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Entries for Wancket Studios Free Portrait Session Competition

This is an example of the kind of quality entrants can expect should they win one of 25 portrait sessions from Wancket Studios valued at $720 each.

This is an example of the kind of quality entrants can expect should they win one of 25 portrait sessions from Wancket Studios valued at $720 each.

To celebrate 25 years in business, Audrey Wancket, of Spring Grove based Wancket Studios, one of the top photography studios in the country, is holding a competition to give away 25 photo sessions valued at $720 each – one session for each year that Wancket has been in business.

Entrants are asked to write a short piece describing their Dream Portrait. Below, as submitted, are just some of the entries received so far:

Hi, I'm not very good at telling stories but here it goes:
I would love to win a dream portrait for Nephew.
The perils that sister-in-law and her husband had to endure to bring their first baby into this world was admirable. They had suffered several heart aches when they were trying to get pregnant. Her pregnancy was a difficult one but she made the best of it because she was so thrilled that their baby would be coming soon. I only found out recently that her life was in danger as well as the baby when it came time to deliver, he was premature by three months and she had complications. Luckily they both survived and we were blessed with our nephew. He weighed one lb, 15 ounces and was as small as a squirrel. He lived in the NICU for a few months in an incubator being fed thru tubes. I don't think she was able to hold him until a couple of weeks later due to his fragile state.
I consider him to be a miracle. He's now 4 1/2, intelligent, funny, full of energy and love. He is a beautiful child inside and out, with brown wavy hair and the most gorgeous crystal clear blue eyes I have ever seen.
My sister-in-law has had a couple of portraits taken of my nephew but the photography is far from being close to Heirloom quality in my opinion. She has seen two portraits taken by Audrey of our daughter when she was two and the most recent of her communion. My sister-in-law is in absolute awe of the beauty and unique look of the portraits that only Audrey can create.

Dear Audrey & Everyone at Wancket Studios ~
I guess I can't officially enter your contest, because I couldn't bear for our story to be published…not that I should worry about that unlikely possibility…as I'm sure you will receive entries far more eloquent than this…but, when I read about the contest…the memories came pouring into my mind and I just have to write to you…share our story with you… and thank you.
You probably won't remember my family. I know you photograph thousands of people. But, about 12 years ago, I brought my 12 year old daughter, my one year old son, their paternal grandmother (my parents passed away years ago), my dear friend & her one year old daughter to your lovely studio. I had seen your work through a friend & fell in love with your artistic & romantic style. We were thrilled to be able to commission portraits from such a famous & accomplished photographer.
My baby son cried & fussed most of the way from our home in Wheaton. I fretted that we wouldn't be able to coax a smile onto his chubby little face. My daughter worried about the braces on her teeth. Those worries immediately dissolved when I realized that you didn't really want them to smile! This isn't Picture People! ;) I was completely unprepared for the slide show you had arranged for us, so we could view the results of our session. I'm sure almost every parent gets teary, when they see your photographs. I openly wept. To see my children through your eyes…through your lens…was a moment I'll never forget & I thank you for that, from every part of my heart.
We used our favorite photograph for our Christmas cards that year & the compliments flooded in. Our family & friends were astounded at the beauty you captured. We asked you to frame 4 large portraits for us. We gave one to Grandma Alice. It is proudly & prominently displayed in her humble apartment. It's probably more valuable than all the rest of her material possessions. It's most certainly her most cherished possession.
The other three portraits were given places of honor on our living room walls…where everyone who walked into our home could enjoy a private viewing.
Two years later, our youngest son was born. One of my deepest regrets is that I didn't have the foresight to know that I should have whisked him into your studio to have his portrait taken immediately. I had no way of knowing that opportunity would soon be lost.
A lot has happened to our family since then. There's nothing unique about our situation, I guess…as nearly half of all marriages…all families in this country, are torn apart by divorce..but, I can tell you…from my perspective…statistics do nothing to ease the pain.
When my husband was moving out of our home, it was dividing the Wancket portraits that caused us all the most heartache, out of all of our joint belongings. My husband took the largest portrait, of our two older children together. I took the two smaller individual portraits. I love the pout on my son's face. It's perfect. I love the look of serenity on my adolescent daughter's face…before they lost a fair bit of their innocent trust…that their family would always be together.
I also have a beautiful black & white close-up, of my daughter holding her little brother. I love how you captured the difference in their ages, when it was the most profound. Now, at 24 & almost 13, that gap is becoming less & less apparent. I framed several of the proofs from our session. I love the casual look…my children in jeans & overalls…I love my son's tiny fingers, playing with a latch on your antique trunk. I treasure these portraits. They call up such sweet memories and I thank you for that…for preserving that precious time in my life as a mother.
Life is hard for us now. Believe me, I'm not looking for your sympathy or pity. Many, many people have it much harder than we do. We have a little townhouse. We have a cute little car. All four of us are together. I have a secretarial job. We have our health…and for all of this I am extremely grateful. But, I'll admit to you that it's tough. We can't pay our bills every month. My children's father was laid off over 2 years ago. Child support was a third of our income. His car was repossessed & he lives 45 minutes away…so he rarely sees our children.
When I look at my two portraits, there's a huge empty space where my youngest child's portrait should be and it breaks my heart. He's 9 years old now. I pray that I am able to rectify that before he's all grown up & is off to start his own adult life…his own family. Where there's a will, there's a way. I have faith. We'll come see you again someday and my youngest son will flash you an impish grin, that's full of his unique spirit…a spirit that has weathered a storm & still shines on. I just know that someday, somehow, timeless portraits of all three of my beautiful children will be hanging on the wall of our little townhouse, in the middle of a corn field…the place we fled to…the place where I could finally tuck my children safely into their beds…our refuge from the storm.
Thank you, Audrey…I hope to see you again one day & proudly reacquaint you with my two older children and introduce you to my youngest. I can hardly wait to see my "baby" through your lens.

