Chapter 1: Making a Business

I could hear the desperation in the woman’s words. I could feel her hopelessness increase, and it was in that moment, that I realized a secret that had been in front of my nose the whole time, and that I had it all wrong. I needed to change everything.


My name is Tommy Heiden. I was raised the youngest of three boys by a single mother in an era when cameras still held film, and film (relatively speaking) was expensive. We weren’t poor, but we weren’t rich, and film was a luxury.


As I would imagine is typical in such cases, the most photographs exist of my eldest brother, fewer of my older brother, and the fewest of me. The few photographs of me that do exist are no doubt tucked away somewhere in a box, mixed amongst many other boxes of varying shapes and sizes. Having rarely (if ever) seen any of them, I am, for lack of a better term, a man without a childhood. I’m left with vague, half-formed memories of superhero costumes, neighborhood bullies, tree climbing, and games created solely to amuse three boys with too much time on their hands. Some memories are true, some are false, and many, many are missing.

What did I wear? Who were my friends? Was I cute?


When I started learning photography, I quickly learned that I loved photographing people. Beyond that, I quickly found out that I loved photographing families. Specifically, I loved showing the love, connection, and joy of each one of a kind family.


It took me a long time to understand why I was drawn to family photography, and it was only when I thought back to my lost childhood that it all became crystal clear. I have no photographs of my brothers and I playing, no photos of my grandparents, no photographs of me and my mom or dad. To this day, I have no idea what my dad looks like. If I were to bump into him in the street, aside from some passing familial resemblance, I probably wouldn’t even recognize him. I was surprised to learn that he was blonde, and that he has wavy hair like my son.


It was upon reflection of my childhood that I realized how important family photography is. I realized that I’m compelled to document the history of each and every family as a way to ensure that no child should ever live without their history; so that every child will have memories from a time they may not remember.

Chapter 2: Making Mistakes

As a digital photographer, I started by selling digital copies of my family portraits. My thinking was that if people want digital files, they should get digital files. Then a visit to the Apple Store changed everything. The woman I mentioned earlier was pleading with an Apple employee. She held her smashed phone in her hand. She explained how she dropped it putting the kids in the car and had backed over it, her heart sinking as she heard the crunch of metal grinding into concrete. Her desperation hung in the air as the woman explained how all she wanted was her photos back. Photos of her kids, her vacation, her family reunion, all of it was tucked away somewhere in the pile of twisted metal and broken glass she cradled in her hand. I’ve always been someone who regularly backed up all his devices, so the small voice in my head was screaming, “Why didn’t you back up your photos?” Of course, I didn’t say anything. The poor woman had already had enough trauma. And that’s when I remembered something I learned years ago…

Chapter 3: Making a Difference

People don’t back up their files. It’s been said that there’s two types of computer users in the world: those that have had a hard drive fail, and those that will.

My heart raced as the pieces fell into place in my mind. I realized that both children and adults needed someone to help them ensure that their memories were preserved forever. I realized that selling digital files wasn’t good enough. I realized that printing 4×6s of your photos wasn’t good enough. Family photos are too valuable to be lost or misplaced. They’re too valuable to be tucked away in a shoebox in a closet or in a basement. I had to ensure that everyone’s photographs could be enjoyed for generations, and that meant that they had to be beautiful, they had to be timeless, and they had to be displayed.

I decided in that moment that Heiden Photography had to be built around creating beautiful art to enhance our clients’ homes and to create lasting legacies for their children, and their children’s children. And to make sure that no child would ever grow up without a childhood, and that no parent would ever lose the precious memories of their children’s formative years, I had to make the experience as convenient, stress-free, and risk-free as possible.

I hope you’ll see as you read through our site that we’ve tried to do exactly that, because I believe that when your family means the world to you, you’ll want to make sure you leave them something that will mean the world to them.

Tommy Heiden, founder

About Tommy Heiden

Like you, Tommy is a parent who loves beautiful photos of his children. Probably unlike you, Tommy is a also a family photographer who’s passionate about helping everyone look great and feel comfortable in front of the camera.  

Trained in classic and modern portraiture, Tommy rounds out his expertise with street, lifestyle, and fashion photography training (his work has been featured in  ) providing his clients with a well-rounded and diverse shooting style. His trademark style of bright, colourful images that show off the love, connection, and joy of each family he photographs along with his engaging personality have caused his clients to refer to him as “a breath of fresh air,” and his photos as “flawless.”  

He is the author of “Picture This: The Busy Mom’s Guide to Choosing the Right Qualified Family Photographer for the Best Possible Price” and “5 Minute Photographer: The Busy Mom’s Guide to Taking Better Photos of your Family with Any Camera (in 5 Minutes or Less)”  

Tommy is the originator of Heiden Photography’s unique, innovative, and FREE “Screen Test” personal photo session which can help you look great in every photo for life, and its 100% Risk-Free Breakthrough. These industry-leading ideas help Heiden Photography ensure that its clients have convenient, stress-free, risk-free family photography to enhance their homes and leave a lasting legacy for their children and their children’s children.