Close your eyes for a moment. Imagine you’re in a tiny living room of an apartment in Brooklyn, having made the long and arduous trip from Manhattan. The smells of the kitchens above, below and all around you are congregating in the small room. Furniture has been pushed aside, a sheet of fabric draped against the wall and a small Russian woman is behind a lens.
With every click, she transcends the modest, make-shift studio, creating a work of art that makes you feel nothing short of exquisite.
“The energy there was so good,” Lola Melani reminisces on her humble beginnings. “I must have done 300 photoshoots in that living room- even high profile people. I had to Google them after they left!”
Now, as one of New York’s premier maternity and newborn photographers, that Brooklyn apartment feels so far away.
Lola Melani is sought-after by the elite, the famous, and the beautiful mamas of the world for her flawless ability to capture the magic of womanhood. Her eye for soft lighting, dramatic lines, and feminine poses is incomparable.
With her team of makeup and hair artists, assistants, accountants and publicists, Melani has created the success of an entrepreneur’s dreams. But her success didn’t come with the snap of her fingers (or click of her camera). It’s the story of a spark of passion that almost went out before she fanned the flames and let it burn brightly.
Reaching burn out
From that “studio” apartment, Melani put herself to work quickly compiling a portfolio. By giving herself an assignment each week, she could experiment often. Before long, she had mastered her craft and her clients were so happy they couldn’t refer her fast enough.
About two years into building her business, she opened a small studio in Manhattan. Then, the magic suddenly stopped.
“I burned out because I was all by myself. I was completely overworked.”
A one-woman show, Melani was feeling the pressures of booking clients, producing awe-inspiring photography and juggling all the daily administrative work. She says it drove her to stop enjoying her passions. Being a perfectionist, she struggled to relinquish control of her business. But, she says she had to be honest with herself.