Two Chestermere photographers are giving families an opportunity to capture lifelong memories by opening a local photography studio.
Pursuing photography was extremely important for Photography Studio Co-owner Lisa Rego, as she enjoys capturing moments in time that families can look back on.
“A photo can bring back so many memories that get lost in daily life. They are what we will have left to look back on of loved ones and what we can pass on to generations to come,” Rego said.
Rego purchased her first camera with the intention of travel photography roughly nine years ago. However, after purchasing the camera, she quickly fell in love with the art.
“That turned into doing random photos for friends and family. That made me realize I wanted to do it as a career,” Rego said.
In 2014, Rego turned her hobby into a part-time business and created Elle R Photography.
“In 2018, a year after having my daughter, I quit my full-time job and went full-time with photography, and I haven’t looked back since,” Rego said.
While photography began to interest Photography Studio Co-Owner Nicole Mamdani in high school, her interest continued to grow after she received a camera as a graduation gift.
“I started taking photos of friends and family. It slowly started branching out into referrals and paid sessions from there,” Mamdani said.
She added,” I decided to take the photography program at the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT) after high school to further my knowledge.”
Rego and Mamdani both found their passion for maternity and newborn photography after having children.
“I was so in love with photographing him and capturing his tiny details and little milestones. I decided then that I wanted to specialize in newborn photography,” Mamdani said.
“I have always loved babies and the beauty of pregnancy. It is such a miracle what a woman’s body can do and then the precious new life it brings,” Rego said.
“Being a mother myself, I know all too well how fast this time flies by. One day you have a newborn, and then you blink, and your baby is two years old. I feel it is so important to capture them when they are so tiny and still curl up as they did in your belly because they are only that little for so long,” she said.
A typical day for Rego when she has a photoshoot includes preparing the night before, pulling out all of the props she wants to use, and getting the studio set up.
In the morning, once the baby arrives, Rego begins the photo session right away. The photoshoot can last between two to four hours, depending on the session type and how the baby is doing.
After Rego completes the session, she cleans up the studio, and has a snack while uploading and editing the sneak peeks for the clients.
Although Rego is passionate about capturing moments in time, learning a work-life balance has been a challenge.
“There has been a lot of 3 a.m. editing nights. When you work from home, and your work is always staring at you, it can be hard to shut it off,” Rego said.
“I have to remind myself to walk away and that it is OK to take nights and weekends off just like everyone else does,” she said.
Despite the challenges Rego has had to overcome, opening a photography studio has been a dream come true.
“I have been eying the space for about two years now and wanted so badly for it to become my studio but could never have afforded the overhead on my own,” Rego said.
“Nicole and I became friends over the last little bit, and we started talking about the space. Time-wise it worked out perfectly for both of us. We went to see the space together and signed the lease not long after,” she said.
After opening the photography studio, both photographers plan to keep their personal businesses, Elle R Photography and Face 2 Face Photography and their own clients. However, they will refer each other to clients when one is unavailable and assist each other when needed.
By opening the studio, Rego is hopeful that she will continue to grow her business while meeting residents in the community.
“I am hoping this helps grow my business more, so I have the opportunity to meet and photograph many more clients while giving them a warm, and welcoming space for their sessions,” Rego said.