When Robin Sommer decided to pursue her passion for photography, she didn’t plan the traditional route of classes or seminars. Changing careers from speech/language pathology, she applied her knowledge of child development and family dynamics. With encouragement from her husband, photographer Bill Rettberg, Jr., Sommer researched and contacted photographers whose work she admired and wanted to emulate. She shadowed professionals like Joyce Wilson, Lizbeth Guerrena and The Simones, all some of the most renowned child and family photographers. She studied with fine art photographer Jack Radcliffe at Harford Community College. Sommer also became a professional portrait retouch artist, again learning from local experts in the field.
The result: a personal style that evolved into Images of Sommer, a successful portrait and commercial photography business in Bel Air.
• Business Portraits
“The most important thing I learned from these great photographers was to develop my own point of view artistically,” Sommer says. “All of them told me to be true to my own artistic view and my photography would look authentic.”
Images of Sommer, founded in 1997 by Sommer and her husband, has grown to include family, maternity and newborn photography, weddings, and high school senior portraits. In addition, the couple has tapped into business and commercial photography, doing business portraits, or “head shots” and architectural photography. They have created Mid Atlantic Inn Photography, which takes them throughout the Mid-Atlantic region photographing bed and breakfast inns. Many of their photos are used for business websites and promotional materials. Sommer says, “I tell business people that they need to make an investment in professional photography of themselves and their business, because their website and marketing images are like the first handshake to a potential customer. It’s the beginning of a relationship, and the images should capture that customer and send a positive message.”
Sommer says her goal in business photography is to help every client’s business look its professional best. She gains satisfaction from knowing her photography skills can help differentiate her clients from their competition. In family photography, she finds great joy in working with high school seniors who often experience a pivotal moment during the portrait session. “I can see the light go on in their eyes when they realize how important they are,” says Sommer. “I’ve had parents tell me that their children had gained so much confidence during a portrait session. Having been a part of that development is certainly a good feeling.” I95
Images of Sommer
and Mid Atlantic Inn Photography