Henrico Photo, the studio’s history.

After many years of doing general photography as a hobby, I started to focus more on photographing people, and at one time after photographing my daughter’s portfolio, I decided to start my business. May 2008 was the time I got my business license and Henrico Photo was born.

Having a 2000 square feet home, and my children later grown and moved on their own, there is ample space to create a home studio, thereby eliminating the cost of renting studio space.

This page will tell you a little about the history of my photography business in Henrico Virginia, since the start in 2008.


The studio is located only 10 minutes from the Richmond International Airport, in the residential area of Dartbytown Meadows in Henrico County.


Start of business.
Like many photographers starting their own business, we commonly use our own name.

So Erwin Paul Photography opened for business and started out at my residence for studio portraits, in two rooms to be used as a studio and office. As the business grew it expanded to location and small commercial photography, as well as international passport photos.

Graduated and certified.
I graduated from a two-year course in professional photography at the New York Institute of Photography.

I am also certified in passport photography trough the Dutch “Stichting Nederlandse Fotovakhandel” (Dutch Foundation of Photography Professionals), with the focus on the 2007 photomatrix specifications, and I am familiar with the updated Dutch 2020 specifications.

Henrico Photo is also recommended by the Dutch embassy in Washington DC for Dutch passport photos.

Renamed the business.
Since coming out as a transgender woman, and starting the social, legal and medical process of transitioning from male to female, my legal name would soon change, and my business name needed to change as well.

Instead of using my new legal name I decided to create Henrico Photo, which I think was a better choice. Over the years Henrico Photo became known as the passport photo studio for many residents in Virginia and bordering states.

Rebranding the studio.
After water damage to my home in 2016, which affected my studio space and equipment, I was unable to perform my business. I contineud with passport photography until the covid-19 lockdown.

I reorganized my business, dividing the business in both studio portraiture and passport photography. A new business logo accompanied this change, as well as a new website: PassportPhotoRVA.

Passport Photo RVA.
To separate the passport from portrait photography, Passport Photo RVA was created.

working towards the new portrait studio.
Since my full-time nightshift position with another company has increased the hours from 40 to an average of 56-64 hours per week, I am currently not able to do studio portraiture. However, in the near future I will continue studio portraiture after I retire from my current nightshift, if anything works out as planned.

At this time, I am aiming for late 2024 or early 2025, and as such I am rebuilding my studio’s camera room and office to be ready when I re-open for studio portraiture. I am also updating the website HenricoPhoto as well.


The first studio.
In the very beginning I started out in my garage, which I converted into a studio. All the studio photography was done in here; fashion, modelling portfolio, family, product, small commercial and passports. The background is a large white roll of seamless paper backdrop.

I remember my first studio session I held in here. I still have the samples in my portfolio.

Hi-key studio.
The main background is a large white roll of seamless paper, which really brings out the attention to the subject. This backdrop is perfect for fashion, modeling, family and portfolio photography.

I also have green screen photography available in this camera room. Most in studio commercial work was performed in this camera room as well.

Low-key studio.
The main backdrop is of a neutral color. This backdrop is great for beautiful dresses and bridal portraits, as well as for black and white photography. The next backdrop in this studio is commonly referred to as “old masters”, meaning light in the center and going dark to the outside, creating a beautiful vignette around the subject, being it a single business headshot or a family portrait.

A second old masters in brighter colors are also available. Some bright single-color backgrounds for individual portraits are in this camera room as well.

Children and passport studio.
There are a large number of printed backgrounds of various scenes located here. The main purpose for this studio is to photograph babies/small children and teenagers. Some backgrounds are also perfect for mini sessions and family greeting cards.

ID and passport photos are also made in this studio in front of a plain white background, and with a dedicated camera/lighting photo kiosk.

Passport studio.
After the renovation from the water damage, I started the business backup with passport photography only. I also renumbered the studios, since for the time being this will be my only studio, until the renovation is complete.

So, the former studios 2 and 3 are now studio 1, where I currently do the ID and passport photography, until I restart the family portraiture again.

Family studio, not in service for business.
The main backdrop is of a neutral color. This backdrop is great for beautiful dresses and bridal portraits, as well as for black and white photography. The next backdrop in this studio is commonly referred to as “old masters”, meaning light in the center and going dark to the outside, creating a beautiful vignette around the subject, being it a single business headshot or a family portrait.

A second old masters in brighter colors are also available. Some bright single-color backgrounds for individual portraits are in this camera room as well.

Not in service for business.
In the near future the old studio 1 will become the new studio 2. Its main purpose will remain the same; high-key photography.

If anything goes to plan, I hope to have this studio and my family portraiture up and running by 2024, but until then I am only operating as a passport photo photographer. Please stay tuned.


