Photography studio owner diversifies

·4 min read

THUNDER BAY, ONT. — It’s Christmas in July all week at Shine Photo Studio, which opened another location Monday — this one in Thunder Bay’s north core.

The studio opening featured a visit from Santa, warm cookies and gifts for visitors with an option of pre-booking fall and winter sessions and programs. Local photographer and studio owner Nancy Tillberg has taken her imaging business to a new level with the addition of photo programs for everyone, all set in the new, upscale space.

The waterfront location is Tillberg’s third location, in addition to one on Crawford Avenue in Westfort and her wedding studio settings at her Slate River Valley farm.

Tillberg says opening another location on the north side is crucial to reaching her target market.

“When they walk into the new studio at 268 Red River Rd., I want clients to feel like they’re walking into a business that is in keeping with the vibrant metropolitan feel that has overtaken the downtown core,” she said.

With this business expansion, Tillberg is now able to expand her programs which include lady’s empowerment workshops, teen modelling programs, fairy birthday parties and The Tilted Tripod photographer’s network. The new studio, which is about three times the size of the Westfort studio, easily accommodates these programs and features more space for shooting images, workshops and an area for networking.

Modelling registration is underway for the fall and plans are in the works for a series of women’s empowerment workshops with the next one having a steampunk theme with an escape room attached to it this September. Also in the queue is a series of retro pinup sessions.

Tillberg’s farm is the location for her pop-up wedding service called Inspired Weddings.

The rustic barn loft, with hundreds of fairy lights and a view of the country landscape and horse pasture, is a picture-perfect setting for a country-style wedding, elopement or renewal of vows.

Diamonds suspended from tree limbs sparkle in the forested fairy glen setting, complete with natural element guest seating and a chandelier over the rustic altar. Tillberg says weddings can take place on her property or she could rent other locations.

“That’s the whole point of a pop-up wedding is it can pop up anywhere,” she said.

With the calendar booking up for wedding dates, happy brides to fathers of the groom are delighted with the service.

“She planned my whole wedding,” said bride Cassidy Pelletier, who was married in August 2020.

“It was supposed to be a smaller wedding of 50 people because that was the maximum number of people that we can have during the COVID restrictions. It was beautiful. I walked down the aisle through a fairy garden and there was a big white arch. It was August and it was all fall colours. It was really beautiful.”

Jim Wright, the father of groom Brandon Wright who married Khim Kaing, says his son’s wedding was perfect in every way.

“Nancy and I sat down and planned everything out in one evening,” Jim Wright said. “She took care of everything. My son and his wife were going to get married in the Dominican because they just wanted a fast wedding where you just show up and it’s all taken care of — and that’s what they got and it was perfect. I knew that she would do a fantastic job.”

Henriette DeBruin, the mother of bride Rebecca (Debruin) Tallon who married Connor Tallon, says after this being the third of her four daughters who are married, the price was affordable and reasonable.

“It was a very well done, a beautiful day and easy to organize,” Henriette DeBruin said.

“If you want a small wedding, it’s great. She’s so easy to work with. I was really impressed. . . . It was just well done.”

Tillberg called these micro weddings a Vegas-style, two-hour, all-inclusive wedding for the couple, their family and best friends.

“We’re keeping costs down so that you have enough money left over to buy a car, pay off your education or save for your kid’s education or whatever you want to do. The average cost of a wedding right now is $29,400 and our weddings start at $2,500,” Tillberg said.

All-inclusive packages include photography, a decorated venue with seating for 20, an officiant, bridal bouquet and boutonniere, a cake, music, and non-alcoholic beverages for a toast to the newlyweds.

Optional upgrades including additional seating, picnics, live music, and a canine ringbearer are available.

Visit for more information.

Sandi Krasowski, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Chronicle-Journal

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