Emily Lucarz blog

time to settle in

The family business | Let’s do this



“Because when you are imagining, you might as well imagine something worth while.”
― L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

You know, I always said to not allow yourself to be driven by the demand of others.  But, when the demand is so great, so great by amazing “other” people than yourself, sometimes you have to cave.  So let’s rephrase. When the demand is high, why settle for being good, when you can be great. And why be great without your family by your side. Why have a business that makes you so beyond happy just to keep it to yourself. Why not make it a family business.

That is exactly what is about to happen. Never would I have dreamed of this happening. It all started in 2009…

Tyler was born. Kenny and I loved him so much and all we wanted to do was capture each second with him. My dad bought me a camera, the Nikon D5000 kit from Costco, for Christmas of 2009.  Tyler was just 3 months old.  Once I picked that thing up, I never put it back down.  I spent hours and hours teaching myself how to use it. I took an intro camera moms class by my now dear friend Amy Triple in Chicago. At the time I was a speech pathologist. I adored children. I worked with very sick children specializing in feeding therapy, breathing, trach and vent work, etc. In the NICU, post NICU and later. I became SO close with my families. There were a handful I had a very very hard time leaving. If they are reading this today, they all know the struggle I had leaving that career as well as the children I grew to love. But I just had a feeling and pull to take on this crazy photography career. That was not the first time I had given something up though to do what I love.  Prior to being a speech pathogost I was an opera major. I naturally had a draw to the arts and I was actually pretty decent ha! That sounds so bad but honestly, I was the only person to get a full ride scholarship to the #1 program in the world (Cincinnati Conservatory). I can say that now because I’m not in that world anymore so it’s mind boggling to think about!  I turned it down to go to #3 (at that time) University of Illinois, because I had a bad feeling something would happen to my voice and I didn’t want to end up in that city as the music school was amazing but the city didn’t interest me.   Well guess what, I was pushed too hard for a program I was being sent to in Italy and had a massive vocal injury. Surgery was needed, so they sent me to the Loyola clinic via the Lyric Opera of Chicago. The surgery was a success, I didnt talk for 3 months and let myself heal (those who know me know that was like nailing my feet to the ground), but honestly, my voice was never the same. I had to leave my true passion of performing and decided I needed to help other singers get through it like I had via speech therapy. Little did I know I would fall in love with the child medical portion of the speech world (I was pre med for a bit, but was horrible at math), thus leading me to a job where I got to be artsy as well as fulfill my love of children and people. Best of both worlds. What is crazy is I have been able to help so many newborn clients with feeding difficulties! Its been such a blessing for me to do what I love and still get to help families with those problems that are so hard.  I just honestly love people.

After Tyler was born and I had been taking photos for our family as well as my friends, I had a friend who was an artist in Chicago tell me I had an eye and I needed to keep shooting. Thank you Chris :). So took a leap of faith, quit my job and went for it. This was only the first leap of faith our family would take. I had been using that camera my dad had bought for me for less than a year. Crazy huh? Back then ( like when we walked to school in 10 feet of snow haha), we were all self taught or went to school for it. Now a days, everyone expects to be taught everything so fast.  Things are much different now. Everyone has a camera. Everyone is a photographer. But it takes perseverance and SELF teaching to really really become your own. Ok thats my thought of the day. Back to the post.  The point is, I worked my tush off.

There was something about grabbing each moment that drew me into photography. When I first started, I was not trying to get the “prettiest” photo. I was trying to get the moment.  I then perfected my craft, working on getting pretty photos as well. Now I am back to my roots, getting moments. But hey… now they are pretty moments 🙂

I love my children more than life itself. I’m their mom. I am no different than my clients. I just want to freeze time. The problem that occurred over this past year, is I never saw them. Most of you probably don’t know this, because I’m a walking ball of energy. When I crash, I crash. Which is not often.  When I saw Kenny, it was to say hi and bye. I was working around the clock. Up at 6:30, kids to school or to my moms. Then the kids would head home, to be watched again by my mom. I would see them at dinner time, (maybe) just to hand them to Kenny, who got home at 6:30. Head to my sunset shoots, get home at 9. Then edit and work until about 1 or 2 if not 3, every night.   I was wearing 20 hats. Not 10… 20.  Plus being a mom and a wife.  I used to live at the gym. Now I just drive by it to get my coffee on the way to my shoots. One day, Kenny and I looked at each other and decided, what’s the point of all of this. WHY was I doing to our family.  My blessing was totally my burden. The thing was, I don’t resent my job. In fact, I’m in love with it. I love my children, I love my husband and I love my job. But my WHY was my kids.  So what do we do?

