Our next studio spotlight is Shayla Loring Photography from delightful Dwight, a rural village in Illinois about 80 miles southwest of Chicago. Owner and sole-employee, Shayla started building her client base in 2008 and went full-time and opened her studio doors in 2012. She specializes in high school seniors, weddings, and lifestyle photography. All her images scream “fun and bright” – matching her energetic personality! She knows the importance of marketing and attracting customers that fit her shooting style. She recently gave her website a makeover to compliment her brand. Shayla enjoys guest speaking in photography classes at local high schools and assisting teens who want to learn more about photography. When she is not in the studio, she enjoys hanging out with Tails (her cat), traveling (in particular to the ocean), Crossfit, and indulging in Starbucks coffee. Shayla also has a deep appreciation for family heirlooms, which helps drive her work as a photographer. She takes great care to capture images that will last a lifetime and be passed down to for generations to come. Shayla is also passionate about album sales. She includes a custom photo album in each of her collections because she knows how important this will be to her customers.
Shayla says it best on the “My Why” portion of her website:
“If these photographs are an heirloom. They’re a piece of you that will live on as you change, as life rushes onward, as you walk through life finishing one stage and starting another . Life holds thousands of moments worth remembering, worth sharing. It moves quickly by, and to preserve those memories through the generations, we carry photographs: indelible reminders of who we were in those moments.”
Shayla, why are album and prints sales so important to your business?
There are a lot of clients out there that don’t hang photographs around their home… so an album is perfect for them. And for the ones that do display photos on their walls, albums are great interaction pieces. I don’t photograph a wedding and not provide an album, otherwise I don’t feel as if I completed my job. Albums are made to tell stories, which can’t be done by letting your photos sit on an USB. I also provide albums to my High School Senior clients as well as family sessions.
When I started out I felt as though I couldn’t charge a lot… I still would offer products or layflat books… I attended a photography workshop in Italy with Bob & Dawn Davis and it’s like the light bulb went off. Within 6 months of that workshop, I moved “back home”, opened my studio and changed my pricing structure. I value my personal family albums and photographs so much and couldn’t stand handing over digital items. It’s like you went to a restaurant, you ordered then were served an uncooked meal to cook yourself at home. I felt I was doing a disservice to my clients, now I offer custom photo albums with every collection and so many clients thank me for that. After all, your wedding is the start of your family legacy, and who wouldn’t want to view that album with their grand kids in 50 years. Same goes for my high school seniors, those 18 year olds can look back on that album for the rest of their lives and be put back into those same teenage eyes.
How did you and your camera first meet?
Although I’ve always enjoyed taking photos, I really got into photography in High School. I took a photography class, learning on film and spent many hours in the darkroom. I feel in love with the darkroom and watching my photographs develop right in front of my eyes. I knew about Sophomore year that I wanted to be a photographer. So I went off to college at Columbia College in Chicago and got my Bachelor of Arts in Photography. I’ve been working in the photography industry ever since!
What do you love about shooting in your area?
I don’t think I’d ever get tired of shooting in open grassy fields. I’m in a small town – surrounded by cornfields, so that type of vibe isn’t hard to come by. I’m not far from Chicago so it’s nice to take a trip there for the urban feels too!
What is your favorite website/book for photo inspiration?
I love looking through Vanity Fair and Vogue, but often times inspiration from my photography peers is all I need!
What was your first camera? What do you shoot with now?
It was the Nikon N55, received as a Christmas present one year in High School. Although I went through what seems like hundreds of disposable cameras and other non-pro ones. Now I’m shooting all Canon, 5d Mark III.
If you could go back and time and shoot one event in history, what would it be?
WOW this is a hard one. While I think of the hundreds of “famous” events I think it be incredible to photography my grandparents wedding. To see them that young and in love would be nothing short of amazing. And not to mention see all the family and friends around them!