Welcome to Locally Grown! Locally Grown introduces you to the people and stories behind local Lake County businesses. Have you met this month’s featured business owner, Svetlana Kleandrova, yet? Svetlana is the owner of Dot Dot Dot Photography, which serves Lake County and the entire Chicagoland region.
Svetlana Kleandrova feels most at home when she is behind the lens of a camera. Her passion for photography started as a serious hobby almost a decade ago when she was living in the Netherlands and working as a corporate lawyer. After she met her husband (who hails from Lake County) and started a family, they decided to relocate States three years ago.
“I already had left my job and if there was ever the perfect time to try and pursue my dream it was now,” Svetlana says. She started formal training at the Chicago Photography Academy and the rest is history.
Dot Dot Dot Photography is a true labor of love for Svetlana. She named the business after one of her favorite patterns: polka dots.
“I am absolutely crazy about stripes and polka dots, in any form or shape,” Svetlana says. “Possibly more than half of my wardrobe has either one or another. I wanted the name of the company to be playful and fun for my main target audience – families and children – but also serious enough for events and commercial projects.”
Svetlana’s calm and playful disposition makes her a joy to work with. At a recent photo shoot at a Little Lake County event, Svetlana made everyone feel relaxed and at ease as she shot a series of candid shots of kids playing at the new Kids Castle playground in Vernon Hills (see sample images from her photo shoot here). She encouraged the kids to laugh and have fun, and she was great at building a trusting relationship with my own kids, asking them questions about their favorite activities or encouraging them help her to find pictures of critters that were hiding in various nooks and crannies throughout the playground.
“Photography is all about the relationship,” Svetlana says. “The best picture conveys true emotions. To be able to experience such real emotions people in front of the camera need to trust their photographer and feel at ease while he or she is capturing moments of their life.”
Svetlana loves that working as a professional photographer gives her the opportunity to work with people – especially families and children – to capture some of the happiest moments in their lives. “There is absolutely nothing more energizing and rewarding for me than seeing people enjoying each other’s company during the session, revealing their relationships and bonds in the best and happiest ways and putting mutual effort into making each other enjoy each moment of it,” Svetlana says. “Plus I love children; I genuinely am having fun while putting myself in their shoes, trying to speak their language and finding the ways to make them laugh a real happy laugh.”
Svetlana loves working outdoors to take advantage of the natural beauty of Lake County. “There are so many beautiful lakes and the nature generally is very rich in colors,” Svetlana says. “Plus the fact that all four seasons are so distinct and picturesque is a huge benefit for a family photographer. The white winters are beautiful. The spring blossoms provide for one of the most gorgeous nature backdrops I know. The sunsets in summertime are to die for. And the fall scene is spectacular – there are not too many places on this planet where you get the range of fall colors like here. I can see why fall is one of the most popular seasons for the families to take their annual pictures!”
To help ensure a comfortable, relaxed photography session, Svetlana learns as much about the family that is coming to the session beforehand, so she can capture the essence of their personalities and help ensure a comfortable, stress-free session.
“Getting the whole family ready for a session can be quite stressful,” Svetlana says. “I have been on both sides of the camera and boy, it is so much harder to be a mom than a photographer on a session day! The best thing you can do to make your family’s session successful is to let all – yes, absolutely all! – concerns go the second you are leaving the door of your home. Head into the session and live in a happy moment of being together with your beautiful family. The degree to which you will love your pictures will be directly proportional to the degree of your happiness on that day. And I, as a professional photographer, will take care of everything else.”
Creativity drives Svetlana’s business and is at the heart of every photo she takes. “What absolutely makes my day is when I am able connect with my clients on both personal and creative levels to an extent that we inspire each other for a result far better than each of us anticipated originally,” Svetlana says. “Of course, I always have some ideas for the photo shoot – I am a creative person and became a professional photographer for a reason – but when a family is ready to share some beautiful traditions and deeper values or our creative minds start thinking alike, that’s when we take a session to the whole new level of creativity and the experience becomes truly unforgettable.”
Svetlana loves how photography can bring family members together to capture their true love of one another and the joy they feel when they are together. As a photographer, her goal is to build lasting relationships with her clients and connect with them creatively and artistically.
“With each session our relationship builds up and that allows me, as a professional, to speak not only to your expectations during an individual session, but to your values and life approach in general,” Svetlana says. “And believe me, if that happens, you will be able to see it in the picture. Find a photographer you trust as a professional, like as a person and connect to on a creative level. And I promise you will have the best time doing your family pictures!”
Dot Dot Dot Photography is offering an exclusive discount for Little Lake County Readers! Mention the Locally Grown feature when booking your appointment for 20% off your 2016 photography session.
Disclosure: Dot Dot Dot Photography is our featured Locally Grown Business of the Month. This series of features is part of a paid partnership with Little Lake County. Contact littlelakecounty[at]gmail[dot]com if you are interested in featuring your own locally-owned business in our monthly series.