Lets talk for a second about Kenny. Kenny is super super smart. At his current job, his co-workers always tell me how they look to him for answers. They trust him. He’s so sweet it’s contagious.  Its why I fell in love with him.  Quick example. You know when you order food and the wrong thing comes? Neither he nor I would send it back. We would laugh it off because we felt bad complaining. Its just how we are.  Kenny cares about people. He is always smiling. He’s soft spoken but so strong (I mean emotionally but man he’s got some serious biceps too ha). Kenny went to Bradley in Peoria and majored in finance. After college he worked at the Chicago Board of Trade for years. It was awesome! He had a great salary, and got HOME at 2:30! We got to be together all the time, buy a beautiful home for Tyler when he was a baby and still have time for amazing family life. BUT, it was a VERY volatile place to work. As I stated, Kenny is nice. It was not a good fit ethically for him.  As a family, we decided that the Board was not the place he wanted to end his career. Kenny loved St. Louis, loved the family atmosphere that we have here and knew I would love to move home. So he took a leap a faith, started a totally new career doing something completely different in a city where he only knew a handful of people, doing marketing and sales for CBS radio (KMOX) all while taking huge pay cut just to move here for our family. But that did not bother us. We were happy to be here.  CBS was a really cool place to work.  He got to meet a ton a great people that all welcomed him and his newness. He learned a ton about the industry and had fun while doing it.  PLUS, he became a Cardinals fan. Phew. Crisis averted. He really enjoyed that job, but it was a 45 min commute each way (without traffic) which didn’t help with our issue above.  It was a very difficult decision and he saw himself potentially staying with CBS for many years to come. However, as a family, we have decided to take yet ANOTHER leap of faith, as scary as it is, we could not be more excited to finally see each other again.

We have now been in St. Louis for 2 years. SO crazy it’s been 2 years. I grew up here so really it’s home.  Never in a million years would I have guessed St. Louis would welcomed me like you all have.  I am constantly humbled by all of your kind words, the way you have all trusted me to capture your families, the referrals you have given to me and all of the friendships that have happened. But man, with my lack of the ability to say no to all of your insanely sweet inquiries for a shoot, y’all are making me tired ha! I either had to raise my prices to decrease the volume – not happening don’t worry (Im not cheap but not the highest here either) or get some seriously full time help so I can shoot more and get you your photos before the end of the year bahaha. Kidding. Kinda :).

So maybe you can guess, but ELP either has to grow, or get smaller so I can see my “why”.   My kids are why I am doing all this. This job should allow me the flexibility to make my own schedule, but because you are all amazing, I see your smiling faces on my computer many hours a day, which I treasure, trust me, but it’s time to see my own children as well.

So grow time it is. How do I grow you may ask? By hiring someone? Wait. Why hire someone when my best friend can run my business for me 🙂

Yep! You have heard me correctly. Kenny has a background in finance (my clients know I’m the WORST…the absolute WORST at getting my invoices out lol). He is organized! Lord knows I am SO not.  Well I CAN be but don’t have time to deal with paper. Why I love my post it notes. He’s fabulous at marketing! Everyone loves him because he treats people well.  Don’t forget I’m not a fan of anything crabby or jealous or mean. And get this…. He’s NICE! He has promised me he will insert smiley faces in correspondence with people. I have smiley faces all over the place and I’m proud of it. It’s part of who I am. It’s part of who Kenny is as well. Ok maybe not SO much like me, but he is the sweetest person on the planet and now you all get to be friends with him too 🙂

Kenny has one more week left at KMOX (which is crazy because we thought he would be there for years to come) then he is all mine. HA! Kinda. I need to keep saying, OUR business. I’m practicing.

