OLCOTT – Jessica Stewart has been working as a professional photographer for four years, but took a big step last October, moving her work out of her home and into her new studio on East Main Street.
“It works really well,” Stewart said of the new workspace. “I knew it was going to be slower in the winter, just because that area is a bit more seasonal, but it was good because I wanted time to prepare things for spring and summer, and honestly, that is fine .”
Stewart’s photography business has been difficult to manage during the pandemic, but despite that, she’s managed to make it thrive. Having old school friends reaching out to her to take baby pictures certainly helped.
“A lot of people I went to school with contacted me about newborn photos,” she said. “I just had to make sure the space was sanitized and clean.”
Stewart’s specialties are maternity photography and portraits of the elderly.
“Having kids of my own is such a beautiful thing to be a mom.” she says. “I think it’s something that should be celebrated.”
Taking portraits of older people evokes a similar feeling for her, as she teaches music at the Cadence Music School in Clarence for children of that age.
“A lot of my students, I have from middle school until they graduate,” she said, “so it’s just a natural progression from that.”
The backgrounds she has for the photos she takes include a starry landscape and a homemade cloudy backdrop. Stewart also has experience shooting composite photos. These involve the digital editing of an actual photograph in different settings. These can involve types of fantasy locations, and Stewart has even mentioned doing Star Wars-themed photo composites. One photo in particular she has shows her son reading a giant book he is lying on.
Since Stewart and her husband are both from the area, she thought Olcott was a great place to set up her studio and hopes she can bring a thriving business to the community.
“We grew up in this region, we raise our children in this region. I take my kids to the carousel all the time,” Stewart said. “I just want to see this whole area in general grow and bring new blood here. We want to see it work well.