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Photography: Starting at Square One

Updated: Jan 24, 2020

Photography seems pretty simple from the outside. Invest in a decent camera, learn the settings, take some pictures and boom, you’re a photographer.


When I (Kait) first started photography I was just out of high school, probably around 19 years old. I bought a Canon Rebel and a MacBook Pro. I got myself a loan from the bank with the help of my dad and I started from the bottom.

I practiced on family, friends, really anybody who was willing to get their picture taken. As soon as I got the ball rolling a little bit and some inquiries started coming in, I ended up in the Senior Photo scene. I did a lot of them. There’s a few shoots that I still look back on and think “wow, I still really love that shot!”

I also learned and failed a lot during that time. The comparison game is painful when you first start out as a photographer. You quickly learn that having nice gear doesn’t make you a photographer. You need to make mistakes in order to learn and grow in your artistry.

Speaking of artistry.. Photography is just that. Art. I don’t remember where or who I learned this from, but when I’d take a photo, I’d imagine it on a giant canvas print displayed in somebody’s living room for all to see. Would I be proud of it when I saw it? Or would I pick apart the angle I chose, the lighting, the white balance, the way I edited it. These are all things that you come to realize are so important when you snap any photo. All of those thoughts should run through your head every time you release your shutter.

That sounds like a lot but eventually you just do it. You notice the sun, the angle it needs to be at, the look on your subjects face and if it’s worth capturing. The settings on your camera, the angle, the mood, what’s in the background.. that all becomes natural too. Of course you’ll get the occasional too-dark or too-light shot or you won’t realize there was a jogger passing by in the background, but you learn from that too.

When I first started weddings, I was a second shooter for a local photographer. I did one or two weddings with her and after that, I wasn’t sure if it was for me. THEN I did an entire wedding by myself and I swore up and down that I’d never photograph another wedding ever again.

But I did!

After another couple of years of trial and error, learning to edit, taking a couple of photography workshops, watching YouTube videos.. I found myself second-shooting for Marianne Wiest. She took my wedding photos and was (still is) a photography legend. I couldn’t believe I was good enough to be her second shooter on multiple occasions. I learned the flow of weddings and the techniques from her and she would consistently praise me on the photos I took after she’d unload them from the memory card. She literally lit the wedding fire in my heart and I’ve never looked back.

I got married in 2013 and married into the most amazing family out there. I quickly became close with Crystal, who is my sister-in-law, and we both shared the same passion for photography. That’s when K&C Photography was born, in 2014. Driving to and from weddings together, sharing photos back and forth, editing together, being proud of the work we’ve done, meeting countless couples who become friends, learning together, being frustrated together and growing as photographers together has also led us to become best friends.

Wedding season is now our favorite time of the year. We get to meet new couples, learn who they are, meet their friends and families, all while taking photos that they’ll have forever and share for generations. There’s nothing more satisfying and rewarding than that.

We still have a lot to learn. That’s what is so awesome about photography, it’s forever changing and evolving. You will always have something new to learn. Your style will change and grow and eventually you find that sweet spot where you’re finally comfortable, content and proud of your artwork. But don’t mistake that for constantly needing and wanting to do better and learn more, that’s just part of having a creative mind!

Yes, it takes a long time. You cannot be a photographer overnight. I can’t tell you how many times I quit, changed my business name, quit again, beat myself up for shoots that went poorly, shamed myself for thinking a photo i took a year ago was actually good. You may do all those same things too. But I’m so glad I kept going and I’m even more glad that I am apart of K&C Photography and the business we have created together.

If we could give a new photographer just ONE piece of advice, it’d be “keep going, keep learning”. We are still doing the same.

-Kait + Crystal

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