Alameda Business Buzz: Megan Small Photography

Alameda Business Buzz: Megan Small Photography

Janice Worthen
Megan Small Photography

Photo courtesy of Megan Small.

Spring is here, and even with the drought, flowers are blooming, and trees are putting on their frills. Over at Megan Small Photography, Megan Small is getting ready to celebrate her first year of business in Alameda (her sixth year overall) – and keeping busy with the demand that spring and the quickly approaching Mother’s and Father’s Day holidays create.

Small first fell in love with photography in Los Angeles, where she ran her photo business for five years. She was able to make her business competitive in a city inundated by photographers by focusing on families, who would often hire her for all their events and holiday photos following their initial session.

When Small returned to the Bay Area, she was worried that there might not be a market for her photography. But she found that “Alameda is booming with new families,” and business has been great so far.

Although the holidays are her busiest season, Small said she enjoys shooting in summer and fall the most due to the summer sunsets and fall colors. Small added that she prefers to shoot outside, but she does have a studio on Santa Clara Avenue where she can showcase her work and meet with clients to discuss photo sessions and packages.

“My favorite part of my job is meeting expecting parents at their maternity shoot, getting to know them at their newborn shoot, being hired for milestone moments when they start sitting up or walking and being invited to shoot their first birthdays,” Small said.

“I really feel like I become part of the family,” she added.

Although Small started her business in Los Angeles, she was born and raised in Alameda, and her family has a long history of doing business on the Island. Her great-grandmother, Gretchen, and Gretchen’s sister, Hedwig, opened Betty and Anne, a hat and dress shop, back in 1924 at 1409 Park Street.

The sisters went by Betty and Anne, Small said, because their names were “too German” during that time. They made millinery hats during the Depression and later offered dresses, lingerie and alterations. Small’s father opened a law office in Alameda after moving to the Island in 1979.

Small said she initially wanted to be a teacher because she loves kids, but after spending time in her early 20s working as a personal assistant for women in a variety of careers, she realized she had to find work that she “absolutely loved because that’s what they spent all their time and energy doing.” When she started getting positive feedback on her photographs, she realized photography could become her career.

Small occasionally partners with businesses like Pippa + Co. and Tot Tank to offer “mini sessions.” So far, she’s held mini sessions for Halloween, the holidays and Valentine’s Day. She will be holding a spring mini session from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on April 24 at Pippa + Co. You can sign up for a session on their website.

The sessions, which cost $75, usually last 20 minutes, and clients receive a print as well as an online viewing gallery of about 30 photos they can download and print themselves. Small said she plans on continuing this collaboration with Pippa + Co. and Tot Tank because their businesses “go hand in hand.”

Small will also be holding mini sessions on May 2 in Franklin Park for Mother’s Day. Each session costs $115, and clients will receive an online gallery of 25 to 35 photos as well as a five-inch-by-seven-inch print. Small will provide floral and ivy crowns for the photos, and clients have the option of purchasing these crowns online for $65 if they would like to take them home after the session. Visit if you would like to sign up for a time slot.

With her childhood friend Hillary Ratto Ward, Small has also started a party planning business called Harper Grey Events. The name of the business comes from names they would like to use for future children; Harper is Ward’s choice and Grey is Small’s. The cost of the event varies by client, and Small said they provide the client with a quote and “inspiration board” of ideas after an initial complimentary meeting. Visit for more information.

2511 Santa Clara Avenue; 219-6028.

Around Town

Alameda South Shore Center will hold an Earth Day Celebration from noon to 3 p.m. on April 18. There will be live music, and the East Bay Depot for Creative Reuse will help children make superhero crafts including wands, wings, capes and crowns out of recycled materials. Resilience the Recycle Superhero will make an appearance and will help raffle off prizes. Coliseum Lexus will have an electric car on display.

Park Street and Beyond: Pixies and Peony has moved out of the main building and into the greenhouse at 2305 Santa Clara Avenue, the old Towata Flowers location. Vintiq, a boutique shop selling a variety of vintage and handcrafted items, has taken their place and is now open.

Shop owners Raf Janssens and Steve Gray have sold online, at the Alameda Point Antiques Fair and Treasure Island Flea before starting this latest adventure. Janssens said Pixies and Peony’s mother and daughter team gave them advice on opening their first brick and mortar store.

“We are delighted to have them as our neighbors!” Janssens said.

He added that Vintiq has a lot to offer Alamedans, from vintage furniture to handmade jewelry and other items by local artists; the team likes cameras, lamps, clocks, typewriters, rustic décor, and more.

“We opened the store because we have a passion for vintage and antique items, and we love local artists and makers and like to offer them an outlet to show their creations to the world,” Janssens said. “We will add a real community shop to Park Street where local artists have a chance to display and sell their items together with our passion for all things old.”

Vintiq, 2305 Santa Clara Avenue. Open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday. 263-8182.

Celebrate spring at one of Alameda’s most popular events, the 15th Annual Park Street Spring Festival, which runs May 9 and 10 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. There will be over 150 vendors, free valet bike parking, live music, activities for kids (a bounce house, a climbing wall, a petting zoo, and more), beer, wine and mimosas, and a variety of delicious food including that classic favorite, roasted corn. Visit the Park Street Business Association website for more information.

West Alameda: CREAM, a Bay Area favorite that first opened in Berkeley in 2010, will open a new location at Alameda Landing in mid-June. The shop offers a large variety of cookies and ice cream in various forms, but CREAM’s claim to fame is their ice cream sandwich (a choice of ice cream between two warm cookies).

Helen Gutierrez, marketing manager for CREAM, said the store is a franchise and that they chose Alameda because of the “active and friendly community” the city has and they believe the store will be a “great fit for the neighborhood.”

“Our mission is to bring people together, have fun, and provide a premium product at an affordable price, all things we are looking forward to sharing with the community,” Gutierrez added.

CREAM is now hiring for their Alameda Landing location. Visit to apply. 2630 Fifth Street, Suite A.

Chipotle is hoping to open its Alameda Landing location May 21. 2610 Fifth Street, Suite A. Open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.

Sprint at Alameda Landing is now open and hiring. Visit the store for details. 2670 Fifth Street, Suite D. Open 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.

In-N-Out is now hiring, and the starting wage is $11.50 an hour. Visit their website to apply. 555 Willie Stargell Avenue.

Alameda Landing Dentistry will be opening soon. Visit their website to learn about the services they provide. 2660 Fifth Street, Suite C; 384-4000.

Unleashed by Petco will be holding a free “Paw Impressions” crafting workshop with pets this Saturday from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Each customer who participates will receive a non-toxic clay impression of his or her pet’s paw while supplies last. 2650 Fifth Street, Suite B; 748-1263.


Submitted by Leo (not verified) on Wed, Apr 22, 2015

Looking forward to all the new food options in West Alameda. Especially CREAM...YUM!