Hanging with the Hawleys

Since 1971, Robert and Cheri Hawley have been specializing in classic portraiture, commercial, wedding, and fine art photography. The family's tradition of timeless photography began in 1946 when Harold Hawley founded the business.

Since 1973 Hawley Studios has called West Genesee Street home.

My parents inspired me to work in the profession," Robert said. "Both Cheri and I attended Brooks Institute of Photography in Santa Barbara, which is where we met."

We both moved back to Syracuse and started working with my parents.

"{They} retired in 1988," Robert said. "But, my father still takes pictures every day and he is 88 years old."

Robert and Cheri's daughter Elizabeth followed in the family footsteps as well and joined the business after graduating from the College of Saint Rose with a degree in fine art in 2000. She now specializes in weddings and modern portraiture.

"It's wonderful working with my parents," Elizabeth said.

"We used to have 15 employees," Robert added. "But we are the happiest we have ever been just working together now."

After 60 years in the business one thing the Hawley family has is experience. For 37 years they photographed every newborn baby in every hospital in Syracuse. Another area, which they are well known for, is for their portraits of high school seniors.

"The teenagers that come in here have super personalities. We get a feel for who they are and what their personalities are like and then we decide what pose is right for them," Cheri said. "They get comfortable really quickly. You feel like family very quickly here and once people get comfortable and are able to let their guard down we are able to get the best shots."

The Hawleys offer high school seniors a number of different photo packages, which are the traditional, ultimate and extreme. The traditional includes photos in one outfit taken in the studio and the other two packages involve changes of clothes and even outdoor shots in the extreme package.

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