Yesterday we had the pleasure of learning about the talented Kristin Partin, of Kristin Partin Photography. She shared with us everything from her favorite camera to the magic shoes that keep her from getting blisters on long days of shooting. She told us the best parts of having an assistant and about the love that keeps her inspired, along with a few great tricks for brides to ensure they truly enjoy their wedding day (and get great pics!).
Today Kristin is going to share with us the tough stuff like - how to deal with criticism, the importance of contracts and how she came up with a profitable price point. But don't worry, this post isn't allllllllllllllll business - this wonderful interview ends with lots of GORGEOUS photos of Kristin's beautifully decorated home (#lewisdreamhome for all you Instagrammers) along with her insider tips on the best thrift stores to snag treasure!
With how much time it takes to edit the amount of photos you take during a shoot, how did you come up with a profitable price point for your photography?
It takes me a solid 30-35 hours to get through a wedding day. That includes loading cards, backing up cards, processing RAW files, culling the wedding, editing, exporting files, uploading galleries & loading flash drives. For a standard portrait session I’m looking at about 10 hours or so. Outsourcing my editing has never been an option for me because to me it’s a part of the story I need to finish. I took that photo with a certain goal in mind and to hand that over to someone else would be impossible for me. I do everything by hand one image at a time. It’s the slower way, but for me it’s the most thoughtful way I can choose to work.
I chose to grow my business annually rather than a per wedding basis. Every year after another 25 weddings or so, I would evaluate expenses, profits & what my time is ultimately worth. With experience came success and with a business in demand came higher prices. I began to be able to really look at my couples and see if we would be a good fit for each other rather than just see if I was available for their date. With that kind of freedom, it allowed me to work with people who were excited to work with me and ultimately were excited about my work. Working with couples who are really inspired by your photos makes for a really rewarding experience.
What advice do you have for those who want to pursue a career in the arts? What do you wish you had known before you got started?
Don’t let the haters get you down. Stay Inspired. Read & continue to learn your craft everyday.
I wish I would have taken some business classes & maybe some photoshop/indesign classes! I still have days where everything is a struggle. I don’t have anyone I can pass the work off to so if it’s going to get done, I have to do it myself. I decided to build my own website (TWICE. UGHHH.) so after fighting with that I definitely wish I knew more about graphic design.
I’ve seen your name on many websites (The Knot, Wedding Wire, etc). Which site brings the most potential customers to you?
I have a featured listing with The Knot and I would say 90% of my business comes from there. The rest is word of mouth.
How hard was it to become an LLC? What are some of the benefits and the downfalls of making your business “official”?
Before I started my business, I worked as a legal secretary at a lawfirm in Richmond. There, I met my registered agent for my business so setting up an LLC was a piece of cake. I pay him annually as well as the State Corporation Commission so that my business is well represented should something go wrong. I don’t really think there was a benefit to doing that…just something you have to do since the government has to pocket whatever ounce of profit we make. But we won’t get into that…this is a happy place.
There are so many times that artists are treated poorly by customers – people refusing to pay them, changing their mind halfway through a project/generally being difficult to work with – how do you handle tough customers and what are your thoughts on contracts/deposits?
That brings back a lot of memories! Towards the beginning of my career, I had a lot of this. People will always want something for nothing but from what I have learned, people can afford what they WANT to afford. I just had to learn that my time is valuable and people that are cruel and quick to judge are people that I do not want to do business with….and I don’t want to do business with their friends either. A certain situation that I dealt with last year just came to mind and it all happened because the bride did not communicate properly with me which led to her lashing out at me. So, communication is really important! The season of life that I choose to work in my couples lives is one of stress, high emotion and sometimes that is taken out on us vendors. I try to remember that most of it isn’t personal and I try to go above and beyond when it comes to making my couples feel special-because they are to me. You will always have that certain someone that can never be pleased and that is why I try and weed them out from the beginning.
As far as contracts & deposits, unfortunately they are necessary. It provides accountability to both my client & I and it keeps things on a professional level. Keeping things on a professional level leads to mutual respect.
What’s the nicest thing anyone has ever told you about your photography?
Someone once told me my photos look like a painting and I thought that was pretty cool. ;)
What’s the meanest thing anyone has ever told you about your photography?
I assisted a studio photographer in Church Hill about 7 years ago and when it came time to purchase my own camera, I emailed her with a question regarding a particular Canon model. She responded with, “If you would learn how to read maybe you would have a chance in this industry.” I thought that was kind of harsh. As far as directly related to my photography, someone once told me they could do what I do with their phone. Haha.
What’s your advice on how to handle criticism?
Shake it off!
What do you think is the hardest thing about being a photographer?
Handling peoples often out of reach expectations. With an overly saturated inspiration market for brides, we are expected to create wedding images with pieces that just aren’t there. Every wedding is different… and even with every attempt to recreate a specific moment seen on pinterest or wherever, it just isn’t likely. Budget, lighting
You have the most adorable bunny in the world, a husband, a gorgeously decorated home and a booming business – how do you find balance?
Well first of all, thank you!! I may seem like I have it all together, but really I don’t! I have days where I refuse to do the dishes and fold the clothes. Days where I have to make myself answer my emails and days where I just feel pulled in too many directions. I would say I find balance in taking time for myself and to rest. I take time to live my life and by doing that, I always always get inspired. Sometimes that means turning my phone off or going for a long walk but recharging is critical.
What magazines, TV shows, Instagram profiles, etc. do you feel most inspired by when decorating your home?
On HGTV I really love Genevieve Gorder (Dear Genevieve). She’s my favorite. I also like Emily Henderson from Secrets from A Stylist. On Instagram, Emily Clark (@emilyaclark) is definitely my go to for inspiration! I just love everything she does. She mixes quirky with traditional pretty flawlessly.
What is your favorite thrift store? What’s the best deal you ever got there?
Thrifting I have a love/hate relationship with. I’ll go pretty consistently for a while and then just not go for months on end. I’m in the latter stage right now! When I go though, I like the ROC on crater road in Petersburg, the ROC in Chester and The Goodwill on Crater Road in Petersburg.
My favorite purchase from a thrift store is my yellow Roseanne chair. It looks just like the one that was in Darlene’s room so my husband & I kid that it’s the same one. It was a steal at $10.
Is there a picture you have in mind of what your completed “Lewis Dream Home” will look like in the future? Describe it J
I change my mind a lot. And honestly I just love decorating so it will probably never be finished. My poor husband. (see comment earlier about his patience…)
What is the hardest remodel you’ve ever done?
BY FAR the kitchen. It was about a month and a half of dust, dirt, glue, grout MESS. If affected every room in our house and living in that chaos was very taxing. We had to remove & replace flooring, remove and replace ceiling, rewire, install lighting, install countertops, backsplash, rebuild the island and plumbing for it, paint the cabinets, rehinge the cabinets, hardware on the cabinets…PHEW. Im tired just typing it out! We’re very glad that’s finished!
I hope you all enjoyed that interview as much as I did! If you get the chance to work with Kristin, please take it! She's so good at what she does and Ben and I will always be grateful for her and Kelly's hard work in making the perfect photos for our wedding day. Be sure to check her out here:
On IG - @kristinpartin #lewisdreamhome #kristinpartinphotography
Kristin@kristinpartin.com Kristinpartin.com // 804.926.1060
Hi friends! Welcome to the blog! I'm Mandy and I'm an artist, blogger & founder of the "Artists to Know" interview series. Here you'll find photos of my latest art adventures, furniture makeover projects & advice from successful artists!
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