Five years ago I had a life changing decision to make. At the young age of 21 I was working at a job making almost 6 figures a year and I had absolutely no idea where the hell my life was going to take me. Only but a year before that I was spending late nights in a darkroom and studio photographing anything I could think of. I had every tool I needed right there to create any image I wanted. I was printing Cyanotypes and photographing self portraits on Large format cameras and developing my own film. I was in Photo Heaven. I was learning so much about photography, so much that I still use today, lessons that are the foundation for who I am as a photographer. But, I learned absolutely nothing about how I could make money off of my photography. Or how to run a business, or how to file taxes, or how to find clients, or….I could go on and on. I absolutely loved having a camera in my hand but once I graduated and got off my Mom and Dad’s Payroll, I had to find a job. What most would refer to as a “real job”. So I went out and found a job at a company selling large format printers and copiers.
It was cool at first. It was the same job my dad had right out of college and I felt like I was making some headway with new clients and even made an $80,000 sale in my first 3 months. I was a different person. I wore pencil skirts, got my nails done regularly, played golf, carried a padfolio, laughed like I was from royalty when with clients, and pretty much played the role of Salesperson of the Year.
The truth was, it wasn’t me. I would wake up and put on my outfit and spend an hour doing my hair and makeup and the entire time I was doing that, I was thinking about how much I wanted to be photographing. But I was scared. To the point of tears sometimes. Scared of failing and starting over. Scared of the unknown. Scared of letting myself or even worse, people I care about down. It took a lot of debate within myself to come to the decision but I knew I needed to find some way to do what so many people said would be nearly impossible to do. Start my own photography company.
I sold almost everything I had. Moved in with my parents for three months. And spent the next several weeks building my site, photographing anything for free, reading business books, going out of my mind, and ultimately diving head first into one of the biggest and most important decision of my life so far. There was a lot I did not know and to this day still tons of stuff I am learning. There are times where I think and reflect on myself and KiKi Creates 5 years ago. When I was photographing weddings for $100 and spending 12 hours days passing out flyers and knocking on doors trying to find clients. I got tired and discouraged several times. I was stressed and had to sacrifice relationships in order to make my dream of becoming a professional photographer stay alive.
Although my first year was tough, I made it out relatively unscathed. My second year was spent building my portfolio in any and everything I could find. I think I even photographed a Dog’s Birthday just to get out there and shoot. My third year opportunity started knocking at my door with several destination weddings and a 4 month stint in Hawaii. My fourth year was a year of professionalism. I spent all year building my SEO, becoming a certified photographer, and re-branding myself and company. My fifth year has brought tons of new travel and put me on the map to do what I really love to do. Photograph on the Road. I am amazed at where I am at and absolutely overwhelmed with the amount of amazing people and stories I have heard. I have been honored to photograph some of my clients most special and sacred moment and have been entrusted with photographs that not only they, but I will cherish and remember forever. I honestly cannot imagine my life, my job in any other way. It has been a dream job and besides the hope to keep my business alive another 5..or 50 years. I hope to keep building the most important part, my wonderful relationships with the people in front of my lens. Without your beauty I would never have the opportunity to share such lovely photographs.
Happy 5th Birthday, KiKi Creates and Thank you to the following people below for your continued guidance, support, and good times.
Dad, you gave me my first camera and I still use it while working today. It is my most cherished thing I own. Thank You for planting the seed.
Mom, you are everything. You are support and a cheerleader and your also my motivator. You started your own company 25 years ago and I can only hope to have accomplished half of what you have as a working Mother of three. Dad may have planted the seed, but you watered it.
Kristen, my sister. You probably hate seeing emails from me because you have answered about a million. If it weren’t for your help with branding, design, and advertising I would have no clients or business coming in. I owe you one. Like, a really big one.
Carlyn, my friend. You have introduced me to some of the most client referrals out off all my friends. Thank you for being a wonderful person and in turn having wonderful friends. Lady Klug…You are a close second!
Tanner, You haven’t been here the past five years. But the two you have been with me have been the most grand. We should celebrate over a bottle of Jameson.
To every client I have had…Thank you, Thank you, Thank you for trusting me with such important memories. You are my everything. My little KiKi Creators.
Time to celebrate,