This week, I had the opportunity to interview Amy Lantz, of Dragonfly Studios, who is located in the Chicago area. She has beautiful and colorful child and family images to share with us.
Tell us a little something about yourself?
I married my husband, Andrew, right out of college and right into the Army. In 8 years, we have moved 7 times, had 4 kids (first a girl and then 3 boys in 4 years…I see extreme grocery bills and smelly sporting equipment in my future!), made it through my husband’s 2 crazy long deployments…and now we are finally in the civilian world in the northwest suburbs of Chicago.
How long have you been a photographer?
My business has been up and running for 3 years, but in college I worked for the local paper as a photojournalist and photographed sports for the Big Ten. I have a hard time watching a college football game from the stands now after being on the sidelines for a few years, but I love not having to dodge volleyballs or basketball players court-side any more!
Describe your area of expertise.
Every day life and big events that happen after the wedding…maternity, birth, newborns, kids and families.
How did you come to specialize in this area?
Like a lot of photographers I know, it was having my own family that brought me back to the camera. I realized after having Abbie that I loved photography and maybe I could adapt my experience to capture children instead of linebackers in tight pants.
Please share with us your absolute favorite photograph you’ve ever taken and tell us the story behind it, why it speaks to you, etc.
My absolute favorite is this silhouette of my husband and our (at the time) 3 kids on the beach at Marco Island. We took a trip down there during his R&R from Afghanistan, and spent 4 days reconnecting as a family. He had been gone for 7 months at the time. Charlie, our youngest, was 3 months old at the beginning of the deployment. The image shows my family exactly as it was that very moment on the beach (and is blown up quite large in my house as a metallic stand-out print!).
How would you describe your style?
I love to do things that showcase personality…I also love to laugh out loud when the images upload from the memory card! Some images are processed with a vintage style, some more grungy, but the majority of my processing is clean and bright. My main goal when having a session is to find the personality in the kids and find a way to incorporate the bigger than life expressions and adorable quirks into a portrait that fits the family as a whole. The session should be fun and the polar opposite of what I remember during my childhood (stuffed into uncomfortable clothes, plopped on a posing stool — resulting in the clenched-teeth smiles!). My tagline is “fun. fresh. you.”, so I guess that sums it up pretty well.
What gear is in your bag?
Canon 5DM2, Canon 40D, spare batteries, 85mm 1.8 and a 24-70L 2.8
Are you considering any new gear purchases this year?
I would love to get a wide angle prime and a fisheye…I love playing with the distortion! Also drooling over the 100mm macro.
What makes your job easy?
I love what I do. I love every part of it (well, maybe not every part… kind of hate the accounting part!). No two jobs are the same. I set my hours based on what works best for my family, and I get to snuggle newborns, run around with toddlers, tell silly jokes and play at each session The images from the sessions are freezing the families exactly as they are at that moment in time, and preserving the memory for years to come. What’s not to love?
Do you prefer to work in the studio, on-location, or both and why?
I prefer to be on location. A location can say so much about the personality of the client and makes each session unique.
What sets you and your work apart from other photographers in your area?
I haven’t scoped out the photographers in my area since we just moved. I have a connection with my clients, and it shows in my session galleries. My sessions tend to be semi-traditional with a “lifestyle edge”, especially for family sessions, so I can capture the interactions and expressions. I shoot more for personality than the rule of thirds.
What is your image processing style and the software you use?
I use photoshop CS3 and LR2. I process with the mood of the image in front of me.
Please tell us about your long-term goals.
Long term, I would love to support my family with what I love to do (and hire my hubby to work for me!). Dreaming big, I would love a huge loft space with exposed brick, gorgeous floors, and floor to ceiling south facing windows so I can photograph indoors during what I anticipate to be crazy long winters here in Chicago. In reality, I just want to keep doing what I love, help with the family finances where I can, and enjoy my kids while they’re little.
Best advice for new photographers breaking into the business?
Never think you know all there is to know–photography is an organic, evolving art form. There is always something else to learn.
If you were not a photographer, then…
I would be a child psychologist. I have my bachelor’s degree in psych (associates degrees in photography, English, sociology and french) and would be using it in a clinical setting with kids. I always intended to work with kids.
Thanks so much for taking the time to share with our viewers. It was a pleasure getting to know more about you!
You can find more of Amy’s work at:
Dragonfly Studios Website: http://www.dragonflystudiosphotography.com/
Thanks so much, Amy, for taking time to chat with me and share your work with our viewers. It’s been a pleasure!