Martha Sobanko never planned to become a professional photographer. Rather, she caught the photo bug when she was pregnant with her first child. She seized her camera and began documenting her friends' newborns in preparation for her own. Once she realized that this was more than a simple hobby—that she had a knack for infant photography—she opened her own studio. Here she relies on the gentle nature and skillful composition she uses when snapping pictures of her own children and those of her friends to capture those same timeless moments for her clients.
Unique Photo’s story wouldn’t be out of place in a Horatio Alger essay: entrepreneurs Bernard and Harriet Sweetwood opened a small storefront photography supply store in Brooklyn, which, through their continued hard work, grew to become one of the largest privately owned photographic-supply distributors in the world. Now dubbed a photographic superstore, Unique Photo stocks more than 20,000 products from popular brands such as Canon, Panasonic, Olympus, Fujifilm, Nikon, and Sony. From digital cameras and camera bags to video equipment, darkroom supplies, and prints of 19th-century presidents eating ice-cream cones, the shop houses gear for enthusiasts and professionals alike. On a mission to help clients “Create Better Pictures,” staffers draw upon their photography training to help customers with a full-service photo lab, rental equipment, and free tech support. Experts also lead a full curriculum of classes and seminars that cover topics such as photo composition, Adobe Photoshop, and lighting techniques.
Roxana Puiu travels throughout New York City to photograph such subjects as families, individuals, and newborn babies. Ms. Puiu specializes in many styles, from standard portrait sessions to intimate boudoir, glamour, and pin-up photo shoots. She also loves photographing pets.
What services does your business offer and what makes your business stand out from the competition?
Bora Images creates simple, beautiful photography and delivers it with exceptional personal care and an obsession with exceeding my clients' expectations.
What was the inspiration to start or run this business?
Meeting new people and learning about new styles. Flexibility in schedule does play a big role.
What do you love most about your job?
Delivering a final product and seeing people's reaction.
What is the best reaction you've ever gotten from a customer?
There are two totally different reactions I remember: a teary eye from joy and exciting jumps up to the ceiling.
When Joan Barnes founded Gymboree Play & Music in 1976, she envisioned a facility where parents and children could play together in a safe and age-appropriate environment. In the following decades, Gymboree Play & Music spread to more than 30 countries across the globe, helping youngsters from infants to 5 years old develop cognitive, physical, and social skills. The company's instructors lead classes such as Play & Learn, its flagship course, in which parents and kids move through a seven-level program filled with storytelling, play activities, and debates on the merits of sandwich crust. Talented staffers also prep youngsters for school and foster development in areas such as music, art, and sports. Throughout all classes, they make use of custom play equipment designed by acclaimed playground designer and seesaw-tamer Jay Beck.
Courses for Success keeps its digital library stocked with more than 1,000 personal and professional development courses, including ones in accounting, sales, and computer programming. Online access to each course means students have the freedom to learn from anywhere, be it while lounging on their sofa or bucking atop a local bar's mechanical bull. Each course features an easy-to-follow step-by-step format, and ongoing tutor support ensures no student hits a snag in their studies.