Vail Daily Bizwatch: White Starfish Photography, by Bex White.
Vail, CO Colorado
Date opened: June 2009.
Owner: Bex White
What goods or services do you provide?
I specialize in portrait and event photography. My portrait services include engagement, wedding, maternity, newborn and family portraits as well as senior photos for high school students. My event photography services include (but are not limited to) charity, music and corporate events.
What’s new or exciting at your place?
I always prefer to take photos outdoors to make the most of the beautiful surroundings we have here in the Vail Valley, but in the last year I have been able to add a portable photography studio to my not-so-little bag of tricks. This enables me to take my studio to my clients, instead of the other way around. This has proven to be particularly useful for maternity and newborn portrait sessions. The best time to take maternity portraits is when the mom-to-be is at least 36 weeks into her pregnancy, and the optimal time to take newborn portraits is within the first 10 days. During both of these time frames, new moms and new moms-to-be need their lives to be as easy and stress-free as possible, so being able to provide this service makes a huge difference. I am also offering gift cards for portrait sessions, which make for a great Christmas or baby shower gift.
What strategy do you use to differentiate your business from your competition?
I believe strongly in doing as much research as possible before going into any photo shoot. Firstly, photography equipment and techniques are changing constantly, so it’s important to stay up to date with what is happening in the photography world. Secondly, I’m always on the hunt for new and interesting locations for portraits. I think it’s important to scout out locations in advance of meeting with a client, to check on the lighting and any surprises that might turn up that you would want to be prepared for in front of a client. Lastly, and most importantly, it is imperative to spend time working with a client in advance of their shoot, to find out exactly what they would like out of their session.
What philosophy do you follow in dealing with your customers? What can your customers expect from you?
My background is in event management, therefore I know how much time and effort goes into every detail that goes into creating big events. You spend months organizing an event and they always seem to fly by so quickly. My philosophy is that these details are the things that need to be captured as a special reminder of your big day. When it comes to doing a portrait session, I believe in flexibility and adaptability. Just recently, I was doing portraits for a family from Virginia. They had flown into Colorado the day before with their 10-month-old baby. We had carved out a time to do the portraits, but they weren’t sure how the time change would effect the baby’s nap schedule, so I needed to be flexible. You always need to be prepared, too. Back-up cameras, batteries and memory cards are a must!
Tell us a little about your background, education and experience:
I’m originally from New Zealand, and I have been living in Vail for the last nine years. I have a degree in communications, which has surprisingly transferred over to photography in more ways than one. Obviously, you want to be good at communicating with clients, but I also like to communicate a story visually through my photographs. I am married and I am also a mother, so I feel that these experiences let me bring empathy to my clients because I can put myself in their shoes, whether they are getting married, or they are nine months pregnant. Technically speaking, the only way to be able to capture amazing photos is through experience. I started shooting weddings for free, just to have the experience, as a lot of photographers do. Now I shoot several weddings a year, both locally and internationally.
What is the most humorous thing that has happened at your business since you opened?
There isn’t one particular thing that has happened, but you have to have a sense of humor if you’re a photographer. When it comes to dealing with babies, it’s essential to see the funny side of the 3 Ps – pee, poop and puke – because you’re surrounded by it!