We had the good fortune of connecting with Kim Steward and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kim, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
Honestly my intentions were to just take nice family pictures of my kids. Then other people asked if I’d take their photos too. When they started offering me money to do it I knew then that this is a business. I can get paid for something I love to do!
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
My art is family photography. My shooting style includes candid, posed and lifestyle storytelling imagery. My editing style is colorful, bright and vibrant. I love capturing emotion, love and the bond between families which include the couple’s bond, parent’s bond with their children and the bond between siblings.
What sets me apart is that I under promise and always over-deliver, my client experience and that I love gifting my clients sneak peeks from their session within 48 hours.
For example I tell my clients I’ll send them 1 of my favorites for the sneak peek but deliver 3.
I live by the famous quote by Maya Angelou that reads …. “people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” My client experience is something I’m very proud about and I wouldn’t have been able to achieve it without my CRM system. I’m a creative so I really don’t like the business aspect of things but I know it must be done………..correctly. Having automated systems in place is golden!! It’s definitely how I got to where I am today. Being consistent is key with any business. Once I set up my systems I could ensure every client was getting the same superb experience. It wasn’t easy setting up and finding the right systems but once they were in place business life is much easier and enjoyable!!
The reason I love to send my clients sneak peeks within 48 hours of their session is because of all the excitement and anticipation before and during their session how can I make them wait another 2 weeks to see an image?! No way.
Lessons I’ve learned along the way include that there really is no right or wrong way of doing things. I’ve taken several courses and have had several mentors and I don’t agree with everything said or done but I implemented the things I agree with and like and will may be try other suggestions and throw out the rest. Lol. Implementing new things is always trial and error. You have to be ok with failing.
Not everything is going to work for you as it works for others but you’ll never know if you don’t try. You can sugar coat FAILURE with acronyms and all that but it is what it is and you must be ok with taking risks knowing that they may not work out and be successful. For example, I opened a clothing boutique in the middle of COVID for those that had a hard time finding something to wear for their photo sessions. It did not work out and was a big fail. No hard feelings, it was a learning experience. Try again with a new idea, right? So now I offer a Client Closet for my clients that want to wear a beautiful dress during their portrait session. My future clients are intrigued and like the idea of wearing a fancy dress for their session that they don’t have to go out and buy!
I’d love to shout-out my husband Mike who is my number one fan and supporter. He believes in me more than I believe in myself sometimes. My bestie Trish is my business buddy who helps me see things in other perspectives. My biggest shout out is to God. When others fail me He’s always there and faithful to guide me where I need to go. He’s The CEO of my business.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”
Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
If my best friend were visiting the area I’d take them downtown St. Augustine FL to walk around, capture some beautiful memories and eat some great food!!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
After deciding that I wanted to truly be a photographer with my own business I knew I needed images for my portfolio. My wonderful friends and family were my models and since I was practicing a lot this was a tedious task. Whenever anyone visited our home, before they left they had to have a mini photoshoot with me. That was the rule. LOL I had to practice my shooting style, lighting, exposure, all the things. My family and friends were great sports and I’m thankful because that was very helpful in getting me ahead and feeling more confident.
I then invested in myself and took some photography, business and social media courses.