An interview with very sweet & very talented Kimberly Meserve Calakoutis, owner of KC Photography in MA!
How did you become interested in photography?
I pretty much have always been a really creative, artistic person. It is the only think I can imagine myself doing. It wasn’t until I was a little older that I focused specifically on photography. I remember being in college, at the beach with some friends, and having my roommates disposable camera, and I was taking pictures of rocks and water, and sand, and my roommate looking at me like I was nuts, wasting film! So I guess it was pretty much always there!
What made you decide to become a professional wedding photographer and how long have you been in the industry?
I think it found me! When I was college I was in the fine art program, and I loved photography. I was really passionate about it, people started asking me if I could help out a friend of theirs, who were getting married but didn’t have a lot of money. After college, I spent several years working with established photographers, gaining experience and building a portfolio. Last year was my first year in business, and this year I just opened a new studio.
Do you have any advice for those who want to someday become a professional wedding photographer?
First you have to love it. Second just never give up! Third, treat people the way you would want to be treated.
Describe yourself in three words.
My husband is sitting right here so I asked him. He said: sweet, pretty and loving (And then he added – stinky!). The three words I would use are: happy, fun, and maybe even a little wacky!
What kind of wedding photography do you offer?
The three words I like to use are: Timeless, Sophisticated and Elegant. I like traditional images done in a not so traditional way. I also really like simple. Simple can be so beautiful.
When shooting a wedding, what provides your inspiration for that unique event?
Everything! The location, the couple’s personalities, the colors, the tone of the event, even the weather! I find it inspiring to shoot in a place I have never been before, but I also love the challenge of finding new ways to shoot in a location that I photograph in often.
What is too much in a wedding picture, and how do you draw the line?
Well this is going to be different for everyone, but I like to approach it this way. How is the couple going to feel about this in 30 years?Something else to think about is, what will your children say about these pictures? I want the answer to be, “Mom you looked so beautiful and happy!”, not,”you guys were so goofy!”.
When editing pictures, what do you choose to edit out?
I approach editing the pictures from the point of view of telling a story. So I edit out things that are redundant, or don’t add interest to the story.
What do you do when your vision of the pictures for the wedding conflicts with the bride or groom’s vision?
Well it depends how far off the visions are. But most likely if we are really on a different page, they don’t end up clients! I would rather refer them to someone that is going to make them happy. Sometimes it just isn’t meant to be, and you can’t be everything to everyone.
I think of it like this, if you wanted jazz music and hired a heavy metal band, you probably are not going to be too happy with the results. Even if the metal band tried playing jazz, you are still going to get better results if you hire a jazz band.
Can you give an example of when you said, “Wow” and were really happy with the end result of your work?
This actually happened really recently. I had redone my website around Christmas, and then started the magazine right after my wedding in January. Once I started working on the magazine I had not been to my website in a long time. One day when I went through the website the way someone would for the first time, I got to the magazine and clicked on it… seeing it that way really caught me off guard and I felt, “Wow!”
What was your most challenging wedding to shoot?
I think photographing weddings in New England, one of the most challenging things can be some really intense weather. I have photographed weddings in hurricanes, snowstorms, and even without electricity!
Is there an inspiration for you, past or present, when taking your pictures?
I find inspiration everywhere. There are a lot of other wedding photographers’ whose work that I really admire and find inspiring. Sometimes I find inspiration from movies, I actually find a real lot of inspiration from my parents and grandparents wedding albums, I LOVE old pictures! The couples personalities and interest can also be inspiring. For example, this summer one of the couples are amazing dancers, I find their talent really inspiring. The couple’s vision of their wedding can also be really inspiring.
What would be your dream wedding to shoot, and why?
Any beautiful wedding! They are all so different. I don’t know if I could pick just one! Destination weddings can be fun, casual weddings are great too. That is a really tough question!
Would you ever turn down a job, and if so, for what reasons?
I am sure I would turn a job done, but it hasn’t happened yet! I am pretty upfront about who I am, and what I offer. I have really good relationships with my clients.
What questions do you think are important for a bride and groom to ask when booking a wedding photographer?
I don’t know if it is the questions you ask them, I think the questions that might be more important are the questions they ask you!
Sometimes couples have a list of questions that they got somewhere, and I think those are a good idea. Most people have never been married before, so how are they supposed to know what to ask! The most important thing is that you trust your photographer. So any question you have that will install that trust is a good question. A good one that might not be on one of those lists would be,
“Where will you be when I am putting my dress on?”, or, “who will be in the room with me when I am getting dressed?”. Let them know if you want them there or if you would prefer privacy.
What is your biggest selling point, and why?
Most likely that I really relate to brides, and I am really friendly and outgoing.
If you were to get married today, what would you look for in a wedding photographer and why?
I wish I could get married every year so I could pick a different photographer with a different style every year! Style and personality would be the two things that would be important to me.
Any advice for couples who are searching for a wedding photographer?
Ask your friends and family what they thought of their photographers. What did they like, what they didn’t like.
Can you tell us a little bit about the last wedding you shot?
I would rather tell you about the last wedding I was at, MINE! Not too many crazy people here in New England getting married in the middle of the winter! But the last one I shot had the yummiest desserts ever. Tables and tables of desserts!
You recently created your website, “A Visual Guide For The Online Bride”. What made you decide to do this? Can you tell us a little bit about it?
I started this shortly after my own wedding. For the photography business I was doing things like going to bridal fairs, and meeting other vendors. Brides at the bridal fairs were telling me that they would go to photographer’s websites looking for ideas. Having just been married I was really in tune with what it is like to plan a wedding right now. I did so much of my planning over the internet. There was one day I spent my whole day driving from the north of Boston to the south of Boston (This is not physically far, but it took me hours with traffic). Basically it was a waste of a whole day. I just realized I was in a position where I could really help brides. I am already being exposed to so many great wedding ideas. And I know how tough and time consuming planning a wedding can be. The idea was actually just really obvious to me. I just had to kick it up a notch!