1. How did you get started in photography and when did you start your business?
In December of 2011, I was in nursing school with the intention of being a labor and delivery nurse or in the NICU. I loved newborns and knew I wanted to work with them. At this point, photography was a “light” hobby for me, as nursing school doesn’t allow for much free time and being a newlywed, when I did have free-time I wanted to be with my husband. One night my mother, who is an OR nurse, called me in tears and co-worker had just undergone an emergency c-section due to complications and they delivered the baby, which they thought was a girl, was so small the gender couldn’t be confirmed without a blood test and later confirmed it was a boy. She asked me if I would go in to the NICU weekly, if my schedule allowed, and take pictures of him, as those might have been the only images they would have. It was during this time that I soon realized being a nurse wasn’t for me. It was very emotional and exhausting to be in there just once a week for 6 weeks. To see the parents thank me with tears in their eyes of the images I had given them vs. the pain they endured while watching their baby boy with IV’s in the top of his head and so weak, I knew that I wanted to be on the other side of things. Within weeks, I withdrew from nursing school while my husband agreed to continue to support us financially while so that I could pursue photography.
2. Where are you located? Do you have a studio space or do you shoot on-location?
I am currently in Fort Smith, Arkansas but I am in the process of transitioning to Northwest Arkansas. I have studio space in my home that is used for newborns and I have commercial space for an office where I do all consultations and viewing/ordering appointments. Most all sessions other than newborns I do are on location.
3. What do you shoot with and what are your favorite lenses?
I shoot with a 5dMkIII and I have two favorite lenses… in studio my 24-70 and on location my 135! LOVE that 135!
4. Do you shoot anything other than newborns?
Yes, I photograph beautiful mama-to-be as well!
5. How would you describe your style & where do you find your inspiration?
I am actually in a transitional period of my style. Before, I would say my style was like the kitchen sink, I would do anything! However, this year I am transitioning into a more simple, timeless and intimate style. My inspiration comes from emotion and sentiment. As a person who kept a square from my grandmother’s carpet, I think it safe to say that I am a sentimental person. I love learning who my clients are before their session and bringing their emotions in on the day of the shoot. A lot of my props I use are actually things that are of sentimental value to a client. I once had a client bring in a little small stuffed bear that was from her brother before he passed away. When we placed the bear on the baby for the shot, he smiled! It was amazing! I really want the parents to be able to walk past their images on the wall every day and feel that emotional and love they felt while photographing their session!
6. Have you taken any photography workshops and/or training?
I have taken a workshop with Jenny Leigh Photography located in Frisco, TX. I have a slight addiction to CreativeLive so I have a nice collection of courses there. I also managed to grab a spot in Kristen Mackey of Son Kissed Photography in September of this year!
7. Where do you like to shop for your props? Do you have favorite vendors?
Since my husband doesn’t have an account here and can’t see this… I will go ahead and say it… I am addicted to RTS on Facebook. It takes everything in me to keep scrolling past them. My favorite vendors include: Devoted Knits, My Darling Emma, Pinktinks, GoodnightMoon Props, Ollie and Zoe… I could literally go on forever!
8. Please share with us your top 5 favorite images!
I love the urban location with the pop of blue and of course, the DOF :)
This is my gorgeous assistant. I love her with all my heart and this is my first “niece” and to see her so beautiful while pregnant makes me happy beyond words.
This session was very impromptu and we made a “dress” out of 12 feet of fabric that was left on the roll from Hancocks. It was so fun to see this session come together with just the resources we had so quickly.
I love twins. These babies were so bonded, even at only 5 days old. They weren’t happy and good and asleep unless they were touching. Even though this image is posed, I love showing that bond between them.
I love the textures and earth tones while the baby looks so so peaceful. He wasn’t the easiest baby, so to finally get him to sleep and see him comfortable and happy was just so perfect!
9. What are 3 you wish someone would have told you when you started?
1) I wish I would have learned sooner that there is a separation between Kala Rath and Kala Rath Photography. Kala Rath is a person and has a life outside of a business. It honestly wasn’t until recently that I had to post a status on Facebook about clients messaging me at 11:30pm about their orders or texting me all hours of the evening and weekends. Yes, some of them were clients-turned-to-friends but once you establish that relationship, the photographer-client relationship get’s blurred and it’s not fun re-establishing that line.
2) Take a workshop and education sooner rather than later. Yes, it’s a lot of money when you are first starting out… but it’s an investment and you will get every penny back!! I wish I would have taken one at day one.
3) The most important one for me… Understanding what you are worth. For the longest time I always had the thoughts “I’m not good enough to charge that”, “No one would ever buy that from me for that price,” “Maybe if I was as good as her…” etc. My friend Jenny that I mentioned earlier once told me that if I don’t believe I am not good enough or worth that, then no one else has a reason to believe it either. You have to believe in yourself. You have to walk out and embrace our industry as tall, strong and confident in who you are as a person and who you are as photographer. That is the best advice I have been given and accepted as a photographer.
10. What are your favorite things about NewbornPhotography.com?
I love the critique. As a finance manager, my husband isn’t the best at giving my constructive criticism when it comes to newborn photography ;). I love having a group of people that can help with this. CC is one the things that really helps me improve as a photographer.I love the feeling of community. Everyone here is so dang friendly and that is awesome! I was a member from the very start but let my membership expire (I won’t make that mistake again.) I recently renewed in November of 2013.
11. Lastly, tell us about YOU! Who are you, other than a photographer?
I am a twenty-something, indecisive, muscle car loving, social person. :) You won’t find a text message from me without at least 5 exclamation marks and a smiley face at the end. I love my career, love my home and love my husband, who I have been with for 8 years and married for 3. Our only baby is our fur baby, Lizzy who is an Alaskan Husky. We love to travel together and did a study abroad in Galway, Ireland while in college. I love to have a glass of wine and watch Netflix on the couch. On our days off, we take Lizzy with us and spend the day in the Jeep sightseeing and hiking. So that is me in a nutshell :)
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Would you like to be our next Spotlight Photographer? E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject “Spotlight Photographer.” We look forward to featuring you!