Waupaca’s best photographer
Koll voted No. 1 in Best of Waupaca poll
Known for its senior, portrait and wedding pictures, Tim Koll Photography was named the Best Photographer in Waupaca for 2016.
Koll began shooting photographs as a professional in 2000, the year he joined the Wisconsin Professional Photographers Association.
“I’m kind of a late bloomer,” Koll said. “I dabbled in photography a little bit, but I was always intimidated. I didn’t know where to begin and I didn’t have a clue about the camera body or the camera lens.”
In 1984, Koll was living in Windom, Minnesota when a friend gave him a tour of his basement darkroom. He became hooked on both the technical and the aesthetic possibilities of photography.
Koll, who was a baseball coach, began photographing his kids, sporting events and nature.
After moving to Waupaca in 1989, Koll started a photo club at Waupaca High School, where he was an English teacher until his retirement in June 2016.
“I kept growing as a photographer, reading and studying,” Koll said.
He attended photography workshops at the University of Wisconsin-Stout and UW-Madison.
“I spent about 15 years studying photography before becoming a professional,” Koll said.
Koll said he began shooting slides with a Nikon FG, then a Nikon FMI, learning how to manually set the aperture and shutter speed of the camera while composing a shot.
“When you shoot slides you have to meter light,” Koll said.
Koll also studied portrait photography and studio lighting for about three years, purchasing the equipment he needed to open a studio. He also purchased a used Hasselblad camera in the mid-1990s, which he later used for his portrait photos.
“By 1998, I was thinking seriously that photography would be a career I wanted to pursue,” Koll said.
Two years later, he made the transition to a professional photographer and a short time later began working in the digital format.
“Digital has allowed us to become graphic designers,” Koll said, noting that portraits are now likely to be composites of several poses rather than a single shot.
“We spend as much time on the computers as we do on our cameras now,” Koll said. “I’m doing a lot of different and varied art work.”
In 2003, Koll met his future wife and business partner, Adriana Saavedra.
Originally from Caracas, Venezuela, Adriana Saavedra-Koll was a foreign exchange student at Waupaca High School. She graduated in 1973 and visited Waupaca for her class reunions.
“I met her when she came back for her 30th class reunion,” Tim said.
Prior to moving to Waupaca, Adriana worked as the South American marketing and sales director for Revlon, then later for L’Oreal for about two decades in Caracas, as well as in Germany for Schwarzkopf, an international hair and facial products company.
Her extensive experience in cosmetics and fashion gives her insights on the portrait subjects’s hair, makeup and wardrobes.
“My whole photography business has been transformed since Adriana joined me,” Tim said.
He said their studio’s mission is to create photos that are true to who their clients are.
“Being photographed is not everybody’s desire. She is a warm, loving soul and she makes our clients feel more comfortable in their own skin,” Koll said.
Koll said he appreciates the support he and Adriana have received the Waupaca area.