Category Archives: Personal

Ready to Jump Off | Family Photographer Springfield IL

Have you every been SO excited about something that you felt like a kid jumping on the bed?   You’re kind of scared that you might fall off and scared to jump off of it, but the feeling of having your feet off the ground was worth the risk.  Well, that has been me since June of last year.    It has been a long while (almost a year!) since I have posted on my blog,  but the thing is…there have been some exciting changes taking place at Blue Daisy Art that have kept me pretty darn busy.

For years, my husband and I had been searching for the perfect home for our family.  He wanted a golf course view and I wanted a large space that could accommodate my photography studio.  The studio space in our last home was ok, but it was small and really was only meant for newborns and babies under a year.  I  knew that I wanted a bigger home studio, one I could grow in.  I love the comfort that my clients feel being able to lounge on a couch outside of the studio and turn on Netflix while I work with their tiny baby.  I love being able to set up for sessions late at night and run downstairs if I had a creative change in the set-up for a session.  So when we finally found an almost perfect home last spring, we knew with a few renovations, we could make it perfect.

In June of 2017, we moved in (still on the west side of Springfield, IL) and shortly after I got my new studio up and running.   My new space was amazing and I loved being able to photograph newborns and their families with ease.   My newborn portrait sessions and baby milestone sessions were more efficient with me having several set-ups ready to go when baby arrived.   After a busy summer of getting adjusted to a new home and keeping up with sessions, the late summer weather arrived.  I was itching to shoot outside more.   After 6 years of ONLY focusing my business on babies, births and bellies, I was ready to dip my feel in some family and child sessions.  I took just a few number of family sessions and loved it (keep your eyes peeled for some blogs of those sessions!)

At the end of fall, I knew that I wanted to do something special for my clients.  Whether I took their babies pictures 7 1/2 years ago when I was first started out or I just did their newborn session a couple weeks ago,  I have always valued the relationship I have with my clients.  I opened an exclusive facebook group solely for my clients and invited them to come to my new studio for some FREE Christmas mini-sessions.   I wasn’t sure exactly how it would go, but it completely exceeded my expectations (again, blog post featuring some of those images coming.)   I loved working with kids and families of all ages and it solidified the fact that I wanted to work with more than just the babies I have been photographing the past several years.

I knew that I wanted to keep the number of  child and family sessions small, as I wanted to make sure I had time for my focus of newborns and births, but I missed seeing my former baby clients and their families and I knew that by opening myself up for family and child portrait sessions, it would give me that chance.

For the past several months, I have been bouncing on the bed, but not quite ready to jump off.  I wasn’t exactly sure what my family and family sessions would look like or how I would structure them (Would I offer outdoors and in-studio family sessions? Would I only offer mini-sessions or would I offer full sessions too? Would I offer child-only sessions?)   I also knew that after 5 years with the same pricing structure for my newborn and baby sessions there needed to be some changes.  I was known for giving galleries much larger that promised, which in turn resulted in me spending a LOT of time editing a lot of images.   I knew that if I was going to expand to include family and child sessions- I had to manage my time better.  I wanted parents to have the images they want.  The ones they will print and hang in their homes.  The images they will look at for years.  I didn’t want to waste time editing images that weren’t their favorites.

Finally, late this winter I embarked on a re-branding process for my studio.   It was more than just updating my logo, it was a process and reflection on what makes my photography business special and unique.  It was looking at WHY my clients select me and what my values as a business are.  I also hired an awesome local videographer, Lydia Stuemke, to follow me on a newborn and maternity session so that I could share some insight into what my sessions are like with prospective clients.

So here I am,  *almost* ready to jump off the bed.   Look for some BIG giveaways in the next few weeks to celebrate this jump with me.  I’m in the process of finalizing my portrait information guide for prospective clients, working on a way to highlight the amazing video that Lydia created, and I’m continually working on updating my newly designed website here.

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A conversation with Vicky | Springfield IL Newborn Photographer

Lately it seems as though I have been getting a lot of questions from other photographers, prospective clients or just interested people about me, my photography business, and well a lot of little random things.  Normally my blog posts are reserved for showing a few images from sessions and a few personal posts here and there.  I’ve decided though, that I would like others to get to know a little bit about the person behind the camera 🙂 For this to work, I would like it to be INTERACTIVE.   If you have questions, post them below— here on my blog.    I will get started with just a few questions that I tend to hear regularly:

How did you learn photography?  How did you get started?

