BUCKHANNON – A local photographer is moving her studio to downtown Buckhannon this summer.
Chelsie Rexroad, owner of CPImagery, has utilized a space adjacent to the old armory building for several years but jumped at the chance to relocate to a new, bigger space just off Main Street.
“The current building I’m in used to be my grandfather’s sporting goods store, so after he passed away and left it to my mom, she asked if I wanted to go in there when I first started in 2015,” Rexroad said. “I’m running out of space and I would like to be in an area where I get noticed a little bit more. I feel like I’ll have more parking and I just want to be where all the action is.”
Rexroad is moving into the building at 18 North Kanawha Street, which used to be Oinks restaurant.
“I loved the higher ceilings — I wanted room to have bigger backdrops and not feel so crammed,” she said. “I love the hardwood floors in there, and it has pretty ceiling tiles. I’m just out of space — I want to be able to do larger families, to have a whole area for newborn shoots and to have an actual seating area.”
Rexroad will officially move into the space in early August and hopes to have a grand opening once everything is set up.
“It’s all a little surreal, because when I started this, it was just like, ‘Oh, give it a try,’ and I quit my oil and gas job to focus on photography, which was a big step,” she said. “I was going from a paycheck with a 401k and insurance, but I took that leap, literally months before COVID started, and it was terrifying. I always told my husband that my main goal in life was to have a studio on Main Street. That was in 2018 when I said that, not thinking it would be this soon.”
She initially took an interest in photography so she could take pictures of her brother, Tanner McGrew, playing basketball at Wesleyan.
“I wanted a camera to take pictures of him playing, then my friend got pregnant, and I did some pictures for her,” Rexroad said. “Then people just started asking me if I wanted to take pictures of them, and I thought, ‘Well shoot, I could make this a business.’”
A full list of the services available through CPImagery can be found on her website, as well as pricing.
“I do a lot of newborn shoots,” Rexroad said. “There’s not a lot of newborn photographers that have studios in the area, so that gives me a little bit of an edge. Newborns are probably my favorite; they take a lot of patience, but if a newborn is crying or there’s something wrong, you can feed them, you can change them, and they’re cute.”
Rexroad also offers a series of limited sessions throughout the year, and more details on her current sessions can be found on her Facebook page.
“I call them limited sessions because I do them with a specific backdrop and it’s only for a limited time, then that backdrop gets retired,” she said. “Those sessions are shorter — getting in and getting out — which a lot of people prefer, because with kids, we have a time limit. Some people are not ready to have a photo session for two hours, so a lot of them prefer a smaller number of photos. Some people just need a Christmas card or just a couple for Valentine’s Day or Easter.”