We’re changing it up a little here on the blog. We serve incredible clients with incredible talent and instead of just featuring our clients photos of their albums, we thought we would feature our clients themselves and share a bit about them and their work.
To kick off this new series, meet Kristen of Kristen Lynne Photography. She is a Fine Art Wedding and Portrait photographer based in Virginia. She is extremely talented and we hope you enjoy learning a little about who she is and her business.
Tell us a little about yourself and your passion / business.
I am a third generation photographer. Most of what I know I learned from my parents and my own studies inside and outside of the classroom. I’m humbled and honored to be able to work with the most amazing couples to capture their special wedding day. I’m passionate about working with my clients to create beautiful images for them. I also love women’s portraiture and boudoir. There is nothing better than to make a woman see how beautiful she truly is and empower her! This is very rewarding as a photographer.
Tell us about your style.
I feel that my style is light, romantic, and soft. I’m a hybrid shooter, so I shoot both film and digital. I think that film is the perfect medium to allow me to capture the aesthetic that I’m after. I also want my style to look effortless. I’m a very laid back person and I tend to attract those types of clients. Each photo session is an adventure. I do think ahead and plan for certain things, but it’s always interested to see where each photo session takes me!
Where do you find inspiration?
My inspiration comes from all around me! I am constantly in awe and inspired by other photographers. A few of my favorites are Jose Villa, KT Merry, Sue Bryce, Elizabeth Messina, Erich McVey, and many others. I also get a lot of inspiration from my surroundings. When I arrive at a location I’m inspired by the light, architecture, flowers/gardens, scenery… In Virginia it’s easy to look in every direction and be inspired by something!
How did you get started in Photography?
Growing up my parents were always into photography. Over the years they purchased nicer cameras and they eventually started their own business. I loved to borrow their cameras and go up into the mountains to take pictures. On vacations I was asking questions, learning about photography. Not long after I married the love of my life, we got the cutest golden retriever puppy you ever saw! Now that I was on my own, I didn’t have access to my parent’s amazing camera gear! I decided that I wanted to save up and get my own professional camera to document our new little family. People started asking me to take photos for them, and before I knew it I had my own business too!
Was there a point when you decided to take a big risk to move forward?
Yes. Recently as a matter of fact. I went to college at George Mason University and got my bachelor’s in nursing. I was working full time as an RN in the operating room and I had my part time photography business on the side. Eventually the business started to pick up and the weekend on-call hours at the hospital started to infringe on my photography time. I cut back to part-time at the hospital but after a year of part-time I decided to take the plunge and dedicate all my time to the business. I think it was the best decision I’ve made since starting my photography business! I’m incredibly blessed to have the support of my husband and family.
What do you think was one of the keys to your success?
Perseverance. Don’t ever give up. It is so easy in this industry to compare yourself to the masses of other photographers and think, “I’ll never be that good.” I spent a LOT of time reading books, online blogs, seeking out advice from other photographers, doing workshops, practicing with my camera, taking online courses, taking college classes at a local community college, second shooting/assisting for free, etc. You have to keep pressing into it. I strive to continually learn and improve.
What does a typical day look like for you?
In the morning I check and answer emails. If I’m getting ready for a photo shoot I am charging batteries, cleaning gear, formatting cards, etc. If it is the Monday after a wedding I’m usually getting the film ready to send to the lab. If I’ve just received film back from the lab I am editing the digitals to match the film. I will write a blog post for the day (although I try to write a bunch of blog posts at one time and schedule them for different days). Then I take care of other “business” things like updating client’s files, paying sales tax, making phone calls, placing print orders, entering things into Quickbooks, filing receipts, etc. Then in the evening I check my emails one last time. I like to get back to my clients within 12-24 hours. One thing I love about owning my photography business is each day is different!
What are your 3 favorite pieces of equipment?
My favorite piece of equipment has to be my Contax 645 paired with the Zeiss 80mm f/2 lens. This is my medium format film camera and it is sweet! Then next in line would be my Canon 5D MkIII camera and my 50mm f/1.2 & 85mm f/1.2 lenses. These are my staples.
If you knew then (when you started) what you know now what would you do differently?
I would have charged more for my sessions when I started out. When photographers are just getting their start they don’t feel like they can justify charging much, if anything at all. But the truth is, you can! I decided to spend my first year in business building up my portfolio and I felt like I needed to give people a “deal.” The only problem was, I ended up building a client base that was in a completely different price bracket than what I wanted to end up in. I found myself raising my prices and having to rebuild my client base. My previous clients didn’t value photography enough to pay what I was charging after my “portfolio period” ended.
How does RedTree Albums help you serve your clients better?
I want to provide the best for my clients. I feel like they are investing a lot with me and I want to give them something to reflect their level of investment. It is always my goal to give them amazing customer service, but I also want to leave them with something amazing in hand. I feel that RedTree’s albums are phenominal. The quality is evident as soon as you pick on of their albums up. I love that their albums are a fusion of classic and modern. I love the various fabrics, colors, and options for customizing like the debossing and cameo cutouts. When my clients get their RedTree album, they know they have something special.
How do you design your albums, what software do you use?
This is something that I’ve been “playing with” lately. I was using Photojunction and was fairly happy with it. However, one of my favorite software companies (BlogStomp) recently came out with a new software program called “AlbumStomp.” I’m anxious to try it!!!
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I want to eventually specialize in fine art Weddings that are held at private estates and wineries/vineyards. I find that those types of venues are extremely inspiring for me. I’d also like to exclusively shoot film, or at least 90% film. I’m always working to shoot more film and less digital. Another HUGE goal of mine is to one day have my own natural light studio on my property.