How does a Postmaster with 27 years of experience become a Professional Photographer? In Cindy Baker’s case, it started with family. In 2005, she was admiring the photos her daughter Christine had been taking of the grandchildren. As it happened, Cindy’s daughter had just “upgraded” to a nicer camera, so she gave her Canon Digital to Cindy. Over the next twelve years Cindy explored her hobby when not working at the Post Office. She took pictures of flowers, birds, animals, and of course, family (The Bakers have six children and eleven grandchildren). During this period, she also took a few classes from the Community College, watched some “How to” videos, and perfected her art. Her home studio has some of her “Greatest Hits” displayed, and they truly capture the beauty of life in Nebraska. A person doesn’t have to take my word for it; she’s won numerous photography awards from the Sherman County Fair, and the Nebraska State Fair.
How did this gifted amateur make the decision to open a Photography Studio? From mid-2014 through 2017, she was the Postmaster in Sutherland, NE. The 140-mile trip had her leaving on Sunday evenings, and returning to Loup City on Saturday mornings, for almost two and one-half years. She then worked for CNCAP for roughly nine months, until helping with the Grandchildren became more of a priority. In 2018, following her retirement, and with lots of time on her hands, she showed and sold some of her work in Grand Island at the Studio K Gallery, and expanded her repertoire here in Loup City. Cindy decided to try photography as a business, initially working from one of the spaces in the Carnegie Building, then later out of her home. Cindy chose the name of her business carefully. To dispel a few rumors; she’s not an entomologist, and though she’s hard working, “busy as a bee” doesn’t really capture her work ethic. She is serious and exacting in the photographic standards she sets for herself. In the end, the Bee is just a smart extension of the first letter of her last name: Baker. . . because Cindy Bee's looked better than Cindy Bs.
She has some favorites; in addition to her nature photography, she loves photographing newborns. She does pet photography as well as family pictures. To date, she hasn’t done any Graduation pictures or Weddings, but Sherman County students and residents would be crazy to not take advantage of this talented local photographer, especially in the current period of limited travel! Her rates are pretty good too; she usually just charges $50 for a half hour session. Cindy also creates Postcards, Greeting cards, magnets, coasters, and other picture “platforms,” as well as hand-making photo albums. While she has set up a light studio at home, she often goes out to families and local sites for her work. She shows her pictures during the Junk Jaunt and the City-Wide Yard sale in Loup City, and has a booth at Art in the Park, a summertime arts and crafts fair in Grand Island.
Cindy still enjoys the craft more than the editing and plans to continue for the foreseeable future. Her favorite thing about the business is seeing the smiles on the faces of her subjects when shown their pictures. She does, on the other hand, have some challenges, like the naughty, possibly attention starved cat that decided to mark her owners’ bag while Cindy and the owner were involved with some of the other pets. Her lesson learned? Always have a supply of pet-wipes when photographing animals! She also faces some tasks that are important, but collateral to the picture taking process. Cindy is currently working on the various aspects of what photographer’s call “Post-Production”. In other words, it is how they cut and edit pictures to bring out their best features. Unfortunately, it is not that moment when the eye and the camera are one, working seamlessly together to capture a colorful scene in a moment of time. It is more the grind of sitting down in front of a computer to make sure the focus is good, of cropping distracting materials from the edges of the picture, or even the discriminating process of saving the good and dumping the bad drafts. Despite the inconveniences and the labors of editing, it is obvious Cindy loves her craft. The proof is in her photos, which are a fascinating visual walk through the world one snap at a time.
This article is part of the Loup City Chamber of Commerce “Business of the Month” program. Cindy Bee’s Photography is located at 313 N. 7th Street in Loup City, where she lives with her husband, Ralph. Her gallery is open Tuesday through Thursday. You can reach her at (308) 750-6654 and make an appointment for a session any day of the week . We are proud of our City, and it is our honor to highlight local businesses. Good business is where you live, and patronage by you, our readers, makes for good business.