{ New Series :: Sharing the Sweetness! }

Remember back in August when I conducted this little survey?  I was curious who my audience was – my blog averages around 1000 views per day (and climbing!), so I was wondering who was reading – other photographers, clients, friends, random visitors?  Turns out, the vast majority is fellow photographers!  And the number one thing readers want to see more of?  Tutorials, how-to’s and inspiration! So this got me cookin’ on a new project. I’m starting a series of blog posts where I answer your questions!  I’m working on a name for the series – I’ll ask you for help with that too 😉  I get a lot of questions from fellow professional photographers as well as students and budding hobbyists. I can’t always answer them all via email, so I thought this would be a great place to catalog info and tutorials.  Cool, right?

So let’s get started!!  I’m starting today’s post with a couple questions that were left in the comments of the survey.  From here, ask your questions in the comments below, or use the contact form above to send them in!  If you are interested in personalized one-on-one training, ask me about Mentoring Sessions!

Bonus points:  Help me think of a name for the series!  Whoever comes up with the winning name gets a $20 Starbucks Gift Card!  So get creative, peeps!

Lastly, what do you think of the new look?  The website is undergoing an overhaul, so you’ll see a whole new look over there pretty soon too!  As our photography style goes more and more towards a romantic, rustic, vintage feel, I want our look to reflect it.  We are inspired by love, by light, and simplicity. This feels like home to me – calm, pretty and romantic.  Ahhh 🙂

Alright… SO… a question that was asked a couple times was about my background, so let’s start there!  Kara said: “I love your photography! I’m wondering how you got started – did you go to school, are you self taught, have you always done mostly weddings or did you start off doing something else?”

I didn’t always do weddings!  I’ve always had an interest in photography, and that camera in the picture above is the one I learned on.  My parents got it (a Canon AE-1 35mm) when I was born. (Written in the stars, right?  😉  I picked it up as soon as my mom would let me. The benefit of learning with a film camera (that doesn’t have an auto setting) is that if you don’t understand the camera or the settings, you don’t get a picture at all!  And if you don’t understand the differences in lenses, you can’t produce the look you envision. It was a great way to learn, on my own, at a young age, and all for fun.

When it came time to go to college, I didn’t think photography could be a “real job”.  Knowing I wanted to do something creative, I went to a private college in Duluth, MN and got my Graphic Design degree. I worked as a designer, Art Director, and most recently a Marketing & Design Manager for a total of 7 years. I bought my first digital SLR to take my own stock photography for my design work. With the intention of going freelance, I legally established “K. Holly Studios, Inc.”.  Studios being plural, as in: design + photography.  It made sense then, a little less now that I don’t even DO studio photography!!  Anyway… friends started asking me to take pictures of their kids, one thing led to another, and all of a sudden I found myself shooting my first wedding. I loved it like I’ve never loved anything else I’ve ever done. I jumped in with both feet, and all my heart. I knew I had a lot of learning to do, so I took a couple classes and workshops, and I practiced, practiced, and practiced.  I soaked up every ounce of information I could get my hands on!  I continued to work at my design job until November 2008, while developing and running a full-time photography business.  (Craziness!!)  Deciding to take the leap and leaving the safety of my job was the best thing I ever did. The next best decision was inviting my husband Jamie along and teaching him everything I know.  He is an incredibly talented photographer, and has developed his own style and vision. I am so lucky to have him at my side as my second shooter!

Along the road, I learned a lot of things from a lot of different people, (and I’m still learning and growing!) so this is my way of paying it forward. If you have a desire to learn and are willing to commit the time to developing your vision and skill, you can do this!  So let’s get started people… let me know what YOU want to know!  Let’s go!


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  • Mishelle Delossantos Lamarand via Facebook - Loving the new look for your site! And love that it makes you feel like you’re home. So important 😉

  • Kristin Nicole - Just started reading your blog recently, but I really like the new look!

  • Jillian Bowes via Facebook - this is great kristen!

  • Allison - What about A Snappy Lesson/Tutorial? 😀

    So fun

  • Jolene Wivinus - Kristen, this is great! I do have a question- I love the look and feel of your black and white images. I’m wondering about your process of converting images to B&W & what software you use? Thanks!

  • Amanda - <—Guilty! I check your blog a couple times a week! I love your work. The lighting in your images is gorgeous! I am curious what you shoot with and what your favorite lens is. I shoot with the Mark II.

  • Patricia - I’d love to see a tutorial on your b&w images! Thanks so much for paying-it-forward back to the community 🙂

  • Natalie - I’d love a lesson from you sometime when your back in MN 🙂

  • Brian Miller - Love your work, Kristen. For your series, how about “Holly would…” or “K. Holly would…” as in some one asks a question and you answer what Kristen would do. OK. It’s a pretty simplistic juvenile play on words, but that’s just my quick idea off the top of my head. Keep up the great work! 😉

  • Melanie Dodds Sheehy - Hi there,

    You have so kindly emailed me answers to some questions I had a year or so ago. I really appreciated it. Sharing the sweetness is such a wonderful idea and you have no clue how much it helps starter-outers like me!

    My question is in relation to your post processing. I have always admired how crisp and clean your images are, you let them speak for themselves without overprocessing. Can you give me a little bit of insight as to your post processing, whether you use lightroom, then finish off in photoshop and whether you use any actions or just your own little tweaks?

    Many thanks,


  • Carri Phillips - I love your site! You inspire me very much and I love your “romantic, rustic, vintage feel.” It’s exactly the feel I would love to capture in my photos. I’m just finishing up my first photography class and would like to delve into it more. Your site will be a great source of inspiration for me. Thanks for your Tutorials section, you’re very generous to lend your expertise. I’ll be checking back often for continued inspiration and may even consult with you down the road for a one-on-one mentoring session. How much are your one-on-one sessions? Thanks for your kindness.