We had the good fortune of connecting with Shanna Dugan and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Shanna, do you disagree with some advice that is more or less universally accepted?
Narrowing down my target market for my portraits. My target market is women, of all ages, lifestyles, and income brackets. My portraiture is intended to uplift women (and female identifying/presenting humans) and help them feel both seen and loved exactly how they are.

Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
I am incredibly proud of the brand I’ve built and the niche genres my business has reached. Being a dedicated film photographer is not always easy. There is a growing community of film photographers at all levels and it’s exciting to be a part of the movement of returning to analog. I recently built a new darkroom and have opened it up to be a community darkroom for my local film enthusiasts and students to utilize as well.

I am in my 1oth year of business, and I wouldn’t be here without dedication, the support of my community, and some wild ideas! It definitely was not easy, nor should it have been! I’ve had a number of hurdles along the way – major life changes, chronic health issues and a lot of fear. Recognizing the importance of the work and embracing my creativity and ability to connect with people have been what gets me through all of those. When we provide good service, we make a positive impact on the world. That’s pretty inspiring to me.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
My neck of the woods has so much to offer! My studio and darkroom are located in a historic building with several other small businesses. We would start with breakfast at Lock 16 Cafe or Fourth Street Bakery (please don’t make me pick just one – I love them both equally!). We’d go explore the trails and waterfalls of Starved Rock and Matthiessen. Hiking with a camera in hand is an excellent way to spend the morning – and the mornings on the trails are so peaceful. We’d return to Peru for lunch at Thyme across the street from my building, for lovely farm-to-table fare. We would then go for float in the weightless tanks at Unwind Spa (and probably spend some time in the salt room as well), then view the current exhibit at NCI Artworks gallery. Dinner and drinks at Fire on Fifth and Star Union Spirits – and if they have live music that night, we’d just finish our day right in the building!

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
There are so many wonderful people in my life who have helped me get where I am today. My two kids are wonderfully supportive and I hope I’ve shown them that it’s ok to take your own winding path through life. Pamela Beckett with the Starved Rock Country Community Foundation and Amy Lambert with the Small Business Development Center have both been inspiring and supportive in more ways than I can put onto paper. Amanda Weygand with Open Space Gallery has helped me embrace and combine some of my artistic endeavors. And a special shout out to all of my former mom’s group friends – they were amongst the first to encourage me to take my “picture taking at the park” beyond a hobby and turn it into a business.

Website: www.shannadugan.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/shanna_dugan/?hl=en

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/shanna-dugan-8a6aa1175/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/shannaduganphotography

Other: https://www.tiktok.com/@shannadugan?

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