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Meet Kathleen Back of CandidlyKate Photography

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kathleen Back.

Kathleen, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
From the time I was little I can always remember being the kid at all the family gatherings who had the camera, wanting to take everyone’s pictures and make lasting memories. My love of photography grew stronger as I got older and by the time I got to college, I was known as the girl who always had the camera at all the parties and events for those four years.

After graduation, I continued to take photos for fun. Then, one beautiful fall a few years after college, my best friend asked if I would take a few photos of her and her fiancé, as engagement pictures. I jumped in and loved every moment of it. They loved the photos, I loved the whole process of taking them and sharing them, and it sparked something in me to do more with this passion of mine.

Over time I started taking friends and family members’ photos more formally and eventually tried my luck at charging for sessions. It took a lot of practice, a lot of studying and learning and a lot of courage, but I eventually felt comfortable enough to give my business a name, create a website, and formally present myself to the world as CandidlyKate Photography.

I upgraded my equipment and just kept shooting. Clients started sending other clients my way. I started learning more about the business side, launched an entirely new website, and figured out how to create an online proofing and ordering site for clients as well.

It has now been six years since I launched my business and it’s amazing to look back on where I started and where I am today. The quality of what I offer has increased and my understanding of how to work with, and support clients has grown as well. I’m still a very small business, working primarily out of Ohio and taking on Atlanta area clients when I make trips back there at least once or twice a year, but I have big dreams for my business and can’t wait to see what the future holds!

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I have definitely encountered some struggles during this business adventure and in fact, wanted to fully ‘quit’ a few times! Starting a small business takes grit. I had no idea what I was doing in the beginning. It was difficult to decide proper pricing for my sessions, how to register as an LLC, how to file all the proper paperwork to become a business, how to create a blog, how to properly process photos for client delivery…the list goes on and on. I think my biggest struggle has been growing my client base. It’s very hard to know how/when/where to market and how to set yourself apart from others in a similar line of business.

The one thing I learned in these struggles though, is you just have to jump in. I never let my fear of failure get in the way. I knew my first website wasn’t great…it wasn’t even all that good…but it was a start. I knew I probably wouldn’t be profitable for a while, but I still pushed to at least try. So for me, the struggles were all part of growing and learning which was critical to getting me where I am today.

CandidlyKate Photography – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
My company offers portrait photography for families, children, infants, couples and seniors. I specialize in outdoor, natural-light photography. What I am most proud of, and what I think actually sets me apart from others in this industry, is marketing myself and my business as fun, easy and affordable. I work hard to price myself and present myself in a way that the average family can connect with, and not feel burdened by how much a session may cost, or how stressful a session may be.

You’ll find that when I show up to a session, I’ll be in flip flops, a pony tail, jeans and a T-shirt. I am really laid back and I think that is what keeps my clients coming back…they don’t dread 60 minutes with me because I’m comfortable and having fun; and so are they!

What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
I think the proudest moment of my career was when a client sent a note saying she hopes I know how special it is that I help capture the memories of a lifetime for her family. She said she was in tears when she saw her gallery and will cherish them always.

Just knowing that my portraits impact people’s lives and allow them to freeze moments in time where they can look back for years to come and enjoy them makes me beam with pride.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
CandidlyKate Photography LLC

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