STUmptown vintage photography
“Whether you’re 5 years old or 85, it’s fun to get dressed up and hold a gun.”
Anna George RiCharde
alking down into Stumptown Vintage Photography feels like stepping into a scene from Montana’s past. The old-time photo studio, located downstairs of the Toggery in Whitefish, is owned by Becky and Todd Horning.
The Hornings, along with their kids Otto and Ruby, ages 11 and 7, have been deeply involved with the Whitefish Main Street landscape since 2005, when they opened Amazing Crepes just across the street. In 2018, Becky and Todd were looking to make a change and transition from the food service industry. “We’ve always loved old-time photography,” explains Becky. “In fact, our ‘Save The Date’ card for our wedding was an old-time photo.” The couple sold their restaurant and bought a vintage photo studio out of Polson, keeping the entire thing in storage until they set up shop in the Toggery building in Spring of 2018.
When a customer walks through Stumptown Vintage Photography’s doors, they are greeted by Becky, Todd, or one of their two employees to begin planning their old-time photo session. They choose from the wide selection of backdrops: a bathtub scene, the saloon, a piano scene, a back alley/roaring 20's scene, a Victorian scene, and a jailhouse scene.
Next comes everyone’s favorite part – dress up. There are hundreds of incredible costumes to choose from, all vintage or custom-made by hand for the studio. The costumes are made to fit anyone and everyone – there are lots of costumes for kids, and there are even options for pets. Customers choose from a collection of props for each scene, including replica guns, to complete everyone’s ensemble. “Whether you’re 5 years old or 85, it’s fun to get dressed up and hold a gun,” says Becky.
One distinction of Stumptown Vintage Photography is the studio’s old Montana vibe. The saloon scene, one of the most popular, is full of relics – the moose head belongs to Becky’s brother, who shot it in ’92. The quirky hoof gun racks were her father’s. On their way out, customers can browse the gift shop, full of an eclectic selection of art and goods handcrafted by local Montana makers.
While Becky and Todd see a lot of tourists come through their doors in the summer months, Becky explains they also have a “good local base” that keeps them steady year-round. She sees returning locals bringing other families in for a session. Folks come in for anything from family reunions to birthday parties, to Christmas card photo shoots, to bachelorette parties, to team-building work events. Sessions range from a solo shoot to groups as large as 25. Becky also sees a lot of locals buying gift cards for a photo session, especially as wedding gifts and holiday gifts. “Nowadays pictures are always on a phone,” Becky explains. “Customers really value having a printed, high quality photo of their family or friends making memories together.”
When asked about her favorite part of owning Stumptown Vintage Photography, Becky’s reply was quick and confident: “It’s fun. I really enjoy providing this memory for people.” Becky and Todd’s favorite part of owning a restaurant was the creativity – they loved creating food and watching people enjoy it. Becky speaks glowingly of her photo customers and their sessions, and she flips through her favorite old-time photos with pride. Becky explains, “We get to be creative here. This is a fun memory customers are always going to have.”
Stumptown Vintage Photography is open Monday – Saturday, 10:30 AM – 5:30 PM. For appointments, call 406-270-5917.
Check out their website at
stumptownvintagephoto.com and their Facebook and Instagram.
Photos: Mandy Mohler Field Guide Designs
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