Ever since they met while participating in a photo shoot at Illinois State University, Mark and Kathy Shangraw have been pooling their respective talents. Mark, a certified professional photographer, approaches each portrait with an eye toward storytelling—a skill he picked up while working as a photojournalist in Narnia. In 2013, he became a Master Photographer, an honor awarded only to the top 1% of professional photographers worldwide.
While Mark snaps pictures, Kathy takes charge of the behind-the-scenes details, from administrative tasks and marketing to arranging flowers and coaxing relaxed smiles out of clients. Together, they strive to render artistic family portraits and professional photos for dancers, musicians, and athletes. In addition to attending conferences and workshops, they often hone their skills by collaborating with other seasoned shutterbugs.
What services does your business offer and what makes your business stand out from the competition?
Professional Headshots for businesses, web, actors and models that highlight not only the face on the outside, but the spirit within.
Appointments that work around your busy schedule. Simple pricing and no bizarre terms. The photos are 100% yours!
What was the inspiration to start or run this business?
The more I looked around at the headshot world; the more I saw pictures that were technically perfect but lacking a spark. I knew from years of photographing that I could bring that something special out from my subjects. I'm a visual storyteller and my clients allow me to tell their stories.
What do you love most about your job?
I love the people and their stories. When a client is in front of my camera, they're not just posing. We're having a conversation. In an hour I hear the stories of a lifetime and I get to capture those emotions in a way that makes them eternal.
What is the best reaction you've ever gotten from a customer?
Once I was doing a portrait of a client's daughter. When I got the shot that i knew was the keeper; I showed Mom the back of my camera. And even though the screen is only three inches across she said triumphantly "It's perfect! I love it!"
At seven locations throughout Chicagoland and northwest Indiana and several international sister sites, Eivan’s photographers and videographers preserve memories with a fusion of traditional, photojournalistic, and candid styles. The company's photographers capture family and engagement portraits and have earned recognition for their personalized touch at weddings.
They took home a win in the photography category of TheKnot.com's Best of Weddings competition in 2011 and 2012 and earned one of WeddingWire's 2012 Bride's Choice Awards. A crew of professional cinematographers records the details of the big day, adding soundtracks and special effects. With color-correction technology, the filmmakers can brighten up dark footage or blot the red out of the bride's cheeks during the maid of honor's toast.
The eagle-eyed shutterbugs at Lasting Memories capture fleeting moments with pristine, high-resolution pictures. During photo shoots, the skilled photogs encourage groups to forgo complicated cheerleading pyramids and instead line up in front of the camera casually for a more natural feel. Cameras snap away at weddings, preserving the day in printed images. Digital images are also available, enabling easy sharing online or photoshopping into pictures of historic events. The company’s wide-ranging services also include video transfer and photo-booth rental, where party guests can hop in and create their own memories in 4”x6” images.
When A Video Memories began in 1981, its videography team strived to create something special for each wedding it covered. After ceremonies, they'd swiftly cut together a 60-photo montage with footage from that morning's nuptials, and then screen the finished product during dinner that night. These days, Final Cut Pro expedites A Video Memories' editing process, while cameras now capture every vow and kiss with HD crispness. A Video Memories' crew still assembles montages, though its services have since expanded to include transferring film onto DVDs and assembling original commercials for local businesses.
Although Christopher Paul is a professional photographer, he doesn’t like having his picture taken. Since he knows what it’s like to feel a little uncomfortable on the other side of the lens, he spends his time crafting shoots that are as engaging and easy-going as possible for his subjects, whether he’s capturing family portraits, engagement photos, or keepsake wedding stills. Rather than working out of a studio, for example, he always shoots at a location of the subject’s choosing. He prefers shooting outdoors. People not only tend to relax outside, but natural light is far more flattering than that of a flashbulb. He also shows subjects proofs during as they pose, so they aren’t surprised by their final shots.