OAKLAND -- Reenie Raschke Photography is returning to Montclair Village after a three-year hiatus, during which she had her popular portrait studio further up the hill.
"I wanted to be next to the people again," Raschke said. "I wanted to see the kids. It's energizing."
Raschke's new digs will be located at 1950 Mountain Boulevard on the second floor, above Nelly's Java coffee house. Raschke plans to celebrate her grand opening from 5 to 8 p.m. Wednesday.
Raschke snapped photos of local families for seven years between 2003-2010 on La Salle Avenue, first as Sarber's Portrait Studio, and then on her own as Studio Montclair. Raschke specializes in family portraits, maternity and pet photography, and commercial headshots.
"I want to show people how beautiful they are," Raschke said. "It hurts when I don't capture something and it feels good when I do."
Raschke began her career on the other side of the camera as a model. She was often unhappy with the photographers' finished product.
"I know what people want to look like," said Raschke, who first picked up a camera when her children Alice and Henry -- now 20 and 21 years old, respectively -- were babies.
Raschke is a Bay Area native and has lived and worked in Montclair since 1987. She launched her professional career in 1998.
"Watching the growth of families is awesome," Raschke said.
Raschke also volunteers with an organization called Lay Me Down to Sleep that documents the brief lives of babies that are not going to live. Raschke is called by local hospitals to create a slide show of infant's brief lives that are often used as a mourning tool.
Raschke's interest in the project was sparked when she found a well-worn photograph of a dead baby in her grandmother's attic.
"It's up to me to get it in the can," she said. "The moment is gone. If mom and dad can relive that moment, they can smooth it out. It's like therapy."
Raschke's other local ventures include a holiday pop-up store in 2011, called the Montclair Collective, which sold local artisanal goods. She also published a coffee-table book entitled "My Town Montclair," which can be purchased on her website and at select stores around Montclair Village.
Raschke will also celebrate the reopening of her portrait studio through the month of May with a special offer of $100 for a sitting fee. For more information about her business and to view her work, visit Reenieimages.com.