Monika Labbé started a part-time photography business in 2002 when she worked full time in corporate America. But when the housing market crashed and companies started laying off, she suddenly found herself at a crossroad. Should she try to look for work as more and more companies downsizing or should she try to grow a business in the worst economy ever. She chose the latter.
The answer, although not an easy one, was born out of necessity. As the digital age progressed and people were putting profiles on sites like Linked in, there came an opportunity to provide a service. There were more networking events then ever and suddenly people needed photos for all kinds of things. Since 2007 Creative M Photography & Creative M Studios have met the needs of consumers and small businesses.
While Creative M Photography specializes in weddings, engagements, families and children, Creative M Studios handles the commercial side. Helping small businesses grow. The studio side handles everything from headshots, to products, to interiors and corporate events. It was easier to split the commercial side from the rest of the photography, as it was confusing for consumers. This way each side and website is brand specific and each caters to a different audience.
In addition to running two very different businesses, Monika is a mom to four adult children; the youngest is 19, then 21, 27 & 30. The oldest two are additions from her recent marriage to Matthew, who is the love of her life and her best source of support. Balancing work and family is a lot easier now that the kids are all grown but having set goals, planning things in advance and setting priorities early on, help things run smoothly.
“My goal from the beginning is to really listen to each client and meet their needs in a way that is both creative and engaging. Many times people are not sure what the process is and what it involves and I lead them through it step by step. My work varies weekly. I am often creating portrait sessions with families, those are very personal and I ask a lot of questions, not just about the family, but about the home environment and what they are looking for the end product to be. Sometimes it’s a canvas, sometimes a grouping of images for a wall. Often I go to the clients home and look at their walls, colors of their home, and lifestyle in general to determine the best location and time of day for their portraits. We talk about wardrobe and I get to meet the children long before we have a session together. In this way, I provide a complete 180-degree experience for my clients. Following up to make sure the products they purchase meet & exceed their expectations.
When working with small business owners the process is generally the same except we discuss, not just their product but what they would like to achieve with those products. More sales? Promotions? Showcasing different products during various times of the year, in different ways, and often taking headshots of the business owners in their own environment helps to ensure that everyone is on the same page. It helps that as a businessperson my approach to photography is from a business perspective. It’s not just the technical side, but the business side that sets me apart from my competitors.”
You can find Creative M Photography & Creative M Studios online & on Facebook. Use code MarketMommy for 10% off your session fee!