Say cheese! Halle Ingram has been designing handmade wooden cameras since summer 2017 through her shop With Love, Halle. “‘With LOVE, Halle’ means that each wooden camera, every little thing I put into it, is made with love by me,” Ingram shared. “If you were to write a letter, you would always sign it ‘with love.’ It’s just my way of saying each individual camera is made with love for that special customer.”
As you might imagine, there is a fair amount of detail that goes into creating wooden cameras safe for tiny humans. Ingram and her husband handpick and cut the raw wood she uses for each camera style. “From that point, we sand and round the edges so they are not sharp for the little hands that will hold them,” she explained. “We drill the viewfinder hole and go over them again with a hand sander. It’s quite a long process.” Once the body of each camera is prepared, Ingram paints, designs and decorates the wood in accordance with the shop’s release theme. The cameras also come with an adorable strap made of a soft jute material.
With Love, Halle offers gender-neutral cameras for all different holidays, including a recently-released Valentine’s Day design, as well as various character-inspired themes (think princesses and superheroes). Ingram has designed cameras in every color of the rainbow – even a horizontal stripe rainbow camera, one of her favorites. Customers frequently make custom requests, including one who sought a Chick-fil-A theme!
Ingram’s cameras are such works of art that I hesitate to call them toys, but they are beloved by children. In a world filled with screens, these wooden cameras inspire creativity and unleash imagination. For Ingram, the best part is the feedback she receives from parents who purchase the cameras for their kiddos. “It is pure happiness. Hearing the moms tell me how their little minds work and how big their imaginations are. Seeing them mimic what their moms do while taking photos is amazing.”
Why cameras? Ingram fell in love with photography years ago. “My daughter, CiCi, had no interest in getting her photo taken,” Ingram recalled. “I had seen wooden cameras before and I wondered if I could make them. I remember walking around the hardware store with my husband, picking up every little thing and practically building the first camera there. It was a lot of trial and error.”
Launching With Love, Halle has been life-changing for Ingram. “My small shop has opened so many doors for us. If I didn’t do this, I would definitely find a way to bring happiness to others. Someway, somehow.”
Upcoming With Love, Halle drops include an “All Stained Release” on January 25 and then Ombré designs in pink, black, purple, and turquoise colors in February. Accessorize your next family photo with a wooden camera from With Love, Halle by visiting her website at withlovehalle.com or join Ingram’s VIP Facebook group here.