Today we’d like to introduce you to Kate Mills.
Kate, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
In 2008 I graduated from SDSU with a Liberal Studies degree and plans to become an elementary school teacher. Shortly after graduation, my now husband & I took a 3-month long backpacking trip across Europe. We visited 17 countries and I took over 10,000 photos. Photography had always been a hobby of mine, but it was never anything I ever dreamed could possibly be a career. On our trip, however, I completely fell in love with the art of photography. When we returned home, the job market was rough, and I needed a way to make some money.
I started doing free photo shoots for friends & family members and I enrolled in some photography classes at the community college to learn the technical aspects of photography. When I felt confident enough, I started doing shoots for strangers (the scariest thing ever at the time) and my work was very well received. Within 6 months, business was absolutely booming, and I officially stopped looking for other jobs. I’m so lucky I get to do what I love for a living, and at this point, 10 years in, I can’t imagine doing anything else!
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’m lucky that it has been pretty smooth in that I’ve never reached a low point where I’ve considered quitting, but of course, running my own business comes with a lot of challenges I’ve had to overcome. There are a LOT of photographers here in San Diego, so finding the thing that makes you stand out above the rest is a challenge. I quickly realized that I needed to find my personal style & a niche of people to appeal to, as opposed to trying to appeal to everybody. Once I learned that things got much easier.
When I had my son in 2016, my business was turned a little upside down as well. I was always a fairly high volume photographer, but all of a sudden I didn’t want to be away from my little guy for hours & hours every day. I cut my volume down drastically, and now only take a few shoots a week. It’s been a bit challenging financially, but I am loving the time spent with my son, and it’s completely worth it!
Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Chasing Daylight Photography – what should we know?
I specialize in family portrait photography, along with engagement/maternity photos & senior portraits. I chose the business name Chasing Daylight Photography because I feel like it fits my style perfectly. I’m always chasing the perfect light, and I schedule every shoot according to the best time for lighting in that particular location. My signature style is warm backlighting paired with fun, candid moments. I love capturing families and couples interacting with each other, and I strive to capture those quick, authentic family moments that happen in between posed photos.
I’m most proud of my ability to pull great photos from shoots that might not be running super smoothly. I constantly have sessions where the little ones are just not feeling it for whatever reason, maybe they didn’t nap that day, or they’re super shy. I love being able to chat with them and get them to interact with me, even if it’s just for a moment. I love when parents view the photos and say “I was convinced you didn’t get any good shots because my kids were so rough that day, but there are dozens here that I absolutely love! I don’t know how you do it!” That’s probably my most common compliment, and I love hearing that. It only takes a moment!
Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
I think the number one key to my success is flexibility. The world of photography looks completely different from how it did 10 years ago when I started. The market is way more saturated, absolutely everything is pretty much digital, editing styles have changed, and the methods potential clients find their photographer are all new. It’s so easy to sometimes be disheartened by these changes, but I’ve always vowed to embrace them. I never want to stop learning about my craft, and I always want to find fresh inspiration for new shoots, concepts, and styles.
- Sessions start at $450
- Website: www.chasingdaylightphoto.com
- Phone: 619-252-7342
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: instagram.com/chasingdaylightphoto
- Facebook: facebook.com/chasingdaylightphoto
- Twitter: twitter.com/ichasedaylight
- Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/biz/chasing-daylight-photography-san-diego
- Other: www.photosparkshow.com
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