Tuesday, April 2, 2013

BEHIND THE LENS: Kathleen Frank, Melbourne, Florida

I am so pleased to introduce our featured photographer for this week, Kathleen Frank from Melbourne, Florida.  I find it wonderfully amazing how we connect with people from all over the globe through a class, Facebook or Twitter.  That's how I met Kathleen.  Both of us attended a 3-day course offered by creativeLive taught by Hailey Bartholomew and Sue Bryce (two of favorite instructors).  I found a link to Kathleen's video showreel submission and was blown away. It instantly resonated with me. It was emotional, simply powerful and I loved all of the techniques she incorporated that we learned in the class.  It was a superb little film. And the music she selected was just perfect.

I contacted Kathleen after I saw her film and thus began a professional friendship.  And now I can say - Kathleen is an award-winning filmmaker.  Her video-showreel won top honors out of over 100 submissions.  Hailey and Sue picked Kathleen's "Home is With You" which you will see at the end of this interview.  You will be inspired!

Kathleen and I started corresponding via Facebook and email before she learned about her film being picked.  I am so glad to have a new found friendship with such a creative photographer.  I'm am truly inspired by her work and can't wait to see the next video she puts together.  Each one she has made has left a deep impression on me.  I hope they inspire you also.  If you don't already incorporate video into your work check out Kathleen's work and you may soon be eager to try it out yourself.

It is my pleasure to introduce you to my new friend, Kathleen:

Your Name: Kathleen Frank
Your studio/business name: Kathleen Frank Photography
Location: Melbourne, Florida

Kathleen Frank Photography

Your Style

In 50 words or less, how would your clients describe your photography?

My work has a simple but modern beauty that captures the realness and inner qualities of my clients

Are you self-taught or classroom trained?

I am a mostly self-taught photographer.  I took several film photography classes back in high school and college (loving every second of working in that dark room!), but, several years later, when I jumped into digital photography, it was all self-taught.

How many years have you been a professional photographer?

I am in my third year of business.

Where do you want to take your photography business in 5 years?

I can’t wait to see what my business is like in five years!  I hope that I will see quite a bit of expansion in my senior portrait niche while taking on commercial photo and video projects, expressing more of my artistic side.  I also want to incorporate my teaching background to work with new photographers, helping them strengthen their art and business.

Is there a photographer who inspires your style?  Who would that be?

There is so much amazing work out there that I just adore.  Julia Trotti can do no wrong for me, though.  Every session is filled with movement and an edgy, dark beauty that I find so captivating. 
Favorite location to take photos?

I could shoot by the river here in Florida every day.  I am in love with its calm simplicity and bohemian feel.

Favorite vacation spot?

Such a good question!  Honestly, my favorite thing is to be traveling down the road with my husband.  I don’t care where we’re going, but I love to head off on an adventure with him with the windows rolled down.

Kathleen Frank Photography

Your Business

What was the pivotal moment when you decided to become a photographer?

Photography has been a passion of mine for a long time, but it never seemed like a viable career choice.  So I went the smart route.  I got a few degrees, got a safe job, and was firmly planted in a career when I realized that I just wasn’t happy.  My husband and I try to work really hard to make our marriage the dream we both envision, but I wasn’t doing that in the rest of my life.  And that wasn’t okay.  So… I started finding a way to make my passion a reality.

What’s the best marketing tip that has worked for you?

Oh goodness!  I have tried so many marketing techniques that just didn’t work!  The best marketing decision I made, though, was finding a marketing method that worked with my personality and my brand instead of listening to what everyone else was doing.  I offered my photography services for free to a couple of local organizations that I really believed in.  Thankfully, they have turned into some pretty awesome relationships, and, in a way that I never could have planned, they have grown into a few great marketing opportunities.  

What’s the most surprising thing a customer has asked you?

Hmmmmm… I’m not sure I have been asked anything too out of the ordinary.

Favorite print lab?

