Throughout this pregnancy I've been flip flopping about getting maternity photos taken. I had a few of the bump and me that had turned out ok, and Wade and I had one of us that my dad took. After seeing the breathtaking photography of Laura Morsman on her website, though, I knew that I wanted something more special to capture this fleeting and incredibly precious time in our lives.
I still didn't know what to expect, but all my worries subsided when Laura walked up to us in the park last week, amid the glow of the setting sun, and introduced herself. You know when you first meet someone and instantly like them and their positive outlook on life? That's how I felt when I met Laura. She made me feel comfortable in front of the camera (which isn't easy) and even got Wade to hop in for a few. We talked about movies we liked and how Austin is different (and the same) compared to Kansas City. It felt like we were spending the hour with a good friend who just happened to also be an amazing photographer.
At one point when Wade and I were looking at each other during a photograph, I started getting teary. It suddenly struck me that we were about to be a family of 3 in just a few weeks, and I thought about the long and windy road we had taken to get here. I credit this special moment to Laura, because she got us out of our shells and was able to translate our emotion into every photograph.
I can't imagine not having these photos and am having a hard time deciding which ones to print out to frame. Laura is currently based in Austin, TX, but is planning to move back to Kansas City this year (yay!). KC friends--that means she's available to capture all your special memories. Laura also has options available for traveling to you no matter where you are.
Since I've been going on and on about Laura, I thought it only fitting to actually introduce you guys to her and let her fill you in on a little more about herself. So without further ado, here's Laura!
Kari: You mention on your website that your photography business grew out of your love of connecting with people and telling their stories through images. (I love that!) Was there a specific moment when you thought to yourself, "yeah, I could really turn my passion into a business?"
Laura: Totally. I consistently get the "what is your favorite subject to photograph" question a lot, and for me hands down it is kids, and fashion, it always has been. The two combined is absolutely magical to me and that is when I started styling my own photo shoots that centered around those two subjects. I loved the story telling aspect of creating whimsy, imagination, and fun in photography while letting kids just be kids throughout it. No perfectionism, no starchy posing or overbearing direction. After a couple styled shoots of my own, I realized I had a perspective to bring to the photography world, loving your clients more than your business.
Kari: You are so courageous to strike out on your own. Was it hard to get started? What were some valuable lessons you've learned along the way?
Laura: YES! It was such a scary leap to finally cut the chord of a regularly scheduled paycheck and clock in-clock out world! The roots of my business started when I would take photos of my youngest brother and sister who were brought into our lives from Ethiopia 8 years ago. I mainly played around with my mom's old point and shoot camera and someone saw an image they loved and asked me to shoot their wedding. Jaw dropped. WHAT?! It took that someone taking a chance on me for me to think of myself in that light and that wedding ended being my first paid photography job. It wasn't until I moved to Texas in 2010, was a manager for the women's store Anthropologie for 4 years, and built a client base from some of my closest customers before my photography work was full time and lucrative. I never thought of working retail to fund my passion and new business as a lack of drive believe in myself, it was a wonderful way to test the waters of running my own business, as well as an awesome way to have an organic outreach to gain more client relationships!
Kari: You've had your work featured in many publications, including Cupcake Magazine and Austin Monthly. What was it like to see your images in this way? What were some other triumphs you've had that made you give yourself a big pat on the back?
Laura: Oh my goodness, it's always a surprise and mini celebration when your photos get picked or featured! I never in a million years thought I would have the change to be published so it's still quite dreamy when it happens and you see it in something you know so many people are viewing. As far as triumphs or other little celebrations, honestly the biggest pats on the back come from when a large group of friends are now repeat clients due to one of them referring me to their circle of friends. That is incredible to me and a huge compliments when a friend loved their experience so much that they would encourage their friend to invest in my work.
Kari: What is the most interesting thing you've photographed?
Laura: The most interesting things I have photographed...There are so many things! I would have to say that a styled bridal shoot that I did for a local magazine in Texas with two horses at a dining table with the bride would be on the top of my list! That or a local PR firm's Halloween party that was "Alice in Wonderland" themed. The entire house was transformed into difference scenes from the fairytale. It was magical!
Kari: I'm trying to be better about printing out pictures to place around my house instead of always just keeping them in digital form. How do you like to display and organize your photos?
Laura: I am right there with you and from what I hear, many others are as well including the majority of my own clients! Having digital copies of your images is always a wonderful idea and keeps them safe, and in one place, but sometimes they never leave that USB drive or display anywhere beyond Facebook! Every 6 months I have started to order my own prints in larger batches from the previous months of the year. This way I'm not feeling like I'm losing memories buried deep in a hard drive that I eventually forget about, and if the prints end up on the wall, wonderful, if they end up on the fridge, on my work desk or by my bed, totally fine as well. I LOVE a wonderful photo collage wall. Mine at home is framed with the most simple of white Ikea frames and I love how it showcases the color and subject of each image!
Kari: What is the biggest piece of advice you'd give someone starting their own business?
Laura: Wonderful question! I think across the board when you are working with, selling to, or interacting with people at all in your life of work, there needs to be an aspect of what I call "loving on" your client. It is easy especially in a creative field to assume that what you are heading out to "sell" is exactly what people will immediately love, accept, and purchase in it's original form, when in reality the client's response will help you fine tune what they are actually looking for from you, and that's not a bad thing! "Loving" on your client means to authentically hear what they are looking for, to have a genuine and open communication together in the planning process, and to invest in how to make their experience and final outcome truly fit what they sought you out for. I look at my business as a continuing relationship and would never want that emotional connection between myself and my client to not be the pillar of where the love and intention for my work comes from.
THANK YOU, LAURA, FOR THE WONDERFUL ANSWERS AND BEAUTIFUL IMAGES!!
Check out Laura's sites for more information and breathtaking images!
Note: I did receive a free sitting session, but all reviews and opinions are my own