Software: Photoshop and IDphotoPro4.
I first started with a self-made template in photoshop, only doing Dutch passport photos, because my first clients were referred by the Dutch embassy in Washington DC. As you might already know, this was a time-consuming task, by doing each photo one by one and validating the specifications.

My dedicated passport photo printer, the HiTi S420, only comes with build in templates for the USA and Canada, since it’s sold within the north America region.

When on vacation in my hometown in the Netherlands, I asked a local passport photo studio about information in regard to obtaining specialized software and supplies. That’s how I got in contact with the company Pixel-Tech, the creator of IDphotoPro passport photo software. Today I am still using this wonderful software.

Software: IDphotoPro5 and 6.
After a few years I moved the passport photo setup to the new camera room and invested in a more dedicated and calibrated system. Using equipment only to be used for passport photography thereby guaranteeing a constant quality of my products.

From the light setup and calibration in camera, to computer and output onto the printed photos, all matching constant settings and running the upgraded IDphotoPro5 software, now enabled to do all international passport photo formats, worldwide.

For the next couple of years, with this setup, my clients enjoyed passport photos that passed their government specifications.

Software: IDphotoPro7 and 8.
After the water damage to my home and studio, and to have more flexibility, I replaced the computer/printer table with a movable standing stand, and going more towards a kiosk system.

I also upgraded the Canon camera to a newer model and introduced WiFi file transfer from the camera to the computer, being free of the USB cable, that occasionally got disconnected.

This was done by the eyeFi card, and photos transferred directly into the
IDphotoPro software to be (almost) automatically edited into passport photos. Unfortunately, the eyFi company later discontinued the support of their product and it made the special WiFi SD card worthless, since they were software controlled.

Software: IDphotoPro8.
In December 2019 disaster strikes again, this time not by water but the motherboard of the computer went out.

So, in January I replaced my computer system, to quickly be able to continue with my clients and decided to go ahead and replace the entire passport photo equipment in the next one or two months, strobes, light modifiers, printer, monitors and supplies.

Then we all know Covid-19 came and, just like any other business, it shut down my business, right after the new equipment investment.

Software: IDphotoPro8.
Since I am remodeling my entire home studio to be ready for the future, I also replaced my passport photo kiosk setup. No longer movable but fixed in the corner of my room. The use of white shelving gives a new and fresh organized feel, look and impression.

Equipment wise I have added a second printer to quickly be able to switch over, so there’s less downtime while a customer is waiting. As a backup I have a new WiFi SD card for wireless file transfer, but to speed the process I have the USB cable permanently attached between the camera and computer.

I also have more background selections as well as more little things, like the Canadian stamps and more photo cutters in different sizes.

Secure cloud storage and GDPR compliance.
The studio is now in complete compliance with the European privacy rules and regulations to protect the biometric data from my European clients. This is a requirement for any and all business which are doing business with European clients, even when the business is located in the USA.

All digital passport photos will be uploaded to a secure cloud storage and as a client you will receive a unique access code. For my United Kingdon clients, this is the code needed when applying for your UK passport renewal at the GOV.UK website.


My first real “dedicated” home office.
After starting my business in 2008 I didn’t really have an “official” office, so in 2010 I remodeled my family room into an office, which is still to date my office, but in another look.

As you can see, I loved dark colors. Also, to be honest, the walls were too busy with small displays, something I later changed.

My first customer lounge.
Looking from the other corner you see the customer lounge. The wall and door behind the couch are something I added, to separate the office from the kitchen.

After 12 years my office is still set up this way, but with a cleaner and fresher look, using light colors.

Remodeling the office.
Due to Covid-19 my children moved back in my home and utilized the office after the room was repaired due to the water damage.

I used my old furniture that was really getting some signs of wear and tear. Although it’s in working condition, my office was, and is still, not in service for business.

The new customer lounge.
The new customer lounge, at the same location as the previous one, is now pretty much ready and it will remain like this.

This area was, and is still, not yet in service for business, until I start family portraiture again.

Welcome to the new look.
The new white color scheme is giving my new office a clean and fresh look. Welcome to the future, since my office is not yet in service for business.

There is still much more work to do to get the office fully operational, but I have the time. My plan is to re-open the studio portraiture business in 2024 or 2025. Until than its only passport photo service.

The complementary coffee corner.
New to my business is the complimentary coffee corner. Since I operate my business from home, it’s nearly impossible to avoid the kitchen, so I might as well make a good use of it.

Every customer is free to have a cup of coffee or thee if they like. I also have a standing desk in the center of my kitchen where you can stand to consume your drink or sit down in the customer lounge.

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