Glamour studio opens in Gig Harbor

Business: Seattle-based photographer specializes in shots for women of all ages

of the GatewayJanuary 1, 2014 

Nikki Closser is bringing a touch of glamor to Gig Harbor. Her business, Nikki Closser Photography, opened about two months ago.

Above A Prima Salon, Closser partners with the downstairs business for makeovers and photo sessions. She said she likes the idea of making women feel good about themselves.

“I photograph everyday women, all ages,” she said.

Closser said there’s no such thing as being unphotogenic. She directs poses, helps pick out outfits and encourages her subjects during shoots. She uses natural light in the peak-roofed, hardwood-floor studio.

“Everyone can take a beautiful photo,” she said. “I’m directing them the entire time, so they can feel at ease.”

Closser is mentored by internationally known photographer Sue Bryce. They met when Closser reached out to Bryce to take photos of her friend Jill, who had been diagnosed with breast cancer. Instead of fundraising for photos, Closser and her friend went further.

“The next thing I knew, Sue was flying us to Paris,” Closser said.

The trip is the subject of Bryce’s documentary, “The Light That Shines.” Afterward, Closser joined Bryce’s photography team at her studio in Seattle. That’s where she developed her glamour photography skills.

She previously had experience with weddings and other subjects, but Closser said glamour shots are her passion. That’s why she counts herself lucky to work with Bryce.

“I’ve learned from the best in the world,” she said.

Closser thinks the portrait is a tradition due for a comeback. In the advanced technology age, it’s rare that people sit for portraits, she said.

Closser’s heirlooms are special to her. She hopes to create lasting memories for her subjects’ families.

“I cherish the portrait I have of my grandmother,” she said.

Before she began a career in photography, Closser was a social worker for 12 years. Originally from Detroit, Closser moved to Seattle with her husband. To Closser, photography is another way to help people.

Closser books appointments by phone at 248-259-1100 or by email at info@nikkiclosser.com.

Even on days off, Closser likes to work. Brandee Paisano, a friend of Closser’s, was in the studio on Monday in a reversal of roles.

As an art student, Paisano used to photograph Closser. During the shoot, Closser arranged painted polystyrene backgrounds and directed Paisano’s poses.

At one point, Closser showed Paisano the screen on her camera. She normally doesn’t show her subjects photos until the shoot is complete and edited, but sometimes it’s too good to resist showing her client.

“There’s nothing better than showing someone photos that they love,” Closser said.

Reporter Karen Miller can be reached at 253-358-4155 or by email at karen.miller@gateline.com. Follow her on Twitter, @gateway_karen.

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