“Stand out be yourself, do what you LOVE!”

Ever since her uncle handed her a camera at the age of 12, Karlie Lanni has been passionate about photography. After high school she went on to hone her passion and craft at RIT, earning a BFA in photography.

Located in Rochester’s Neighborhood of the Arts, a vibrant neighborhood alive and full of artists and local businesses, Lush Light Photography has been capturing unique portraits and compelling images since 2005. The modern portrait and commercial photography studio specializes in beautiful portraits with a creative twist.

What exactly is the Karlie Lanni creative twist?  Karlie shared her photographic style comes from her heart and soul. It is all about intuition and connection. Her ideas are pretty wild, colorful and vibrant. When she was younger she originally wanted to paint or draw, she was impatient and needed to get her ideas out. She discovered that the camera was the perfect tool to do that.

This dynamic firehouse of an artist described growing up as the weird middle child of 4 to entrepreneurs who did not want to fit into any certain mold. They wanted to make that mold, break it and try it again, fail succeed, try again and again. With that type of lifestyle the family moved frequently, with a different school every few years.  Karlie didn’t mind all the changes. She decided at a very young age she too was built that way, to follow her own path and do her own thing.

Rochester Woman Online was curious to know when Karlie first realized that creating was something she absolutely had to do?

The first time my mom put on records, listening to Blondie, David Bowie, it was like yep those are my people.  I asked my mom if I could bleach my hair white blonde like her and Blondie when I was 6. She knew it was over then—blue hair at 16, back to blonde, red, purple, white and red.  Then I discovered pin up models; Bettie Paige, Josephine Baker, Lily St. Claire—Hollywood Glamour, but the sexier, more bold side. That was confirmation that she could be weird, different, unique, a lovable outcast. It transformed her from a shy girl into a forever work in progress confident strong woman.

Who or what are your biggest inspirations for your career and life?

My family, especially my husband, we met in Seattle, and sold everything in 2001 to move back to be with family and build a life. Moving back was a humbling experience, RIT degree and I was working as a barista.  Don’t get me wrong I loved it and met amazing people and believed I needed that kick in the ass of reality on how hard it is to make a living doing what you love, it does NOT just happen. My husband has been my biggest supporter, he knew it was killing me not to create, he encouraged me to get  back into the swing of things. We do everything together, write music, performed in our band together (tranquilatwist).  He is my right hand man always there to help me get to that next level, whether it’s  at my studio hanging prints, helping build sets, or helping me with the business side of things.  Next up my creative “tribe” of friends and co workers.  I met Elizabeth Mason of House Twelve Media 4 years ago. Our collaborations and friendship has been a real game changer. We just clicked creatively, pushed boundaries , ideas, challenged one another, I really thank her for a lot of what I have accomplished. Oh I am not done, this is really the most important thing to me, those who lift you up help you, want you to succeed….the backbone of my business.  I really owe to the talented team of hair and makeup artists I work with. I met make up artist Elizabeth Rhodes when we were both at a crossroad in our career. She was a social worker, that risked it all to do makeup artistry. I am so thankful for her friendship and what we have accomplished together, pushing one another to do what we are meant to do. Other amazing artists include, April Sunshine she just beams sunshine and makes my customers happy and beautiful. Make up artist  Jess Kohlmeier her skills are phenomenal not to mention a stunning beauty in and out. Hair stylists Carly Kostiw and Jen Marks, the things they can do are just amazing!  Lastly and without them I would not be able to do this, MY CLIENTS, they come to me and trust that I will bring to life the vision they have in mind, or they come to me baring it all (literally ha ha boudoir) I get to know them, that is a gift that I do and will not ever take for granted and hold a high responsibility and take very seriously delivering the most meaningful images I can.

What does Karlie Lanni want viewers to take away from her work?  I really want to be like “damn, I want to do ashoot like that.  I like to uplift people, make them see in them, beauty in and out.

What’s integral to the work of a photographer? Be true to yourself, absolutely by no means try to be someone else, that is when you will get lost in the crowd, and that sea is big. Hold tight to your passion, drive and unique talents and vision.  There is no one like you, remember that.

The best advice she received in college her last quarter at RIT. One of her professors told her that she would never make it and she was pigeon holding herself with her work. She received her BFA in Advertising Photography at the time, and the professor was adamant that Karlie’s work would not fit in the real working world.  She refused to change her style.  Today she is happy that she stuck to it and was true to herself. “Stand out be yourself, do what you LOVE!”.