Lori Grice: The South’s Portrait Artist

Posted By on Tuesday, December 23, 2014 |

D_L-White-HouseLori Grice discovered her love for photography as a child and spent years mentoring her under uncle Gil Riggs, a local portrait expert.  Her career received a jump start when she photographed the now famous Joe Ross image while attending her first Georgia Southern game in 1989.  Lori printed one of the images and placed it in her uncle’s store.  David Ball purchased a copy and placed it in Archibald’s, a restaurant he owned.  Erk Russell saw it and fell in love with it.  The next season it became the official photograph for Georgia Southern Football’s marketing.

For nearly 30 years, Lori has worked to continue her education and stay on the cutting edge of technology and techniques in an industry that seems to be in a state of constant change.  Lori is one of only two local photographers who have completed the Professional Photographers of America’s voluntary national certification process.  She also is the first photographer in the southeast to obtain her Masters in Photography and Craftsman degree from the Professional Photographers of America.  Shortly after this accomplishment, Lori was invited to become a member of the American Society of Photographers, one of the industry’s most prestigious organizations.

“I have always been very passionate about photography, but I also understand that it takes more than just passion to create a successful business and a beautiful portrait that will become a centerpiece of your home.  With photography being my profession and my livelihood, I continue the values instilled in me by my Uncle Gil.  I work every day to increase my education and refine my work so that each portrait I create represents the highest quality and most creative artistic expression that I and my brand have become known for.” said Lori.

Lori’s clients agree that there is something special and different about her portraits.  “When people come into my home the first thing they notice are the Lori Grice Portraits of my family and children.  These beautiful portraits are an investment not only in the décor of my home but also an investment in my family.  There is nothing I value more than my family.  To have an artist as talented as Lori creatively capture my children annually is helping me to establish heirlooms that will share our family’s legacy for generations to enjoy.” said Dr. Ruthie Crider.

What Lori does as an artist is becoming a lost art.  In fact, there is fear permeating the photography industry that fifty years from now the current generation, which is the most photographed generation ever, will have no photo’s to share with their children and grandchildren.  This generation is an instant generation.  They want it all and they want it now.  Smartphones and social media is giving them that immediacy that they crave but these mediums do not create the lasting value that a portrait can establish.  It is being called “the lost generation.”

It is a fact that a simple photograph printed on high quality archival photographic paper with archival inks will outlive any subject featured in the photograph.  However, digital mediums are too new to fully understand the archival abilities of this technology.

“Anyone can take a picture on their IPhone or digital camera and make it look great on a computer screen but the real art and skill in the photograph industry is still a bit old school in creating large wall portrait masterpieces for your home or office. For this reason, I launched a five times education campaign several years ago.  This campaign is designed to help encourage, remind and educate our clients on the importance of photography at all levels.  I highly encourage them to photograph with their personal cameras as often as possible and share those on social media with their family and friends.  However, there are critical points in a family’s life that need to be professionally documented including your wedding, the first year of a child’s life, their five year portrait which is your last opportunity to capture the innocence of childhood, your high school senior portraits, and your generational legacy portrait of your entire family.

“I can’t tell you how many people come up to me and say, I wish I had commissioned you for this portrait but now it is too late.  However, I have never had any client regret creating a portrait of their children or family.  In fact, my clients tell me all the time that if their home was on fire, after their family is safe, their second thought would be to save their portraits” said Lori.

Because of the seemingly low barriers of entry into the industry, combined with no governmental regulations or policing of business licenses, the number of people identifying them as professional photographers has exploded.  It is more difficult than ever to identify a real professional.

Some red flags include: if a photographer only has a website or social media page with no physical address, does not maintain a business license or a store front to conduct business and only is willing to provide you with digital images.

“I made a decision early in my career that I wanted to establish a studio in the heart of our downtown.  I made a commitment to provide the absolute best quality possible at the greatest value to my clients and I choose to control every part of the portrait process to ensure these standards are met.  For this reason, we do not sell digital files for noncommercial projects.  Ensuring the high standards of quality my clients have come to expect requires that I am involved from the conception all the way through the process.  This includes printing with the highest quality labs in the world, properly framing the portraits and even delivering and hanging them on your walls.” explains Lori.  “If I completed every step of the portrait process perfectly and gave my client a digital file in which they used to print images at a very low quality lab and displayed them in their home, my brand would be destroyed.  Everything I have worked to create over the past three decades would be diminished.  I understand the DIY movement is in full swing, but there are just certain times it is better to hire a professional to handle a project from beginning to end.  This is the reason people are so taken by my difference displayed in every portrait I create.”

Several years ago, when First Lady Laura Bush selected Lori to design an ornament for the White House Christmas Tree, Lori went through her archives and selected portraits that she had created for existing clients to adorn the ornament.  “I say every day to my staff and clients that if my name is on a portrait it will be as perfect as possible and ready to hand in any house in America.  I backed this up with the design of the ornament.  Since the ornament got to hang in the most famous “house” in America” said Lori.

In addition to creating beautiful heirloom portraits, as a cancer survivor Lori is equally known for her civic and philanthropic involvement.  She has received a gubernatorial appointment in recognition for her work with underprivileged children, appointed as an ambassador by the United Nations Foundation for her advocacy work for vaccinations, is a sustainer with the Savannah Junior League and also the Statesboro Service League.

“Making a difference for my clients and my community is what I enjoy working toward everyday” stated Lori.  “Contact me soon and experience how the Lori Grice difference can transform your house into a home.”