Meet a Mom: Sarrah Gani, The Portrait Lounge - Greater Lansing Area Moms

Mondays are all about sharing moms over here and this week GLAMoms has Sarrah Gani!  Sarrah and her husband have an A-DORABLE 2-year-old who loves to go to Darrell’s Market where he is a store favorite – they know him by name!  She shares more about snack ideas, family fun around the Greater Lansing area and her love of photography – particularly taking photographs of women and children.

Sarrah is a photographer and owns The Portrait Lounge in Holt.  The Portrait Lounge is a little gem with west and north facing windows that makes for perfect lighting and a welcoming (and tranquil feeling) place for photographs!   From personal branding for you to photos of your family and children – Sarrah has everything she needs to capture your true self.  

And speaking of photographs, GLAMoms recently took part in Portraits and Professionals: A Night of Networking and Headshots and also the 30 over 30 Project offered by Sarrah at The Portrait Lounge.  During this time, we experienced her ability to calm and guide people through being photographed.  Sarrah is lovely and her love for her craft is evident with her attention to detail and her encouragement during sessions.   

And we are honored to share Sarrah Gani as the GLAMoms Meet a Mom this week!

Welcome to Greater Lansing Area Moms!  Please introduce yourself!

My name is Sarrah GaniI live in Holt with my husband and son, and have been a member of the Greater Lansing Community my entire life! I am originally from East Lansing, went to MSU, and taught first grade for nearly 10 years in Mason before transitioning to owning a full time portrait studio 3 years ago. 

How old is your son?  What are some of his current favorites?  

Our son just turned 2 and we love to go to The Emerging Parent, Impression 5, other indoor play places, but honestly his favorite place to go is Darrells! (a little grocery store in Mason where everyone knows his name)

What do you think is one of the best parts about being a mom so far? 

Getting to spend so much time experiencing things slowly. Oliver loves to cook, swim, build, do laundry, etc… anything that I’m doing! It’s so fun to watch him enjoy things that are so typical. 

What is a piece of advice for new moms you wish you would have known when you were a new mom?

You’re not doing it wrong. If it works for you and your family then it’s right. 

Please tell us more about being a photographer in the Greater Lansing area? How did you get started in photography?

I have been photographing people part time for nearly 10 years, and went full time about three years ago. I have always had a camera in my hand, even as a kid, and in high school we were lucky enough to have a dark room. I loved developing film and creating printed photographs. 

What sort of photography do you offer?

I specifically love working with women and children! I love offering two types of children’s portraits (both simple neutral style and fine art) and also work with professionals to create personal branding portraits and headshots. 

What is the 30 over 30 Project?  Are you still looking for participants?  And what do participants have to look forward to at the end of the program?

The 30 Over 30 Project is so special; it was created out of the need I have to show women they should exist in photographs. All too often women make excuses (I need to lose weight, I don’t have time, etc) and before you know it ten years have gone by and they don’t exist in professional photographs. Women have so many reasons not to be in photographs (and a majority of them are body related) and I really wanted to remind women that we should be in photographs in every stage of our lives. I am still accepting participants! 

At the end of this experience women receive a large matted print of their favorite photograph and we are having an exhibition to showcase all of our amazing participants! 

What are you looking forward to the remainder of 2023?

Fall; my favorite season! I love apple picking, cooking warm foods, photographing people in the beautiful colors, and I have my first out of the country photography workshop which I’m so looking forward to! 

How do you balance being a mom and a small business owner?

I don’t; does anyone?! There is no balance right now; it’s honestly just constant “on the go”. I take care of our toddler during the day and work during nap times, the evening, and weekends while my husband takes over parenting/house duties. 

We make it work the best we can right now but I’m looking forward to expanding once Oliver is a bit older and in pre-school and I have more time during the day to work, then relax a bit at night. 

Do you use The Portrait Lounge for anything other than photography?

Everything is photo related, but yes! I have hosted networking events there for fabulous women in business to come together for socializing and headshots, and several other classes that are photo related. 

I also have a new workshop coming out in 2024 that will be hosted there and I can’t wait to start that! 

You were a teacher for nearly 10 years!  What did you teach?  What do you miss about teaching? 

I taught first grade and loved it 🙂 I miss the kids and the relationships I had with the families. Also, my co-workers! I was at an absolutely amazing school where we truly were all like family. 

Who has been your biggest role model? 

My mentor, Sue Bryce. She is well known in the photography community and has built an incredible system for portrait photographers to grow their business. I’ve learned everything I know from her. 

Here are a couple questions to get to know you better 😊

What gets you up in the morning?  My toddler; he runs into our room with the biggest smile on his face every morning. 

And how do you take your coffee? 🙂  I need creamer with my coffee, but preferable if someone could bring me a brown sugar cardamom latte with oat milk from Strange Matter 😉 Looking forward to one of those definitely gets me out of bed in the morning.

What is the last book you read? The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave

All time favorite theatre performance? Wicked. It simply cannot be beat! We love any and all shows and go to Wharton Center often! 

If you watch television, what is your favorite show?  Law and Order, SVU. I secretly want to be Olivia Benson but I’m not brave enough.

Strangest item in your camera bag?  Jumbo Smarties! I am really great with kids but once in a while they need bribery (with parent permission) and when you bust out a jumbo roll of smarties their eyes light up.

Speaking of cameras, are you Team Nikon?  Club Canon?  Sony or bust? I’m team Nikon, but only because that’s what I started with. My real love is any Sigma Art lens! 

The children’s book you most enjoy reading? Goodnight Mister Tom. It’s a children’s novel that I’ve read at least 30 times.

Where are some local family favorites? 

Strange Matter, Veg Head, and Taste of Thai are our favorites. We really love going to MSU for picnics and bike riding, and Oliver loves Potter Park Zoo. We go to county parks often, also! 

Is there something you would like to see added to the Greater Lansing area landscape?

Trader Joe’s…when is that happening?! I need it. 

Mind sharing a mom trick another mom will be happy to learn? 

We’ve recently discovered the “snackle box”. A tackle box (or another container with lots of compartments) that you fill with lots of different foods on the go. We all know kids can be super picky, so when we are going out for a day (one or multiple meals) I don’t mind if Oliver snacks all day rather than sits for a full meal. Often times new places are too stimulating/distracting for him to eat a full meal so this helps him have a bunch of favorites that he can choose from a little at a time on the go. 

“Snackle box…” LOVE IT!!!   We think this idea rings true for much older kids as well!  Or maybe we should just rename meals all together to snacks!  Either way, thank you so much for joining us this week, Sarrah!  We enjoyed getting to know you a bit better and look forward to more events (and photographs) in the future!  🙂

Last thing… How do you prefer readers to connect with you if they would like more information? 

Website: theportraitloungemi.com
IG: @theportraitloungemi 
Email: [email protected]

And I would like to offer something just for GLAMoms!  A $100 voucher to any portrait session (excluding the 30 Over 30), valid for sessions booked in 2023 (session can be in 2024, but booked by Dec. 31 2023) 

This is fantastic!  Thank you so much!   

**all images provided by Sarrah Gani

Meet a Mom Sponsor information

Today’s Meet a Mom featuring Alicia Southern was brought to you by Boji Group.  Boji Group specializes in Private-Public Partnerships, has offices in both Lansing and Birmingham and is headquartered in downtown Lansing.

Are you interested or know of someone who would make a great GLAMoms Meet a Mom?  

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