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Business name: Imagine Grace Photography
Address: 33 Main Street, Newtown
Owner: Kristie Bell Petershack
Business background: “When I was a teenager, my father turned our laundry room into a dark room,” Kristie Bell Petershack said as she recalled some of her earliest memories learning photography.
Being exposed to the craft at such a young age inspired her to want to become a photographer after graduating from college. At the time, though, she had begun working in business and was not ready to risk it all and leave her steady job. After working as a corporate executive for 30 years, she retired and realized she wanted to devote her time to pursuing a path that made a positive difference in people’s lives.
“Shortly after I retired,” Ms Bell Petershack said, “a local theater group asked if I would take the cast’s headshots for their cast-board for an upcoming show.”
The experience allowed her to photograph a hundred people, ages 5 through 18, and rejuvenated her passion for photography. She also became the go-to photographer for the Newtown school district’s musicals and for Faith Church in New Milford.
Since establishing Kristie Bell Enterprises, LLC, nearly a year ago, she added the company name Imagine Grace Photography to her platform last fall.
The Chamber of Commerce of Newtown celebrated her business moving from her home studio to 33 Main Street with an official ribbon cutting ceremony on April 12.
Business focus: Imagine Grace Photography specializes in headshots and portraits for families, high school seniors, youth, businesses, and personal branding.
“The focus is really to connect and bring out the authenticity of the person,” Ms Bell Petershack said.
She professionally guides her clients through the session, but gives them complete control over the outcome of the photos.
“The way a headshot session works is that we go through a series of photos and posing, then we stop and pause and look at the photos on my computer. We then decide what’s working and what’s not working,” she explained.
For portraits, since there are lighting changes and multiple looks, the photos are all shot then two to three weeks later Ms Bell Petershack meets with the client to do a print reveal with 20 to 30 of the best photos.
“The printed image is everything… I think it adds to a sense of well-being to see yourself printed out in a way that is a high-end image that will last a lifetime,” she said.
Important to know: Even before the first click of the camera is taken, clients receive a highly personalized session to best suit their needs.
“For some of the sessions, there is a questionnaire that they fill out to help me better understand who they are and what’s important to them,” she explained. “Then when they arrive, I sit down and have a conversation with them about the questionnaire and what we’re going to do in the session.”
In the free consultation, Ms Bell Petershack helps prepare them for the session by discussing styling options. On the day of the photoshoot, clients receive professional hair and makeup beforehand and then are guided by Ms Bell Petershack as she takes the photos.
Near future promotions: Imagine Grace Photography will be offering a Mother’s Day special with photo packages just for mom or for the whole family. Details will be posted on Facebook.
Hours: By appointment.
Social Media: facebook.com/imaginegracephoto