Y'all. I have stalled and stalled on making this announcement. It's been "official" for nearly 4 months but I was nervous. Like, startling myself awake in the middle of the night, nauseating butterflies in my stomach, second/third/fourth guessing myself kind of nervous. It's a new Year and it's now or never.
10 years ago, I was setting up backdrops (shower curtains) and lighting (spot lights from Home Depot) in my tiny little kitchen in my tiny little apartment in Erie, Pennsylvania and actually getting paid to do it. While my skill-set had not been developed at ALL at this point, I was still offering my clients the same level of customer service that I do now. The studio portrait thing became tedious, inconvenient, and my kitchen couldn't take it anymore ;)
Now, having an established and bustling boudoir studio in Austin, I found myself feeling like I was trapped in my tiny little Erie, PA kitchen studio again anytime I wanted to shoot portraits. The backdrops are no joke to set up and tear down, and studio lighting?! I didn't even have enough storage space in my studio closet to tuck it away when I wasn't using it. I sold off all of my studio equipment years ago, after allowing it to collect dust and sit as stagnant as my *insert any piece of workout equipment here* currently is.
I've been incorporating beauty + boudoir portraits into just about every session for as long as I've been shooting. For the last year, I've been studying extra hard, test shooting my heart out, re-stocking my space with studio lighting and portrait set-ups that I used to use but eventually got rid of to save space, and I've been all secretive and shit in the process, just in case I chickened out (again).
At the beginning of September, I attended a photography conference in Palm Springs called the Portrait Masters. It was there that I had the fire lit under my rump yet again to take another risk. When I bought that ticket about a year ago I knew it was going to be the final shove into fulfilling this goal. You see, it's been a while since I've taken a big business risk. Opening the KMB studio was a huge step for me that proved to be the smartest thing I could have done for my business...and I've just been riding the wave ever since. Comfortably booked months in advance, hitting all my business goals, and consistently getting new clients referred by different sources. Yet I knew that I wasn't fulfilling my potential.
On the flight home from the conference, I was scribbling out my 6 month action plan and ended my brainstorming session finally recognizing that I just didn't have enough space to do what I had in mind. I love my pretty little studio SO much...I love the light, I love the location, I love the floors (ohhhhh the floors)...but my portrait set-ups were in the way, there wasn't enough storage (or time) to break it all down and tuck it away when it wasn't being used, and as my team is inevitably going to be growing...there just wasn't enough room for multiple desks and office space without getting in the way of my shoot space.
On that flight I was determined to get back to Austin and find myself a giant space that I loved just as much that I could do modern editorial portraits in, as well as the boudoir style yet to be categorized (really....I don't ever know how to describe my style), as well as house my team without having to share a tiny desk. I arrived home excited about the growth about to happen, but still pretty concerned about finding exactly what I needed. I'd been keeping my eyes peeled in Austin for over a year...nothing was perfect. And y'all know I'm picky AF. Hence the 3 year delay on making this move. Yeah...it's been in my goal book fo.that.long.
The next morning I pulled into my lovely little loft parking lot to see that my neighboring unit was loading up a U-HAUL, packing up, and moving out! I didn't even make it out of my car before calling the owners and getting my foot in that pretty little door.
GETTING TO THE POINT...
|| AS OF 2018, THE KARA MARIE PORTRAIT STUDIO IS NOW OPEN FOR BUSINESS ||
New studio, new brand, completely different concept from what I'm offering in the boudoir world. Conveniently located one-door-down, it will allow me the flexibility of squeezing in short portrait sessions in between my boudoir clients. I will be leaving the portrait studio intentionally bare bones to allow for flexibility in sets. It houses my backdrops, my lighting, set ups, a work station, gorgeous light and svelte floors without distraction.
This second studio will also allow me to accommodate some of the requests that I get from other photographers to rent shoot space (that's good news for all of you who email me desperate to rent my space for a last-minute session only to get a firm "no" from me!).
SOOOO WHAT ARE THESE PORTRAITS GOING TO BE LIKE?
If you've been following for a while, you're familiar with my boudoir shoot style, and you've probably even seen a boudoir portrait or two within my blog posts and Instagram feeds. I will be continuing on with this type of modern portraiture with a slightly more polished finish, but also including....GASP....CLOTHING! And even....GASP....MEN! I know, I know...crazy, right!?
I'm a long time follower and "student" of Annie Leibovitz, Irving Penn, Patrick Demarchelier, and other phenomenal fashion portrait photographers. Their work, to me, is something that I would want to be remembered for long after I'm gone. I want to create images like these for legendary souls to be remembered by.
Boudoir isn't going anywhere...so, you're stuck with me on that front ;) But now, I will have the space and flexibility necessary to create individual portraits of amazing people without cramping my boudoir style.
What started as a portrait project has developed into something so much bigger! I would love to have you follow along on this journey, if you'll have me! There is now a separate website for all of my portrait work HERE, and you can find Kara Marie Portraits on Instagram at @KaraMariePortraits
THANK YOU to the 40 or so legendary souls who have already stepped in front of my lens since setting up the studio to help me launch this second brand. I'm so very excited to continue sharing loads of boudoir + portrait work, and to become a good resource for those photographers in Austin who don't have the luxury of an indoor shoot space.