Shooting memories is her life

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 8, 2002

Misty Christ can make anyone smile and have a good time when they're having formal pictures taken.

It's a talent desired by many, perfected by a few and one she's practiced every day during her first year operating MC Photography, her photography studio in downtown Austin.

She says photography was always "something I really liked and there weren't a ton of photographers in town. I wanted something everyone could afford."

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So, with the help of her husband, Eric, she took her love of capturing images on film and the knowledge she'd gained through classes and her work as a wedding photographer and a studio photographer and opened her studio in April 2001.

It was a move she's glad she made. "It's exciting to see how much it's grown in a year. It's interesting to see how many people have started to come and how word of mouth gets around," she says.

Evidence of her growth can be seen in how she's expanded her studio. "I've gone from having probably less than 10 backgrounds to choose from and just a handful of props to having like, 30 different backgrounds and more props than I really need," she says, laughing.

Of course, the number of options helps her make sure everyone has different pictures. "I always want something new for everyone. I have people who come in every three months, so I want to make sure they have different pictures, different poses each time."

Amy Mueller of Austin is one of those frequent visitors. Mueller says she loves having pictures taken of her 11-month daughter and says "Misty does a great job. I've been to others, but I think she does the best. She always has new ideas. She doesn't use the same props and backgrounds each time. She captures the true image of the kids and their little quirks. She gets the timing down right," she says. "My girlfriend took my goddaughter to Misty when she was in Albert Lea and some of my favorite pictures of her are ones that Misty took. She's very good at what she does."

Christ says she hopes to keep improving and expanding. "I do a lot of children and quite a bit of families, but I really want to do more seniors. I want them to be comfortable here so I can do pictures of newborns to grandma and grandpa," she says.

Regardless of a person's age, Christ does everything she can to make sure a customer has an enjoyable time. "I try to get everyone having fun, I try to get down to each individual's level. If I have an older adult who is very sophisticated, I try to be sophisticated. If I'm working with a teenager, I try to act more like a teenager. I always try to mesh my personality with theirs. I don't want to make it a stressful thing. I want the studio to have a fun atmosphere, not a stuffy one," she says. "People usually tell me at the end, 'that was fun.' I've never had anyone say 'that was the worst experience of my life.'"

Starting her own studio has presented her with some challenges, though. As the only full-time employee, Christ does everything on both the studio and business ends and she says she has to have different personalities in both capacities. "It's day and night. It can be hard to balance professionalism with being a good photographer. I go from being acting crazy and doing things I would never do in public to very professional and all business," she says. "It's hard to be professional, yet really fun."

Christ seems to be mastering the challenge, though, as her customer base keeps growing. "Weekends, I'm booked solid and Monday through Friday, I have probably four or five sittings a day," she says. "I think my husband's been kind of surprised at how well it's done. I've gone from having no one to having a steady stream of people. He tells people at Hormel (where he works) about me, so I've gotten a lot of free referrals from him."

As the number of customers grows, she hopes she will continue to grow and possibly open another studio someday. For the time being, she's happy to celebrate the milestones she's reached so far.

She will hold the studio's one-year anniversary on May 17 with a special of two shots for $5 on Americana-themed pictures. Firefighters from the Austin Fire Department are lending her their uniforms and she's trying to borrow a Dalmatian to use as props in photos. "If there aren't any emergencies the firefighters will come and talk at 4 p.m.," Christ says.

She says it should be fun for both kids and adults and also hopes it will get the word about her studio out more. "I just want everyone to know that it's a fun place to go, that it doesn't have a stuffy atmosphere."

For more information about MC Photography, located at 422 North Main St., call 434-7711.

Amanda L. Rohde can be reached at 434-2214 or by e-mail at