Throughout the last 7 years we’ve met so many incredible artists, designers, people that are in the creative industry – kicking butt and taking names. And while we’re well versed in the work that they produce, it’s so nice to get a little glimpse behind the scenes into the space that makes them happy. So today we’re here with photographer Kim Le, talking shop and devouring her gorgeous studio.
SMP: So tell us a little about your stunning office. What was your inspiration behind the decor?
Kim: I wanted my studio to reflect my brand and everything in the space to show both my photography and personal style. I am drawn to the beautiful natural light of the space and wanted to keep the studio bright, airy and fresh. I included decorative pieces that are romantic, whimsical and modern, all of which complement my photography work and my personal style. I want my clients to trust me as their photographer and also get inspired by my style. Earlier this year, I actually created a personal style blog called Lace & Locks where I share more insight into my personal life with an emphasis on fashion, home decor and being newly married.
SMP: How did you get your start in the photography industry?
KIM: My start in the photography industry began as a hobby. I bought a nice camera for a trip to Europe and it was soon after at my sister’s wedding that I learned that I loved shooting people. I loved connecting with them and capturing their essence and relationships on my camera. And as a girly girl and hopeless romantic, I learned I love weddings. Every detail was so pretty. Every moment was so magical. I knew I had found my calling. I took a leap of faith and decided to pursue wedding photography as a full time job in the summer of 2009.
SMP: What was it that gave you the final push to start your own photography studio?
Kim: Shortly after I discovered my passion for wedding photography, I also realized how much I loved photographing women. I was drawn to my brides and the ability to captures a woman’s true beauty and personality through my photographs and making women feel sexy and confident. So the studio came about as a place to meet with my wedding clients and also a place to photograph my beauty and boudoir clients. As my Je T’aime Beauty business grew, I knew I needed to find a space for my clients to feel comfortable and excited. I love having my clients come to the studio and enjoy he full experience of being pampered with professional hair and makeup and then a fun photo session that leaves them feeling glamorous and confident.
SMP: Do you have any tips for people hoping to follow in your footsteps?
Kim: Having your own studio space is an added overhead cost and if you are planning to take on this responsibility, just make sure you are going to have a steady flow of income to sustain it. I come from an accounting background so I understand that it is just as important to take care of the financial side as well as the creative side of your business.
SMP: One word of advice for photographers who are just starting out?
Kim: Be yourself. It’s important to stay true to your style and be genuine. Don’t focus on what others are doing – just focus on getting better technically and creatively.
SMP: With so much talent out there, what are your tricks for setting yourself apart from the others?
Kim: I wouldn’t say I have any tricks – at the end of the day, I just hope my hard work and passion speaks for itself. I want all of the things I do to be an extension of me – from my website to my studio – I want my clients to know exactly who I am and what I am capable of when they hire me.
SMP: Who do you look up to?
Kim: Lisa Kristine – she is an acclaimed humanitarian photographer who has traveled the world photographing indigenous people and through her work, has brought awareness to international issues such as child slavery and poverty. I hope I get to use my photography to empower more people.
SMP: What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Kim: Don’t be afraid to take risks. If I never took that leap of faith in 2009 to start my full time wedding photography business, I would never have captured so many beautiful moments, met so many wonderful people (including my husband :)) and never see my business grow into what it is today. I haven’t stopped taking risks and I am so excited to see what other opportunities come my way.
KIM’S TOP 5 PHOTOGRAPHY TIPS:
No. 1. Shoot the subjects you love to shoot. Don’t try to be a photographer that photographs everything and everyone. Focus on what you are most passionate about and excel in that area.
No. 2. Deliver amazing client service. Your clients will remember how you treated them and their testimonials and referrals can only add value to your business.
No. 3. Engage your subject. When shooting people, it’s important to make them feel comfortable and learn how to get genuine, natural expressions.
No. 4. Don’t forget the business side of it. Remember you are running a business. Be financially disciplined and make sure you have clear goals and budgets.
No. 5. Don’t stop growing! As a professional, keep striving to push the limits of your creativity. Find new ways to shoot something. Learn new ways to use light.
Photography: Kim Le Photography