Bridgette Harmon-Smith spent an hour last week trekking beside the Wabash River, armed with a camera.
Her target? Bald eagles.
It was a rare expedition for Harmon-Smith, a professional photographer who spends most of her time taking pictures of people in Peru and Miami County.
“We just jumped in the car and went and had fun,” she said. “That was pretty different for me, because it’s usually just work, work, work. It was nice to have a fun hour chasing down eagles.”
But it’s those little outside-the-box adventures that have pushed the 30-year-old Peru native to hone the craft that’s made her business, Harmon Photography, the go-to place for pictures in Miami County.
Harmon-Smith has spent the last decade building up her studio, which this year celebrates 10 years in the city at 288 E Main St.
It may be a decade since she started her business, but Harmon-Smith has spent most of her life refining and improving her photographic artistry.
Even as a kid, she said, she loved taking pictures with her old point-and-shoot camera during family vacations. When she started attending Peru High School, Harmon-Smith began shooting pictures for the yearbook.
She really enjoyed that, so after graduating, she headed out to Massachusetts to attend the Hallmark Institute of Photography. She completed a two-year degree there in just 10 months.
“It was very, very intense, but the best part of it was everything was hands-on,” she said.
Then it was back to Peru, where she got a photography job with Walgreens. During that time, Harmon-Smith started shooting weddings and other gigs on the side, until she had enough money to open a studio.
And when she was 20 years old, that’s what she did.