Winifred Whitfield has one of the most interesting stories you will find among professional photographers. It wasn’t that long ago that Winifred was a Vice President for Standard and Poors Corporation on Wall Street. She was in charge of bond ratings for all public and private colleges and universities in the country. She had the glamorous New York financial world life but decided to leave it for the peace and quiet of a 100+ year old farm house on six beautiful acres on a peninsula about an hour from Seattle, Washington, reachable by ferry.
From Wall Street to the Llama Farm to
Exquisite and Artistic Photographer
Winifred began a totally new business as a llama breeder, raising 30 lamas and two camels in addition to developing phenomenal gardens which she began to lease out for weddings and wedding receptions. When she needed photographs of her prize breeding lamas, she bought her first camera and began to discover her interest in photography. She knew she needed training so she enrolled in various photography courses. It wasn’t long before Winifred moved from photographing her animals to taking photographs at weddings in her elegant garden later becoming the contracted wedding photographer at these events. She quickly became successful, doing weddings every weekend. However, she soon found she didn’t like trailing after the bride and groom capturing a wide variety of images. She knew she wanted to be much more in control and work as a true artist. Winifred attended a five- day workshop by Joseph and Louise Simone in Cap May, New Jersey, and it was that course which set the direction for her photography.
Winifred loved the classic style of lighting and posing the Simones used and has chosen this style for herself to create highly artistic photographs of women. Winifred quotes, “I love the Simone’s work but I avoid copying their work. I am developing my own style though certainly the Simones have been an important influence for me. They are GREAT at what they do. People clearly see the difference.”
Winifred knew that she could be successful as a classic artistic high end photographer only if she structured her entire life in that direction. She did not open the typical studio. Instead in July 2007, she opened a gallery, beautifully appointed in every way to show off large wall mounted portraits of women. Everything was pefectly displayed. The beautifully framed portraits are more art like than photographs. Her studio name is Intimate Portraits for Women. Her major form of advertising is through referrals. Because of her remote location, her customers must travel an hour or more to get to her studio. They have to be highly motivated to secure her services.
Each portrait session is handled like a classic art study beginning with an extensive consultation with the client. Before a session begins, Winifred already has a concept in her mind as to what she is about to create.
Winifred did not just become an artistic photographer overnight. She has devoted much of her life energy to understanding and developing her inner being. “You have to find out who you really are and then continually work on yourself. As you begin to discover yourself, you must be able and willing to bring forth your deepest creative vision of and for your client. At this point, you have done your very best for them and yourself. I am an artist. The process of looking within to release my creativity is important to me. It has to be important to any artist. I am an artist who uses the camera as my initial tool to create personal art for my clients,” says Winifred.
From the very beginning, the Scene Machine has been an important component of Winifred’s art. She first saw the Scene Machine when she studied with Joseph and Louise Simone. The Simones use the Scene Machine for 75% of their work. The Scene Machine instantly became a tool Winifred wanted to use in expressing her vision of her clients. At that point, Winifred came to Virtual Backgrounds to learn more about it. She uses the Scene Machine in a very reserved fashion, except for special situations where the background can be more dominant. Her backgrounds are typically dark and subtle. Winifred states, “I love the flexibility and creativity the Scene Machine provides without taking up valuable space for the storage of props and backgrounds. I can change backgrounds in seconds, and I like to use a variety of backgrounds during a session.”
Winifred’s studio calendar is generally full with two to five sessions per week. Her minimal sale, including consultation, the photographic session, retouching, enhancement and one 8x10 print is $800. Her wall portraits start at $3,000. The recession significantly reduced her sessions during the last part of 2008, but since the first of the year, her business has returned to normal.
New York City is coming back into Winifred’s life. She has recently opened an artistic portrait operation in the city but she has no intention of leaving her beloved Washington State gallery. She sees herself as traveling between both sites.
Winifred loves to share her experience with other photographers. She has spoken several times for WPPI. She also gave a presentation for the Texas Professional Photographers Association and recently was a featured speaker for the Professional Photography Society of New York State and Image Quest in Richmond British Columbia.
We predict that the industry will be hearing and seeing a lot more of Winifred Whitfield as her career as a photographic artist continues to develop. We are pleased that our Virtual Backgrounds Scene Machine plays an important role in her artistic creations.