Audrey, I saw that you had this fun "contest" going for all of your past clients, so I thought I would give it a shot. Let me preface my dream portrait the way most of your clients probably do. Your work graced our first homes mantel when our first child was just a year old. My wife and I were new parents and learning things quickly. The pictures came out great and are still on our walls. When our second child was born a few years later, we were blown away how you had them photographed together. Two years later when I got my boy, lets just say the portraits brought out the "soft side" of me. I think my wife actually asked me if I was crying when I saw them for the first time. My response was, of course, NO! Finally, after our youngest was born, my wife really wanted another portrait done. Of course, your work is our artwork on our walls. I don't know if you recall our email conversations before the holidays, but my wife was so excited to get the portraits of our children for a Christmas gift. The portraits of our 4 children are truly the artwork in both our home in Lincolnshire as well as our home in Florida. You have truly captured the kids and their individual personalities in your work, and my wife and I couldn’t be happier. You have obviously met my beautiful wife. She is very photogenic like our children. Audrey, my "dream portrait" would be one that I could put over my mantel that included my wife and I. The kids are very photogenic, and my wife is gorgeous. Dad/husband, not the greatest picture taker. I don’t know how good your airbrushing department is, but some day I would really enjoy just one portrait of our entire family together. Nothing fancy, just a family portrait. Thanks for all of the beautiful moments you have captured in my kids lives.

When I look back on my life I would like one last glance at my family and want the world to see it in my eyes. I know only Audrey can capture the feelings in my heart for them as they are and what they mean to me. My dream, my wish would be for Audrey to work her magic and freeze time~
Like she can in her talent, forever.

My husband and I have been fans of Audrey’s work for some time now. She photographed our daughter when she was 3 years old and then our son at 2 years. She also photographed both of them together a few years ago at ages 12 and 7.
What I absolutely would love to have on my walls now will require a little persuading when is comes to my husband. That’s why this contest is so perfect!
You see, I’ve been wanting to schedule a family portrait with Audrey for a few years but my husband won’t cooperate. He has never liked having pictures taken of himself. I think there’s a story there but he’s not talking. So, when I saw this contest I thought it would be perfect because if I win then he’ll have to participate.
It would mean so much to me to have a family portrait on my walls. I only have a couple of years left before my daughter goes off to college and I know it will be even more difficult once that happens.

I haven’t had a professional portrait (I don’t consider school pictures to be professional) since I was a baby. The portrait is a family portrait of my parents, my two older siblings, and myself. The image is nowhere near as bad as some portraits I have seen but when I look at it now it just seems so random. Let me paint you a picture.
This was in the latter half of the 1970’s so let’s just say that the image is an “Ode to Polyester”. My father is wearing the popular baby blue suit of the era and my brother, 10 years old, is wearing the matching suit in what I like to call “poo brown”. My mother, sister and myself are in various versions of pink polyester and taffeta. My sister, she’s only about 6 years old, is sporting a miniature version of the infamous Farrah Fawcet do and my mother has a spectacularly done beehive-like updo going on. I’m about 18 months old in the portrait so my hair is so fine and blonde at that point that I basically look bald.
Reading back what I’ve already written I will spare you the description of the various facial expressions. Let’s just say that it’s a mixed bag.
So, long story made short, my dream portrait would be an updated version of our family portrait that I would love to give to my parents. They aren‘t old but they aren’t getting any younger and I would love to be able to do this for them as well as myself and I know that Wancket Studios wouldn't let the above happen.

There is still time to enter the competition. For more information, visit:

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