She captures Auburn life in the lens

Community Portrait
By: Michael Kirby
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Auburn photographer Shirley Borba never dreamed that taking a class at Sierra College for fun could have led to a fulfilling, successful, 20-year career in photography. Borba and a friend enrolled in a beginning photo class at Sierra College — both interested in learning how to photograph their small children — and unknowingly took a first step that was to lead her down a path to a new career that continues today. She took that first class and was hooked, progressing through every photography course Sierra College offered. Borba moved to Auburn in 1982 from Southern California in search of a better place for her children to grow up. Her husband, Mike, was on a business trip in the area and thought Auburn was the perfect place. “Mike said he had found a place that was great. Within a month, we came up, got a feel for Auburn. I quit my job as an EKG tech and he quit his job as a Realtor and we moved to Auburn,” Borba said. As her children grew older and she finished classes at Sierra College, Borba enrolled in the Glenn Fishback School of Photography in Sacramento. Then in her early 30s, Borba had an idea that a career in photography might be her calling. Fishback’s was a trade school with professional photo instructors who led students through a two-year curriculum focusing on architecture, product and portrait photography. Borba soon began shooting yearly youth sports team pictures for Little League, soccer and basketball. A few weddings, family portraits and senior high school yearbook portraits, even a time shooting Auburn Recreation District league sports for the Auburn Journal, soon filled her work days. Her small workroom over a garage was no longer large enough. So, in 1989, Images by Shirley Borba opened in the Fiddler Green Plaza on Highway 49. Now Borba was doing much of her business in area high school senior portraits. She never thought portraits would be something she enjoyed shooting, but now they’re her favorites. “The last thing I wanted when I went into photography was to be inside a studio, but I just love working with my clients. I enjoy getting to know each one,” Borba said. Her business philosophy is more than just taking pictures of clients; Borba believes that building a client relationship is very important. Making a good impression, gaining a client’s confidence and doing quality work forges a solid future relationship. “I’ve taken a child’s youth sports team photo, a few years later senior yearbook portraits, then years later shot their wedding, then pregnancy photos, baby photos, and then yearly family portraits,” Borba said. “I want to build a lifelong relationship with my clients.” Borba keeps up-to-date with photography trends and techniques through yearly educational seminars and has been recognized seven times as “Best of the Best” photographer by Auburn Journal readers, quite an accomplishment and acknowledgement of her efforts to always satisfy her customers. “Nobody leaves my studio without being happy. I put my heart and soul into every photo, and I try to make having your picture taken fun,” Borba said. “I’m kind of a prankster. I like to have fun, and I think this attitude helps customers feel comfortable, I’ve even danced on a ladder to help kids feel comfortable.” The move to Auburn worked out very well for Borba and her husband, Mike, who owns a mortgage company. They have raised two wonderful kids, Josh and Shonna, in a great place. Borba is content and thankful to have a career that allows her to personally get to know her clients, many of whom become friends, and help preserve their memories, documenting the times of their lives with great photos.