The signs were all there. Dee Marie constantly had her nose in the pages of her family’s photo albums. She even was able to add her own after she took her first picture at five-years-old. Some years later after she headed off to college, her interests went from graphic design to photography but as she said “life got busy” when she became a mother and a wife. For a quarter of a century, she focused her attention on her daughters and husband, but her camera was never far from her side. She remembers when she started to get back to photography full time, “My friends and family started suggesting that I should give my photography a real chance. Luckily, a few years ago a friend wanted a few pictures for their Christmas card. The rest is history!”
Speaking of history, Dee Marie pointed out the importance of taking photos for future generations and has convinced me to no shy away from the camera as often as I do. That’s not all she had to say. So continue on to learn about her attachment to certain sessions, siblings, and more.
Kendra: You deal a lot with the tender moments that make up a family from marriages to births. Do you have a certain not preference, but certain attachment, to one type of shoot over the other?
Dee Marie: Hmm, that’s a great question! I’m going to be THAT person and say that I really love different aspects of all the different genres that I shoot. I love my maternity sessions because I enjoy showing women how beautiful and how truly kick-butt amazing they are! I hope to capture their spirit along with the realization of their important role in creating life. Let’s not forget the lines, curves, and shadows that a pregnant belly generates.
Some of my favorite interactions are with families and children. It’s important for me to grab the shots that most families don’t expect. I get so excited to show them the shots that they might not have remembered taking, that tell THEIR personal story. And then oh boy, the weddings and couples sessions! There is nothing like creating a bond with a couple then being able to showcase their love. How lucky am I to be able to follow the process of engagement to the wedding and reception, and hopefully beyond. At the end of the day, I’m just so happy to have a camera in my hand!
Kendra: Would you say that siblings are the hardest to work with?
Dee Marie: That’s an easy one, not at all! I have had on the job training where siblings are concerned. I am a mom of four girls! Honestly, when I shoot a family session, taking the sibling portraits are some of my most fun moments. I will sometimes let mom and dad get a break and take the kids on a small adventure. Not too far, just far enough so they are free to feel like being their natural silly selves. I like to crawl around on the ground with them, make sure they’re comfortable, and prompt them with my silly techniques. Usually, I am able to grab the most unique and fun shots and we had a great time in the process.
Kendra: Personally, I’m not a big fan of having my picture taken and I know I’m not the only one. What do you say to people like me when it comes to the importance of capturing those life moments?
Dee Marie: I’m actually the same way! I feel I end up talking about this at almost EVERY session! I work very hard to help people understand how important it is to leave a “photographic legacy.” I explain to them that their grandchildren’s grandchildren are going to want to see what they looked like, wardrobe style, jewelry of the time, hairstyles, even their surroundings. These kids are not going to care if you carried an extra 10 pounds or if you hated your freckles. They just want to know if they have Grandpa Lou’s turned up nose or Aunt Sally’s curly red hair! For me anyway, I was always looking for that connection to the past!
Kendra: Do you usually stake out places for shoots and recommend them to your clients or do they pick the location and you show up ready to go?
Dee Marie: It’s funny that you should ask that. Just yesterday we were out taking a family drive and my husband noticed me staring out of the window. Teasing me, he asked, “Your scouting for locations aren’t you?” I guess I do it without even thinking. I do have several “go-to” spots my clients like to frequent. But I also welcome new and exciting spots that are meaningful to them. It’s always nice to have someone take me to their favorite location or even their home. It helps to know that they will be comfortable and happy.
Kendra: I ask because you have some great locations in your photos. Locally, where is your favorite place to shoot?
Dee Marie: I am very blessed to live in such beautiful surroundings. Being located in Central New York, we have everything from the Finger Lakes and Great Lakes beaches to the rolling hills that produce some of the most beautiful wineries, apple orchards, and farm country. And shall I mention the change of seasons? We actually get four new backdrops a year, there is always something unique and new to explore. I truly feel that every time I think I have found my ultimate favorite location, I go and find another!
Kendra: As we head into summer, what are your plans with the business? Do you get busier around this time of year?
Dee Marie: Early summer kick starts my busiest time. I am constantly seeking original and creative ways to give my clients new ideas on how to customize their perfect session. Some of the new assignments I have planned are super fun and I can’t wait to get started working on them. I have a couples double 40th birthday cake smash, a “Bestie Sesh” with a group of 8-year-old friends, and at the end of May, I have a Native American wedding service that will honor time treasured customs and traditions. For an avid lover of all things photography, I feel so blessed. One thing is for sure, it never gets boring, especially when someone says to me “Hey, want to try this…?”