While she's sometimes known around town as "the chicken lady," Amanda Lipsey is probably best known as the self-described "funky little chick who loves her community and her camera."
In January, Lipsey opened the doors to Henwood Studio
at 344 N. Cochran in the evolving downtown district of Charlotte, Mich. The 500-square foot studio—her first-ever brick-and-mortar—developed from a photography business she started from her home nine years ago.
And the name?
"That came from my love of chickens," she laughs. "And for helping to get the chicken ordinance passed a few years ago that allows people to own chickens within the Charlotte city limits."
Lipsey found her passion for pictures when her first child was born in 2007. She says she wanted to have his picture taken but had trouble finding someone who could photograph him the way she saw him.
"I'd take him to big box stores where they would have him sit on a stool," she says. "I'd get the pictures back, and I'd think, 'that's not my child. It looks like him, but he's not a sit-and-smile kind of kid."
So Lipsey started snapping pictures on her own using a point-and-shoot Fuji she bought for $100. Friends said they loved what they saw, and encouraged her to take her skills to the next level. She did, fine-tuning her technique through Lansing Community College courses and applying them through her first professional-grade Nikon camera.
"It just grew and my business took off before I was even ready," she says. "I had tried to work other places and do other things, but I kept going back to this. It's what I love and what I love doing full-time."
Lipsey initially launched her business as Amanda Marie Photography in 2007, then rebranded in 2016. She says Henwood Studio will remain true to her specialty of photographing children—from newborns to high school seniors—as well as doing a select number of weddings and other events throughout the year. She also hopes to build her services in social media marketing and design with the help of one or two part-time staff.
"I love photographing kids," says Lipsey, as she circles back to that first "sit-and-smile" experience with her son. "As parents, we know those pictures don't show their real smile. I try to get that real smile you see when you close your eyes and thinking about your child. I set up my sessions so it's fun time where kids can go wild and have fun."
And the parents?
"They can just sit back and relax," she says.
Source: Amanda Lipsey, Owner, Henwood Studio
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor
Got a story idea for Capital Gains? Email Ann Kammerer here.