A two-story brick building at 216 North Water Street in downtown New London provides intrigue to first-time shoppers.
The business name — All Season’s Photo — is on the window. Peering through the huge storefront window, eclectic items make junk shoppers drool. Photography with wrapped canvas frames rest on a chair, are propped on a vintage suitcase, or hang on the century-old brick walls. Customers wonder if items in the window and back into the store are for sale.
“Oh no, these props are used for photo shoots and I would not part with them for the world,” said Season Polsin, owner of All Season’s Photo.
“I am a self-professed junker,” Polsin said. “That doesn’t mean I’ll use any old thing, but when I buy from garage and church sales, I see the possibilities in a hideous end table or broken up toy box.”
They would be tossed to the curb, she added. At times, she will use just the right paint color or change the purpose of a rescued item, to create a suitable prop.
She uses her quirky, soft, rustic, colorful, monotone, atypical items together and creates one-of-a-kind photos for families, individuals, companies, and herself.
“If nothing matches, anything matches,” she said.
Polsin provides a dressing area for children.
“Hats, blankets, jewelry, toys and more come from families who think I may need one,” she said.
This entire photo set up and scheme would not be as successful without renting a space. Throughout nine years of her freelance photo business, storing the props became a nightmare at home.
“I used my house and garage for running sittings. I was constantly moving my props to make things work. Sometimes it was exhausting,” she said.
Renting the storefront since July of 2013, Polsin has a place of her own, to do her work.
“It’s a good space, and sure beats having my stuff in the house and filling the garage. I have a place to put my car now,” Polsin said. “Plus, the shop is twice the size I was taking up at home.”
Although she provides clients with oodles of props to choose from, outdoor photo shoots are a personal favorite.
“Why not use nature as a backdrop?” she said, answering her own question. “I love the way a tree or river or corn field will change mood and color during each of the four seasons.”
Her first name, Season, many times is fodder to one-liners. ‘What Season are you anyway?’ wins the frequency medal. ‘What are you- salt or pepper?’
“People on the telephone will ask if my name is Susan. That happens often,” she said.
She likes her name, and uses it to promote business. All Season’s Photo is visible on billboards, but word of mouth is her strategy for success.
“Word of mouth is free, and it spreads like wildfire once friends and family see my work,” Polsin said.
You could say that is how Polsin started her business.
Years ago, having scheduled an appointment with a nationwide photography studio, Polsin was having a tough time getting one of her children to listen. She said the photographer was no help with the situation, in fact, made it worse.
“We got out of there and I thought to myself that I was going to look into being a photographer, and I’ll be a good one, especially for kids,” she said.
She added, “There are many talented freelance photographers in our area, and in each of them I can see how they have their own style, which is really neat to see. It is not just a photo we are taking. It’s the creativity that comes from with us to see the world through our own eyes and relay it to others.”
Polsin said with true affection that her clientele are terrific. She gets to know the person(s) before photo shoots, especially the children, finding out their likes and dislikes. Polsin also has a background as a childcare provider.
“I love kids. Sure makes life easier being able to connect with them,” she said.
Client suggestions sometime lead her on paths of exploration.
“Some people drive from as far as Green Bay. I drove to Madison once,” she recalled. “A customer hired me to shoot a family reunion there. I was asked to shoot a wedding and a birthday too, by word of mouth in that family.”
Her photography even takes her out of the country.
“I’ll be going to Costa Rica soon, to shoot a wedding of very good friends,” shares Polsin. “I cannot think of a better job.”