Like many other female photographers out there I got started (surprise, surprise) after the birth of my first child.  Yes, I was/am a MWAC  (“Mom with a Camera”)   About 3-4 months after Josie was born I convinced my husband that I should get a DSLR camera and start “learning photography.”   I joined a photography discussion on a pregnancy forum that I was on before and after having my daughter and I loved it.   On facebook people kept commenting on my images saying how “great” they were.  Looking back on them now,  I am utterly embarrassed by the quality and over-processing on some of those images, but hey…we all start somewhere right?    My photography was beginning to take up a lot of my time as my daughter grew and I knew that I needed to be compensated for the time but I didn’t want to run a business without having more knowledge of the business-side, so I joined some online photography forums and the Professional Photographers Association (PPA). I needed a BIG reality check and thankfully I got it by joining “Clickin’ Moms” a forum for hobbyist and professional photographers.  After posting some images for critiques and getting some feedback I began to learn that those images Uncle X and Aunt Z said were “AMAZING!!!!!” on facebook, really weren’t professional quality.  I should NOT have been in business.    I needed to learn more. My former life in education helped me to understand that I needed to learn foundations and basics before anything else.  I signed up for many online classes and decided to make a weekend trip to Chicago to attend several classes at the “Chicago Photography Academy.”  I also signed up for a couple “Live Learn” classes in St. Louis offered by Canon as well as a few other in-person workshops and classes there.     I LOVED taking in-person classes and invested a LOT of money and time into them.   I also decided to attend the PPA national conference in New Orleans. For me personally, it was through taking these courses and my membership in Clickin’ Moms that my photography truly started to grow.  I could have stayed a MWAC with over-processed, out of focus, cheesy images and slapped a watermark on my images and said “I have a business!”   I could have charged very little for my art, not been compensated for my time, given out a sub-quality product and not invested in the education & equipment that I did.  But that isn’t me.   When I do something, I want to do it right.   I realized that I wanted to offer QUALITY and in order to do so I had to take steps to continually improve my art.   I also needed to be passionate about it. Once I decided to focus on only maternity, birth & babies is truly when I found that passion.  It was a very scary transition, as I wasn’t sure if cutting out families, seniors and children would feel restrictive.  I have to say though, that it was when I found my focus that I REALLY began to feel even more passionate about what I did.   I joined a mentorship program on birth photography,  I did several online workshops with a photographer whose work I adored (Milk & Honey Photography out of Canada) and I went and took an in-person newborn mentorship with one of my photography idols (Laura Brett out of Atlanta.)   All of these things have gotten me where I am today.  I also continue to stay active on forums and am continually trying to improve my art.

How did you get into birth photography? 

Once on the clickin’ moms forum, I learned of this thing called “Birth Photography.”   I was initially curious as I thought “What is beautiful about birth….gross?!”  Then I saw some of the amazing work of some very talented birth photographers.  I viewed the birth story videos of people I didn’t even know and was crying my eyes out.    I learned of a talented birth photographer, Lyndsay Stradtner, who had a mentorship program through her “Birth Experience.”  After joining and learning more and more about birth photography, I invited one of my newborn clients to let me “try it out” on them and after sharing that emotional experience with them, I was sold. 

Do you allow parents and siblings to be a part of your newborn sessions?

Heck yes!   While the majority of the time in my newborn sessions is focused on the baby, I love capturing a couple images of parents and their child and a sibling and baby.  I usually need to know ahead of time so that I can prepare my set-up, but even if you don’t think you will look or feel you best I always suggest getting at least one image of you and your baby.   Siblings shots are a little harder, especially if the older sibling is under the age of 2 1/2, but I usually have a couple tricks up my sleeve to at least get one cute image of your children together.

What do you shoot with? Camera, lenses, lighting? 

Currently I use a Canon 5D Mark III camera body.  I will say though that my Canon Rebel was a rock star for a long time before I upgraded to the 5DMII and then my current camera.   I suggest both Canon or Nikon, really it just depends on whatever you prefer.  When I started out I liked the “feel” of the rebel T2i and thus I went the Canon direction.   Per the advice of many experienced photographers on Clickin’ Moms, I invested in good, quality lenses BEFORE upgrading my body style.  My first lens was a “middle of the road” lens, the 50mm 1.4.   I LOVE this lens and even though it costs a TON less than some of my other lenses, it is still one of my favorites.    For newborn sessions I tend to use a 35mm f/1.4L, 100mm f/2.8L and my trusty 50mm.  I also use studio lighting with my newborns.   For birth photography, I tend to use my 24-70mm f/2.8L lens, as I don’t always have the ability to move around the room and need the zoom capability.   I always use available lighting with birth photography and never use my flash.

If I have a session with you, do I need to bring anything to my session?  Props?  Clothing?   Where do you buy your wraps, props, headbands, etc?

