About Holly

Welcome! I am Holly Baumann Ambuehl, a commercial and portrait photographer in based in Normal, Illinois, serving all of Central Illinois. There’s more info below. I hope you’ll scroll down!

Photo Credit: Rachel Williams / Photographic Designs

More About Holly (and Nathan)
Phoenix is home sweet home for me; I am a mountain girl at heart! I grew up living in the same house my entire childhood. Once I finished high school, however, my adventurous spirit kicked into high-gear, and I became a bit of a nomad. For most of my twenties, I had what my brother-in-law calls “global-ADD.” I lived in many places in the US and travelled all over the world; including Romania for a year and half and Boston for three. I was focused on living life to the fullest and possessed few belongings other than a passport, a book or two, and whatever I could carry – which included, of course, a camera.

After finishing a Master’s at Boston College, I landed back in Phoenix, where I met my husband, Nathan. Nathan spent most of his childhood in Colorado before moving to the Normal-Bloomington area for high school and college, and then on to Phoenix for a job. We got married in Phoenix in 2009, and we love life! We are suckers for travel, good books, red wine, craft beer, camping, local restaurants, architecture, politics, and good coffee. (Actually, Nathan roasts and sells coffee, so let us know if you’d like some!)

Nathan and I moved to Oklahoma City in 2010. After a few years in OKC and the birth of our son Rawley, we moved to Cheyenne, WY and then back to Phoenix, each time for Nathan’s former employer, a commercial construction company. Finally, in a move to end all moves (for a while…), Nathan made a career change that brought us to the Normal -Bloomington area. All the while, despite living in 4 states and becoming a mom to an extremely premature baby, I never set down my camera or [completely] set aside my business.

My Philosophy and Approach
Over time my passion for travel naturally bred a solid photography portfolio, which eventually evolved into this commercial and portrait photography business. I strongly believe that all of my adventures, travels, and life experience makes me a better photographer. It gives me a unique perspective.  I love this Ansel Adams quote:

  • “We don’t make a photograph just with a camera, we bring to the act of photography all the books we have read, the movies we have seen, the music we have heard, the people we have loved.” 

Photography is everywhere, but it’s more important than ever in this digital age. It has power. It changes how people think, influences business, molds opinions, and preserves memories. At some point, every person and business needs the services of a photographer. When that time comes, buyers are usually nervous.

Photography clients of all types may worry that a photographer won’t fully capture their vision. Fine photography is an investment, and nobody wants to be disappointed with the results. I understand all of these things – I feel the same way when I hire a photographer. As a result, I will work hard to earn your trust. I will get to know you, ask questions and listen to your goals and expectations. We’ll plan outcomes together. On location, I’ll put you at ease; plus, we’ll have fun!

I don’t seek a large volume of photography jobs; rather, I provide my undivided attention to each client, which allows me to provide consultation as needed, fully research each project, and deliver images quickly. I am motivated by my own desire for excellence.

A Few Credentials
I have over eight years of professional experience in photography. I’ve shot for architects, ad agencies, and PR firms, and many private portrait clients! You may review my client list and reviews on my website or Linked In profile.

Choosing A Photographer
High-quality photography is an investment; often, it’s reserved for a celebratory occasion, significant accomplishment, or major initiative. When it’s time for your company or family to make such as investment, the choices can be overwhelming! There are a lot of photographers out there, and it might be difficult to narrow down the choices.

To determine the best photographer for your project, consider the quality of their photography, their experience level, the sophistication of their camera gear, the speed with which your photographer can deliver your images, and the range of products available. Look at the range of composition and lighting in images in their website portfolio. Can you see detail in the dark and light parts of their photos? Are vertical lines straight, or distorted? Are results consistent, but not visually boring? All of these factors will tell you something about the value proposition of a particular photographer.

High-quality photography is not over-exposed, blown out, super-contrasty, too soft, or over-saturated. \ Professional photographers do not shoot with iPhones, or with their camera set to “Auto.” An experienced photographer shoots manually, and knows how to capture images that will print and enlarge beautifully, provide heirlooms your family will treasure for years to come, or sharp images that will display beautifully on the web or other marketing materials.

