Three years ago, Mary Frances Rizzuto and her family were just settling into their new home in Bradford West Gwillimbury.
In her spare time, she started teaching herself how to work a camera and practiced by taking photos of her kids. Little did she know this would turn into her next business venture.
With a background in music and design, Rizzuto said she has always had a creative edge. She attended a high school for the arts specializing in music, and then went on to pursue a degree in jewelry design and education at the Ontario College of Art and Design.
All of this, combined with her self-motivated passion to teach herself new things, gave her the idea to open The Rampant Fox, an in-home photography studio.
“While I didn’t major in photography, we were encouraged to photograph our own work (in school), and I was always pushing myself to capture better images,” she said. “I love the creativity of photography, not just with the sets but after on the computer.”
Rizzuto taught herself how to photograph as well as how to create the perfect photo with editing software programs Photoshop and Lightroom.
“I love playing with lighting and turning the photos into works of art,” she said.
Rizzuto is a mother to three boys, ages five, three, and 17 months. Her three year old has special needs, which require her to be at home for him more.
“Staying home focusing on my photography business helps to balance my family’s needs,” she said.
Newborns and babies are Rizzuto’s favourite people to shoot. She said she loves being able to watch her clients grow up, from maternity shots in the womb, to first birthday cake smash sessions.
“I love to get smiles from babies during their birthday portraits and customizing the sessions to their parents’ wishes,” she gushed.
The most challenging part of being in the photography business, she said, is always buying new props. But with her creative background, she can usually make or find unique pieces to include in her backdrop sets.
She said she enjoys doing business in Bradford because it is filled with young families that appreciate good photography.
“It’s one thing to use your phone to capture images of your children, but it’s fun to use a photographer to capture something unique,” she said.
When Rizzuto is not taking photos of her clients, she likes spending time with her family and learning new techniques on Photoshop. She is also a teacher at the Bradford School of Art.
In addition to her photography studio, she also runs another side business, MFJDesigns. Rizzuto creates one-of-a-kind silver jewelry. Her handcrafted pieces also make great subjects for her photographs.