Thursday, March 21st, 2019

Knox Studios Story


Celebrating 30 years of preserving life’s special moments

by Rob Lauer

Jim and Susan Knox

Jim and Susan Knox

Knox Studio is celebrating our 30th year in business,” says photographer Jim Knox with pride, “and I’m still as excited as ever about the work we do.”

The excitement is generated by Jim’s approach to creating portraits.

“When I’m photographing someone,” he explains, “my aim is always to create such a beautiful portrait that even if I didn’t know the person, I’d still want to hang it in my home.”

Jim’s wife Susan nods in agreement, adding, “It’s about creating a work of art. That’s what we’re going for.”

Guided by this ideal, Jim approaches every shoot—whether the subject is a wedding, a newborn, a young child, a high school senior or an extended family—with a fresh vision.

“Lighting, composition, and an experienced eye are the key to great portraiture” Jim explains. “We pride ourselves on the use of classic lighting techniques to emphasize emotions and relationships in our work. If I’m photographing a father holding his newborn, I focus on trying to highlight and capture his feelings for the baby. When that dad sees the final picture, I want him to say, ‘Wow, I didn’t realize I was that much in love with my child.’ That’s the advantage of having a studio-orientation.”

Jim is quick to add that he also brings those skills to outdoor shoots, where his objective remains creating a beautiful work of art.

One might assume that the public’s attitude toward photography has changed in recent years, given that cell phones now routinely contain digital cameras, along with software to crop and enhance a photo. Glance at the average American teenager’s social media page, and one will likely see an endless stream of ‘selfies’ detailing the most mundane events of day-to-day life. Even though technological advances have convinced more people than ever that they are full-fledged photographers, the fact remains that when they experience a turning point in their lives— a wedding, a birth, an anniversary, a graduation—they still turn to the services of skilled professionals such as Jim.

“Currently it’s high school senior portrait season,” Jim says. “If a senior has a certain hobby or interest, we incorporate that into some of the pictures. We want these portraits to reflect this moment in their lives. Maybe a girl who is photographed with her ballet shoes, will lay them aside in a few years. If that’s the case, decades from now when she looks at these pictures, she’ll be able to see how much dancing meant to her when she was young. On the other hand, maybe that young girl will go on to become a famous dancer, in which case she’ll have images of this stage of her career.”

Jim and Susan Knox had their beach home trucked  to Carova, <BR>where they now serve residents and vacationers in the north beach of the Outer Banks.

Jim and Susan Knox had their beach home trucked to Carova,
where they now serve residents and vacationers in the north beach of the Outer Banks.

Jennifer Tolarchyk recently turned to Jim to create senior portraits of her triplets—Jodi, Ashley and Nick. “I was so impressed by the senior portraits Jim took of a co-worker’s daughter,” she explains. “My kids are heavily involved in athletics, so they didn’t want to miss any practice. But Jim was perfectly happy to work around their schedules—something that we really appreciated.

“My aim is to always create
such a beautiful portrait that
even if I didn’t know the person,
I’d still want to hang it in my home.”

—Jim Knox

“If a mom comes in with her kids, we’ll take a few pictures of them together,” Jim says. “Usually, the moms will resist, but I encourage them to do it so they’ll have something with which to remember their experience here.”

“I hesitated about being photographed,” Jennifer admits, “but later when I saw the pictures, I was so glad I did as Jim asked.”

With advances in digital technology, gone are the days of flipping through dozens of proofs and picking the few photographs that one wants printed. Jim produces stunning digital slide shows featuring the photos taken during a session, complete with musical underscoring.

“When we viewed the video slide show that Jim produced of our triplets, my husband got so emotional, that he almost started to cry,” Jennifer recalls. “He said, ‘Holy Cow! The kids have grown up so fast.’”
In addition to the prints of chosen portraits, Jim offers these digital slide shows to clients. “It’s been really nice to be able to share the slide show through social media and email,” Jennifer says.

Advances in technology are not the only things changing at Knox Studio.  “We’re now serving the north beach area of the Outer Banks,” Jim announces. Several years ago, Jim and Susan moved their beach house to Carova—by truck. The move now allows them to offer their services to the area.

“So many people now renting vacation homes for a week in north beach,” Jim explains. “Extended families are vacationing together. With everybody in one place, it’s the perfect time to take a family portrait. You’re also in a beautiful beach location with lots of scenic options.”

Jim brings his signature creativity to these beach shoots, his objective always being to create works of art that celebrate the individuals and families he photographs. This approach has not only served him well for the past three decades, it paves the way into the future.

“Sometimes when a parent enquires about having us create their child’s senior portrait, I’ll ask how they heard about us,” Jim confides. “You wouldn’t believe how often that parent will say, ‘You did my senior portrait 20 years ago.’ We feel wonderful when that happens. It’s rewarding to know that the portraits we created mean so much to people, that decades later they want us to photograph the next generation in their family.”

Knox Studios

205 Tintern Court
Chesapeake, VA 23320