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Life & Work with Marilee Rager

Today we’d like to introduce you to Marilee Rager.

Hi Marilee, so excited to have you with us today. What can you tell us about your story?
As a junior in high school, I had a photographer, Susan Wolfe, mentor me in photography. She taught me the basics of photography and how important light is. I took a photography class in high school my senior year and applied for a photography scholarship on the Baker University newspaper, the Baker Orange. I was awarded the scholarship and took another photography class in college that furthered my knowledge while shooting for stories and sports as part of the newspaper staff. In particular, I mainly shot football games and other sports for the next two and a half years. This taught me a lot about how to anticipate the shot and how to get myself into a position to get the perfect picture. After graduating college, I took a break, went on to grad school and graduated from Emporia State University with my master’s. I got married and attended a bridal expo, KC Engaged, where I met another mentor and friend, Hallie Fry, who also photographed my wedding.

Through the years, I always toyed with the idea of starting my own photography business. When I found out I was pregnant with my daughter, I decided it was time to try to start my own photography business. On top of being a real estate agent, I have slowly been building my business. I’m not as aggressive with it as I’m sure others are, but I’ve been doing the steps to gain business and listening to the mentors I’ve had. It’s not easy being a mom and business owner, but definitely rewarding. I’ve loved all kinds of photography, from nature, sports, lifestyles, couples, portraits, I truly enjoy working with people and capturing their happiness and love for their families, partner, or their animals.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
Definitely not a smooth road! It’s hard to be a mom during a pandemic and starting a business that involves being around people. But it’s been rewarding and I’m grateful to do what I enjoy, photography and being a mom.

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
I would say I haven’t quite found my specialty yet, outside of sports photography. I am incredibly proud of my background, albeit a little unconventional, but that is what sets me apart. Sports photography taught me I can’t just sit and wait for the shot, I have to move with the client, subject, athletes, whoever is in front of my lens. Sports helped me anticipate movement of my subject and to find the shot. I thoroughly enjoy connecting with my clients and seeing their happiness.

We’d love to hear about how you think about risk taking?
I’m not a huge risk taker. I think long and hard about the decisions I make about anything. I try to approach a decision by examining it from all angles.

Contact Info:

Image Credits
These are the vendors that made some of these images possible through workshops and styled shoots I’ve attended. Host: @styled_elegantly Lead Photographer: @renatazimmerphotography Videographer: @eclicktikfilms Venue: @thefontainehotel MUA: @kcmakeupby_nimra99 Hair stylist: @gigihairdesigns Marquee letters: @luminatekc Florist: @becoflowers Rentals: @rusticeleganceeventrental Balloon arch: @popculturesculptures Rings: @noblehousejewelry Desserts: @sweetoothkc Models: Proposal models – @lesliehacker13 / @levicjam94 Engagement models – @drealuvsya / @rjeiimages RJ’s suits: @dandanthetailorman Workshop: @styledandcurated Hosts: @halliefry_ @rachellstierlyphotography @truelovecoordinatinganddesign Venue: @thelegacyatgh Rentals: @foxcreekdesignsllc Beverages: @themintmobilebar Flowers: @whitefarmhouseflowers HMUA: Venue: @hotelindigokccrossroads Host/Coordination: @styled_elegantly Lead photographer: @renatazimmerphotography MUA: @kcmakeupby_nimra99 Hair: Florals: @indigoroseflowers Models: @bethwesee @drakemcmillen @tappjustine @tappwhit Photographers: @marileerager @katephoto___ @monphotographykc @edaniellephotos Videographer: @eclicktickfilms

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