Part 2 can be found by clicking here!
I am SO EXCITED to share with you my newest interview with a FABULOUS photographer, intelligent businesswoman, interior decorating guru, and overall lovely human being; Kristin Partin, of Kristin Partin Photography!
I first heard about this talented lady when I was desperately searching for the perfect wedding photographer when Ben and I got engaged about two years ago. To say I was picky would be an understatement... ;) So when I came across Kristin's site and saw the depth, beauty, softness and sense of fantasy that came across in her gorgeous wedding photography- I knew she was the one we HAD to have! I was so lucky to have her and her wonderful assistant, Kelly, photograph Ben's and my wedding. I can't imagine anyone doing a better job. But enough about my thoughts! Now it's time for you to hear her point of view on the best (and the hardest) parts of being a business owner, her tips & tricks for photographers AND their brides, along with her sources for inspiration and much more! :) Enjoy!
To start off - in just a couple sentences, how would you describe yourself/your photography style?
KP: I would like to think my photos are clean & timeless with a little bit of quirk on the side. As far as myself, I’m just a little bit of quirk on the side.
What is the driving force behind your photography/what keeps you motivated?
I will be honest. Self employment calls for long days, long nights and little time off. But when I get a kind email, text message, phone call or positive review on our work it makes it all worth it. Making people smile and relive their favorite days and favorite memories will always make it worth it.
Where is the place that you feel most inspired? Why?
My home and in my marriage. I am a very introverted person by nature (are you surprised??) and I need my alone time to give others what they need. My home fuels me and provides the rest I need and it provides a different kind of creative outlet that I have always really loved – interior design. In my marriage, my husband is my constant cheerleader & is the ultimate example of patience & unconditional love which is really inspiring to me. I mean, do you know how much I re-arrange our house?! A lot. And paint. I have repainted a lot of rooms.
How much time do you spend viewing other artists’/photographers’ work? What photographers are your favorite?
I kind of get in these moods where I’ll just hop over from blog to blog (mostly design blogs...). Probably about once a week or so I will check my favorite spots on the interwebz & browse until I’ve caught up. I don’t have any photographers websites that I check regularly because I like to keep my mind a little more on the clear side in that area. Instead, I just fill up my brain with life and that inspires me most. A photographer that I am inspired by a lot is Max Wanger. I think he offers really interesting perspectives & showcases things very uniquely. He’s definitely my favorite. I think it’s good to mix it up any chance you get and I try to challenge myself with that.
What is your favorite camera to use?
Oh my Canon 5d classic for sure! She’s very old and a bit on the slow side but unlike the newer models it is creamy and the images are closer to film straight out of camera.
Do you prefer to work with film or digital? Do you have a dark room?
I love the way film looks but in order to serve my clients best, I shoot digital. I do not have a dark room and have never even tried to shoot film..well, except for my polaroid. There are a lot of hybrid shooters (photographers who shoot digital & film) out there these days as film is making a big come back in the wedding industry.
If you had a million dollars, what would be your dream equipment?
Can I only buy equipment? Because I would definitely love to pay my house off ;) But as far as equipment goes, I’d like to own an additional 5d so my assistant can shoot with one as well and maybe upgrade my 85mm 1.8 to the 1.2. I also need to replace my IMac….sad day.
Besides your camera, what are the materials you can’t live without on a day you’re shooting? (favorite camera bag, chapstick, sensible shoes ;) etc?)
I REALLY love my JoTotes bags (I use the Gracie in Butterscotch http://www.jototes.com/products/gracie-butterscotch). I have one and I bought one for my assistant as well. It has outside pockets for my cards and batteries and inside it has enough room for a backup body, 3 lenses & timeline. Some other things that have to be in my bag are chapstick, gum & advil. For some reason talking all day gives me a headache!
-As far as shoes go, Kelly & I swear by these! The Dexflex Comfort line by Payless is bomb.com. SO comfy and no blisters.
Besides photography – I’ve seen you create beautiful watercolors and calligraphy – what is your favorite non-photography material to mess around with?
I’m really kind of terrible at watercolor unless I’m writing words! I guess my favorite thing to do would be to make art for our home and frame it. Cheap & fun.
Kristin Partin Photography
When did you become a full time photographer? Did you always photograph weddings or did you start by photographing a different subject?
I officially opened in 2007 but started shooting weddings full time in 2009. I started a bit differently than most photographers - I chose to shoot my first 10 weddings for free so that I could learn the ropes. I didn’t feel comfortable charging anyone anything until I at least had some experience. My first year I assisted a few photographers in Lynchburg and Richmond anytime they needed me and that helped me get a good 25 weddings under my belt. I’m very thankful for that experience.
