If there is one thing strives for besides taking great photos, it is making sure those images are flawless.
The 51 year-old wedding photography and photofinishing business personally details its photos, rather than using a machine to get the job done, according to Denise Chakinis, one of the managers. She is also the daughter of owner George Lullo.
Chakinis, who, as a family member, grew up around the business, didn't always plan on becoming the photographer and photo book creator she is today. Instead, after going away to college, she went into a completely different direction and graduated with a degree in accounting.
"I didn't know [I wanted to remain in the business] until I went away to college to get a degree in accounting and I decided that's just not for me," she said. "I've been part of the business for a long time and decided I should have stayed where I was."
Around since 1960, Artlynn began when the owner decided to take his photography hobby to the next level. Lullo began to take wedding photos at a time when photographers weren't individually and exclusively hired for weddings, but instead competed against each other to make the sale to the bride and groom, according to Chakinis.
"He saw a need for people to come out to do photography for weddings at very reasonable costs and that seemed to be key," she said. "Back when he started, it used to be, you would just go to the church and take pictures and whoever could get the pictures to the customer fastest would sell the pictures."
Lullo decided to make his hobby into a job when he got married and started his family, Chakinis said.
Today, Chakinis is joined by three of her four brothers at Artlynn. She attributes the strong family involvement to growing up around the business.
"It was just part of our lives. When we were babies, our parents worked out of our basement," she said. "There was equipment and people there all the time. We just grew up with it."
Even in those early days, top quality photo finishing was highly important to the family, Chakinis said. They always have and continue to go to extremes to make sure images look their very best.
"We have a quick turnaround and reasonable prices. Quality has always been a big issue for us," she said. "To serve people in the community, we go to extremes."
Artlynn has a complete professional digital photography lab where staff members personally hand analyze all photos, Chakinis said. According to her, they "don't let machines do all the analyzing."
Calling the business "good at doing the stuff nobody else wants to do," Chakinis said all the extra effort is worth it to make sure their customers end up with a great product.
"Our goal truly always has been to put out the best photography," she said. "I don't know if that means a lot to people these days but it does to us."
In addition to wedding photography, Artlynn also photographs portraits, events, children and "anything that has to do with photography," Chakinis said.
When staff members aren't busy taking photos or assisting customers who visit the business to have their photos printed there, they make sure to give back to the community. It is important for Artlynn to help out the local parishes and smaller organizations in need of assistance, Chakinis said.
"We look for the smaller causes, the littler things," she said. "The things that have more direct contact with people. We have been much more involved in that."
As summer approaches, the eight staff members and 16 photographers are gearing up for a long busy season. They frequent weddings in the local area along with Northwest Indiana and sites near their second, smaller location in Lansing. With autumn wedding dates becoming much more popular, the wedding season has been extended.
"It used to be that you used to not be able to set a June date, but now it's the fall," Chakinis said, citing unpredictable spring weather as a possible reason for the increased fall dates.
Whatever the reason, extra business is welcome. Artlynn has not been immune to the poor economy, but is doing fine, she said.
"It's definitely a factor. That's everywhere," Chakinis said. "It's hard on people right now. Many businesses have closed... Being in a small business, you want them to succeed. That was someone's livelihood. (The economy) has affected everyone."
Those wanting to learn more about this longstanding business can visit them at 3711 W. 95th St. from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays and Thursdays; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays; and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays. They can be reached at (708) 499-1251 or on the Web at www.artlynn.com.
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