For Taylor, portraits are not to be taken lightly.
“I want full control of my camera, because it’s a tool. It’s no different than owning a paintbrush or a pencil or a keyboard,” Taylor says. “You create a portrait in your head and in your heart. And then that camera only records it. But if you don’t know how to make that camera dance, it won’t be able to tell people the story.”
In fact, Taylor attends photography conventions every year to brush up on his wide range of skills while picking up the newest innovations and techniques. With more than 40 years of training, Taylor can easily manipulate images to create a true piece of art, whether flipping a deer horizontally so it looks into the photo instead of off the page or create a virtual oil painting from a digital photograph.
Book a session with Taylor or Chasity Rozell, and rest assured that these master and certified professional photographers will deliver an aesthetically pleasing product. Besides retouching and editing out stray hairs or pesky pimples, Taylor Made Photography also offers plenty of session options to help clients make the best personal statement for years to come.
“A portrait is more a piece of art. It’s something that you put more of your heart and soul into,” Taylor says. “You make corrections. You make sure that there’s leading lines coming into the portrait. You make sure that the ambiance of the atmosphere and the surroundings is like you want it. So there’s a lot more involved in doing a portrait than taking a picture.”
In addition to working with skilled staff members like Shelly Trower, portrait consultant, and Adam Weatherly, digital production manager, clients can also pose for a session without fear of liability. As a professional studio, Taylor Made Photography has the proper indemnity and liability insurance, as well as a community-focus. Since Taylor Made Photography cares about its community, Taylor points out that his studio regularly contributes to school fundraisers and pays the proper community sales taxes to help with education and road improvements.
“You have to be involved in the community,” Taylor says. “You have to donate and help the community survive.”
This community focus also comes into play when a new client mentions his or her family member once had their photo taken by Taylor. A family-oriented photographer, Taylor considers their interests and family activities when photographing the whole family. For families who spend their summers at the lake, Taylor will gladly hop on a boat to capture images of the parents and kids sitting on the dock. Families who share a passion for cars can bring some of their prized possessions to the studio for an outdoor session.
As for another main focus at Taylor Made Photography, graduating high school seniors have four choices, from location shoots and indoor sessions to 4D photos and onsite outdoor sittings. An artistic senior can opt to pose in front of Paseo District structures and buildings during a location session, while a fashionista can stand on one of Taylor Made Photography’s outdoor gallery sets, from a cabana house and rustic barn to a waterfall and creek bridge. Inside, seniors can choose from various backdrops or props, while for 4D sessions, photographers can superimpose seniors’ images on stunning backgrounds like football stadiums and swimming pools.
Whether coming to Taylor for a full family session or a senior portrait, or requesting a retouch of a damaged old portrait, clients can entrust Taylor Made Photography with their memories.
“I tell people all the time that we don’t sell paper. We don’t sell pictures. What we do is we just trim off a real thin slice of time and make it permanent for you,” Taylor says.
How to find them
Taylor Made Photography
1130 W. 15th St., taylormadephotography.com