So if you email me from now on, you will be receiving the reply from Kenny! Be nice because he has a LOT to learn about my workflow, how I book clients, etc., but don’t fret, you will all be so excited to have amazing customer service knowing someone is running things NOT using post it notes hahaha. For real though, he’s amazing at what he does. He’s SO amazing at organization and finance. Really I don’t think I have much of a say anymore relating to anything financial. Which is actually pretty nice, and better for everyone 🙂  I just do what I do best. Making friends and taking photos, Kenny will take care of the rest!

I would be lying if I said I was not freaked out. Of course I’m freaked out. All of a sudden this crazy business has to pay for health insurance, school, well… everything!  I know I’m so blessed to have more clients than I can at time handle, but there is a little freaked out bug sitting on my shoulder, but on the other shoulder, is God telling me He is in control and to let go. I always did hate bugs.

So… I’m … eh hem. Scratch that, WE are going for it 🙂

With all of the changes, Kenny taking on more than half of my work. Everything non photoshop or camera related I should say. Now having my new AMAZING studio and the additional, a TON of additional time I get to actually edit shoots quickly, I now have room for a few more studio sessions. Not more sunset sessions but now I have room for studio mini sessions as well as full family studio sessions. I can also fit in a few in home lifestyle sessions. I know I had said I was booked for the entire year a bit ago, but shoot me an email and come visit me at the studio. I can’t wait for this new adventure! But if you see me with a glass of wine at El Maguey next door…. don’t judge 🙂

You will notice the below pics are Kenny and I, maybe one with kids. From years ago until now. We have had many adventures together. It’s only appropriate that this post is about us. I love my children, but this adventure will be testing Kenny and I in ways we have not experienced before.  Somehow I think we will be ok 🙂 In the meantime, don’t forget I (we) still love referrals hint hint 🙂

Thank you St. Louis for being insanely amazing.  The new 1800 sq foot studio is now open in Chesterfield for newborn child and family photography sessions!  WE can’t wait to see you there!  Come by anytime to say hello!


“It’s delightful when your imaginations come true, isn’t it?”
― L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables


Meet Kenny.

My other half.

Isn’t he cute? 🙂




Emily Lucarz Family photogarpher

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  1. Maria gillick says:

    I’m so excited for you and Kenny, well your family! I swear I feel like I know you personally, even though I have never physically met you! Hopefully, in the future, I I will! I love your style of photography and I can see how incredibly talented you are. Above that though, you seem like an amazing person as well. I’ve been to some great photographers and their personality don’t always match their talent 😉 I wish you both a very sucessful business!!

  2. Lisa says:


  3. Tom Bickel says:

    Best wishes to both you and Kenny Emily. I love your spirit and ambition. You guys are going to do great!

  4. Preeti says:

    Awesome! Sounds like a smart move and can’t wait to see the beautiful new studio!

  5. Jan says:

    Oh Emily! I’m so so so happy for y’all!!! You’re incredible and the sweetest and you deserve all the happiness and success in the world! Thanks for sharing your amazing story (what an inspiration, lady!) & I can’t wait to work with both of y’all soon!! Wait till you see how big little G is now…just a year ago almost to the day, you were photographing my biggest achievement. I’ll be in love with the photos you took forever! Thank you & best wishes! Xoxo

  6. Kevin says:

    Love it! Love it X 49!! I am so freaking proud of you both. You for going for it in your business which is like what I always did. This is your Jerry Maguire Memo Your All Chips On Red etc. I love the idea with leaving corporate and doing the family business. You will have more quality time for travel , family time fun time etc. No one to take away accounts, no new bosses, losses of accounts due to programming or because they want to etc. It’s all yours baby. Quite frankly your story is one of the things I miss about St Louis. I wish I could of been part of the space find, the build out or lunch and wine because we both work in the valley. We both told Kenny this move west would Rock! Congrats to all. I will check you out on my next St Louis visit probably soon as I am getting new listings in get this St Charles, Ellisville and The Hill or I will see you when you visit South. Pass my love to your dad & the family. Love Kevin


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