Chic Critique is excited to welcome Celebrity Photographer, Abbey Kyhl with AK Studio & Design. Abbey’s style can be described as a combination of fine art portraiture and photojournalism. She loves images that are simple, sweet and lovely. You can see some of her work on Green Wedding Shoes, the Ruffled Blog, Every Last Detail, Southern Utah Bride Magazine, and dozens of other publications.
After seven years of running a busy portrait and wedding photography business, Abbey has decided to move her business in a new direction focusing solely on wedding photography and helping educate growing photographers.
Aside from learning how to take a beautiful photograph, there are so many other aspects of running a successful business that photographers need to master. Abbey is excited to share her knowledge on how she came up with a perfect pricing structure for her, how she manages all of her blogging and social media marketing, the in-depth session prep system she has created to put together perfectly planned sessions, and so much more!
Abbey has also created The AK Crew, a facebook group, where each day she answers one question about anything. From business to marketing, to posing to editing, and everything in between. You can check it out at www.theakcrew.com.
It’s one thing to be a talented photographer and it’s a completely different thing to be a successful business owner. Abbey is excited to be able to help you master both!
Why do you think honest critique on your images is important?
We are all so emotionally attached to our work. We love it and pour our heart into it. And sometimes that love keeps us from seeing the room for improvement. By having someone give us an honest opinion on what we can improve, and the guidance and direction we are needing, we can only continue to grow and improve.
Do you edit mostly in Photoshop or Lightroom?
I do about 80% of my editing in Lightroom, and then have created some custom actions in Photoshop that I run on all my images to finish them up. Each and every one of my images is edited with the exact same steps to give them that consistent look.
What camera do you use? Favorite lens?
I am a Canon girl all the way! Right now I am shooting with a Canon 5D Mark II and I love my 85mm 1.4. But I find that I like to use a lot of lenses. I have the 50mm, 70-200mm, and the 17-55mm that I frequently use.
What has been the most helpful critique you ever got on an image?
I don’t know that it was necessarily on one image, but I went to a workshop once and they said that you need to develop a style and stick to it. I think as photographers we see so many different styles that we love and want to try them all out. But for your business, and to maintain your brand, it is so important to develop your style and make sure that style and brand shines through in every image.
What 3 words would you use to describe your style?
Genuine. Enduring. Lovely. I want an image that will stand the test of time. And that is beautiful today, but will still be beautiful down the road.
Where do you pull your inspiration from?
Everywhere! I love looking at old black and white photography…even though I love to showcase my images in color. I love the emotion that can be found in them. I find that my biggest inspiration is anything that has an emotional value to it. So whether it is something I see in real life, on a movie screen, in another photographers work, or a magazine, the one thing I am always looking for is something that moves me.
What is one specific way that you balance work and family?
Mom Hours! These are such an important element to my life. Because I work at home the majority of the time it is easy to get caught working all day long. But by designating my “mom hours” as time that I don’t do anything but family stuff it has definitely helped us maintain that balance.
Best biz/photo advice?
Be a boss! If you had any other 9-5 job you wouldn’t spend 80 hours a week working and making the same pay. By taking control of your business and treating it as that, a business, you are able to develop a more clear perspective and streamline and organize your time and systems in a way that will pay off big for your business and your family.
What have you learned the hard way?
The consequences of not learning to say “no.” Early in my business my friends would call me the “photography floozy” because I would take photos anytime, anywhere, for just about any price. And it took me a long time to realize that when you don’t learn to balance your time, everyone suffers.
Your family suffers because you are stressed out, ornery and gone all the time. The clients who booked you first suffer because you aren’t able to give them the time and effort that they are paying for. And all the people you should say no to but don’t suffer too because they don’t get you at your best either.
By learning to set boundaries and not take on more than you can enjoyably handle, you are doing a better job for everyone!
I feel like I try to stay somewhat oblivious to other photographers around me and focus on my brand and my clients. It is easy to let all your time waste away worrying and stressing about what your competitors are doing. So I try to spend my time developing my own brand and bettering the way I do things.Another thing I have spent SO MUCH TIME developing is everything I do behind the scenes. I think there are a lot of people out there who can take a beautiful photograph, but don’t run a successful business. I have spent hours and hours developing systems and way of doing things to streamline my process, I also spend an insane amount of time with my clients in session prep (which they love!). I feel like being invested every step of the way is something that has really set me apart from photographers in my area.
My main form of marketing, and where the majority of my clients come from is from social media. But I have to say that I rely heavily on the referrals and help of my brides. By doing my best for them, they in turn do what they can to help me find other brides. One of the best things I ever figured out in my business was the concept of Ideal Clients, by knowing this and knowing how to reach them I am able to attract brides who are a perfect fit that make my job so incredibly wonderful!
Nichole Van…hands down! She is amazing! I am kind of a workshop junkie and have been to a lot of them in the past, but she is so well prepared and knows her stuff so thoroughly that you walk away so pumped about your photography and with amazing information to help you continue to improve. This is such a great workshop if you are just getting started and if you are really looking to take that next step and invest in yourself and your business she is an amazing place to start!
August 27th 2014 @ 1 pm Central
(11 am Pacific, noon Mountain, 2 Eastern)
Live Event: FREE for Chic members! >>REGISTER HERE!<<
If you can’t watch the live event, no worries. A downloadable video recording is available for pre-purchase & will be sent to you 48 hours after the live event.
Go HERE for all the details!
Guest Contributor | Leslie Vega
Here are our 5 Faves from our RED, WHITE AND BLUE Photo Contest on Facebook:
They each won a 3 month membership to Chic Critique Forum
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to redeem your prize!
HAPPY 4TH OF JULY!