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Elburn photographer builds winter wonderland in home studio

ELBURN – Photographer Jan Baumgartner has created a winter wonderland in the comfort of her own home.

Baumgartner recently built a holiday-themed studio as part of her photography business, which is based in her home in the Nottingham Woods subdivision near Elburn.

The holiday studio is currently available by appointment only.

The studio includes several white Christmas trees, a decorative model train and artificial snow.

“I’m trying to create an experience that doesn’t depend on the weather,” Baumgartner said. “As much as I like real snow, and I love being outdoors, it’s not my favorite place to try to stage a shoot. The kids get cold, and sometimes you have the snow and sometimes you don’t. I like to try to bring the outdoors in.”

Winter happens to be Baumgartner’s favorite season. She sees the holiday studio as bringing a new dimension to her photography, and she has tried to make the display realistic as well as whimsical.

“There are snowflakes, for example, that are hung from the ceiling at different distances from the camera,” Baumgartner said. “I try to create a sense of depth.”

She started her photography business in 2009 after graduating from the Massachusetts-based Hallmark Institute of Photography. Before that, Baumgartner worked in Waubonsee Community College’s marketing and communications department for about eight years.

“I began the business really from scratch,” Baumgartner said. “I didn’t have a lot of capital to put into it. I kind of had a tough go at the beginning.”

She shares the space in her home with her mother, who has been operating a licensed day care center for 22 years. Her mother has taught her a lot about running a business, she said.

After the holidays are over, Baumgartner said she wants to create a sledding hill in her studio. And she is already working on a warm-weather set for the spring.

“I’m collecting all kinds of flora, fake plants and ferns and things to dress up a nice garden set,” Baumgartner said.

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