The very talented Stacey Vaeth is a fourth generation photographer—so you could almost say that her awesomeness is in the blood . Stacey understands the importance of family, and as the mastermind behind Stacey Vaeth photography, she aims to capture authentic moments, not contrived poses. With that kind of experience and mission, is it any wonder that Stacey was your Totally Awesome pick for best family photographer in D.C?

Stacey recently took the time to chat with us about what makes her business so awesome, the inspiration behind it all, what it was like to win a Totally Awesome award, and more. Read on:
Red Tricycle: Congratulations on being voted “Most Awesome” by your community! What do you think your customers value most about your business?

Stacey Vaeth: We have fun! My goal is to capture what may feel like everyday moments and interactions in a family, but in an artistic and timeless way. So when we set up a photoshoot, the idea is to be fun, loose, and continuously moving. My customers value my flexibility, my creativity and my spirit, as well as the way that I can put their children at ease during a shoot. Often, the kids have so much fun that they don’t want to leave, or they talk about the shoot for the rest of the day. That, to me, is the highest compliment. Beyond the actual shoot, my clients value that they can print heirloom pieces for their home with the help of me, an artist. The large pieces that we do for clients’ homes are really spectacular, and take the intention of the shoot to the next level. The goal of this business has always been to create family heirlooms through fine art photography, and I’m happy to say that five years in, that’s exactly what we’re doing.

RT: What inspired you to start your business?

SV: I’m a fourth generation photographer, from a Rochester, New York, Kodak-family. So the question really is, “why did it take you so long to start your business?”  Prior to opening Stacey Vaeth Photography, I was a Peace Corps Volunteer, and an environmental health community organizer. But despite that work being very rewarding, it wasn’t creative enough for me. I realized at one point that I have creative talents that not everyone has, and I sort of have a responsibility to share what I can do with others. Prior to that realization, I think I figured that if something came easy to me, then it was a hobby and it couldn’t bring in an income too. But with much soul searching, I came to a clear moment when I realized that my job didn’t have to be drudgery, in fact, that it could be just creativity all of the time. So I just went for it!

RT: Any advice for new business owners just getting started?

SV: Look around at what inspires you. Read about products that you really like, and how they built their business. Use those lessons to inspire your creativity, as opposed to just mimicking what’s already out there. Also: plan, plan, plan. Set a goal date to formally open your business, and create a timeline working backward from that date to get everything done. Your website, Facebook page, how you’ll manage client data, how you’ll manage your accounting, product development, and so on. Don’t launch any of it publicly until you’re fully ready to open your doors. Trust your vision and get ready to work hard.

RT: What is your proudest moment as a business owner?

SV: Winning the Red Tricycle Award! That was a really great moment to take stock of what I’ve built, and how far Stacey Vaeth Photography has come. And of course, it feels good to know that my clients love this little company as much as I do.

RT: Is there a special offer you’d like to include for Red Tricycle readers?

SV: Yes! When you purchase any full priced family session between now and January 30 2014, mention this special and receive a set of personalized photo stationary!

Intrigued by Stacey Vaeth Photography? Follow this totally awesome business on Facebook and Twitter!