From within a home-based studio in Hyde Park, the experienced shutterbugs at Forty Dollar Photography capture stylish, unique images of clients. Their services range from professional headshots to family or pet portraits, all of which can be speedily processed through their in-house print studio. The photographers also travel to clients’ location of choice to shoot weddings, engagements, and other special occasions.
Professional photographer LaDonna Raeh Robinson aims her camera at anything that can attractively flatten into a photo—and has done so since she was 8 years old. After a diversion led Robinson into the field of computer science, she rediscovered her natural talent for capturing unique and memorable images by taking photos for her company, which snowballed into bigger projects and eventually her own business. Today Robinson poses her subjects in the studio for professional portraits, wedding photos, or kids' shoots.
Jake Miller, the photographer behind Photo by Jake, documents subjects that range from fashion shoots to Vegas trade shows to weddings from behind his lens. He draws from an advanced knowledge of studio lighting to capture flattering shots in his studio, and also works with natural light during on-location shoots. As a student of the fine arts at City College in Chicago, Miller imbues his work with a creative touch.
Though Donzell Gordon's darkroom is stocked with all the traditional photo-retouching tools, he'd rather not use them. In his 15 years as a professional photographer, he has always worked to capture naturally flattering pictures directly from his camera, instead of relying on editing tools to clean up an image. This means he must remain flexible during shoots, alternating between studio and natural lighting when appropriate. Though he finds this technique yields more realistic impressions of his subject, he will also enhance photos when necessary to lighten dark corners or eliminate photo-bombing Pac-Man ghosts.
Val Westover and Stephanie Adriana, both authors and photographers, draw from diverse artistic backgrounds. Val once trained hundreds of photographers as the manager of a nationwide portrait studio, and Stephanie has seen her work featured in an array of photography and fashion magazines. Applying fine-tuned artistic styles, they snap candid photojournalistic compositions and posed portraits of new couples, newborns, mothers-to-be, families, and secret families.
They also pass on their skills through step-by-step workshops, during which they use a blend of professional tips and practice exercises to teach the basics of ISO, shutter, and aperture alongside applied artistic principles. They then give protégés free rein to practice what they’ve learned in hands-on, on-location photo safaris, during which students capture shots of wildlife and people.
Chicago-native Victor Powell was on the path to becoming an electronics engineer when his life changed course. John Tweedle, one of the first African American photographers to work for the Chicago Daily News, became Powell's mentor, allowing Powell to learn at the feet of a man who once photographed Martin Luther King Jr. Years later, Powell has lived up to Tweedle's legacy. His impressive portfolio includes the likes of Barack and Michelle Obama, the CBS News team, and many of Chicago's high-powered male and female executives—in addition to his more personal and intimate family portraits.