We’re excited to showcase Monika Labbe of Creative M Photography – located in Chicago, as our ShootProof User Featured Photographer! Thanks for sharing your journey with us!
How would you describe your style?
My style blends illustrative portrait artistry and photojournalism to create timeless images. I love telling the story as it unfolds, capturing beautiful details, candid moments, and the love between people.
How long have you been a photographer?
I received my first camera at age 10. My professional career started 15 years ago.
Tell us a little about yourself.
Growing up in Europe has allowed me to appreciate the little things and to stop and savor the moments. My creativity blossomed from allowing my mind to embrace all forms of artistic expression. I enjoy painting, drawing, sculpture and crafting. My degree in advertising/design and illustration has honed my skills for unique concepts, composition and color. On the other hand my psychology degree has allowed me to communicate more effectively with my clients and to always strive for an emotional connection during my sessions; not just between my subjects but also within my subjects. My husband is the love of my life and makes me laugh on a daily basis. He also acts as my second set of arms on photo shoots and at weddings. We have 4 adult children, and all but one live out of state. My daughter is expecting fraternal twins that we could not be more excited about. We share our home with a 4 year old, adorable, yellow Lab we rescued named Savannah.
When did you first fall in love with photography?
My father bought me my first camera at age 10. It was a little Kodak 110 and it started my love affair of taking pictures. I bought my first Minolta SLR camera in my 20’s and that’s when a shift happened from taking pictures to making pictures.
What’s your ‘can’t live without’ lens?
It’s an easy tie between the 85mm and the 70-200. Very different lenses, but both allow an amazing amount of light. I love the 85 for the softness and the 70-200 for the compression.
Where do you find inspiration?
Inspiration for the creative is literally anything and everything. Movies are a big part of my life. Watching old films or foreign films like Amelie really make me pay attention to light, contrast and color. I love hard light, and finding snippets of light at just the right time. Color can really light a photo up as well. One of my gifts is finding the right colors to complement the skin tone of my subject, I find it makes a huge difference in the final image.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Keep striving to be better and better. Never be satisfied with what you are doing, because that means you are not learning. There’s always so much to learn. I love the process of evolution and keep evolving every chance I get.
Where do you see your business in 5 years?
My business keeps growing and growing. It’s always a work in progress and shifts with the needs of my clients. It’s better to have a few amazing clients that you love, than a lot of clients that you don’t. I find that my best clients are those that value the collaboration and the process of creating art. When I find the right clients, it’s almost like magic and the relationship is not just based on a one-time event, it keeps growing.
How has ShootProof helped your business?
ShootProof allows me to choose the best products for my clients, unique products that may not be available anywhere else. By self-fulfilling my clients’ orders, I can see exactly which items my clients are purchasing and provide them with amazing products and service.