Shawntell Marak - Studio Share Photography Member Highlight

Each month I like to give a shout out to one of our current Studio Share Photography members.   Meet Shawntell Marak of Shawntell Marie Photography.  She has been in business since 2011 and a member of the studio share since July of 2015.

I like having Shawntell around because she can always make you laugh and she tells it like it is.   I appreciate her honesty about the ups and downs of owning a photography business.  She may not even see it, but it’s really cool to see her work improve over the last few years!

Grab a cup of coffee and read through some of the answers she gave me to these questions.  Maybe you can relate.  

Which side are you on:  Nikon or Canon?  And what is your favorite lens? 

Nikon, 24-70mm(canon users insert eye roll *here*)

Does 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 was born and raised in early in life in WA state.  My later years were spent in the SW suburbs until late around 1999 when I ventured up to Lake County.

Tell us a little bit about your family...

Married 11 years and 1 little boy named Aiden who is 9.  (hate to break it to you, Shawntell, but he ain’t so little anymore!  :D)

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

It was by sheer luck I came into photography.   I had has a child recently and went through some post-partums where I was questioning everything about myself.  I wasn't who I used to be, but yet, I didn't feel quite like I knew what I wanted to be now.  I took a photography class and fell in love immediately.  After that, it became an addiction.

What type of photography do you specialize in? 

I'd like to be known for boudoir, but I also shoot portraits.

What is the hardest thing about being a photographer?


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

The fear on business never goes away. I'm always questioning if I'm doing the right thing.  The best way to work through it is to talk with fellow photographers.  Realize you aren't alone and be willing to hear new ideas.

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

It's not easy and requires a lot of work to make it.   Find who you are and stick to it.  Find YOUR style and clients will come to you for it.  Don't under price yourself! 

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

I wanted a controlled working environment and a place to receive clients in a more professional matter.  I also wanted to be part of a group that supports each other and learns together.

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

Having the studios has allowed me to know what I'm walking into for lighting and space requirements.  Because of this, I know what my objectives and results will be when the shoot is complete.   When shooting at unknown locations, I have no idea what I am dealing with as far as lighting and scenery until I get there typically , therefore it's hard to guarantee my results will be what my client was wanting and what I promised.

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

I hope to be specialized in boudoir exclusively. 

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

Get up early to edit

Would you rather eat something sweet, salty or both?


I’m continually amazed at the tenacity and persistence it takes to run a successful photography business.  It is not for the faint of heart.  I think that’s one reason I have such a passion for bringing photographers together - to encourage them and, like Shawntell said, ‘to be part of a group that supports each other’.  We need it!  In photography and in life in general!  

If you want to learn more about becoming a Studio Share Photography member or about our Barrington or Libertyville locations, contact us.  We’d love to hear from you.  

Keep pressing on, Shawntell, and all you other photogs out there.  Keep dreaming big, gathering good business practices and refining your skill.  You can do this!