Kimberly Sweet has what most people consider a dream job: She photographs adorable babies, couples and entire families— But what's her job really like?
Here, Kimberly answers our most pressing questions (her answers are surprising!)...
When did you decide to start your own business?
It was an accident. It just sort of happened. James got me a camera for my birthday less tan a year ago, I took some pictures, people asked me to take more pictures and then I started getting paid to take pictures. After that, I went and got my business license and it just sort of happened.
How did you decide on photography as your business?
I think it was the people. People are interesting because they have their own story. So I started taking pictures of people and then more and more and more people. And it turns out I really like it.
Photography has always been in the back of my mind and I have been asking for a camera for years. As a teacher at the Humboldt State University Children’s Center I was taking a lot of pictures of kids. Which felt really natural to me.
So my husband got me a camera as a gift. I don’t think he had any idea that I would use it so much.
So it sounds like photography chose you?
I think we chose each other. I thought I would take pictures here and there but now its multiple times a week
What was the best piece of advice you were given as you were starting out?
Follow your passion, you have to really love it because its your job and its not always easy. But if you love doing it even your worst day can’t take that away from you. There are days where you are tired and there are things you don’t want to do, but you can’t let those things get into your head.
If it starts to feel like work give yourself break because you don’t want to lose the love for it. Because your work will suffer and your clients will suffer, you are going to suffer. You have to think of yourself, because in a way your business is an extension or yourself. You have to give yourself 100% to give your business 100%. Take care of yourself.
People glamorize the job of being a photographer. What are some tricky parts that people wouldn't expect?
The glamorized parts are truly fun; meeting new people, editing and customizing the client experience. The parts that you see are fun, but the behind the scene is definitely tricky.
Behind the scenes such as insurance, bookkeeping and all the math!
If you give a photographer a camera she is going to want a lens, a stage light, reflectors, a new camera bag, more lenses, UV screen, more lights and a studio. I want all the things! Six cameras!
You want all these things to grow your business and you've made -$700 to put the prettiest bows on your packaging. And, then she is going to want a glass of wine to relax.
What is your inspiration for your shoots?
Pinterest. Every day.
I follow a lot of other photographer’s on Facebook. 90% photographers, 10% friends. I follow Photographer's from all over the United States and all over the world. Sharing ideas.
Photographers are passionate and are willing to help. I want to be the type of photographer that is absolutely willing to share ideas. Photography is like any art you can have 10 different artists draw a cup and it will be different.
What is your goal during each shoot?
I'd have to say that my goal for each session is to give my client 110%. Sometimes that means my goal is to capture candid family moments, other times it's to make a woman feel sexy and beautiful, others it's to capture the love between a newly engaged couple. Whatever it is that my clients want captured forever it is my goal to do that in a fun low stress way. I want everyone to leave their sessions feeling great!
Any sweet moments you will always remember?
I am a hugger, so every once in a while I will get a client that gives me a hug as a thanks.
I had one client contact me with a special editing request. She had lost her first child a few years back and was getting Mother's Day pictures done with her son. She asked if I could do a creative edit with the silhouette of a toddler in the image in remembrance of her first baby who would be 3 this year. I had never done an edit like that before but I really wanted to be able to do this for her. So I reached out to Dax McMillan Photography in Oregon and he walked me through the edit. This was so special to me 1. because I was able to give this precious image to a mamma who had been through so much and 2. Dax helping me out made me feel so proud to be a part of the photography community. He could have been competitive and protective, but in stead he was encouraging and supportive. I want to be like that.
You get really close to people most of the time, you cross this place with them, spending two hours with them. The repeat clients who keep coming back and that are truly the best feeling in the world. When they post photos with “My Photographer” that is a really good feeling. The people are the highlights and we have formed these great friendships.
What are a few things people don’t know about you?
My guilty pleasure is Gossip Girl
I try not to wear pants if possible
I am moderately to severely obsessed with Giraffes
Our baby is our dog
I have four chickens – Though they don’t like me.
We just bought our first house – a big project, all our renovations in a month
I also work at CR, my job-job; photography is my hobby-job, my fun job.
I am naturally a red head
I really want to do an early morning photo shoot, I have never done one and really would like to.
Want to see more? Check out Kimerbly Ann Photography on Facebook.