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Art & Life with Marie Lopez

Today we’d like to introduce you to Marie Lopez.

Marie, please kick things off for us by telling us about yourself and your journey so far.
I married my husband Tony in 2007 and we now have two beautiful children, Brandon and Alexandra (who we call Ally). I named my business after them! I have a Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Special Education and began my career as an Early Childhood Special Education Teacher and also a Regular Education Kindergarten Teacher in Evanston.

During my pregnancy with Brandon in 2011, we had an unexpected turn of events when I went into preterm labor at 25 weeks and landed myself in the hospital on bedrest for 7 weeks. After showing stability, I was allowed back home at 32 weeks to finish bedrest. Brandon came at 36 weeks and we were so grateful to bring home a healthy baby boy with no NICU stay. I absolutely loved spending time at home with Brandon and decided to quit my teaching job to be a stay at home mom.

In 2013 I found out I was pregnant with Ally and had the same pregnancy issues I had had with Brandon, only this time they were carefully monitored because we were expecting it to happen again. I had her at 37 weeks and we were so grateful to bring home another healthy baby with no NICU stay.

In the summer of 2015, our lives took another turn when we found out my {then} 17-month-old nephew Owen was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) (He is now 4 years old and kicking cancer’s butt!). We were so heartbroken over the news and wanted to help Tony’s sister and our brother-in-law any way we could.

My brother-in-law Brian said he would love it if I could take some family photos of them because he knew I had always loved photography and had a DSLR camera. We chose Pioneer Park in Naperville and the photos came out beautifully! Brian joked that I should start a photography business and that really sparked something in my creative mind…

My dad, who had a career in the printing field and therefore is very knowledgeable about photography, film, and cameras, taught me the technical aspects of the DSLR camera and the main principles of photography. I had also minored in Art in college and grew up in a very artistic family, so learning photography really was like second nature for me. I started building my photography portfolio in 2015 and launched the business in January of 2016. In the past 2.5 years I have mentored with some of the best photographers in the business and have honed in on my skills and really defined my brand.

I absolutely love photography and the way it helps us tell our stories. I’ve learned first-hand through multiple events that life can drastically change in an instant and we should cherish the precious moments we have. This job is truly a dream come true for me, a career that still allows me to work with babies, children, and families, and that also allows me to exercise my artistic abilities.

Can you give our readers some background on your art?
My photography business specializes in newborn, infant, child, and family photography. I would describe my style of photography as organic, with a documentary-like aspect. I want to help families tell a part of their life story. Rather than a traditional stand and smile at the camera type of session, my sessions are focused on families and children having fun together! Playing games, singing and dancing, and telling jokes are all part of the natural progression of my photo sessions, and yield photos that capture real emotion and family engagement. My newborn photo sessions are antique inspired, with lots of layered textures giving them a rustic feel. In addition, I only use neutral and muted colored props and accessories in my newborn sessions, giving them a timeless, organic look. Sessions are focused on the baby, capturing simple yet beautiful images that parents will treasure forever.

What would you recommend to an artist new to the city, or to art, in terms of meeting and connecting with other artists and creatives?
I truly believe in community over competition! I have been so lucky to have found a group of other local photographers that have truly become my friends! We talk daily, give each other business advice and support, and support each other with regular day to day things! We do not think of each other as competition and we genuinely are so supportive of each other in our business successes! For anyone looking to connect with other artists, I’d say join Facebook business meet up, accountability, and business groups, network with local businesses, join art fairs, or host an open house at your studio!

What’s the best way for someone to check out your work and provide support?
People can see my work on my website and my two main social media pages, Facebook and Instagram. Supporting small businesses by engaging in social media posts is so critical these days! Social media platforms are changing more and more every day and it’s become harder for small businesses to have their work shown on such platforms. Without true engagement (liking posts and commenting on them), small businesses have a difficult time being seen. I have also worked very hard on my website presence so that people are able to find my business through organic web searches. However, another way client can help support small businesses is to leave reviews on a business’s page, such as Facebook, google, or yelp!

My website is: www.allyandbphotography.com
My Facebook page is: https://www.facebook.com/allyandbphotography/
My Instagram page is: @allyandbphotography

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Head shot photo courtesy of Julianne Green Photography

Getting in touch: VoyageChicago is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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