Cheap Shot Photography is open for business again in the same location as before. Only now the business has a newly renovated studio and is “better than ever,” according to Owner Vicki Blakley.
When she explained her family’s journey over the past year, Blakley’s eyes filled with tears just before she closed them, took a deep breath and summed it up with, “It’s been a rough year.”
The somber moment passed as quickly as it came when Blakley snapped out of her memory and excitedly spoke of her experiences and passion for photography.
Business was good, according to Blakley, until tragedy struck in December — just a few weeks before Christmas. She said a small space heater malfunctioned in the old studio and caught fire. While the exterior of the studio was still intact, the interior was a complete loss. The fire claimed all of the props and backdrops essential to her craft, but didn’t destroy any of her cameras, computers or printers — because luckily she kept all of it in her home office.
She said that was just the beginning of her family’s problems. While her husband began renovating the studio, a winter storm collapsed their carport and “tiki” area next to her swimming pool. When the carport collapsed it severely damaged the sports car sitting beneath it.
The finished studio is a bit different from the last, because according to Blakley, “You learn some things over the years.” The entrance has a gate and play area for children and waiting customers along with hardwood flooring and new lighting. The floors will allow for easy cleanup after messy photo shoots and the new lighting Blakley says is “wonderful,” because it’s easier to get great photos.
While she has always enjoyed taking photographs, she said she never thought of it as something she could make a career of until 2000 — when she began taking photos for the newspaper. Other than the photos for the newspaper, she said she only took photos of her children at sports and school events.
Over the years she began taking photos of the other kids and their parents in the crowd. When people began asking her to take photos at weddings and their family congregations, Blakley decided to take the plunge and start her own photography business.
Blakley credits her husband Randy and daughter Heather Holland for her success. “I couldn’t have done it without them,” she said. She explained that Randy built her original studio, as well as the new one. She also gives him credit for coming up with the business’ name.
Cheap Shot Photography officially opened the doors on the new studio on July 18. Blakley said she hopes the rough year is over now. She said things picked up where they left off seven months ago due to her clients. Over the years, she had accumulated many “repeat” clients which she claims are her “bread and butter.” She attributes much of her current business to repeat customers who liked her work in the past with their children and come back when they need new photos. She said these clients aren’t just clients to her. “I consider them my friends now, because I’ve been taking pictures of their families for so long – I’ve literally watched their kids grow up and get married.”
While the carport still isn’t rebuilt and her daughter Heather has gone to Eastern Kentucky University in Richmond, she still considers her family’s situation to be returning back to normal. She is excited about her new studio and what the future holds for the Blakley family and Cheap Shot Photography.
Reach Bradley at 606-909-4146 or follow him on Twitter @bradley_HDE