The evolution of my story…
WARNING: In full disclosure this page is pretty much all about me. There are entirely more "I's" in it than I am typically comfortable with. It’s intended to be my story and answer the questions I get as to my journey from my life as a lawyer (which I actually don’t even say anything about in this post) to the development of Crow’s Nest Photography and the how and why I have morphed CNP into the full time business of KC Crow Photographer.
It is surprisingly difficult to figure out where to begin this story about me and my photography journey. Do I start at Rancho Starbuck Junior High, in Ms. Fuji’s 7th grade photography class where I learned how to develop film in black & white?
Do I go even further back to the memory keeper of my childhood - my grandmother - and all of the hundreds of photos that she took, printed and distributed to everyone in the family?
Or maybe I start this story somewhere around 10 years ago at Cal and Kim’s wedding in Kauai where I had a Sony Cybershot and ended up with some really great images of the beautiful day?
But ultimately I think I’ll begin my story in 2013. Tim (my boyfriend of less than a year) and I planned a trip with my brother and his wife to hike the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. This was a bucket list adventure for me and I wanted to be sure to take plenty of photos.
I purchased my first DSLR in anticipation of this trip to Peru (a Canon Rebel from Costco) and took a one day basic training seminar on how to use it. I had my kit lens and borrowed a second zoom lens with more range from a friend and ended up taking more than a thousand images on this vacation. I wasn’t comfortable or confident enough to switch the camera to manual mode but this trip ignited a little spark in me.
That year I designed and created an album using MixBooks and printed one for Tim and me and one for my brother and his wife. It was the 2nd best Christmas gift I had ever given my brother. The first was a Yoda Bust Legos set that ended up becoming a collectors item and since he never opened the box is worth about 10x what I had paid for it, but I digress….
After spending four days hiking with me in Peru with no showers mind you, Tim proposed to me as we overlooked our destination of Machu Picchu. Our wedding later that year was magical as was our honeymoon to South Africa where again I took my DSLR on the trip and ended up with over a thousand images again.
I discovered on this trip to South Africa that I enjoyed taking pictures of animals even more than taking photos of landscapes and vegetation which is what I had mostly done during the Inca Trail adventure. My camera and lenses were stolen from my suitcase on my way home (between Washington DC and LAX) but fortunately I had the foresight to have taken my memory card out of the camera and carry it with me on the plane so I didn’t lose those priceless honeymoon memories I had captured. To this day, I actually believe that pulling that camera card out before boarding the plane home was a product of Divine intervention.
Anyway, the spark that was ignited in Peru became more a flame in South Africa.
And then EVERYTHING changed. In May of 2014, Tim and I welcomed our first child, Clayton. I had discovered the Tiny Beans child journalling app and started posting photos of Clayton on it every day. Over his first year, I began to use my DSLR more and more and eventually I found a course designed for helping parents take better pictures of their kids. This ultimately led me to the Clickin Moms forum where I took (and continue to take) a number of advanced level photography classes and workshops.
The spark that became a flame was now starting to really burn.
In September of 2015, I officially began building a newborn photography client portfolio and for my birthday that year I purchased my first “professional” camera - a Canon 6D. Ryker was born October 6, 2015 and his newborn shoot was my second ever. When I made his birth announcement using minted.com, I couldn’t believe it when a representative from minted contacted me requesting that I reach out to my photographer for permission for Minted to use his image for their templates! It was the first confirmation from someone I didn’t already know, that I was moving in the right direction.
I registered the business name “Crow’s Nest Photography” purchased a domain, set up a square space website and started my Instagram account @crowsnestphotos. My children were (and continue to be) my number one priority so when I started taking paid clients, I did so on a very limited basis.
I started realizing that my passion was capturing honest moments and interactions akin to lifestyle photography with an emphasis on children and storytelling images. I began seeing more of my images featured on major Instagram hubs on fairly regular basis and really felt able to dial in my own personal photography style.
In July of 2017, I was beyond thrilled to have been named the “Best New Emerging Child Photographer” by the National Association of Professional Child Photographers. You can read more about the contest and the selection process here.
In August of 2017, I was flown on an all-expense paid trip to Atlanta for headshots and mentoring by the incredible Alice Park. I also got to meet with a sponsor of the contest - Shoot Proof - and they filmed a sort of talk-show, formatted specifically for social media. I will for sure come back and link to it here when they start airing!
After the trip, and as part of my “prize package,” I had a mentoring session regarding my business brand with Renee Swigert, the fabulous creator and woman behind the scenes at Ribbons of Red. More about her in a bit. And shortly after that meeting, I met with Rob Greer regarding website SEO.
Rob is my kinda guy. He is direct and honest without being mean but doesn’t shy away from telling it like it is. He said, this was going to be a difficult call for me and that he didn’t know how I would take it but the number one piece of advice he had regarding my website and business in general was to
CHANGE MY BUSINESS NAME!
I was DEVASTATED to hear this but I kept my mind open while he explained some reasons why….I won’t bore you with all of the details here but the general gist of it is that there are multiple Crow’s Nest Photography businesses out there but there is currently only one KC Crow Photographer. As I listened to his advice and rationale it really sunk in and resonated with me and I literally purchased the domain kccrow.com while I was on that mentoring call with him.
New name means I needed a new brand identity and since I really felt I connected well with Renee during our mentoring session, I immediately reached out to her for help with the new branding. I could not be happier with how she was able to incorporate the vision that I have for the feel of my business and my mission towards helping people get their images into albums.
I’ve been working hard to get this website up and running and am excited to finally be at a point where I can share it with you all.
Starting in January, Ryker and Clayton will both be enrolled in pre-school and I will be transitioning to the roll of having a full time photography business with an emphasis on building and designing books and albums for my clients. My business model will still be low volume but the impeccable quality with high touch customer service and finishes will get even better. I am so excited to help tell your child’s story visually and leave you with a one-of-a-kind finished product that you and your children will obsess over.
As an off-shoot of this new business identity, I am also starting a private community on Facebook called “Making Memories Tangible.” This group is a community of parents seeking creative, beautiful, and easy ways to get the pictures of their kids off of their screens and into something tangible. It is designed to be a place to share and a place to come for inspiration and encouragement on your photo projects. We will have monthly Pinterest-worthy challenges beginning in January 2018. If you want in on the fun, just subscribe to my email list for the invite and link to the group.
The spark that became a burning flame is now officially an inferno.