Jan Baumgartner, a photographer from the unincorporated Elburn area, didn't want to do typical portraits, especially for the holidays. She wanted to make the studio experience memorable. So she made it 3-D.
Baumgartner, who founded her business in 2009, said she built the holiday-themed studio set in her home that includes artificial snow, trees and a model train. The set can be used to photograph individuals or small families.
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The environment offers more depth to a photo and more options for posing people, compared to a one-dimensional scene used as a backdrop. The holiday set was conceived as a way to expand studio operations with more diverse options for portraits, commercial images and special event photography, she said.
"Constructing an elaborate three-dimensional set around a major holiday or seasonal theme has afforded me the flexibility to perform high-quality studio work around busy scheduling demands -- basically, the studio is ready to use when the client arrives," Baumgartner said.
She said there's also the "wow" factor.
"I love seeing my clients' eyes light up, kids and grown-ups alike, when they come into my studio," she said. "As one parent exclaimed, 'We feel so special … it's like our very own miniature movie set!'"
Baumgartner does portraits by appointment and the holiday scene will be available through Dec. 28.
In addition, she does promotional materials and custom marketing for small businesses and nonprofits.
All of this started after she graduated from Lake Forest College in 1995 with a bachelor's degree in French. She took a drawing class at Waubonsee Community College and was hooked, she said.
That led to computer design and graphic work at Waubonsee. She left in 2008 to pursue a certificate at Hallmark Institute of Photography in Turner Falls, Mass.
After setting up her photo business, she starting developing the idea for the holiday-themed studio.
After this season ends, she plans to create a sled hill set in January and February and then a spring-themed set for March and April, she said.
With the proliferation of digital capture and sharing of everyday snapshots through smartphones and social media, physical photographic prints are becoming an endangered species, she said.
"It's important that families remember to balance the everyday snapshots with periodic professional portraits so that their story may be shown to future generations," Baumgartner said. "I always ask clients, 'If none of your snapshots survived technology advancements or catastrophes, how many photographs would your grandchildren have?'"
Celebrating 20 years
Skip Strittmatter was surprised by a gathering of about 30 longtime friends and colleagues who marked her 20th anniversary as executive director of the DuPage Convention and Visitors Bureau, based in Oak Brook.
Hart is one to watch
Sabrina Hart, chief underwriting officer for Zurich Global Corp. in North America in Schaumburg, has been named one of Business Insurance magazine's 2013 Women to Watch. The insurance trade magazine published its eighth special report last week, identifying Hart among this year's outstanding women working in insurance, risk management and employee benefits worldwide. Besides her regular work, Hart was a co-founder in 2008 of the Zurich North America "Women's Innovative Network," a source of mentoring and career development for women professionals.
David Blaydes of Naperville has been featured on the recent cover of Financial Planning magazine after being named as the 2013 Financial Planning Pro Bono Planner of the Year for his volunteer efforts at the Wellness House in Hinsdale. Blaydes, founder and CEO of Retirement Planners International Inc., received $5,000 and donated it to the Wellness House, which helps cancer patients and their families.
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Sue Markgraf, president of Mundelein-based GreenMark Public Relations, said her firm will provide pro-bono services to Teen Mother Choices International for one year as part of "Operation Thanksgiving: A Year-Long Initiative of GreenMark Public Relations." The program offers communications planning, public and media relations and marketing.
Derek J. Wold of Plainfield, Wastewater Group Leader and vice president of Crystal Lake-based Baxter & Woodman Inc.'s board of directors, earned his board certified environmental engineer professional credential in the specialty of water supply and wastewater engineering from the American Academy of Environmental Engineers and Scientists.
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