Connecticut photographers Paul and Krystal of Studio Foto » Paul and Krystal have been photographing real people for 14 years.

Meet Krystal

krystal-webI think of myself as an outdoorsy hippie mama mixed with an eclectic artsy yogini photographic artist. My photographs celebrate the connection of people in love- couples and families alike! I spend my free time doing things that really matter in life, such as nurturing my family and myself with organic food and a healthy lifestyle, creating and repurposing, and living a wholesome life of simple abundance and real, “living in the moment “happiness.

I’ve spent the last 15 years of my life building a life with my best friend and love of my life- my super handsome, mustached, hardworking, superman Paul. I adore being a mommy to my full of sunshine n’ smiles, mini-me daughter Penny. The day she was born was the happiest day of our lives together. Everyday is a beautiful adventure having a daughter and husband to share life with- our little family is my little piece of heaven here on earth.

Photography has been a passion for most of my life. When I was 11 my parents gave me my first camera, a Polaroid, and I still have those (cough, cough) awesome* first Polaroids that I lovingly captured of my family life and random neighborhood flowers. Once I mastered the Polaroid (gotta love instant gratification!- I do believe they were pioneers in this!), I borrowed my mom’s Fujica 35mm film camera and was known to do random photo shoots of my siblings (not that they were always as enthusiast as I was). My mom has always had a passion for photography too, and I believe that her love is really where my photography roots started. When I attended public high school in eleventh grade, I discovered the magic of the black & white darkroom. I would photograph things and people that mattered to me, develop my film and expose black & white prints on an enlarger and I was in awe every time I’d see an image come to life in the chemistry. When I graduated, I decided to further explore my love of photography, and attended UConn, where I received my BFA in photography. Paul and I met in the darkroom, and I always joke “We had good chemistry!” Shortly after graduating college, as a new couple in love, we started our photography business in the basement of a frame shop in Stafford Springs, in the town where Paul grew up. Fast forward a few years, and digital photography became a force to be reckoned with, and we evolved from shooting med format and 35 mm film to our first digital Canon cameras. As we grew with digital photography, our style evolved as well, but we always focused on (no pun intended : ) capturing true, honest, beautiful connections.

Some people might think I’m crazy, but being part of a big eclectic family is one of the most enriching parts of my life- I like to think of my parents and my siblings each as unique spices and together we make a really interesting curry!!! I am the oldest of 6 kids in my family, “a brady bunch” with three girls and three boys, but all from the same mom and dad : ) I definitely was a second mommy to my youngest siblings, and parents always told me I was their “perfect child” haha!! Growing up some of my favorite things was playing “Star Wars” outside with my brother Donald and sister Kalee, unicorns, the Beatles (still LOVE), Strawberry Shortcake, Sesame Street and Big Bird, figure skating (though I didn’t really know how to), tap dancing, the Yankees (I have zero interest in major league sports now), and Native American history. I was homeschooled from 1st-10th grade by my amazing mom (whom also taught the rest of my siblings!- again I give her the highest kudos!). When I attended public school for the last two years, kids would always ask me if I got to stay in my pjs all day. I’d reply “Sometimes!” But in all honesty, the best part was finishing my schoolwork in three or four hours and then spending the rest of the day exploring outside (or helping my mom take care of our home). When people ask what it was like growing up in a large family, I tell them it was never quiet (most of the time quite loud), we always had someone to play with, and there was an abundance of laughter, love, and tears! I honestly don’t know how my mom kept her sanity, but my whole family is still really close to this day. Every week we try to get everyone together, whether for family dinner or craft night! We all love to make things with our hands and most of us are self employed.

My close, real friends are my extended family- I am known to be a good listener and I’m not afraid to tell them I love them. I have a tight knit network of fellow photographers whom I consider some of my closest friends, and we all know we can lean on each other for support and in the event that one of us is sick and cannot photograph a wedding.

I’m also a huge fan of my fellow humans, animals and Mother Earth, and believe we all need to take care of each other, regardless of what color our skin is or what language we speak. I believe in one race– the human race!

Someday when I’m old (but young at heart) and gray, I would like to tell my grandchildren (and show them tons of photographs of course!) of the places I explored in my life. So far I’ve camped and traveled across the United States, flew to Alaska and drove the Alaskan hwy for 2 weeks, and photographed destination weddings in the islands of Jamaica, Dominican Republic, and Anguilla. I’m hoping to travel a ton more as my daughter gets older and can enjoy the experiences with us, and Paul & I are always up for a destination wedding pretty much anywhere in the world!

I’m an outdoors nature gal, and I love the seasons and the beauty and renewal that comes with each. Spring, summer and fall are my favorites (shh….don’t tell winter!) Although I do love a few beautiful blankets of snow covering the earth….and then I’m over it and want the warmth back so I can be outside without having my nostrils freeze). I love to play outside any chance I get and being a mommy is the best because it helped awaken the child in me.

“The Perfect Outdoor Adventure” could be any one of these:

Packing up a homemade picnic lunch with my family and friends and taking out our kayaks on the peaceful Bigelow Hollow to a swimming hole where we can sit around a campfire and cook kielbasa over a open fire.
Going for a walk, sea kayaking or doing my yoga practice on my favorite beach in the world, Humarock Beach, MA, where Paul & I having been vacationing every summer for over 10 years.
A hike in the mountains- winter hiking in particular, though we haven’t been since the day Paul proposed to me on top of Mt. Monadnock in New Hampshire. There’s just something magical and exhilarating about fresh fallen snow and ice covered trees and having to bundle up like we are going to the North Pole (though I’d be happy to not have to do that last part ; )
Planting our own organic garden and getting to eat all the yumminess we grew! Super rewarding!
Going for a spontaneous (or not so spontaneous) road trip to explore, camp in a tent, renew my perspective and photograph the beautiful (and vast) country we live in. I’ve been cross country twice in my life, and can’t wait to explore more as Penny gets bigger. I’ve been to every state (even Alaska!- by plane) except Hawaii and Florida (though I’m pretty sure I’d like to retire in Hawaii someday)

I cannot let a day pass without listening to good music! My tastes in music are eclectic and range all the way from The Beatles to Nibs Van Der Spuy to Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros to Snatum Kaur. Music flows with my energy and mood, and my husband never knows what he’ll find me and Penny dancing during our random dance parties in the kitchen! Not only have I been known to randomly break into a happy dance, but I have also been known to break into song at a moment’s notice. Paul says I have a good voice, which is nice, but I think I’d sing regardless because it makes me happy. I’m excited to witness my daughter having the same love for music, dancing, singing and rhythm.

I’ve practiced yoga for about 10 years now and it’s been one of the most beautiful impactful discoveries of my adult life. As well as a whole body experience and lifestyle, I truly believe it is a cure-all for mind, body and spirit. It’s seriously life changing, and I want to help other people discover it, and so I’m in the process of getting my yoga teacher 200hr. certification.
I believe in universal oneness, that we are all connected, each and every one of us is a divine being, and all you need is love.

My love of photography ties this all together in one beautiful package. I get to practice my favorite craft and have a creative outlet while capturing my fellow humans connecting through love. Sometimes I even get to be outside and/or dance to music while doing it!!!

Namaste (the light in me honors the light in you),
Krystal McNerney