LOVE me some ProDPI!  Their colors are always spot on, and I love their customer service.  I tried many labs in the beginning, and ProDPI is the only one where the customer service is awesome, products are always packaged well to prevent damage, and the colors are so consistent.  They got me for life! :)

Kathleen Frank Photography
A creative shoot using antlers to signify strength for Lionhart.

Your Gear

Are you Canon or Nikon (or *gasp* other?)

Canon, darling.

If you could only have one lens on a photo shoot, what would it be?
Unless I am filming video, I only use my 85mm1.8 during a shoot.

What brand bag do you carry your camera in?

I carry a Kelly Moore Hobo Bag in light brown. 

What gear would we find in your camera bag?

Got my 5dmarkii with my 85mm1.8 lens, back-up 50mm1.4, memory cards, lens cleaner, and often a film camera or two, usually my Polaroid One-Step or Fuji Instax

Are you a natural light fan or strobe fan?

All natural all the time.

Are you PC or Mac?

Are you ready for the big gasp???  PC!  And I have an Android phone!  (I know, I know, how can I even be a photographer without at least one item from the Apple family?)

Kathleen Frank Photography

Your Tips and Tricks

What post processing tools do you use?

I work with Adobe Bridge, ACR, and Photoshop.  I currently use a set of actions that I developed.  There are a couple of action sets that I love and that helped me develop my style, though: Totally Rad Actions and Jesh de Rox Actions

Do you shoot in Raw or Jpeg?


Best advice you would give your 20-year old self?

Find a way to follow your dreams.  Be smart about it, but never, ever go the safe route.  Go the route that lights a fire inside of you, fills you with hope and love, and makes you want to go make the world a better place.

Best advice you would give a new photographer?

Take the time to figure out what you want before you start your business.  Have fun shooting and learning photography before you take on the huge learning curve of running a business.  Then, have a specific goal for your business.  It is your dream, so decide what you want it to look like and don’t accept anything less.  A photography business is hard, so don’t let it get away from you and turn into a job that your dread.  Protect the dream with everything that you have, and make your business decisions based on if it moves you closer to that dream or not.

What site do you use for your photography and why?

I designed my website and blog on Squarespace.  They were the best company I found that allowed me to have a blog and website integrated into one domain, the unique customization that I wanted, and a price that was far cheaper than the other options.

Kathleen Frank Photography
What Else Should We Know?

What was your worst photography experience?

I had to shut down my business for a couple of months for a medical leave, and that was really hard.  Rescheduling things with a couple of clients and letting my work sit dormant for a bit had me quite worried.  I wasn’t sure if I would be able to get my momentum back.  Thankfully, it turned out to be the right decision for my health and my family, and my business was able to come back stronger than ever.   

What would surprise people most about you, whether it is photography related or not?

I am practically nocturnal when life allows me to be.  I will often stay up until sunrise, and then sleep most of the day away.  It’s a terrible habit, but, luckily, I have a husband who does the same!

Tell us something else you’d like us to know...

And just because we want to know you, fill in the blanks

Three things I can’t live without….

Peanut butter.  (Can I say peanut butter two more times???)  My puppy.  My Ronald.  (Probably not in that order!)

I wish I had more…..Is it totally lame to say money?  I do though.  I wish I had more money so I could photograph all the time for free, share the money with others who needed it, and not feel so tied down by bills and life stuff.

The best thing about being a photographer is…Helping others see how beautiful they are through my imagery, and expressing the need I have to create and be lost in a creative project.

The most important lesson I ever learned was….Other people do not define me.  If I don’t like parts of myself, it doesn’t matter if someone else is to blame, it is just up to me to change it.  It is better to be yourself and have people like or hate you than it is to hide away trying to get people to like you.  (Still learning ALL of these!)

My favorite time of day is…Late, late at night.  I’m a night owl through and through, and I love to be up late dreaming of projects.

And now we reveal the award-winning film by Kathleen!

home is with you :: 30 days of film by kathleen frank from Kathleen Frank on Vimeo.

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