What do you offer to your clients and how is it different than other professionals in your field?
In April of this year, I expanded my studio and with the idea of "bringing the party to the photographer," I created iKandi Images Photo-shoot Parties. An iKandi Photo-shoot Party is a unique and fun way for girls to celebrate. Guests can invite up to 15 friends to the studio, and we will make the shoot fun and entertaining. We offer a basic party with in house props and many other theme options, as well as a number of fun add-on's to make each party as unique as your guest of honor. We even have an awesome Photo-booth kiosk with the capability to post to social media. These parties are not only incredibly fun but we promote positive self image and confidence in the girls. Everyone leaves the studio smiling ear to ear and giggling! It's an amazing way to capture memories for the girls, and moms never have to say they missed taking photos at a party!
What inspired you to come up with the idea for your business?
As a mother of 3, I wanted to provide a one-stop photography solution for families when I expanded from my home studio to my new storefront on Main Street in Chester, NJ. We offer standard sessions with many additional options to create the perfect affordable price point you are looking to invest at the current time. Not everyone wants a two-hour photo session and can afford to spend a $1000. I understand that sometimes we just want a cute updated photo for a gift for the grandparents, and at times we want something special like a custom newborn session. And with the iKandi Photo-shoot Parties, I wanted to serve a market that my own family taught me was undeserved.
What is your favorite part about your business?
After having my children and photographing them and others over the years, I have realized that my passion is to photograph families and the special events in their lives. As a mother, I want to hold onto these delicate moments forever. Children are pure, beautiful, unique and emotional. They are the perfect subject to me. They still have imagination, creativity and passion in raw form. This time in their life is so short, and yet so incredibly significant to what and who they will become. It is awesome to be able to capture on film and tell their story from the beginning. If taken with care and thought, photos have the ability to tell a story without words and move people to tears without a single sound.
What is your background in your business expertise?
I worked for 10 years in New York City, in mostly the IT field for financial institutions, which gave me a wonderful background for the actual running of a business, which is rare for an artist. My technology background has enabled me to bring a lot of cool techie tools into the studio. I have always been an artist, whether it is with a paint brush or a camera in my hand. I was lucky enough to be home with my kids in the early years and photographing them inspired me to take my passion to the next level, while my yearning to get back to using my brain for business drove me to take it a few steps further. I went back to school to study advanced Photoshop and lighting techniques, as well as attended numerous child photography workshops around the country.
Who is your role model? Why?
In the world of photography, my role models are Dorthea Lange and Annie Leibovitz. I admire Dorothea Lange not only for being a breakthrough female in her field during a time when photography was mostly done by men, but because of her ability to show through her work that a good photograph doesn't come from your eye, it comes from your brain and your heart. She is most famous for drawing beauty out of desolation in her series of photos during the Depression. Her work is extraordinary and now a piece of our history. Annie Leibovitz is most famous for her pop culture style portraits. If you name any famous artist or celebrity in the past century, she has photographed them. She has the ability to truly reveal her subjects, which is the key to being an incredible portrait photographer.
Personally, my role model is my mother for so many reasons. Mostly for her compassion, kindest and incredible strength.
What’s the best piece of advice your mom (or parent/ role model) ever gave to you?
My mother always taught us to be true to yourself, and never change who you are for anyone else. And I pass along the same encouragement to my girls, and the girls I am honored to host in my studio.
Do you have a favorite quote you live by? Why is this quote so important to you?
"Be kind, you never know what others are going through". I think that speaks for itself.
What are your favorite things to do in NJ with your family? (is there a season you love going there or special tip you can offer?)
I have to say my favorite part about living in NJ is the Fall. So cliché, I know, but I am a total pumpkin flavor lover and a huge fan of change. I am so ready for the cool mornings and sweaters and boots. Luckily, we live in the best town for all of the seasonal picking like pumpkins and apples. We always joke that this is our little town of Chester's tourist season.
What is the best part about being a mom for you?
Unconditional love. It's a magical and powerful thing. It heals all wounds.
What are your favorite businesses in NJ? (stores, activities, restaurants/ coffee shops, etc)
I am not a mall girl, so I love walking around all the quaint towns in NJ, as well has our beautiful hiking trails and farms.
Where do you reside/ vacation in New Jersey? (Feel free to include what you love about these locations)
I am a big ocean girl and I love to fish! We have our boat down in Brielle and whenever we can, we sneak down to go fishing and enjoy the shore.
Anything else you’d like to tell moms in NJ?
When I stayed home with my children, leaving the corporate world, I believed I was just making a career change for a little while. My children inspired me to take my passion and turn it into my career. They helped me find my purpose. Never stop believing in your dreams because your dreams inspire your children to dream. Another favorite quote of mine is, "Little girls with dreams become women with vision".