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Photographer Teresa Porter in black suit on white brick background


Photographer headshot of Teresa Porter black jacket white wall

Teresa Porter

Ever since she could unbuckle her own seatbelt, Teresa has been insisting someone turn the car around so she can jump out and grab a picture. She has been trying to make people laugh since her first popsicle. She always sat with the new kid in school, rocked a safety vest on safety patrol, and cried along with anyone who had their feelings hurt. After going to Elon University and a brief career as a social worker, (and once being a candidate for ordination), Teresa picked up a camera and wait for it… it clicked. Pun definitely intended.

Now all the cheesey jokes, building quick rapport, and looking to the sky for creative inspiration mix together for a perfect photography combination. A little therapy for when you’re not feeling camera-ready. A little humor for the camera-shy person who doesn’t like to smile. A little safety patrol anxiety for catching the smallest details. Tears of joy to share with you when it all comes together better than you could ever imagine. And a chair, slid out to greet you, to say let’s be friends.

Meet the Staff

Helen Smith – Studio Manager

Do you remember that mom that you wished was your mom? Well, meet Helen (or, as some call her, MiMi) the mom of our studio and the person everyone wishes, just a little, was their mom too.  She will feed you snacks, make sure you remember your appointments, and give you a hug whenever you need it. She has been keeping her on track for 30+ years as her real life mom. She’s not all snacks and snuggles though, she keeps our studio going behind the scenes at every step She is exceedingly qualified, she holds a PhD in Chemistry and her MBA. Having semi-retired from an acclaimed career in the pharmaceutical industry, she is bringing her talents to our Studio. She is a treasure that will make you wish, as many have, that she was your mom too.


“Hey Dad, can you install a few canvases for one of my clients?”  So began Scott’s second career: – lab operations consultant during the week, professional installer on weekends.  The Ph.D. he earned in Analytical Chemistry at NC State now stands for ‘Picture-hangin’ Dad’.  Scott is also the person who executes Teresa’s crazy ideas like “hey Dad, can you build a waterfall?” or “I need a backdrop made of whitewashed pallets . . . portable.”.  Scott has been hanging pictures and mirrors for My Friend Teresa Studios clients and others under the banner of Radiance Art Installation for 5+ years. Sometimes it’s just a picture in a hallway, other times it is a house full of portraits on newly-painted walls.  It’s no secret, Teresa is his favorite artist but he will install artwork for interior designers, other photographers, and everyday folk who need help.


Denise Hutter – Hair & Make Up Artist

With over 20 years of experience, Denise is an expert at making everyone look their best.  Specializing in camera-ready make up for productions, she knows how to work with all people.  A top talent in the industry, Denise is frequently on-set for SAS, WakeMed, Dateline, HGTV, NBC-17, and ESPN.  People of all ages, races, genders, and levels of comfort with make up trust their final looks to her – and end up thrilled every time. 

GRACEN GUY – Lighting Assistant

When Teresa says “don’t worry, I got this” Gracen knows to worry, because Teresa don’t got it. Gracen was born and raised in Chapel Hill, NC and graduated from Savanah College of Art and Design in 2022 with her Bachelors of Fine Arts in Jewelry.  As a lover of all forms of art, it wasn’t until graduation that Gracen renewed her interested in photography.  As a lighting assistant, Gracen can be seen on sessions holding lights, adjusting strobes, and laying down special effects like smoke and wind.  We enjoy having Gracen on every session as an important contributor to every session’s success.

Headshot of girl in white shirt on green steps

Sydney Harris – Creative Intern

Sydney first joined the studio as a photography student, taking private lessons in middle school.  She has always been a talented artist – expressing her creative passions through photography, competitive dance, and interior design.  Sydney continues to pursue photography, in addition to her many talents, at Savanah College of Art and Design where she is currently a student.  Sydey’s work for the studio includes digital retouching, content creation, and any form of “girl”-ing the studio needs like accent pillows and picking paint colors.  We have loved watching Sydney grow from a student to an employee.  

Kate Stevens headshot girl in white shirt stripe pants on step

Kate Stevens – MARKETING Intern

Kate can out throw, out run, and out lift you.  She can probably out-smile and out-Disney you too.  As a student at Christopher Newport University – Kate dominates in the classroom but also on the track as an accomplished thrower.  Kate is also a photographer who created the CNU-Track team’s media day photographs and runs their social media accounts.  We have enjoyed having Kate as a member of our team as our marketing intern.  You can see her work in our social media posts (she’s the magic behind our Instagram), as well as our blog.  When we can get her to slow down, we love to see Kate.