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Carroll County photographer survives crash to become award-winner

Tammy Thompson
Tammy Thompson

Tammy Thompson is a portrait photographer from Finksburg. She has been drawing since she was a child and did acrylic paintings when she was a young adult. Thompson is a self-taught artist.

"When digital cameras came out, they were like gold to me," Thompson said. "Digital cameras gave me a way to express myself in different ways."

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In 2004, Thompson began to photograph weddings under the company name Final Touch Photography. Thompson made a point of not just photographing people, but also seizing the moment of the day.

"I captured the connection between the couple," she said. "It is not just about getting a photo of family members."

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Thompson custom-designed photo albums for each couple. Editing, she says, is her strongest point.

"There is nothing I can't fix," she said. "I can make anyone look beautiful by bringing out their best qualities."

She does not use templates. Instead, she makes her own by photographing a rock or some other surface that has a pleasing color or texture.

In 2006, Thompson was in a car accident and her career came to a standstill. It took three years for her to recover and get back to work. She rejoined the Maryland Professional Photographers Association and began participating in competitions to get her confidence back after it had been crushed in the car accident.

In 2011, Thompson won Electronic Imaging Photographer of the Year, an award for excellence in digital editing. She also won Illustrative Photographer of the Year for the creativity of her photographs.

In 2012, she won Portrait Photographer of the Year. That same year, she won the state's highest award to honor photographers when she was chosen as Maryland Photographer of the Year by the Maryland Professional Photographers Association, which is a subchapter of the Professional Photographers of America, a national organization.

One of the images that won her the award is titled "Bent on Survival." It is an image of a small green tree, bent over from the sea wind at the edge of the ocean. Since she overcame hardship as a result of her accident, it is a meaningful piece of art for her.

In 2013, Thompson's photography was featured in a solo show at Carroll Community College titled "Tammy Thompson: Behind the Lens." She has also sold her work at the Maryland Wine Festival and the Bel Air Art Show.

She is the founder of the company Passionate Portraits. Thompson said she wants to "move" people with her work. She has a 15-acre farm in Finksburg that serves as her studio.

Thompson has a field of buttercups in the spring, tall grass by the barn, a tree-lined drive and rustic fences. All these backdrops, she said, are great for her portraits.

Part of her style is to create a peaceful environment in which to photograph. She said she wants to capture the emotion of her subjects. When people look at the photographs, she said, they sometimes cry because the photographs are so moving.

"Watching the reaction of people when they see my work is my fulfillment," she said. "I look at it as if I am giving someone a gift. One of my sons has a form of autism so being able to capture him is a gift to me. There are so many bad days that it is great to have a photograph of him on his good days."

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Thompson's website is passionateportraitsweb.com.

She can be contacted at 410-693-3803. Thompson can also be found on Facebook. Her email is tammysue@passionateportraitsweb.com.

Lyndi McNulty is the owner of Gizmos Art in Westminster. Her column appears on the first and third Wednesday of each month.

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