#HowiKibou with Karen & Chris De Luca of Studio De Luca
Who are you? What should we know about you?
Chris: Hello! I’m Chris De Luca. My background is Italian, and I grew up in Bavaria, Germany. After many years spent in Berlin, Germany, I moved to the States in 2016 after Karen and I got married. We’re currently living in Orlando, FL with our 18-month old daughter Olivia.
Karen: Hi! I’m Karen, and I’m from a suburb right outside of Detroit, MI. I’ve travelled and moved around a lot over the years. I’m also an Art Director and Creative Producer, while Chris is a photographer. Together we run Studio De Luca, a full-service photo agency specializing in fashion, portraits and still life photography.
You both come from different backgrounds--Karen, yours in fashion and Chris in electronic music. How did you come to launch a photography studio together?
Karen: During my time in fashion, my focus was on producing lookbooks and art directing content for social media. On the side, I started producing and directing photo shoots for small fashion brands. Chris was always interested in photography and I bought him a DSLR camera for his birthday one year...
Chris: It started off small with the camera, I would take portraits for family and friends, and then I started helping my brother with photo campaigns for his clothing label. After years focusing on music and doing photography on the side, Karen approached me about partnering with her for Studio De Luca. It felt like the right time for a change, (right before the pandemic, 😅), and it ended up going so well that I decided to retire from music to focus full-time on photography.
On the topic of coming together, care to share how you met?
Karen: I was volunteering for an environmental organization at the Detroit Electronic Music Festival that Chris was in town for. Part of my volunteer duties was educating festival attendees about recycling initiatives and asking them to sign a recycling pledge. Chris and his music partner happened to walk by during my shift and the rest is history 😊
Was there a moment as you began your photography career when you realized, hey, we’re actually going somewhere with this? Did you have one big break or was it a slow, steady build?
Chris: We had some challenges during the beginning of the pandemic. However, overall, it’s been a steady build with some surprises and breaks along the way!
What’s something we’d be surprised to know about the world of product and lifestyle photography?
Karen: Things that seem effortless are usually meticulously planned.
Chris: Whenever we have time we are always producing and financing our own personal photography projects. We have found this key to developing our style and honing in on our skills.
What do you love most about your work?
Karen: I love pushing ourselves creatively to the next level. I also love the clients and the people we meet through our work. It’s honestly just really fun!
Chris: Being creative and trying out new techniques. Plus, the flexibility and freedom it gives us as parents is priceless.
Speaking of work--what advice would you give to other spouses or partners looking to go into business together?
Karen: When going into business with your spouse, it’s crucial to understand that this new dynamic will add a layer of complexity to your relationship. It’s important to be mindful of that. Without mutual trust and excellent communication, you’re going to run into some difficulties. However, that’s probably the case for any business partnership.
Chris: Agreed with all of that :)
You’re based in Orlando! How did you end up there?
Karen: We were originally in Los Angeles but decided to leave the city once I got pregnant, and we settled in Atlanta, GA. We had our daughter Olivia in May 2020 and quickly realized that we needed more family support, especially due to the pandemic.
Chris: It was a crazy situation. We moved to Orlando in August 2020 since Karen has family here, and we always enjoyed visiting.
What do you love most about Orlando? Any recommendations for great family-focused fun? (Other than Disney, of course :)
Chris: Being Italian, I don’t mind the hot summers, and I love Orlando’s tropical climate. It’s also nice being so close to the beach.
One of our favorite spots to take Olivia is Leu Gardens, it’s a botanical garden in one of our favorite neighborhoods, Audubon Park. We like to tour the gardens and then head over to East End Market (a food hall/marketplace) for lunch.
Karen: One of my favorite weekend activities is meeting our other parent friends at Benjamin French Bakery for delicious pastries and coffee. Then we walk over to Lake Eola. It’s a beautiful lake downtown with a walking path, a fun playground, and tons of swans, ducks and turtles to look at. They have a great Farmer’s Market, and kids love it!
If you weren’t running a photo agency in Orlando...where and what would you be doing?
Chris: If we weren’t in Orlando, we’d probably be in Munich to be close to my family. Perhaps I’d be doing music still?
Karen: I can’t imagine doing anything else! However, maybe I’d be a business coach for creatives, since I enjoy advising friends and peers on how to launch their own businesses.
We got to know you because we hired you to shoot our creative photography for Kibou. And now you have a Kibou and love it, which makes us so happy! What’s in your Kibou right now?
Karen: My phone, keys, wipes, a diaper, lip balm, a bottle, a pacifier, snacks, umbrella and a card holder.
To view more of Studio Deluca's work visit https://www.studiodeluca.me/