Lynn Woods-Nordin of U-Snap Studios: Women of Achievement
Lynn Woods-Nordin believes that everyone should have great photos of the people, pets and things that matter to them. So in 2014, she opened U-Snap Studios. The innovative business provides private photography studios, backdrops, props and lighting for people to use while taking pictures with their own cameras.
“Not everyone can afford to pay for a photographer to take their portraits,” says Lynn. “It makes my heart happy when I see people using the studio and getting great, affordable photos.”
Lynn was a novice photographer herself when she came up with the concept. She had bought a new camera, but wished she had access to studio space to practice the craft. What started as a simple brainstorm evolved into a 4500 sq. ft. space with six studios, three staff members, and a diverse range of people capturing photos of their loved ones. It’s a business model she hasn’t found to exist anywhere else.
On any given day, U-Snap might provide the backdrop and lighting for a baby’s birthday “cake smash,” a family photo shoot, a holiday card or pet portraits. The flat fee is $25 for 15 minutes of studio space, including props.
U-Snap can accommodate events as well, so people can combine a baby shower, for example, with a photo shoot featuring the host and guests. (The largest studio holds around 30 people.)
U-Snap’s backgrounds and props change with seasons and trends, though some stay in place, such as the popular 100-year-old barn board wall. Other settings have included a harvest moon with fireflies in hanging jars, a Barbie or jungle-themed set-up, a city backdrop, a chalkboard wall for writing dates or messages, and a pond with toadstool for kids to sit on.
“People say it’s much easier to use than they thought,” says Lynn. “We encourage everyone to drop by to see how it works.”
U-Snap does not provide cameras, but it offers a Profoto flash kit for photography students or professionals to use. Rather than competing with local photographers, the business aims to work with them, providing space, lighting and props for their own client shoots.
Lynn says that embarking on an idea no one has tried before meant starting a business without knowing what to expect. “If I had opened a coffee shop franchise, people would know what it was and how to use it, but I have a new concept,” she says. “I have needed to work hard to get the word out and explain what U-Snap is all about.”
Lynn looks to two role models — her husband, Des, who is also a business owner, and photographer Sue Bryce. “I can really trust what [Des] says to help put me on the right path, and [Sue Bryce] has all kinds of business, personal development, and photography education and inspiration on her social media.”
Lynn enjoys giving back to the community through donations and offering studio time to local dog rescues. Running a company that makes studio photos affordable gives her ongoing fulfillment. “It brought me to tears when my staff told me about a struggling young single mom who was so happy to get some affordable studio pictures of her kids so she could put them on social media for her family to see,” she says. “I know I’m making a difference in people’s lives.”
2-395 Park St.
Photos by DeAnne Bell