Year in Review 2016

As the year draws to and end and I sit here and enjoy the last breakfast of the old year and eagerly await the beginning of the new, it’s time to sit back for a minute and reflect on what a good year it has been for Vagabond Photography.

Vagabond Photography had a good year with some ups and downs. While at Imaging USA in Atlanta in January, I decided it was time to start writing down some of our experiences in the photography industry. This has turned out to be a good way to communicate with you our clients and readers.

Bookings didn’t come in quite as quick as I had hoped for, for weddings and senior/portraits in the first half of the year but we did have a large expansion into the Corporate photography niche, with this new area now comprising about a quarter to a third of our business.  Something that I learned from my father is that even though you may have intended for your company to serve/provide one style of service, sometimes it can take on a life of its own and move in a different direction.

In April and May we had the joy of teaming up with two non profit groups in Milwaukee called Sweetwater and the Water Council of Milwaukee. They both have a great mission Sweetwater aims to help clean up the Milwaukee River, Menomonee River and Root River basins. While the Water Council of Milwaukee looks at ways of restoring our aquafers and delivering clean water to the area. It was such a great experience to be able to work at both of their conferences, I learned a lot even though I was just there to document the day for them.

Over the summer, we saw the launch of our new website for Vagabond Photography.  For many years, I used and loved the hosting company Zenfolio, they have great layouts and custom designs but with diminishing returns though search engines and a lack of being able to do customized SEO, I decided it was time to make a move. After some research beginning in late July I decided on moving our hosting duties to Square Space. It took a little while to get everything set up and also, I had to find a new hosting platform for our client galleries and for that we settled on a little-known company called Pixieset. I was able to integrate both platforms to create a seamless new website that I think looks marvelous.

As the fall approached we moved to the last of our Senior Portraits and a few weddings. It was so great to a part of our wedding client’s special day.  I really love fall weddings so much more than summer weddings. There is such a great wide range of colors from golden hues of yellow, fiery reds, hazelnut browns and every other color in-between.

At the end of October/beginning of November I interviewed with an auto auction company called Mecums to possibly photograph cars for them part time while still being able to run Vagabond Photography full time. It didn’t pan out but I am thankful for the time to learn from there master photographer David Newhardt. I always love to learn new things and in a couple of days photographing with them it turned into a great learning experience. Learning something from a gentleman that has photographed classic cars for over 40 plus years is a great treat.

As Christmas approached we moved back into our Corporate Christmas season. I was great, to have our friends at MUZA Metals in Oshkosh ask us back for a second year even though getting there it did happen on one of the more hazardous snow storms we have had it Wisconsin in a while. But it was fun, they all were but this one stick out in my mind the most because the getting there was just as interesting as the actual event was.

Christmas was spent back in my home town with my family and it was great to have some down time and to be able to be with friends and family for a few days.  I keep telling myself one of these years I need to bring my gear home with me and photograph a Gumz Family Christmas on Christmas Day but I have yet to do this. It’s a great time with mom and dad on my dad side of the family all the aunts and uncles show up with all the cousins and it turns into a great time when you stick 75 to 100 people into a town hall with the same last name. I guess next year should be the year to do that before the family starts to dwindle.

As we look forward to the new year it comes with hope and a little apprehension of the unknown. I cannot wait to get to San Antonio in the first part January for Imaging USA’s annual convention and trade show and to escape part of the cold Wisconsin winter.  We are still working on bookings for 2017 and I would love to be a part of your wedding or collaborate with you on your senior or family portraits. No idea is too big or too small for us. For our corporate clients, we would enjoy teaming up with you and photographing your summits, meeting and conventions and we can work with you based on your business size.

Have a great and safe New Years Eve folks, if you venture out tonight and you find you had a little too much to drink call a friend or a family member because a little lecture is better than not having your presents to enjoy. And as my favorite character Sherman T Potter from Mash says “Here’s to the new year. May she be a damn sight better than the old one, and may we may we all be home before she’s over.”

I look forward to hearing from you and seeing you in the New Year.

Best wishes,

Tim Gumz
owner and principal photographer


Family Photo Sessions Walk Though

We were recently asked by a client if we could do a brief run of how our family portrait sessions work and evolve from consultation to product delivery, so let’s dive in.

When we first meet with our client preferably at their homes, we like to decide on a location that has special meaning your family. It can be any place that from your home, family farm, a park, or a vacation spot. No place is out of the realm of possibilities when it comes to creating your lasting memory that will hang on the walls of your home.

From deciding on a location we then like to move onto clothing options. Normally we like to try to get families to wear the same color options. We like to do this so we don’t have a rainbow mash up of colors and distracting patterns pulling away form the overall image. This can be done a couple of different ways. First we can divide it out by parents and children, so the parents would be in one color style and the children would be in another. Another way we can do this is by separating out the genders so that mother and daughter are in one style and father and son are in another. Also the one thing we really like to emphasize is that we like to have each induvial family members keep their own clothing styles. So as long as it is looks presentable that is great. This way someone is not stuck in a clothing option they hate and are uncomfortable during our session.

Also we while we are meeting to set up your family photo session we would like to know if you are going to be bringing your family pet along. In any family Sparky is just as big of a part of the family as the children or your partner is. We also love animals so we would be really happy if you did decide to include them on this day..

On the day of the photo session at the location of your choosing we will arrive early and make sure the site is clean so when you and your family arrive we are not having to waste time. If the session is being conducted at your home, we will still arrive early and assist you with making sure everything is the way you want your back ground to look and maybe help with a few suggestions. In addition to shooting the main family photo we will also be doing pairs and individual photos so we can give you and your family options to choose from.

From the time we have our visitation/planning session to the day of the proof viewing we would like you to start thinking of where your family portrait is going to hang.We will ask you where would you like to or think you might want to present the finished photo in your home?  We do this because it gives an idea of how to compose the final portrait to better utilize your space. Also in the long run it means more to be able to see your family photos on a wall or in an album rather than on a screen. We say this because in the long run the print will last longer than the digital media that is always changing very rapidly.

Once as a family you have made your decision on what photos you want and what sizes and mediums you would like them produced on we will begin production on your photos. This can take up to three to four weeks depending on order size and prior client orders in front of yours.

We also get asked if we offer digital files with our photos, we do have a policy of the photos you purchase for print we will give our clients those photos in digital format for use on social media or other personal projects. We also offer a variety of ways for you to obtain those photo though, data drive, CD/DVD, could server or email.

Come delivery day we will deliver to you so you and your family can see the finished product all at once and to make sure everything is to you and your families liking.

We look forward to hearing from you and help you create your next beautiful family portrait.