Emily Buckley, editor in chief
Fine art portraiture photographer Dani Vest, from North Logan, didn’t come by her trade on a whim, actually it has been 13 years in the making, with unique, ongoing training allowing her to become specialized in her art.
In 2006 she was feeling an itch for creative outlet but wanted something that required some type of education and specialty. “I settled on learning photography because I knew there was room for endless growth and there are multiple ways to approach it,” Dani said.
At the time she started studying photography, professional digital photography was just becoming popular, Facebook and blogging were a fairly new on the communications scene, and Instagram hadn’t even been invented, so finding information and education wasn’t as “at your fingertips” as it is today.
“I spent a lot of time in the Logan Library, trying to find information about photography in books. Digital photography was just starting to gain traction at that point, so I studied aperture, ISO, and shutter speed – reading books is how I began,” Dani said.
She focused on the technical aspects of the art with still life subjects like plants, fruits, and landscapes.
Before long, she and her husband, Kurt, moved to Philadelphia for his education and she worked as a tax accountant full time. “Photography was still just a hobby,” Dani said. “I was shooting a lot of our own adventures and blogging them while living on the east coast. Since blogs had become very popular, people started noticing my work and asking me to shoot portraits for them. So, I did a few weddings and family shoots, but still was not interested in photography as a business.”
After a few years the couple, and their new baby girl, moved to Hawaii for more schooling. “I left the professional world after the birth of my daughter, and found myself with a lot of time on my hands,” Dani said. “So, I jumped more into the photography world, wanting to capture memories of my daughter. I have tens of thousands of photos of my daughter as a baby – we walked all over the island taking photos – it was how we spent our days.”
During that time, Dani joined Clickin Moms, @clickinmoms, an online community of women who love photography and share their knowledge with each other. “With the support of Clickin Moms my skills started to explode!” Dani said, “I took lots of classes and started doing 365 day “light and composition” projects. I also worked as a teaching assistant for an online photography class, but it was still just a hobby for me.”
In 2013 she proved her skills were at the level to be invited to join Click Pro, @clickphotographers, a women’s organization of professional photographers and highly skilled artists whose work demonstrates creativity, vision, and artistic and technical excellence.
Around the same time, Dani and her family moved to North Logan and welcomed their second daughter. “I decided to the brakes on all of it,” Dani said. “I continued with some small personal projects to keep my skills up, but I had to rethink my focus and started shooting for only my family.”
She has shared her personal work on Instagram over the last six years, and again unsolicited inquires have come in. “I still wasn’t ready to take on a full business, but I have taken on a few shoots and have been able to continue studying and learning.”
Recently, as she prepares to send her youngest daughter to Kindergarten, Dani has decided she is ready to go into business specializing in fine art newborn and children portraiture.
“As my kids have gotten bigger, I’ve found myself missing those little, squishy bodies, and the creativity I crave with photography babies and toddlers,” Dani said.
Last fall, she contacted photographers she admired who specialized in newborn portraiture in other states and others she knew from her Clickin Moms days and began studying the specifies of the genre. She has updated her education in lighting, posing, and editing, invested in studio equipment, become officially licensed, taken infant CPR and additional training to learn how to handle newborn babies in this setting, and built her portfolio.
“I like to be competent in what I’m offering,” Dani said. “I’m pursuing a passion, but I’ve also educated myself to do it professionally.”
You can find Dani’s work online at danivest.com or on Instagram at @danivestphoto. She specializes in photographing newborns in her studio along with families in natural and studio light.