My name is Todd Rennels. I have been in the business of portrait photography since 1984. I spent the first thirty years of my career in the Chicago area and made the decision to relocate to Phoenix, Arizona in 2015.
I specialize in portrait photography because I love working with people and helping them preserve their legacy. It is an amazing feeling to have photographed so many people over the years and have my work hanging on walls in homes around the world.
Feel free to call me directly and we can discuss your photography needs. I can be reached at the studio 480-607-1688 or on my personal cell at 630-469-6886. I work with a wonderful team and anyone of us would be happy to help you make your photography experience amazing! For more detailed information please click here.
If you want to know more about me and my career, please read on...
My interest in photography was clear early on so my parents decided to give me my high school graduation present a year early.
It was my first professional camera. I was beyond excited. To top that, they offered up an empty bedroom in our family home for my very first studio and dark room. My Mom would even help style my aspiring models with her own accessories and jewelry. I am forever grateful for my parents support.
By the time I graduated High School, I had started earning a modest living photographing people. I remember clearly my first paid shoot. I was eighteen and clueless. I played with various lamps from around the house to photograph my very first "customer".
This was 1984 and we are talking film back then. I had to wait to process my images to find out if the lamps even worked out.
Not only did they work, but I captured the image that catapulted my career. It was such a perfect shot that I knew then and there I could make a living at this. My lifelong career was born.
I continued photographing from my parents house for another year before moving on to work with other studios. I eventually opened my own storefront studio in 1996. I called it Expressions Photography.
Over the years I had created a loyal following and Expressions was a success from the start.
I specialized in photographing infants, children, pets and their families. I was a total clown and this career let me get away with it. The more goofy I was, the better the expressions. The better the expressions, the better the sales.
Kids dug me because I was a nut and parents dug me because I made “the ever stressful” family portrait actually fun. I realized early on that if a parent loved their child’s expression, that was all that mattered.
My little studio continued to grow and I realized after the first five years, I was a going to need a larger space. I had been dreaming of a larger studio all along and by the sixth year, I made it a reality. I landed the perfect retail spot in town and designed it for my needs from the ground up. It was a huge challenge to keep my shooting schedule going and build out a new space at the same time but I did it and soon worked in a place I had only dreamed of. It was the perfect place to work the next twelve years.
Fast forward those years and I was coming up on my 30th anniversary in portrait work. I started to see babies of the babies I had photographed years earlier. It was thirty years of very hard work and I felt successful and was full of gratitude.
I was also slowing down. I had chased kids around with my camera for years and started to wonder how long I could keep it up. I had a strong desire to try new things. I had endured Chicago’s unpredictable weather and harsh winters for forty-eight years. I wanted to live in a warmer climate and take my photography to a new level. I made the decision to close my retail studio in Illinois and move to Arizona.
I announced my move a year in advance of closing Expressions. It was 2014. That year ended up being the most wonderful year of my career. I saw so many longtime clients before my lens. It was so full circle and the support was amazing. So many of my clients expressed their gratitude for my work over the years and I felt a great sense of accomplishment. I went out at the top of my game.
To see a 4 minute glimpse of my Expressions Photography portfolio CLICK HERE.
I was blessed to be able to take six months off when I made the move to Arizona. I really needed to recharge. I needed a break from portrait work and I focused on renovating my Arizona home. After the dust settled and the place felt like home, I was itching to get back behind my lens. I started to miss my craft and decided to get back to work. I did not want to open another studio. I knew I wanted to just photograph and edit assignments. My passion was photography and editing and I did not want all that comes with running your own retail studio. I hoped to work with a team of other professional creatives.
I put together my very first resume, updated my portfolio and sent both to the only studio advertising for help.
Little did I know at the time, I was applying at the top producing portrait studio in the Phoenix metro area. That company is Captured Moments by Rita & Co. located in the heart of Scottsdale. I landed that job and continue to shoot exclusively for RitaSherman.com and I love every minute of it. Most of our assignments are outside of the studio at beautiful locations. The state of Arizona is breathtaking and we use it to take stunning photographs of the High School seniors of Scottsdale, Paradise Valley and the greater Phoenix area. I am now working with other talented photographers and designers and it is the perfect match for me.
In addition to my position with Rita & co., I started ToddShots.com. I travel back to Chicago a couple times a year to photograph my Illinois clients and book other freelance work on occasion.
When I am not booked on photo shoots, you can find me at home with my longtime partner, playing with our two dogs. You will also find me hiking the beautiful state of Arizona, swimming in my pool and nearby lakes, photographing landscapes, riding ATV's and traveling throughout the wild west. I look forward to photographing more High School seniors from around the valley and providing them with the best photography experience possible.
Thank you for taking the time to get to know more about me.