Let’s Be Friends!
I hope you’ll enjoy perusing this blog – I encourage you to leave comments and questions on posts that interest you. I read every one and love hearing from my readers, even if we haven’t met, or you aren’t a client. 🙂 You can also communicate with me on my other forums listed above on the right sidebar. I am always honored when clients trust me to capture their vision. I hope we’ll have an opportunity to collaborate, become friends, and hopefully, develop a long-term partnership.

Let’s talk! – Holly

13 Responses to About Holly

  1. Kelly says:

    Thank you, Holly! I came across your blog while researching pprom. My water broke at 19w5d and I’ve been on bed rest for the past two weeks at home. And as you say, each day is a triumph. The support, love and prayers of family and friends is what helps you get through it all. I wanted to say thank you for sharing your story, as it’s served as inspiration for me iny journey. I’m so happy for you and your family on how it all turned out. It is so helpful to see what types of outcomes are possible.


  2. Nancy Torres-Torres says:

    Dejar Holly:

    I know nothing about photography, but I am here in tears after reading The story of your premature rupture of membranes. My little sister is 36 years old and she had preterm-PROM at 21 WGA one week ago. After a a week of bad news, awful statistics and great stress, reading your story is a blessing for my family. I have no idea of what might happen, but you and your son will surely be our inspiration to keep fighting and praying for our little Ryan. God bless your family.


  3. Sheila Platt says:

    HI Holly, Great to see how well you are doing and enjoying life and photography! I think it’s interesting to see you have landed in my home state, IL, and in Peoria, where I went to 1 semester of college at Bradley! I love your photography; you excell with a variety of topics. I love photography and belong to the Duxbury Camera Club in MA. Beauty, thought, opinion, and creativity are involved in photography!
    Sheila Platt


  4. I’m just doing my research and clicking around your links, and I’m not sure how you found me via the request I received, but you seem like someone I would get along with very well : ) So, hello!


    • Hi! I think I found you on PPA by searching for other Cheyenne photographers. I just moved here so I am trying to get acquainted! Are there any local groups or other opportunities I should know about for local togs? Would love to get to know you and others. Thanks for the note! – Holly


      • Well good work, because I think I’ve been on the PPA site for about two minutes total, ha. (I need to do more there. I just haven’t yet.) You just missed the big Scott Kelby Worldwide Photo Walk last weekend out at the Wyoming Hereford Ranch—there were about 50 photographers there including me, some friends, and my daughters : ) Bummer! Welcome to town, though, and let’s plan to meet up for coffee sometime downtown!


      • Bummer about missing the Photo Walk! Maybe next year. I’d love to meet for coffee…during the week if you don’t mind my having my shadow along (Rawley, our 5 month old) or on the weekend for grown up time. Let me know some dates that work, and your favorite coffee shop…we still haven’t found “the” one here yet. 😉


  5. Carla says:

    Hello ! I was inspired by your article about getting into commercial photography and followed up by locating your bio here. Your passion and enjoyment is clearly evident and I hope to become fortunate to have a mentor as inspiring. Thank you for being so open about your experiences. It shows Ive made a good choice to follow my passion with photography and will continue to search for opportunities that I can grow my talent with.


  6. Hi Holly, I’ve come to photography later in life.. while still in my 40s I’m only just hanging in there. Anyway, I’ve been a fine artist for many years but there is just something insanely awesome about photography to me. Even my paintings of still life were in a realistic manner so I guess I’m drawn to it. Just wanted to drop a line and say that I’m glad to have read your blog. I’d like to learn more and build a photography business. It’s never too late! All the best.


  7. Kari Wilson says:

    Hi Holly (and Nathan),
    My husband and I have a photography business in Decatur, GA. We are about 10 minutes East of Atlanta. We have been successfully doing portrait photography over the past few years and are now looking to venture into commercial photography. We have landed a few small commercial jobs and even have our work featured on a billboard. This was exciting to say the least.

    Anyway, I have enjoyed reading your blog and found a wealth of information and inspiration. You work is just fabulous. We will definitely follow your tips for getting into commercial photography.

    Thanks for sharing.


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