The Woodford Sisters: Picture Perfect

The Woodford Sisters bring photo art and families together in Stillwater.

GROWING UP in a big family in Mahtomedi, the Woodford sisters learned early on how to find imaginative ways to have fun. “We had lots of time for creativity,” Allyssa Woodford Hughes says. “We spent our free time playing in the woods and building forts.” That resourcefulness has come in handy since they launched Woodford Sisters Photography almost two years ago.

After high school, Amy Woodford Honmyhr earned a degree in early childhood studies from the University of Minnesota--Duluth before her career as a model took her to Paris, Milan and New York City. Hughes studied journalism and Spanish at Minnesota State University, Mankato, before moving to Denver to pursue her love of outdoor sports, building a career in the social justice field along the way.

Both sisters returned to Minnesota a few years ago to be close to family while they raised their young children. Honmyhr lives on a 3-acre property in Stillwater, close to where most of their photo shoots take place.

Hughes started pitching the idea of a photography business to her sister, because “I was ready for something creative,” she says. “I wanted to start something fun and ambitious.” Already hobby photographers, soon they were “studying obsessively and absorbing everything,” Hughes says. Six months later, while pregnant with her second child, Hughes quit her job managing volunteer programs in a nonprofit, and “we went all-in,” Honmyhr says. “We jumped and had to figure out how to land.”

Now their full-service portrait studio specializes in families and children. With every shoot, the sisters try to capture the “spontaneous realness” that brings out their subjects’ personalities, Honmyhr says. The best day brings a perfect photo of a family of five, “where you can almost feel them hugging,” she says.

(Portrait by Woodford Sisters Photography)