Member Highlight - Monika Wlodarska

Our first member highlight of 2017 for Studio Share Photography is Monika Wlodarska.  She has been with us since last June at our Libertyville location!

 Self Portrait

Self Portrait

Want to know what's crazy?  I'm introducing you to a photographer that I have also not actually met!  My family and I moved to Florida (I'll save that adventure for another blog) right before Monika signed on.  

So...we can learn together about her!  

First of all, you can check out her work at Monika Wlodarska Photography.   She specializes in newborn and children photography but is currently working on building portfolio of woman portraits. She loves photographing children, but she says she's also a perfectionist and photographing adults gives her more control of the photo session.

She shoots Canon and the 85mm lens is at the top of her list.  I asked her who took her head shot - and it's a self portrait!  I'm amazed. 

Below are some of the other questions I asked Monika.  I am continually amazed at how different all of our stories are.  So many things shape us, and shape the images we create.  

What does most of your work consist of:  natural or studio light?

Either - depending on the situation

Are you from the area?  Why do you live in the midwest?

I come from Poland.  I lived in Chicago for a while and moved to the Round Lake area 13 years ago. I graduated from fashion design/sewing school in Poland.  In the US I became a nurse and a photographer.  I consider myself a "maker".  I constantly create things.  I love sewing, crocheting and most of all creating photography art.  I make most of the props for my photography: hats, blankets, rompers and more.

Tell us a little bit about your family...

It's just me and my husband.  Our families live in Poland.

How long have you been in business?

I've been in business for 4 years.  I still do this part time as I work as a nurse with mentally disable adults.  Working my way to do photography full time.

What got you started in photography? And how did you build your skill set?

I started learning photography about 8 years ago. I bought my first Canon dslr (just because it looked nice lol) got very frustrated because it didn't work like point and shoot camera so I had to learn how to use it.  I became hooked and fascinated with every kind of photography.  I started with landscapes, learned how to use strobe lights from Strobist.com, I was taking product pictures and creating conceptual photography, Kirlian photography, macro photography and learning all possible techniques. Then about 4 years ago I started photographing children and families.  Great thing about photography is that you constantly evolve, feels like possibilities are endless and you learn new things all the time.

*pause* for those of you who don't know what Kirlian photography is - I had to google it too, no worries.

What are the names of 1 or 2 photographers that inspire you?

For beautiful clean portraits: Lisa Visser  and for life changing teaching:  Sue Bryce

What is the hardest thing about being a photographer?

To putting myself out there.  I'm rather shy and introverted person and it is not helping building photography business. Getting into photography business is absolute life changer for me, it is not just about photography, there are so many other skills I learn everyday: marketing, selling, changing the way of thinking.

What has been surprisingly easy? (if anything)

Visualization. I have photographic memory and I'm able to visualize all session details before I start shooting so I'm not going blank during the session and I work according to pictures I see in my mind.

*pause* - that is so cool!  woah.

Would you be willing to briefly tell about a time that you were afraid in your business and how you worked through your fear?

I'm most afraid of networking, this is my biggest challenge ever. I still haven't worked through it yet, but working on it every day, figuring out how to meet new people and doing it.  It is very difficult for me, especially when i don't have any family here.

If you could share one piece of advice with a photographer just starting out, what would you tell them?

Develop your own style, photograph what you really love.  Experiment with different techniques, learn strobe light so you can shoot in every light conditions.  Photography is all about light.

Why did you decide to be part of Studio Share Photography?

I do on location photo sessions and at my home which I wasn't comfortable with at all, as I live in small townhouse.  It didn't look professional.  I was stressed and didn't feel like i was giving people good service.

If you've been a member for any length of time, how have you seen your business grow?

Having access to large fully equipped studio I realized i can offer much more to people and decided to offer woman portraits sessions with hair and makeup, I also feel more confident and professional.

5 years from now, where do you see yourself and your business?

In 5 years from now i see myself as a portrait photographer specializing in woman and children portraiture in Chain O' Lakes area.

Would you rather stay up late or get up early to edit?

Stay up late to edit

Would you rather eat something sweet or salty? or both?

Sweet and salty

*****

If you haven't noticed...it's winter.  And it's cold.  Want more information on membership at Studio Share Photography?  Contact us.  For real.  We want to help provide you with a professional space and an encouraging community!