By Lee Simonson
Special to Niagara Frontier Publications
One of the area’s renowned portrait photographers, Lewiston native Andrea Costrino is moving to a location that will enable her to carry on a decades-long tradition of artistic excellence.
She is putting the finishes touches on her studio at 165 S. Sixth St., just a block off Center Street in Lewiston, to begin the next chapter in her ever-expanding business.
But she won’t be the first photographer who has set up shop there.
Over the past 60 years, thousands of people have made their way to the same location to capture precious family moments – weddings, first communions, graduations, business promotions, and other special occasions and turning points that marked their lives.
Now Costrino will be using that studio space to take full advantage of her unique talents and help her clients create their own memories.
“Si and Mamie Simonson built their home studio in Lewiston in 1961 and intentionally designed it to provide the optimal space for portrait photography, catering to over 10,000 customers during their long and iconic career. Then, in 2007, Bill and Joanne Carpenter carried on the tradition with DeCarr Studio in the same location,” Costrino explained. “Bill and Joanne are famous for their creativity and reputation with high school senior portraits. When I heard that Bill and Joanne were moving their business to another location, I jumped at the chance to become a part of the photographic legacy that has touched the lives of so many people across Western New York."
Costrino, a former school teacher, was previously associated with Vita Bella Photography in Lewiston. She has since become independent and is focused on expanding her business in several specialty areas, including women portraits, infant photography and family groups.
"As a photographer, I’m flexible in subject matter, but my goal is to capture images to let my customers’ personalities and passions shine through – to show women of all ages their strength, their confidence and their beauty,” Costrino said. “After working with over 150-plus brides and thousands of portrait clients over the last eight years, I’ve had a tremendous opportunity to hone my skills to produce portraiture that creates a legacy for woman that will echo through the generations in the most positive ways possible.”
Costrino has also established herself at the go-to photographer for newborns and outside family portraits.
"Taking pictures of babies who are only days-old may sound as easy as grabbing your phone, but if you want a classic photo that will proudly hang in your living room for years to come, then you’ll want to invest in your family history and get it done professionally," she said.
Costrino graduated from Lewiston-Porter High School in 1999. Her husband, Nick, a graphic designer, graduated in 2000. Today, their two children, Lucia, 9, and Vienna, 7, also attend Lew-Port.
Andrea received her education degrees from Niagara University and Buffalo State and taught kindergarten and first grade at a charter school.
But then she was bitten by the photography bug. In 2010, she bought her first DSLR camera with the intention of documenting her own elopement and honeymoon in Italy.
“Once my daughter was born, I was determined to document every precious moment,” Costrino said. “When I started sharing my family photos on social media, people started to ask for a ‘session.' In fact, so many people started asking that I needed to start charging for my time and services. After a couple of years as a part-time photographer, I officially traded in my chalkboard for a camera full-time, and started my journey down entrepreneur lane."
The new Andrea Costrino + Co Portrait Studio is now open by appointment by calling Costrino at 716-523-6954. One can also find her online at andreacostrino.com and on Facebook at facebook.com/andreacostrinoco.
Local photographer Andrea Costrino is carrying on a long tradition of photographic excellence and is opening her new studio at 165 S. Sixth St., Lewiston – the same location used previously by the Simonsons and the Carpenters for nearly 60 years. She specializes in women portraiture, newborns and families in natural outside settings.