BATAVIA – Whether it’s images of a newborn taken within the first 48 hours of life or a fresh take on the wedding experience, April Duda of Batavia balances a documentarian’s approach with an artist’s eye in her photography.
Duda has been working behind the camera since 2006, about the time she received her degree in photography and digital media. She formally launched April Marie Photography about a year ago.
She said she is able to operate her business out of her home, because her work generally takes her out to location shoots.
“Tomorrow, I have a session for a newborn in their home to get those first days that are all a blur after a few weeks,” Duda said.
Fresh 48 is the name of the service that is a growing trend in photography circles, said Duda, the mother of two sons, ages 1 and 5.
“This is the season of life that is going to be a blur and you’ll wish you had it,” she said.
She remembers not being satisfied with pictures taken soon after her first child’s birth.
“When we had the second, we had a friend come and take them,” Duda said. “[In] a tiny little recovery room, usually the light’s not always great. [Have] someone come in with experience if the images are important to you. To me, it’s important to capture that.”
When she’s shooting a wedding, Duda calls herself a fly on the wall.
“I sit back and I look for pretty pockets of light to get the couple or bride into for photos,” she said. “I try to capture it as it is – getting the essence of the day. I have a photo-journalist approach to weddings. It’s also an artful approach.”
As a mother, she said she has learned to use reverse psychology with children who are her subjects and found techniques to get kids and adults to relax for their photographs.
“I try to be playful,” she said. “I’m not trying to get the perfect, sitting-up-straight portrait. It’s not my passion.”
Duda conducts photo sessions with expectant moms and with families with month-old babies. Another arena is providing services to businesses.
Rather than formal headshots, Duda prefers to take pictures of people in their space at work with their clients. She said she provides a variety of materials for businesses to use as high-quality content in their social media campaigns, including product closeups.
Images draw people’s eye and help companies stay relevant, she said.
For fun, Duda said she attends a lot of events in the area and always brings her camera, especially since joining the Batavia Chamber of Commerce in the winter. She said she currently is helping provide contemporary images of Batavia for the archives at the Batavia Depot Museum.
Duda would like to begin a blog with a local focus.
“We spend a lot of time exploring the hidden gems in the area,” she said of the locations she uses with her clients. “We’re often in the forest preserves or park district area. [People will say,] ‘We didn’t know this was here.’ I turn into a tour guide. I’m envisioning starting a blog called Little Tog in the Big Woods. Tog is short for photographer.”
Duda said she grew up in Peotone.
“My husband and I have been here since 2009,” she said of Batavia. “We love it.”
April Marie Photography was just named one of the best in the Kane County Chronicle’s Best of the Fox big reveal.
For information on Duda’s business and to see images from her portfolio, visit aprilmariephotography.com.