When Sue Auriemma, a former Village of Munsey Park trustee, was asked to join her mother on an instructional photography trip to Ireland, she said, she didn’t expect to form her own business soon after.
In January, the former stay-at-home mother of 22 years started her own photography business, Susan Auriemma Photography, after years of photography night classes and photo sessions with her own family and friends.
Auriemma helped inspire her mother to dive back into photography years ago by buying her a camera as a birthday gift, and her mother returned the favor by inviting Auriemma on a group photography trip to Ireland with Peter Gordon of Explore Light Photography of Dublin.
“I went from 0 to 60 in a week in Ireland, but I also realized all the things I didn’t know,” Auriemma said.
Auriemma said she began gathering new equipment, such as a tripod, cable release and editing software like Lightroom before taking a second trip with Gordon — this time, to the Lofoten Islands in Norway.
Auriemma said she was planning to go to Iceland for the next trip instead, but when the trip was canceled and an opening became available for Norway, it only took one photo to convince her to take the trip.
“Any amazing trip I’ve ever been on, whether it’s a vacation or a photography trip, has been based on a single photo where I looked at it and said ‘I need to go there. I have to go to that place, and it’s going to be amazing,’” Auriemma said. “It always works out. I’ve yet to see a picture of Hawaii where I feel that. It’s not on my bucket list because I haven’t seen that photo yet.”
After returning from Norway, Auriemma filed to create a limited liability company for her photography business.
“If you’re starting a business, you’re now a business owner,” Auriemma said. “I’m a professional photographer, but I also have to be an accountant, a webmaster and a marketing director. When I got my LLC paper, I texted my three kids, and my son wrote back ‘That’s kind of cool. Now both my parents own their own business.’”
Recently, Auriemma has been recruited by Manhasset real estate agents to photograph homes on the market after seeing her landscape photos.
“It’s the same set of technical skills,” Auriemma said. “It’s the same processing because it’s a landscape, just indoors.”
Auriemma, who has always been known for her attention to safety, began working with Kids and Cars, an organization dedicated to improve children’s safety in and around cars after she hit her then 3-year-old daughter Kate while backing out of the driveway.
“When I left, I was backing out of my driveway, looking over my shoulder, and she got from the house to the side of my car outside of my peripheral vision,” Auriemma said. “I found out later from a neighbor that Kate got to the back door trying to get in, got knocked down, got back up and went to the right rear corner of the car, and I hit her with the car.”
Auriemma said she began her work with Kids and Cars because the group was working on legislation, which passed this year, requiring all new cars of more than 10,000 pounds to have backup cameras.
“Kids are small, quick and unpredictable, and none of my three children had ever left the house before,” Auriemma said. “The one time she left the house, she went behind my car.”
Before the accident, Auriemma, originally from Newport, Rhode Island, had served as co-chairman of the Coalition for a Safer Manhasset, a board member for the Munsey Park Women’s Club and organized the Munsey Park Elementary School community service committee.
In recent years, Auriemma also served one term as a Munsey Park trustee from 2012 through 2014.
During her work with the Coalition for a Safer Manhasset, Auriemma said she focused on pedestrian safety, especially around Plandome Road, and spent hours researching not only the problems Manhasset pedestrians face but also logical solutions for Nassau County, which then owned the road.
In 2004, Auriemma met with Nassau County Department of Public Works and county legislators to add the countdown clocks at Plandome Road crosswalks.
“The focus was on protecting pedestrians in and around Plandome Road, and my work there was more significant than my [Munsey Park] trustee work because we all recognized the need for crosswalks and pedestrian protection,” Auriemma said.