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Hello! Welcome to the Susie Marks Photography blog, where I share more behind-the-scenes in photography & real life as well. Stay a while and see what's new!

Hi, I'm Susie

Grand Opening of Marks Studio!!!

May 8, 2015

It’s kind of hard to believe that I’m writing this blog post. Years of dreams collide with our new reality. Before I get started, I should probably give you the back story to our studio. We purchased the property we live at now 2 years ago. Prior to that we lived in Denver, PA. We started Marks Studio Photography in 2009, shooting on location, and also shooting in the basement of our home on those rainy days, evenings, and the itty bitty newborn sessions. When we moved, that process continued, however, we no longer had a finished basement to work out of. Next best option was rearranging the living room furniture and shooting there! Which meant hauling props up from the basement, setting up, moving furniture, and tearing down after the client session was finished. Do-able? Yes. Inconvenient? Definitely! But it worked, it was cost effective, and that was most important. (Even though it was not fun keeping the house neat and tidy at all times!) When we purchased our new property and took on a larger mortgage, we did so with the intent that Rodger would continue to drive truck for the next 5-6 years to pay that down. I blogged a year ago about our miscarriage journey and how God answered our prayers and sent us a beautiful baby girl to love. With that turn of events and the realization that our oldest would be 18 in 5 years, we felt the distinct calling to do what we can to bring Rodger off the road and find another means to support our family. We’ve heard it said that Rodger is quitting his job and joining me full time in photography 🙂 Sorry, friends! Business is definitely NOT to that point and that’s really not our long term goal either. However, as some of you know, driving truck over the road does pay more than your typical 8-5 jobs. And so, while there have been job offers, we needed to come up with another side income to fulfil our budget needs prior to him getting out of trucking. Which leads me to this turn of events. If you’re bored already, just skip ahead to the pictures! Our photography business has grown over the years and working out of our home was becoming harder and harder. Any other moms out there that are juggling a full time business, keeping house, and being a wife and mother? With the business based out of our home, it was a huge struggle to separate business from family time. The computer constantly called my name. And our basement was being overrun with photo props! We talked about renting a space, but with the price of rental fees felt it was a lot smarter to put that investment into our own property. And that would then allow me to stay at home, but have the business based somewhere beyond my house! And with that, the decision was made to move forward in building our own photography studio, allowing room for growth and expansion, and hopefully generating more business to move us closer to the transition of Rodger switching jobs. So without further ado, let me show you our new space! Many thanks to Angie from Angelique Photography for capturing images of our grand opening event. The following images are a mix of mine and Angie’s. I thought about doing two separate blog posts, but decided to combine them, so please excuse the overload of pictures! Come on in and have a look around!
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the client area
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children’s play area… yes, something to keep the siblings occupied while they wait!
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Our coffee/hot chocolate/snack bar! We want to go beyond your local mall photography portrait session and give you a boutique experience instead. It’s the little things, right?!!
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And my lovely office space! Do you know how I’ve longed to have a bright, fresh, CLEAN, office to work in??? After spending countless hours editing facing a block basement wall, this is definitely
a dream come true!
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my new view!!!!!! Yes, I’m that EXCITED! 🙂
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the nursery/changing room… everything you need for baby and then some!
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And then we are headed to the shooting area. We designed this to function as a natural light studio but also be able to be used with studio lighting when needed. And just in case you’re wondering about the bed (though we do use it for newborns and family), it was originally purchased for quilt photography. Typically once a month I photograph quilts for Connie Lapp, one of several quilt designers at Amish Country Lanes.
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Authentic barnboard background! We actually built the studio around this large door. Wonderful Craigslist find from Ephrata, PA for only $10!
The fun prop room! Can one ever have enough props? NO. I am constantly on the lookout for new deals. If you’re out and about and see something cool, let me know! Looking for some colorful vintage suitcases right now. Any avid yard-salers out there? Keep me in mind!
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And to wrap this all up, let me share some from our grand opening. Thanks to all who came out and helped to make it a success. For those of you unable to attend, here ya go! Would be so appreciative of whomever helps to spread the word! We want to be busy this year 🙂 Credits for most of these goes to Angie.
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Uncle Stan makes himself at home 🙂 Rodger and I were extremly blessed by Uncle Stan & Aunt Marian during our building process. We were running behind schedule trying to save money doing the bulk of the work ourselves. Stress was high, etc, etc. They generously offered a full day of their time helping us hang the drywall. Thanks again to you both! We so appreciated it!!!
And they were kind enough to bring Rodger’s grandma along with them to visit! Such a special time! And Shaylena got to meet Great Grandma Marks for the first time…
Well if you’ve read this entirely too long post, God bless ya! If you are in need of a photographer anytime soon, keep us in mind. It would be an honor to serve you! I’ll end with this picture of myself. For those that know me well, you know how I hate to be on the opposite side of the lens. I always find something wrong with the image… (which is not to my credit by the way. We, as women, are way to hard on ourselves and our image. And with all the world and media throws at us, it can be a struggle accepting ourselves for who we truly are – who God made us to be.) And while in my head I critique this image, this pretty much captures my personality, so thanks for that Angie!
This studio only became a reality through the help of many and I would like to give credit where credit is due. First, I thank God for this blessing and opportunity. – my husband, Rodger. Countless hours spent helping to plan. Framing, installing insulation, 2 months of electrical work, hanging drywall, and simply putting up with a sometimes demanding wife. He’s gone all week on the truck earning a living and spent every one of his weekends working on the studio from October through February. I can’t thank you enough for all your time and sacrifice to make my dream come true. I love you honey!
– the building: Armada Buildings
– concrete floor: Dale Martin Rock Solid Concrete
– framing: many thanks to my brother, Donnie Degler
– trim,doors & countertop: Preston Weaver Mountain View Building
– heating & cooling: Comfort Plus
– cabinets, desk, kids table & chairs, changing table: Ikea
– decor & furniture: combination of Ikea, Home Goods, Marshalls, TJ Maxx, Target, Fresh Vintage By Amy


  1. Roxanne says:

    I SO LOVE ur studio!!!! All the organization and the collections!! It’s so beautiful!!

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Welcome friends! I’m Susie. Wedding, newborn & portrait photographer with a passion for family, friends, photography and much more… come follow along!