March 11, 2017

Our story

The beginning

I like projects. I have always been one of those project people. I like to organize, plan and execute whatever it I am working on. It started with graphic design class in high school with designing business cards and movie posters in Photoshop. I found a since of freedom, expression and love for design. I went to school for it and life threw me a curve ball but landed a job where graphic design work was apart of it. Designing company marketing materials, tee shirts, invitations for company events etc. I knew graphic design was something I wanted to with my life.

Photography came into my life years after high school. I actually went on a random trip to San Diego and when I came back and reviewed the photos I noticed my photos had something. For years I worked with a compact digital camera before I made the move to using a DLSR.  I found researching a place and photographing it then going through the photos and writing about it relaxing.  (Its the reason why I have a photo blog). I like to go to the historic spots, Vanderbilt’s mansion in Hyde Park, New York, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s childhood home in Portland, Maine and finding that place that nobody seems to know about.

How Victory Designs was started

I was living in Newburgh, New York when I started this adventure. I was working a job that was just that and I was looking for something that was going to offer me challenge, satisfaction and the ability to learn new skills.  It was during the height of the recession and I was looking to make more money. I learned quickly what a challenge it was to try to find additional work with nobody wanting to spend extra money on graphic design and photography work. I took that time and learned new skills behind the lens. Living in the Hudson Valley gave me so many opportunities to meet people and to photograph events that helped me with my photography skills.

How did I get the name Victory Designs?

I was telling a friend of mine the how I was going to start a business, but I didn’t know what to call it. (I was toying around with my initials and my daughters initials) a friend of mine told me he was going to think of something and would get back to me a few days later. I was like sure. I didn’t know then that something special was forming… two days later I was at the West Point bookstore when I got the call and first heard “Victory Designs” and then I heard “Jillian, you are one woman who it doesn’t’ matter what life throws at you, you take each challenge no matter how large or small and face it and every time you come out victorious. I know a lot of women who are not as strong as you.” I loved the name, its fits well with who I am and what I stand for.

Where am I located?

I get this question all the time. My current day job is in Maine. (I work for a local newspaper company as well run this business.. I’m always on the go). However, I am in the New York City area / Hudson Valley maybe twice a month. (I’m writing this in March, I haven’t been in the NYC area since late January because of the weather). Every chance I get I am running into the city, Fairfield County in Connecticut or in the Hudson Valley. I do offer Groupon discounts with in the NYC area for photography please feel free to contact me for photo shoots.

What days am I available for a photo shoot?

I have a crazy schedule. Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays are my days for photography. Unless you are in the Lewiston/Auburn area then I have a small open availability, Monday-Thursday during mid afternoon.

Do I have any black out dates?

In the near future yes. In mid April I will be away for a long weekend.

What kind of payments do you accept?

I accept cash, paypal, and all major credit cards. If I am meeting you for a photo shoot and want to pay via credit card please let me know in advance. I will make sure i have my credit card reader with me. You can always make payments here . (please use your last name, and what services for example “Elder, photography” or “Elder, graphic design” unless you have received an invoice from me.

Do all photo shoots require a deposit? If so how much?

If the photo session date is more than 7 days then yes, I require a $20.00 deposit on all photo sessions that are more than an hour long. If its a large party/wedding, then there will be a $100.00 deposit to hold the date. If you contact me on a Friday looking for a session for that weekend, then no, I will not charge for a deposit.

What kind of camera do you use?

I use a DSLR. I haven’t used a compact digital camera in years.

What makes us unique?

I have noticed a few things over the years from talking to a lot of people regarding photography services. You will always get your photos, depending on the size of the shoot. My goal is to have your photos to you with in a 24 hour period. If I am photographing a big party or a wedding then my goal is to have them to you with in a week to 10 days. It all depends on how many photos I take. Also I plan on keeping your photos for as long as I can. I know some photographers have a 5 year grace period but I understand emergencies, unexpected deaths, photos get damaged and or lost. I understand and want to keep them available to incase something unexpected happens, you can always get copies.

What I have learned since starting this business?

Always expect the unexpected.

When I started this adventure, I saw it as a graphic design and web creative firm. I figured I would offer photography services but didn’t give it any thought into being involved with open studio tours. I have done a handful of them one in Newburgh back in 2015 and I did one in the Lewiston/Auburn area in Maine last summer. I also wasn’t expecting to have online stores selling my photography as fine art or on blank note cards.

I learned how business comes in waves. One minute I am running around with my camera working on photo shoots and events and the next I’m attached to Illustrator and InDesign. The waves has taught me how to be patient, not with the business, my clients but also with myself. I have learned that I can’t be superwoman (as much as I try to) to get as much done with in a certain time frame.

Now that you know my story and how I operate my business, then lets do this! Let me help you with your creative needs!