Soben Studios is a professional photography studio that caters to newborns and families. Our warm atmosphere, boutique style and impeccable customer service pamper our clients and provide them with the artistic images they desire.
Founded by Laurie Levitt almost 11 years ago, we are not new to photography. We are a group of dedicated professional women, trained in our industry. Our experience and education let us stand out from the crowd.
Soben Studios strives to capture thoughtfully guided yet unposed images of children and families that are natural and playful. Our style of photography is contemporary, yet classic portraiture that reflects our clients’ personalities. Photography is an intimate experience, and your relationship with your photographer is revealed in your images. Please give us a call so we can introduce ourselves, or schedule a time to visit to our studio boutique. We would love to get to know you!
All of us at Soben Studios take children’s health and happiness very seriously. We are committed to making sure that each transaction helps make the world a better place than it was before the session began. In this spirit, a portion of the profit from your order will be donated to the new toy fund for sick children at Children’s Memorial Hospital. We thought you’d like to know that we do good work in more ways than one!
….. from Laurie Levitt, Owner and Principal Photographer
My name is Laurie, and I am addicted to baby toes.
I think that is why I have five kids of my own (yes, five
I love strong coffee, great books, camping with my family and kayaking on the water. I laugh easily and often, and I cry at commercials. My forbidden pleasures include anything Etsy, and anything chocolate. I play the guitar, usually with little hands helping me strum. I’ll sing, too … but only if you’ll join me or promise not to listen.
I am always happiest when surrounded by children (yours and mine).
I believe the right picture can make us fall in love all over again.
I am not a traditional photographer, though I am trained traditionally and professionally. I’ve worked in the corporate world, and still do sometimes … but I like the world in my studio best. Because the studio is a place of magic, where we still believe in fairy tales.
Laurie began her photography career over 20 years ago while working with Chicago’s most talented wedding and celebrity photographers of the time. Laurie considers herself very lucky to continue to study with some of the best newborn photographers in the world, and consistently attends workshops, conferences and events to perfect the art of her image. Laurie’s work has been featured in local and national publications, as well as showcased on television. Laurie was voted one of the top Chicago family photographers by Nickelodeon Parent’s Choice, and her photography is featured in a collaborative children’s book.
…… from Susan Ryan Kalina, Associate Photographer
As a wife and mother of three, I see how fast life moves – and I love it! I don’t want to slow it down. I just want to preserve the magical fleeting slice-of-life moments — the ones you don’t see if you’re not looking. The ones that tell your story.
After earning my photojournalism degree from one of the country’s top journalism schools, I’ve spent more than 20 years in photography, shooting for newspapers worldwide, and more recently working as a photo editor at the Chicago Tribune.
I admit motherhood may have given me the despised “mommy brain.” But while the brain may have blurred, being a mom has actually sharpened my lens, and enabled me to focus on what matters most. I see the artistry in the events unfolding in everyday life, and I am thrilled to be able to merge my passion for photography and my appreciation of family into my work as a documentary photographer specializing in children.
An avid tennis player, Susan competes in tennis competitions across the nation. If she can face a 100 m.p.h. serve head-on, you can be sure she’s not going to be scared off by a toddler.
….. from Laura Nye, Studio Manager
Laurie. Laura. It’s really confusing, but we are two separate people. She takes the pictures; I so don’t. Instead, as Studio Manager, it’s my job to keep everything running smoothly. Thankfully, Jennifer has taken over as scheduling guru, leaving me free to handle sales, administration, marketing and product development — and lend a hand during shoots. (I love babies but I’m done, so newborn shoots are truly a treat!) If Laurie is taking your picture, it is likely that I’ll be the one getting your child to giggle, adjusting your collar, or holding a reflector. Perhaps not the best use of my law degree, but, well, it just goes to show: You never know where life will take you.
I joined Soben Studios in 2009 after a short hiatus from professional life to be a full-time mom. My gorgeous, silly, smart boys are now in elementary school (how did that happen?!), so much of my school day time is devoted to Soben Studios and ensuring that you have stunning, treasured portraits. I spend my spare time wishing I had more spare time! I also enjoy bargain-hunting, family bike rides, Bravo TV, chocolate and skiing (not in that order). Each and every photo shoot is an adventure. I consider it to be a privilege to be part of the creative team at Soben Studios, and I happily await the adventures that are yet to come.
Jennifer Humphrey, Client Relations Manager
Jennifer is our scheduler, extraordinaire. When she’s not juggling the schedule of her two little girls, she’s trying to manage the uncertainty of newborn births, the unpredictability of Chicago weather and our photographers’ ever-evolving commitments.
But Jennifer is up for the challenge. In her pre-mommy career as a catering manager for Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises, Jennifer mastered the art of staying cool under pressure and delivering unparalleled customer service in the process. She brings that dedication and philosophy to her work with Soben Studios. A self-described Wisconsin “cheesehead,” she promises to refrain from making unwelcome comments about our Chicago Bears.
Tara Hayden, Senior Designer
Our youngest team member, Tara is our talented designer and photoediting artist. Mom to Ollie, an adorable Welsh Corgi, Tara is our breath of fresh air! Her youthful perspective, can-do attitude and creative spirit breathes life into Soben Studios. We hope our tales of motherhood haven’t scared Tara from one day having her own babies. (Her parents would never forgive us!) In her spare time, Tara makes frequent road trips to see family and friends, a constant reminder to us that we’re not as young as we once were….
We are not your traditional formal portrait studio. No stiff collars, forced poses, “cheesy” smiles, reprimands. Your session is not posed. It is a playdate, a good time, a conversation, a diary, a moment, a memory, a blast. We strive to capture your images as naturally as possible – a process that is best unstructured and spontaneous – with as little artificial lighting and pretense as possible. We will talk, we will play, we will become friends. Then the camera comes out.
With a classic yet distinctly modern style, Soben Studios creates refreshing, compelling portraits that document the honesty of real life. We are professionally-trained photographers with decades of professional experience. We are also mothers. When we are not with our kids, we chooseto be with yours, helping you preserve the all-too-fleeting moments of childhood, showcasing your child’s inner and outer beauty. The result is honest images that are full of life and yet, artistically refined. Think of them as your own reality – just a little prettier.