This year IN-FOCUS Photography is celebrating 30 years in business! Mary & Jerry Braunsdorf & the IN-FOCUS team have proudly served our community and beyond with all their photographic needs for nearly three decades. While our business started out as mainly portraits and weddings, it has grown tremendously into multiple creative areas such as framing, product design, videography, and teaching photography. We love what we do and are so thankful for our clients and community for their business and support throughout the years.
Childhood Stories: Where it Began
The passion for photography sparked during their childhood. Mary was born into a family of photographers. Her great grandfather was a professional photographer. In the early 1900s, he used an 8x10 sheet film camera, just like the ones you see in the old movies where the photographer puts his head underneath a cloth to take a photo. Her grandfather & father followed suit as amateur photographers. Mary followed in their creative footsteps. She grew up processing film in her family kitchen. She would line up family members at family parties using her mother’s 110 camera to take photos of them. In high school, she would contribute to the school’s yearbook by taking photos of her friends and classmates. Everywhere she went, she always had her camera with her.
Although Mary’s high school photography instructor discouraged her from pursuing photography as a career, her passion is what moved her forward. A few years after high school, Mary attended the Milwaukee Center for Photography. Photographing, developing film, and printing black and white nature photos quickly became a huge part of her life.
Jerry has been intrigued by photography since the age of 12. His father took him to Jones Island where he photographed a large ship with his family's 110 Instamatic camera. He remembers having to take three separate photos to capture the entire ship. A few years later, Jerry and his family took a trip to Disneyland. Along the way, they stopped at the Hoover Dam, General Sherman Tree, and Crater Lake where Jerry took lots of photos with his camera. After taking the photos, he placed his camera in a brown paper bag. When his family returned home from their vacation the car was cleaned out and the brown bag with Jerry's camera inside was tossed away along with Jerry’s photos. It's been on his bucket list to go back and photograph the Hoover Dam. Jerry purchased his first 35mm camera when he was 19 years old. He wanted to take good quality photos of animals at the zoo.
In 1983, Jerry redeemed himself for the lost photos on his family trip to Disneyland. On their honeymoon, Mary & Jerry visited Yellowstone Falls. Jerry’s passion for nature photography was ignited on this trip and he was able to capture amazing nature photos & also, hold on to his camera! Check out this awesome waterfall picture he captured!
Mary & Jerry: When They Met
Mary and Jerry met when they worked together at an electric company in the 1980s. The two of them were always talking about photography and their cameras. On their first date, they decided to take the day off from work to try out their new 35 mm cameras at the Milwaukee County Zoo. Both of them had cameras in their hands and from that point on their hearts had been joined.
With the help of an entrepreneur friend, Al Bailey, Mary began IN-FOCUS Photography in 1991 out of her dining room. Jerry and their children would have to keep quiet and eat dinner upstairs as Mary consulted with potential clients at their dining room table. She began her business by photographing weddings. Her ambition and business mindset led her to find intuitive ways to booking clients. She would research upcoming weddings in the local newspaper, she would search for the bride and groom in the phone book and contact them offering her photography services.
As word spread about IN-FOCUS, the business continued to grow as did the passion for photography. Eventually, the business outgrew the dining room so in 1997 Mary transformed part of her garage into a photography studio. Mary would be photographing clients as her employee worked behind the backdrop putting orders together. It wasn’t long before Jerry left his factory job to help Mary photograph weddings with IN-FOCUS.
The two of them began photographing weddings together. As time progressed and more clients were booked, they began photographing weddings separately. They had to hire an additional photographer as they began photographing almost 50 weddings a year!
As time went on the business continued to grow and the garage was too small to continue running the business. In the year 2000, it was time for IN-FOCUS to move to a new location...
Stay tuned for the next update on the history of IN-FOCUS!