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


Summer Travel & on Site locations

At Vagabond Photography we are known as a on location photography company. If there is something we love to do whether it be with work or personal time, its travel. Traveling and scouting for new locations is something we just like to do in our free time when we are not working on photo shoots, editing or that dreaded thing called paperwork. Over the years the great thing we found out about traveling to a location is you don’t necessarily have to go far to feel like your half a world away from your daily responsibilities.

This is something we also like to work into our photography sessions as well. When talking with our clients we like to get a feel for who they are where they like to travel to and relax and play. Especially if it is some place close by in Wisconsin and we can find a way to work it into our clients session for their senior portraits, engagement session, family shoots or something that is just for fun.

Below is a few of our favorite places we like to work at during our photo sessions. In the comment section below we would really like to hear some place in Wisconsin or anywhere that you would like to have a photo session at.

Spring is here, finally and hopefully summer is not too far off which means some of our favorite locations are about to be usable again. Which means we can finally start photographing on and around Wisconsin many lakes are waterways. We love Lake Michigan beaches on the western shores because they are great for sunrise photos especially if you go just north of Milwaukee. We also have Lake Geneva with is beautiful shores and nice small town which is best if you shoot a session there before memorial day or after labor day before all the school gets out or midweek during the summer months. Also we have the Wisconsin River between Steven Point and the Wisconsin Dells the rock formations along many stretch of this beautiful river.

As for urban areas we really enjoy working in and around the greater Milwaukee area. We like to work around Discovery World, Riverwalk, the Milwaukee Art Museum and the historic third ward. Now we understand there may be some concerns with all the reports of violence over the past year in Milwaukee but we can assure you that we work in safe and secure areas.

We also like to spend our time in nature and in southern Wisconsin we really like to spend time in and around the Kettle Moraine State Parks, the trails around the ATV routes around Black River Falls.
In the Kettle Moraine we really like to use Paradise Springs Park just North and West of Eagle. It’s a great place because of its streams, old bath house and large prairie land across from the parking lot. Pewits Nest around Baraboo and the Wisconsin Dells is another great place that we love to use as a shoot location its tall water carved walls give great texture and depth to pictures.

Those are just some of the areas we like to work on with our sessions. We would love to hear from your our friends and perspective clients on plaice you like to travel to and some places that you would love to do a photo shoot.

Have a great weekend it’s finally supposed to be nice out in Wisconsin.

Common questions about your Senior Portraits

It’s finally getting warm in Wisconsin and that means it’s time for the Class of 2017 and even some in the Class of 2018 to begin thinking and planning their senior portraits. At Vagabond Photography this means our busy season is just around the corner. So we would like to take to the time to invite you to pop over and look at our portfolio and see if we fit your style.

We would also like to take some time to help you answer some of the common questions we get asked yearly.

Where will/can I have my photos taken at?  In a nut shell ANYWHERE. At Vagabond Photography we are an on location photography service so this mean we work in a lot of parks, lake fronts and city areas. When we first meet with you and your parents we try to find a unique place in the area that fits your style.
***Though we do have one exception, we will not work around railroad tracks it illegal and the fines are horrendous.***

What should I wear? During our basic sessions we have a three to four outfit change limit unless otherwise agreed upon. We always recommend that at least one of the outfits should be something that you and your parents would want grandma and grandpa or other close family members to be able to hang on their walls or place on their end table or desk.
As for the other two we suggest going for a style that is unique to you and represents who you are as young adult and can incorporate activities/sports you like or participate in.
When picking out the clothing we like to suggest that our clients stay away from loud designs and writing on clothing that would draw the viewer away from you.
We also like suggesting that our clients especially our female clients try to layer out their outfits so they can have more than one look from the same outfit.

Can we involve my pet? Yes, provided you can bring them and they are allowed at where we are conducting your session. We understand that your pet is part of the family and we don’t want to leave them out of the fun.  For example if you want to include your show horse and we are conducting your shoot at your stables or the stable where your horse is housed, by all means YES lets work your horse into a few of these shots. Or you want to include your dog while we are doing your session in the park, yes bring them because it will only add to your photos.

Can I bring a friend? Yes you can. We can even combine and do a friends group senior portrait session if both of you would like and the parents/guardians agree.

Do I have to bring Mom or Dad? If you are under 18 by our understanding according to the state of Wisconsin YES a legal parent or guardian must be present. If you are over the age of 18 you don’t have too but it is still recommended. Plus they can be useful by helping get a prop or change of outfit ready.

Do you offer hair and makeup? No, we do not offer hair and makeup, though we do recommend a clean makeup on the face with an emphasis on the lips and eyes.

How long until I see my photos and how many will I see? Normally from the time we have our session together until the time we meet to go over your proofs it takes about three weeks.  Also we will show you from your session 15 of the poses from that day completely edited.  After we meet we will also have a gallery set up for you to look at your prints in the client gallery section of our website.

Do you photograph yearbook headshots? Yes we can do this but we always ask that you check with your school to see what the requirements are for submission.

Do I have to fill out the survey? No, you do not have to fill out the survey though it will help us get a better understanding of who you are and what you like to do. In the long run it will help us create a better session for your senior portraits.

How much is this going to cost me? We do have a $225 sitting fee, beyond that the price limit is up to you. Until recently we used to offer a package scale but our clients seemed to need more of one style of prints and less off another and there was always a lot of print trading going on.  We found out over time this style of having a sitting fee and letting our clients choose what photos they need/want is more beneficial for them, this way everyone can have what they want in the end.

What happens if bad weather occurs? In the event of bad weather we will reschedule at the earliest possible convenience. We understand Mother Nature will do what she wants to do and even though the weather man said it should be a perfect day out, Mother Nature might have other plans.

How do I get started? This is the easiest part pick a date out with one other backup date and contact us. We can’t wait to hear from you.