We are so excited to welcome Kimberly to the Photographer Depot blog today. Take a moment to learn more about her and visit her social media pages to check out her work. Thank you Kimberly for taking the time to share your talent and experience with us.
When did your interest in photography begin?
I’ve loved taking photos for as long as I can remember! There was always something magical about picking up the freshly developed packets of pictures from our local drug store. And, with the introduction of affordable DSLRs, my passion was able to continue as I became an adult.
When did you decide to make photography your profession?
I suppose I never made the conscious decision to make photography my profession. I had friends, family, and acquaintances constantly asking me to take photos for them, but once they started offering me money, I figured I needed to get all my ducks in a row. I established a LLC last December and made sure everything was lined up for tax purposes before I accepted my first client’s check. I have a very business oriented mind so it was wonderful to be able to exercise those skills as my own boss.
What were your biggest hurdles when you started your photography business?
Not having one place or person to go to with all of my questions when it came to technical issues was an obstacle, and one that I still have not quite overcome. I have no training or mentoring to really speak of, as opposed to those who study art or photography specifically in school. Joining the Rock the Shot forum was a step in the right direction though, and everyone is always so eager to help! I am constantly looking for ways to improve my website and client experience online, which I am sure is a hurdle for even the most seasoned photographers. Technology always has us running to catch up, but it keeps you innovative!
What is one piece of advice you wish someone would have told you when you were starting out?
I struggled with how to answer this question, because I didn’t get any advice when I started, I just went for it and figured things out along the way. I suppose not having a firm grasp on what the photography business entailed helped me, because I didn’t gets bogged down in my limitations (like my skills to that point, the geographical market, my gear, etc.). I know I’ve seen this said quite a few other places, but it is a totally true, "Don’t compare your progress or your work to anyone but who you were yesterday." I can honestly say my naivety probably worked to my advantage this last year in that I only saw how I was improving and what I was learning through practice, not how my photos looked next to another random photographer from the area or on Pinterest. There is no glass ceiling in this business unless you build it yourself.
Are you full time or part time right now?
I am still employed full time, putting my college degrees to work in local government, which doesn’t really allow me to make photography my full time profession, but I get to do two things that I love instead! I stay plenty busy, but it forces me to make the most of my time in both positions. (Shout out to the hubs for picking up the slack at home on those marathon editing or shooting weekends!)
Do you shoot natural light or studio light, and why?
I had a lovely long winded response all typed out and decided instead to go with the truth: I shoot almost all natural light, because I do no have a single clue how studio lighting works yet! I’m still learning so many things, and studio lighting isn’t even on my radar. Then again, the Colorado sunshine, colors, and sunsets are just too amazing to ignore by shooting indoors!
What changes would you like to see in your business over the next year?
I am actually getting to the point where I am starting to have repeat clients (Ermahgerd, someone liked me enough to book me again!!) so I’d definitely love to see more of that in the coming year. I think improving my social media outreach and website (Prophoto for Dummies, anyone?) are on my short list, as well as looking at how to tweak my personal style and delivery.
What software do you use to edit your images? And what do you like most about it?
I use Lightroom 5 exclusively, though I may add Photoshop in the mix here soon. Thanks to Pinterest articles and tutorials, I am completely self taught and basically learned by clicking a slider and saying “hey, what does this thingy mah jiggy do?” Super technical and artsy. I bought a few packages from Pretty Presets in the beginning and that really helped, because I could see the finished look and then literally go through every single customization to see exactly how it was achieved. Now I clean edit which is SUPER easy in Lightroom before making my own personal adjustments.
What motivates you each day to pick up your camera and shoot?
C-O-F-F-E-E. No, seriously… Have you ever dropped something tiny that you have to get down to eye level to the floor to search for it, and once you’re there it becomes blatantly obvious that it was there the whole time? To me, the greatest reward in this line of work is taking a photo of someone how I see them, their self-contrived imperfections absent, and capturing a moment where they are truly themselves. That kind of feeling can’t be fabricated, and it is apparent in their reactions that they just needed to get down on the floor for a different perspective to see what others so obviously see; a unique and beautiful individual with their own characteristics.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Besides my roles as a wife, mother and photographer, I’d say it’s unknown! I hope to be opening doors in my personal life and my career that today don’t yet exist. I was recently told that for those who continue to seek opportunities, opportunities will never cease to present themselves.
My little one year old son and baby number two, due in January of 2015, will most definitely be what keeps my husband and I happy, driven, and grateful for each day that passes! And hey, if my lifelong dream of owning a llama farm ever comes to fruition, then I think I’d be safe to say “I made it!”.
About the Photographer: Kimberly Weeks is a natural light portrait photographer located in Northern Colorado. After establishing a LLC in December of 2013, Kimberly’s passion took off and she began creating unique images for couples, families, children, and most recently, births. Her sarcastic commentary, incessant movie quoting and sometimes socially awkward prowess make each session a fun and unique experience for her clients. In addition to her most coveted roles as a wife to a wonderful husband and mother of an adorable one year old (with a second on the way!), she also works full time for the District Attorney’s Office and is ever-passionate about sexual assault awareness, training, and victim advocacy.