An interview with Lauren D’Alessandro of Collins Print
ByLauren D’Alessandro, September 19, 2019
The studio is gorgeous, and the portraits that come out of it are even more stunning. Lara Aman Mattey is the owner of Ivory Tree Portraits, a photography studio in Wayne, PA that specializes in family and newborn sessions.
Lara works with a team of three other female photographers, each an artist in her own right. They work hard to capture beautiful images that preserve precious memories for their clients, many of whom they have photographed for years.
LAUREN: Describe a typical photography session in your studio.
LARA: We have newborn sessions and family sessions, and we are known for both. I think that one of the things that really makes us unique is that we are full-service. We talk with you in advance, and we help you prepare what you’re going to wear and sit with you afterward to review your images. We create pieces ready to hang on your wall. We know life is busy, so it’s important to us that we make your annual portrait session easy.
We work with [a lot of] babies, toddlers, and kids. You could be an amazing photographer who is not able to shoot kids, because you need to connect with kids on a different level. Connecting with kids is an important part of what we do here.
We are in this beautiful studio, and when you walk in, we [give you] treats – coffee for the adults – and everybody relaxes. We spend the time making sure that you and your family are comfortable and natural so that when we capture the images, it’s the real you. We work hard to capture someone’s personality and true essence.
L: What is it like to work with a team of other women?
L: What’s amazing about this team is that it’s uber-collaborative. We are all artists. Everybody that’s on this team takes an enormous amount of pride in the work that they do; it’s their gift that they are sharing with the world. I think what makes us so strong is that collaboration. We all [bounce] ideas off of each other. Everybody is truly engaged in creating the most amazing product and experience we can offer.
L: Tell me about the clients that you photograph.
L: I think that a very important thing is that we grow with our families. We know their kids, we know what they like, and their kids know us. We watch them grow, and we get to capture every single one of those moments. We just had a session earlier this week – dads whose adoption was finalized. They came into us the day their adoption was finalized to capture that momentous [occasion]. We have this tremendous responsibility and honor to be included in these special moments.
One of the things we work hard on as a studio is helping to support a culture of inclusion. We do events with Mainline Fertility, Help Us Adopt, Gays With Kids – we are really out there promoting the fact that every family is unique. It’s important that families see other families that look like them.
L: What was the biggest challenge you encountered and how did you overcome it?
L: More and more folks are becoming photographers. I believe that people know good photography and people know amazing photography, but they can’t really put their finger on what makes it different. It’s not just about delivering one amazing image that you can put on a website; it’s about delivering a portfolio of amazing images every time that truly capture someone’s personality. We’ve overcome this change in the market by being fiercely committed to who we are – a team of amazing artists that work with families year after year, capturing their growth through portraits full of personality.
L: What is your favorite aspect of running a photography studio?
L: Obviously, it’s working with amazingly talented artists! We have fun, and it totally shows. I also love meeting our clients. I’ve owned the studio for 3 years and have gotten to watch our smallest clients grow into little people. I’m totally sentimental – every piece of artwork in my home has a personal meaning or connection. Being able to give that to other families is incredibly powerful.