Memories are the things that make life rich, and photographs illustrate our memories, giving us a peek into the past to see our loved ones and what they were doing decades ago. For Alison Clinton, photography is all about capturing the special moments that are snapshots in time of real people living real life in the moment. As the owner of Horizon Photo, it is a gift she has been able to give her clients for the past fourteen years.
In 2002, Alison began working with Jeff Gullickson—then owner of Horizon Photo, primarily as a wedding photographer. Five years later in 2007, she bought the business from Gullickson and she’s been capturing precious moments ever since.
“I do love the art of this job and shooting, but it’s really because of the people that I keep wanting to do this,” Alison shares.
Alison’s schedule nowadays is mostly filled with high school senior and family sessions. However, she does it all, from weddings to businesses and beyond. The crux of Alison’s business is built on strong relationships with her clients. “I build relationships quickly for the sake of the photo in that moment, but I continue to build relationships with my clients after their session too,” she says.
The importance of a good relationship with your photographer is the difference between an okay photograph and a great one. Alison adds, “I try to get to know clients so I can see when they’re giving a true smile versus a fake smile.”
Comfortable relationships with clients allows Alison to capture their true personalities in photos. She goes beyond just small talk, and gets excited for her clients and what they have going on in their lives.
Alison shares that in her experience photos turn out the best when clients are relaxed and being true to their personality. “My best advice for seniors, or anyone, is to choose clothes that you love and that you feel confident in. I think senior photos especially are supposed to show who you are at this time in your life,” Alison explains.
Alison’s relationships with her clients are one of the things that set her photography a level above. She loves to see how each client, especially high school seniors, grow and change over time.
“I also think that’s what is cool about our small community,” she adds. “You get to see kids stay friends over the years.” And Alison gets to follow them as she photographs their senior photos, later their wedding photos, and even their baby photos. Alison says that recently she photographed a wedding where she had photographed almost everyone in the wedding party at least once before.
Whether she is working with seniors, brides and grooms, or families, her favorite moments to capture are often the ones that her clients are unaware of her snapping—candid moment between grandparents and grandkids, or parents with children. A simple tickle or a laugh can be so special and a photograph allows someone to have that moment forever.
While it’s easy to put off getting photos because families are so busy, Alison encourages families not to put them off for too long. “People have reasons to put off getting photos, either they are too busy or they want to lose weight. But the truth is your kids don’t care about your weight. You don’t want to take yourself out of your kids memories. They don’t stay little for long.”
Over the years Alison has changed her business to reflect her artistic style as well as to help meet the needs of her client’s busy lives. She shares, “I’d estimate that 95 percent of the sessions that I do are done on location.” That means Alison is shooting outdoors and meeting her clients at locations. She adds, “I love natural light. If a client wants studio shots, I can do that too.”
Alison’s advice for clients looking for high school senior photos is to keep in mind your senior’s deadlines. “Everything is scheduled around the deadline to get a photo in for the annual.” Alison offers many session options to help meet her client’s individual needs—including doing a mini-session to get a head shot in to the high school on time for the annual, but then finish the session later in the spring.
Alison also advises clients wanting family photos for the holidays to have your session scheduled by mid-October at the latest. Along with spectacular photographs, clients can also order cards for special occasions such as the holidays and graduation announcements through Horizon Photo as well.
One thing is for sure, when you’re ready to capture your family’s memories, give Alison a call at Horizon Photo. “I have the experience to know how to pose clients and use lighting to be the most flattering. But above all it is the most important thing that I capture their true personality.”
2377 Rice Road
Chehalis, WA 98532