I started with weddings pretty much from the beginning. I did 2 portrait sessions and then a friend of a friend asked me to do her wedding. Rather reluctantly, I agreed. From there I fell in love with the experience and just kept going.
There was never a moment I actually said to myself, “I really want to be a photographer”. It just kind of happened. I always liked taking photos of my sisters and our friends..staging ridiculous photo shoots with matching pig tails & American Eagle shirts. It wasn’t until I was saving money for a trip to England to visit my family that I decided taking pictures could possibly result in more than just embarrassing outfit evidence ;) I took the money that I made by doing photo sessions for friends & family and purchased a camera instead. A Canon 40D kit off of amazon. I remember the first thing I did was attach the macro lens to the body and took a photo of my dog who had just jumped into the pool. I was BEYOND excited. I still get that feeling when I pick up my camera.
How long were you working before you hired an assistant? What is she most helpful with?
Oh my goodness. I could not do any of this without Kelly. She has been with me from day one, literally! Before she started shooting on the actual wedding day with me, she did my bookkeeping, receipts, invoices, taxes…all of the behind the scenes stuff. Now she does that on top of shooting weddings with me. She really is a lifesaver and helps me keep track of anything and everything.
On a wedding day, we both have our specific photo responsibilities but I trained her to shoot as if she were the only photographer there-the same goes for me. That ensures that every aspect is covered. But I will say, relying on her to photograph the groomsmen when we split up during the getting ready part of the day is so very helpful. It allows me to be in two places at once.
I’ve seen that you’re implementing more videography into your website (I love your videos!!) – what is your hope for this part of your business?
We started out gifting brides with these videos when we had the time in a wedding day to do them. That turned into requests and now highlight videos are an actual part of our wedding collections. We really love filming them and love it when we are able to do them just as a surprise…their reactions are just incredible! I would kill for a highlight video from our wedding day. I remember it in my head but being able to see it would be such a gift.
Describe your ideal photography project.
Honestly? Just really happy, nice people. You know, like you & ben :)
Describe an average work day. Do you have a routine or is every day different?
So you know earlier when I mentioned that I’m naturally a very introverted person? Well I’m ALSO a very inconsistent person! I’ll just air out all my dirty laundry here. I wish I were one of those people with a strict schedule but working from home really requires a certain dedication I haven’t quite mastered yet ;) Blame that on the home-schooling. Everyday there are things I do for my business (emails, editing, contracts, shipping, etc.) but I get to them when I get to them. I really like to spend time with my husband when he gets home from work so if it’s 10PM and I’ve just then sat down at my computer, I’ll work until I’m finished (most of the time all night). I think that creative people are often like that..we just get inspired at different times of the day because we can. I try not to be too hard on myself about that.
How do you hope to see your business evolve in the future? More employees? More destination weddings?
Good question! I would like to keep this business small….just keep it Kelly & I because we are a good team. Money ruins friendships and Kelly is the exception. We love to travel though so more destination weddings would be amazing! (Paris, California, Italy, New Zealand…anyone?! J)
What is your favorite moment to photograph in a wedding? What makes that moment special?
Oh man! So many. I would have to say the portrait time with the bride & groom. Everything is so new and fresh to them and it’s just a really sweet time that Im really lucky to be a part of. We also really love photographing all of the little behind the scenes things no one sees ;)
If you could give a bride tips to help make photographing her wedding run as smoothly as possible (and she promised to listen ;) – what would you tell her?
Haha! I would say …
1) work with your photographer on a detailed timeline
2) In all of the chaos of a wedding day, make sure you voice what is important to YOU. Not your mother, wedding coordinator, etc. Make sure you aren’t so distracted with your wedding that you miss that sweet man that is so happy to have you as his new bride.
And 3) consider a first look. I know I know….you’ve heard this one too many times. But coming from someone who didn’t choose to have a first look on her own wedding day, I have seen it benefit the couple in so many ways. After your ceremony, you have your wedding party photos, family portraits & portraits with your man….and you are tired!! You’ve probably been up all night, probably haven’t eaten and probably had a long few weeks leading up to your wedding day. If you have a first look, the amount of photos taken after the ceremony are minimal and you can get yourself over to the food & to your party quicker. Plus, instead of feeling tired & hungry & being done with smiling during your portraits, you will feel none of those things because your portraits are FIRST. Your photographer is there to serve you and your needs so if a first look isn’t in the cards for you, that is absolutely fine! But if you are willing to trust your photographer & consider it, you won’t regret it. Don’t ever let your photographer (or any of your vendors) talk you into something you know in your heart isn’t for you.
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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