Stacey Vaeth Gonzalez
What got you interested in photography?
My parents owned a photographic studio and my dad was a head photographer at Kodak, in Rochester, NY, where I grew up. His photography job took us as a family out to the Rocky Mountains and Sequoia National Park when I was young, where we spend 3 months each year living in a cabin in the mountains. He would teach photographic seminars and I would tag along. I have a distinct memory of being three years old and thinking “i have to marry a man who has the exact same job as my dad, because this is a great way to live!” For some reason, I couldn’t make that leap that I could have the job!
When did you launch your business?
I have been making pictures for 15 years. I launched Stacey Vaeth Photography in January 2008. I love running my business and working with my clients as much as I love taking pictures.
What did you do before photography?
I worked in the fields of energy conservation and environmental health community organizing. My husband and I spent 2001 – 2004 working as Peace Corps Volunteers in the western highlands of Guatemala.
In what sort of photography do you specialize?
Despite all recommendations from other photographic professionals, I have a very diversified business. In recent decades, photography has become very specialized, as in a single photographer should only be a wedding photographer, architectural photographer, food photographer, etc. On the contrary, I have found that shooting all types of subjects keeps my eye fresh, my creativity engaged, and my look spontaneous. The main areas of focus for my business are: weddings and engagements, family and maternity, food, and portraiture.
Are there photographers with whom you’ve studied?
Yes, I studied with Joe McNally, Moose Peterson, Clay Blackmore and others, and continue to expand my technical knowledge at every opportunity.
What do you think of digital cameras?
My roots are in film photography and hand processing in a darkroom, but I now shoot digitally and use a digitial darkroom to process the images. I think that in these days of cell phone cameras, point and shoots the size of a dime, and hard drives that can hold enough information to send a man to the moon, that professionally printed and framed archival images are more important than ever.
What’s the most unique photo session you offer?
It’s brand new, but I now offer a “paparrazi” proposal shoot. I shoot the proposal from afar, with a long lens, so that I am not seen. I then deliver a DVD of the images that evening, so that the pictures are a surprise when the bride-to-be wakes up!
In what part of Washington do you live?
I live in Adams Morgan with my husband, where we desperately want a dog but can’t convince the co-op board to allow one.
What activities do you enjoy outside of photography?
I downhill ski, rock climb, run, drink loads of coffee and love to rearrange my furniture.
I was a painter before I became a photographer. I trained as a Vinyasa yoga teacher in 2007, and continue teaching yoga today.
How did you meet your husband?
We met in a Biology class in undergrad, at the State University of New York at Buffalo.
You travel around the area a lot for photography. What are some of the most romantic places in the area that you have photographed?
The back of the Lincoln Memorial, which overlooks the Potomac, the National Arboretum, under the cherry blossoms at peak bloom (on an early weekday morning), the Tabard Inn, the gardens at the National Cathedral, the Hay Adams…the list is endless. DC has some gorgeous spots. For the adventurous types, Summersville Lake, WV is spectacular.
What’s your favorite or most memorable date?
Sitting with my now husband at one of two tables outside of a divine sushi restaurant. He ordered our dinner small plate by small plate. We lingered for hours, shutting the restaurant down, talking non-stop. That was our second date.
What restaurant do you suggest for a first date?
Coppi’s Organic Restaurant on U Street.
How do you know if he’s the one?
Should women call men?
Do you have any dating advice for my readers?
I’ll leave that to my single friends, who have said, and I quote “Thanks for the advice, but you haven’t been on a date since 2000”.