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Preserving the memories

FDSH grad Gargano owns, operates The Grey Collective

-Submitted photo
Libby Gargano, a Fort Dodge Senior High graduate, is the owner of The Grey Collective, a photography business located in Fort Dodge that provides intimate wedding, growing families and more sessions.

Like so many, Libby Gargano used the pandemic as a chance to make a life-altering change.

Gargano, a 2013 Fort Dodge Senior High School graduate, opted to become a stay-at-home mother with a photography business on the side.

Well, that side business has continued to grow and is now called The Grey Collective.

While completing her degree online through Buena Vista University, Gargano did photography sessions on the side while also working full-time at a local church. In February 2020, she married Christian Gargano and the couple welcomed their first daughter shortly later.

“All of that happened during COVID,” Gargano said. “It made us reevaluate our jobs, daycare and everything else. We made the decision for me to stay home full-time with our daughter and take my photography business full-time, as well.

-Submitted photo
Libby Gargano, a Fort Dodge Senior High graduate, is the owner of The Grey Collective, a photography business located in Fort Dodge that provides intimate wedding, growing families and more sessions. This photo is an example of her work.

“A huge risk at the time with everything shut down, but it ended up being the best decision I ever made for our family and my business.”

The couple welcomed a second daughter recently, and they have only continued to push things to the next level.

“My husband is my biggest supporter and encourages me to do it all,” she said. “In my spare time, we host a podcast called ‘Two Tired,’ spend a lot of time outside, working on house projects and I also run another business, Modern Grey.

“My two kids are what keep me going. While this is a dream job, it can be very challenging. I spend almost every weekend and every evening away from my family. I have to plan a year-and-a-half to two years in advance because of weddings, so I try to plug in days off and vacations.”

Along with capturing life-long memories at weddings, Gargano also specializes in family shots with children and boudoirs for women. She credits Rochelle Green as a key influence in her career choice.

-Submitted photo
Libby Gargano, a Fort Dodge Senior High graduate, is the owner of The Grey Collective, a photography business located in Fort Dodge that provides intimate wedding, growing families and more sessions. The photos shown are examples of her work.

“I celebrated six years in September,” she said. “Over the years, I’ve photographed everything you can think of including families, kids, seniors, maternity, couples, boudoir, pets, headshots, events, weddings and more, but I’ve finally scaled back and now focus on weddings, families with kids and boudoir.”

The personal relationships developed through the sessions is another thing that drives Gargano.

“I love running this business because I get to meet so many people in our community,” she said. “My clients are the absolute best and the fact that I get to preserve these memories for them makes me incredibly happy.”

As for the future, Gargano is “excited to see what happens in the next year or so” with plans to build a studio and “have my husband join me as well as diving into product, food and editorial photography.”

More information can be found online at thegreycollective.photos or on Facebook at The Grey Collective.

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