Hello, my name is Vicky and I am a “propaholic.”  Whether it be cute hats, headbands, blankets, buckets, you name it…I am addicted.  For my clients it means that you do not HAVE to bring anything to your session— although you are welcome to!     Fortunately for me, I love to be crafty and I learned to crochet, so my pocket book doesn’t ALWAYS suffer.   I make a ton of the items I use in my sessions, but I am always on the hunt for unique items in every day stores.  I also support some prop businesses as well (Custom Photo Props, Bailey’s Knits, TAoPaN, are a couple of my favorites.)

So….I heard you are pregnant?   Are you still taking on new clients?  When will you be returning after maternity leave?

Ummm, yes.  If you have seen me lately, you definitely know that I am pregnant.   I am due the second week of March with our second child, a baby boy.  While I will be taking some time off to spend with him, I will not be leaving photography.   Currently I have sessions scheduled into February and will likely be off from March through June.   I have had a couple folks contact me regarding June dates and depending on how I feel at that time I may make exceptions and begin doing a session here or there 🙂    While I am sure he will be a great subject in those first couple months,  I also have a newborn photographer for my little guys debut…as it’s always harder to capture your own (plus recovering from a c-section is going to create some challenges I am sure.)  I also think that I may like a picture or two and me and my little guy together! Anyway, so that’s it for this edition of  “Getting to know me!”  As I said, I would like it to be more INTERACTIVEIf you have questions, post them below here on my blog.   In fact, just comment below to let me know you read it and if something was interesting to you or you would like to know more- let me know! -Vicky

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Kids were here | Month 4

We are a group of local photographer friends who have set out to document a slice of life that goes by way too quickly…childhood.  Our project is called The Kids Were Here, and is taken from the original project by Ketti Photography, who has so kindly allowed us to partake in part of this amazing project.  The idea is simple but gives such a strong message: to document what our children leave behind.  The purpose is to not only document the “messes,” but to capture a part of our lives and our children’s lives.  And although these things may seem trivial today or even a burden at times, these “messes” are the ones that will mean so much to us tomorrow and will be some of the most important images we will ever photograph, besides those of our children.

This month, the death of Prince Eric.   My 3 1/2 year old tends to be a bit tough on her toys and as my husband came home from work one day he noticed “Did Prince Charming and Price Eric have a fight?”   I was confused until he pointed to the mess of toys that laid on the floor of our living room.  Ahhh….poor Prince Eric.

 

Please take a minute to follow the links to see the other local photographers who are also participating in this project.

 

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Kids were here | Month 3

We are a group of local photographer friends who have set out to document a slice of life that goes by way too quickly…childhood.  Our project is called The Kids Were Here, and is taken from the original project by Ketti Photography, who has so kindly allowed us to partake in part of this amazing project.  The idea is simple but gives such a strong message: to document what our children leave behind.  The purpose is to not only document the “messes,” but to capture a part of our lives and our children’s lives.  And although these things may seem trivial today or even a burden at times, these “messes” are the ones that will mean so much to us tomorrow and will be some of the most important images we will ever photograph, besides those of our children.

I know there will be a time when my picky toddler will not request peanut butter and jelly or mac and cheese for lunch every day.   But for now, I am know as chef mommy.

 

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Kids were here | Month 2

We are a group of local photographer friends who have set out to document a slice of life that goes by way too quickly…childhood.  Our project is called The Kids Were Here, and is taken from the original project by Ketti Photography, who has so kindly allowed us to partake in part of this amazing project.  The idea is simple but gives such a strong message: to document what our children leave behind.  The purpose is to not only document the “messes,” but to capture a part of our lives and our children’s lives.  And although these things may seem trivial today or even a burden at times, these “messes” are the ones that will mean so much to us tomorrow and will be some of the most important images we will ever photograph, besides those of our children.

Since my 3 year old was just an infant she has had her “Issie.”  Issie is a soft, thin security blankie that she adores and sleeps with every night. On our recent trip to Walt Disney World she also fell in love with Dumbo.   It all began with riding the Dumbo ride 4 times in one day, then graduated to falling in love with the movie and singing “Baby Mine” on the top of her lungs.  As a gift, we got her a baby dumbo stuffed animal that is now near and dear to her.  The other day as she was running outside to play with her dad she laid Dumbo down on the couch and laid Issie over his head gently.   I know she won’t always care about these things as she does now, so I knew I had to capture it.

 

Please take a minute to follow the links to see the other local photographers who are also participating in this project.

Start here to see the talented work of Angie Jackson.

 

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Victoria Kegg of Blue Daisy Art is a fresh and modern portrait photographer. She specializes in birth, maternity, & infant photography, but also captures families and children. Blue Daisy Art is based in Springfield, IL.

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