FOLLANSBEE - With the opening of M.L. Barr Photography at 821 Main St., owner Misty L. Barr said she will focus on providing friendly service in a relaxed setting where even the most introverted customers will be comfortable having their photos taken.
A freelance photographer for eight years, Barr lived in Wellsburg and Follansbee and graduated from Brooke High School in 1981. She lived for 13 years at Cocoa Beach, Fla., where she worked in the hotel industry.
But she's had a passion for photography since she was a girl and longed for the laid-back, friendly, small-town environment of Brooke County.
She said she remembered street corners and smalltown businesses where residents gathered and how many knew and watched out for children in the community.
Barr said she has enjoyed photography for many years, but the arrival of digital cameras made it very affordable for her to hone her skills.
She is available for engagement, wedding and high school senior photos and other portraits and has a particular love of photographing children and animals.
Barr said because she has lost both her children, one as an infant and the other as a young woman, she knows how important photos of children can be.
She added she loves working with animals and is interested in aiding local humane societies in finding homes for dogs and cats.
Barr said since she started shooting professionally, she has offered a money-back guarantee to her customers but hasn't needed to refund anyone.
"Quality photography isn't accomplished with assembly-line procedures, and I refuse to offer my clients a canned picture-taking experience. I want to offer the community an opportunity to proudly display the pictures of their loved ones and milestones instead of tucking them away on a bookshelf or in a rarely seen, dust-covered photo album," she said.
Barr said as a photographer she enjoys experimenting but most important to her are her customers' wishes.
"I like to get creative but I listen to the client and do what they want," she said, adding, "I don't rush them. I like to take my time because I want to catch that natural smile."
Barr also channels her creativity into producing jewelry and other hand-made items for sale at her studio.
Barr's recent grand opening included a drawing for a free photo session.
As she guided visitors through the studio, she expressed appreciation to her husband, George, brother and sister-in-law David and Mary Beth Wallace; and cousins Saundra, Taundra, Darla and Terry for their assistance and support with her new endeavor.
Those planning to visit Barr's studio should look for the purple door and mailbox shaped like an old-fashioned camera with tripod.
Barr said she welcomes walk-ins Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., and will accept appointments on Sundays.. For information, call (304) 527-7250.