Jackie Vidler’s mother always knew her daughter was an interesting, eclectic, and creative person who did things just a little bit differently. Those characteristics reveal why Vidler has always had an interest in art, specifically photography. However, like many people who have an artistic bent, she never dreamed she would be able to make photography her career.
When Vidler had her own daughter 14 years ago, her passion for photography really took off. She found herself wanting to capture all the special moments as her daughter grew, and photography helped her achieve that goal.
“I was taken aback at how fast time flew by and how quickly one milestone was replaced by the next,” Vidler said.
Shortly thereafter, she accepted a job offer to assist a local photographer, and she eventually became an artistic director. Vidler quickly realized how fulfilling it was to be able to document important moments and memories for others: she photographed weddings, families, pets, and any subjects that came her way.
Never being one to stay complacent with her current situation, though, Vidler knew she needed to branch out on her own. Around 2010, she created Enfoqué Images and became a small business owner herself. She named her business “Enfoqué,” which means “in focus” in Spanish, as a way to pay homage to her Puerto Rican heritage.
For Vidler, her passion for photography stems from her desire to help others and to capture the progression inherent in life.
“It’s easy to recall the before and the after. But there’s so much more to life than just the beginning and the end. The true beauty of any story lies in the middle,” Vidler explained.
A New Client: The Construction Industry
After several years of operating Enfoqué Images, Vidler found herself wanting to expand the business even further. She began to explore how her business could offer photography services to other local businesses, since she has always had a desire to help others and give back to the community.
“Businesses are ideal clients for me because every great business has a commitment to continuous improvement, leaving so much progress to capture. Documenting a brand’s product or service helps to establish visual representation for that business. It’s my own professional spin on showing a business that we ‘see’ them,” she said.
After completing an extensive application process, Enfoqué Images became a Minority and Women Business Enterprise (MWBE) in 2019. The MWBE certification helped expand the reach of Enfoqué Images, opening up new opportunities in the construction industry, specifically. Although Enfoqué Images had been providing photography services to other local industries in the Syracuse area, Vidler found that construction businesses were the most natural clients because progression is so central to every construction project.
As a full-service photography and videography studio serving the construction industry in central New York, Enfoqué Images assists quality management through outstanding photographic documentation during the entire contract period. Services include photography of existing conditions, mobilization, safety setup, material storage, demolition, construction progress, inspection punch list items and final close-out. Enfoqué Images is certified for government contracting through the City of Syracuse, both federally and statewide. The business is certified with industry codes NAICS, 541922 in commercial photography, NAICS, 512120 in motion picture and video and NIGS, 91572 in photography services.
For Vidler, photographing for construction contracts is especially enjoyable because it allows her to truly focus on the process happening in real-time, and because of its fast-paced nature.
“It’s really cool to see a project come together. We did progression documentation for Industry Standard USA at the Syracuse VA hospital when they were putting in new sidewalks. It was cool to go up weekly and to see the progression over the weeks. And of course, you never know what you’re going to get. I might get a call saying, ‘the pourers are going to be here tomorrow, so we need you here tomorrow’ and we’re ready to go. It’s really exciting. It’s great to see a plan come together and to watch it grow,” she described.
Expanding Horizons with Drone Photography and Videography
In order to further progress and evolve as a business, Vidler became interested in utilizing drone technology to add aerial photography and videography services to Enfoqué Images’ repertoire. She knew that utilizing aerial technology would expand her business’ opportunities even further, but by no means was obtaining the needed certification simple or easy.
“I made the investment in purchasing drone equipment. I researched and studied the ins and outs of aerial documentation. After almost a year of extensive and intensive studying, I made it happen, passing my drone pilot license testing and obtaining my Part 107 UAS Remote Pilot Certification in 2019,” Vidler stated.
While flying a drone may seem intuitive to some, Vidler described how the knowledge she gained during her certification process is complex and covers many topics.
“The drone license test is very interesting. It’s certainly not simple for the everyday person to understand,” she said. “I had to learn about the different types of clouds, learn how to read different types of maps, know about the different air spaces and remember not to fly the drone above 400 feet, for example. It’s pretty intense.”
Although obtaining her drone photography certification was strenuous, Vidler knew it would be essential in order for Enfoqué Images to flourish in the company’s work with construction contracts. The construction industry had already experienced tremendous benefits from utilizing drone technology, and she wanted to be able to help local construction efforts by offering aerial photography and videography services herself. Drones provide a new vantage point in the sky that improves the visual documentation of any construction project. Aerial documentation benefits many aspects of construction, including the mapping, planning, surveying, safety, inspecting and service needs that are integral to project success.
The safety benefits of drone technology have been a major draw for Enfoque Images’ construction clients. “I was talking to a potential client recently and I mentioned that I do drone photography and videography. He said, ‘Wow, that’s really great – so, my guys wouldn’t have to get up on the scaffolding and scale the side of the building to check out some corrosion, it would just be sending up a camera?’ It helps save the companies manpower and can even help avoid injuries, which is great,” Vidler explained.
In her research into drone photography and videography, she also found reports that showed construction companies that utilize drones have experienced significant improvement in their operational efficiency and reduced overall costs. Drone technology allows photographers to capture aerial data easier and faster, and allows for improved decision-making, more thorough identification of worksite issues and greater predictability for project schedules.
Vidler explained how she takes great pride in offering these state-of-the-art services to her construction clients. “As a drone photographer, I can offer contractors the best images available to help attain their goals. They’ll be able to use their photos to show the various angles of the project and to demonstrate their abilities to meet the requirements of the hiring agency,” she said.
Onward and Upward
From its humble beginnings over 10 years ago, Enfoqué Images has grown leaps and bounds into the small business it is today. Although the business’s capabilities and services have expanded and evolved in many ways, the core passion behind Vidler’s work has remained the same: to help others through photography and to support the local business community.
Over the next several years, Enfoqué Images will continue to grow and help highlight the progress demonstrated by local industries. For the construction industry specifically, Vidler emphasized that progress should be documented both on and off the jobsite. “With construction, obviously documentation of the actual physical project is a huge part of it, but it’s important to note we also offer headshots and social media content, for example. Those services may not be directly related to the jobsite but there’s always a way I could help the businesses and support them through photography and videography,” she said.
As the business offerings expand, Vidler is also looking forward to growing the Enfoqué Images team. “I will be extending the Enfoqué Images brand as an umbrella to cover all aspects of photography. I want to onboard other photographers and provide a space for each of them to take the lead in the industry areas they have a passion for,” she stated.
When asked about the overall reach of the business in the future, Vidler expressed her excitement about the possibilities, but emphasized that Enfoqué Images will always be ingrained in the central New York business community. “Enfoqué Images, at its core, will always stay a local business. I will always be connected and giving back within the community that’s home to me. But for the future reach of Enfoqué, I feel it is limitless. I take pictures in the sky now, so I can confidently say ‘the sky’s the limit’.”