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Art & Life with Kami Olavarria

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kami Olavarria.

Kami, please kick things off for us by telling us about yourself and your journey so far.
I started my career in the wedding industry a little bit by accident. I started as a makeup artist – my mom was a makeup artist; when I was in 5th grade I was pulled out of school for a while to go to Los Angeles with her as she went to makeup school. She passed away when I was a teenager and a few of her makeup artist friends took me in, quickly becoming some of my closest friends and role models. I was their assistant/apprentice as they did makeup at weddings for all of my high school years. It was a pretty badass first job! By the time I was 18, I was working as a professional wedding and event makeup artist running my first business (truth be told it was my SECOND business – I taught drum lessons to my friends in junior high and actually convinced their parents to PAY me for it – I’ve always been very entrepreneurial I guess!).

Being a wedding makeup artist was my job throughout college where I was studying photojournalism. I never considered being wedding photographer – I wanted to be a ‘serious journalist’, but then someone asked me to shoot their wedding. I crazily agreed and spent that next year leading up to that wedding learning everything I could about portrait photography. I shot that wedding and then afterwards, I started getting more wedding inquiries. So, I decided I should probably make a website and figure out how to be a wedding photographer and 5 years later, this is my full-time job. Wedding photography gave me joy and the ability to serve others while use my passion for storytelling in a way I never dreamt possible. It was the craziest and most beautiful collision of all the things I love and am good at.

Can you give our readers some background on your art?
I am a wedding and portrait photographer. For me, it’s always been about people before art – giving them the best experience ever ALWAYS comes first. At the core of who I am, I just want to serve others and make them happy. Bring them joy and show them their beauty. I feel like photography is the avenue, tool, and skill I acquired that allowed me to serve and love others. If I ever decide not to do photography, I believe I could find something else that allows me to love people well. But for now, photography is the best way I know to do that.

I love being a part of weddings, as cheesy as I feel saying that. I am super happy person, and I love being a part of these crazy high energy happy days. On the flip side, sometimes it’s stressful and not so happy, so I love coming in and bring them back to why it’s important and creating space for them to enjoy their day. And at the end of it they get beautiful images to remember that rad day forever and pass down for years to come – that’s amazing!!!

I LOVE creating work and art that impacts people so directly. It is taking somebody’s real experiences and creating art out of it that they can love and cherish forever – it is seriously the coolest thing.

How do you think about success, as an artist, and what do quality do you feel is most helpful?
As long as I have happy couples and I am producing work I am proud of, I feel like I am successful. Lately, I am also really working towards creating better work + life boundaries, as it’s SO easy to let your art/business take over your life. As artists or entrepreneurs, we go into this to create freedom in our lives, but more often than not it becomes the complete opposite! One measure of success I am working toward is cutting work days off at 8 hours, remembering to take care of myself first, and allowing myself days off. It seems simple and silly, but if I can do that, I will be successful.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
All images are my own.

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