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Featuring Kara Leigh

Featuring Kara Leigh

This week’s featured photographer is Kara Leigh of Kara Leigh Photography in New Braunfels, TX

 
Where do you operate your business?

In New Braunfels & San Antonio Texas

Your Website

Your Facebook page

https://www.facebook.com/karaleighphoto/

Your Pinterest account

https://www.pinterest.com/karaleighphotos/

Your Instagram account

https://www.instagram.com/karaleighphoto/

Twitter

https://twitter.com/karaleighphoto

 

Technical Specs:

 
Camera used

Canon 5D MKIII

Lens choices

50mm 1.2 Canon

Processing Software (just provide the names of the one’s you use)

Lightroom & Photoshop

Do you use any actions?

Red Leaf, Totally Rad & Mastin

Do you retouch and if so can you give me a quick rundown on if you use any plugins, etc?

Totally rad retouch action

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CLIENTS:

 
What most people want to know is how you market to your clients.  Have you qualified who your is your ideal client?  

 Referral program to my clients & word of mouth. I do have a new private Facebook page that is going well.

I’d love to add into the article any inspiring client stories you might have.  Also have you had any issues with clients that you would like to share how you resolved them. That is always something that can hugely benefit the readers.

I have a lot of clients that are doing boudoir sessions to deal with their body dysmorphic issues. They have told me that the session has effected them in a positive way.

Do you have a “welcome” product you give the clients and can you share that if you do.  Thanks.

  I have a digital welcome PDF that I provide to my clients. It talks about prep before their session & lingerie options.

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SALES:

 
This is probably one of the most important things that the readers want to know.  How do you sell to your clients?  Can you provide info on your sales process and your pricing.  I’d like to be able to provide numbers on what you charge for a session and what your range is for your products, like albums for instance, but if you don’t feel comfortable sharing to much, just give me what fits your comfort level.

I have my clients come back after their session for an in person viewing 1-2 weeks after their session. We go through their images on an iPad in a Pixieset gallery. They pick their favorite images and then we talk about products. I offer collections and a la carte options. My collections start at $480 and go up. Albums & Glass heirloom boxes start at $800. Session fee with makeup is $275. My average client spends $1000-$1200.
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What products perform best in your studio? 

 Digital collections & Albums

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STUDIO:

 
Best describe your workspace.  Do you have a studio or work from home?  How large is your space?  What are the challenges with it?  What works really well for you?  Can you please include a photo or two of it, if possible.

I have a studio that share with another photographer that I shoot & sell out of. I do my processing & other business tasks out of my home office. The studio is a natural light space & is about 800 square feet. It works really well for me because I have set days that I shoot in the studio. My challenges are finding time to edit & process from home.

Do you have any plans to change and/or grow from your space in the near future.

I like my current set up.

Do you keep strict hours of operation with your clients?

 I do not and I need to be better about this.

Natural Light, Studio Light, combination of styles?  What’s your preference?  What are your strengths and weaknesses with lighting, if any?

Studio space and preference is Natural light. I would like to work on moodier lighting set ups.

Do you have makeup artists you work with in your studio?  If so, can you give me a run down of what the rate is you pay them and how you feel about the importance of that relationship.  If you don’t use them, is there a reason?

I work with multiple Hair & makeup artists. Their rates range from $125-$165. It is a very important relationship. I enjoy the getting ready time with the client because it sets to mood for the session. I strongly recommend that the client has hair and make up for their session. I very rarely let them come in with them doing their own.

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BUSINESS IN GENERAL:

 
How long have you been in business?  What were you doing before you started your photo business?

 I have been in business 6 years and the last 2 year for boudoir. Before I started in photography I worked for a dermatologist in the back office helping with skin cancer surgeries and cosmetic procedures.

Did you go to school for photography or are you self taught?

 I went to school for photography. I have a BA Degree in photography from Brooks Institute of Photography and I graduated in 2007.

Did you always want to be a photographer or was it something that came later in life?

  It came later in life. I had some major life changing events. I lost a very special person to a car accident & was diagnosed with Thyroid Cancer with in a year. These events really made me take a good long look at my life & changed my direction from nursing to photography.

What is your biggest struggle in this business?

Marketing

Is there a reason you shoot boudoir and do you shoot any other genre?  If you’re excusive, and/or recently went exclusive can you give the readers some insight into why you did.  If you’ve only ever done boudoir, again we’d love to hear why.

I feel that I am draw to boudoir because I also have had body dysmorphic issues and have started to deal with them in the last 5 years. I want readers to know that boudoir sessions are so much more than just images of our bodies. Seeing yourself as others see you in a beautiful and intimate way can be healing for your soul. I would love to only shoot boudoir because of the healing and empowering qualities it provides.

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ADVICE:

 
If you knew someone who wanted to be a photographer, and could give them one piece of important advice, what would that be?

 Shadow or seek mentorship from a photographer that you admire or love their style.

Have you ever done a boudoir session yourself, if you are a female (sorry guys 🙂 ? Do you think it’s something that is important for female boudoir photographers to do?

 Yes, just this year in Las Vegas. I was able to be photographed by a lovely boudoir photographer that I am friends with in my city. I think it is very important for female boudoir photographers to be on the other side of the camera. Your clients love knowing that you have been vulnerable and had a similar experience.

How do you feel about the male / female debate regarding boudoir photographers?  

I say its up to the client.

What do you do to avoid burn-out? Is there ever a time when you just want to throw your camera out the window?

 I spend time with my husband and leave my camera at home.

What do you love about the business?

 I love that I get to know and become friends with so many lovely women.

What do you hate about the business?

 Culling images

Are you a member of any professional photo organizations like PPA, WPPI?  What benefit do you feel you get by being a member?

 I am a member of PPA, WPPI and AIBP. I think that I get different benefits from each. PPA would be business, WPPI & AIBP have both helped me with creativity and build relationships with other photographers.

Do you compete and do you have any opinions on it?  AIBP runs contests regularly.  Do you participate?  If not, is there a reason you don’t?

I do not compete with my local boudoir photographers in fact I am good friends with most of them. I feel that we offer our unique vision to our clients. I do participate in a few contests and have won a few.

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SOME FUN MORE PERSONAL STUFF:

 
Favorite food?   

 Sushi!

One guilty pleasure in life?

 Shopping

What is your favorite piece of clothing? 

Maxi skirt

What’s one song on your playlist? 

 ” Headturner” Joss Stone

What’s your favorite movie genre? Example?

 Romantic drama… Dirty dancing

Favorite shoes to wear?  

 Black flats

What are you currently reading? 

 Magazines…. fashion & photography

If you could go anywhere in the world, where would that be?   

 Greece

If you could go back and do over anything in your life, what would that be?

 Not to go to an expensive college

If you could meet and photograph someone famous, who would that be and why?

Drew Barrymore. I love her personality!

What do you struggle with the most in life? (not photo related)

 I give to much of my self and do not pamper my self enough.

Are you married, single, have kids, husband?  Is life a juggling act for you?

 I am married. Yes I do feel a struggle juggling my private & business life.
 
Who inspires you the most in life? Work?

My family inspires me most in life. Sue Bryce inspires me for work.

If you could provide one single piece of advice to influence a young person’s direction in life, what would that be?

To seek out a mentor that you admire both in life & creatively.
Cathy Nance
Cathy Nance

Photographer and Owner of Cathy Nance Studios - Intimate Editorial Art

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