Skip to content

Interview with Summerana Resident Instructor Monika Cioban

Introducing Monika Cioban inside the Summerana Membership! We are lucky to have her as a resident instructor at Summerana, and we also got to sit her down for an interview.

Monika Cioban is an Award Winning Fine Art Portrait Photographer and a Creative Director at Summerana, located in the Chicagoland area. She specializes in Children, Family and Maternity Portraiture. Here are some questions we asked:

If we asked your family, who are YOU, what would they say?
What an excellent question. I actually had to ask them and I don’t think I’ve ever done that before.

My husband is pretty good at reminding me that I’m a good mom and how proud he is of me and my work.

My 4 year old daughter said “you love me the most and take care of me, and you are a very good person mommy, and i think you might be a cheetah”. Haha! My parents think I am very disciplined and stubborn, but they know that both of these qualities help me get what I want in the long run.

What was your first year as a professional photographer like?
To be honest it was much better than I anticipated. I had a good support system in place and that helped me tremendously.In order to start a business you need to invest in it and without support I don’t think I would’ve been able to do it.Experience wise I did not really start from the ground because I took photography classes in college, but editing was something I had to learn on my own over the years.

How would you describe your photography style?
Well, I do fine art, vibrant, i love moody, light & airy, black & white…it all depends on the session and the client I am photographing. I don’t have a niche. Everything is customized to my client’s needs.

What are some techniques that members should look forward to learning from your resident instructor tutorials?
Members can learn how to take a simple image and turn it into a piece of art using Summerana’s amazing tools. I love using actions and presets but I also hand edit a lot so I share some of my techniques as well. They can also enjoy the signature collections of digital backgrounds I have created for Summerana Academy.

If you had unlimited funds and you could go anywhere in the world, what would your dream photoshoot look like?
If I had unlimited funds to create the photoshoot of a lifetime, I would go to Paris (Eiffel Tower in the Background), at night, with a gorgeous female model wearing a light peach, Dior floral couture gown and a gorgeous male model wearing a tux.I’d pay for the most amazing team of hair and makeup artists and assistants and I imagine the portraits would look like they belong in a high end perfume ad.

What is the most important thing you’ve learned as a photographer?
I’ve learned that it’s important to always look confident in front of clients (yes even when you are dying inside). Even if your photoshoot isn’t going so well, don’t ever let that show. We are artists, we can do magic with our editing skills!

If you could have dinner with 1 person (dead or alive) that made an impact on the photography industry, who would it be?
That would be Walker Evans. He is an American photographer who is best known for his work for the Farm Security Administration documenting the effects of the Great Depression. His work speaks to me, and if you have a chance, you need to look him up.

What inspires you to create?
My daughter inspires me more than anything else. But I also get inspired by books and movies as well as fellow photographers.

Favorite Quote
“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” – Eleanor Roosevelt


Watch me edit: 

Want to watch me edit this image in Photoshop from start to finish? It is available to watch in the Summerana Membership here.

In this editing tutorial, Summerana instructor Monika Cioban Photography shows you her step-by-step process for editing a gorgeous fine art studio image in Photoshop.


You will learn how to create a gorgeous light & airy fine edit using techniques such as:

  • Cleaning up your images to create soft and sweet skin & tones
  • Fix misplaced hair & skin imperfections
  • Using liquify to manipulate wardrobe
  • Brightening & popping eye colors
  • Making sure your image is properly exposed
  • Using masking techniques
  • How to load presets into ACR
  • Using actions found in our membership to brighten and soften

and more through the use of Summerana actions, presets & hand editing!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *