Kristen Swain Photography

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new england families, COUPLEs, and landscapes

Signing a print in my living room with my dog by my side.

Officially Launching My Blog… With Help!

Career & Business

October 10, 2022

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Hi there! Welcome to the KSP blog, a journal about photography, business, and pursuing your passion. Stay a while and say hello!

Hi, I'm KRISTEN.

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It’s official! I’m finally starting a blog.

Part One of my first busy season as a full-time photographer (aka summer and wedding season on Nantucket) is beginning to wind down, and I’m gearing up for Part Two (fall and holiday photos in Boston!). With the slight lull I have now — if you can even call it that with five family sessions this past weekend alone! — I’m making an effort to spend a bit more time showcasing my work and telling the stories behind it.

This is a huge step for me and my business, one that I’ve been wanting to take for a long time. I can’t wait to share more photos from my wonderful photo sessions with all of you, talk about my love of photography, and open up about my life and my journey to becoming a creative entrepreneur. As many of you know, my path to photography was a very indirect one that started (somehow!) with law school in New York City.

The backstory

Ten years ago I left my job as an attorney in New York not really knowing where I was headed, if I’m being honest. All I knew was that the path I’d been on was no longer fulfilling, and I couldn’t see myself keeping up with it in the long run. I needed to redirect. I was incredibly fortunate to secure a much more flexible job that helped me pay the bills while I figured out which direction to take.

There was a Canon Rebel in my closet, a gift from my then-boyfriend/now-husband Tim. He’d been encouraging my passion for photography and combating my doubts all along. Still, other voices around me (and even inside me!) said this was not a realistic career path. So that camera mostly sat in the closet, making an appearance every now and then if we took a walk in Central Park or traveled. It took another five years for me to start looking at photography as a potential career.

“You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.”

A writer called E. L. Doctorow once said, “You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.” Slightly cheesy, maybe. But I can tell you from personal experience: it’s very true.

When I decided to pursue photography, I had to navigate starting a new business in an entirely new industry that had pretty much ZERO relation to what I’d been training to do for almost ten years. It was (and still is…) a crazy, foggy adventure in which I often just had to feel for some kind of solid ground in front of me, put one foot in front of the next, and cross my fingers that it would work out.

“Solo”-preneurship

One of the most important lessons I’ve learned over the last five years as a professional photographer is that solopreneurship isn’t at all what it sounds like. There’s nothing “solo” about it! I wouldn’t have made it this far without a slew of resources and outside support. I needed all the help I could get from friends, family, educators, mentors, etc, etc, etc.

One enormous secret to success is that you can’t make it alone. Once you realize this, it becomes a lot easier to ask for help. So whether that means outsourcing, delegating, or just leaning on a community, we have to do whatever we can to unlearn our hyper-independent mindsets. Even solopreneurs need help to grow successful businesses — believe me, one person can only do so much. A little support goes a long, long way. Let’s not keep this reality a secret anymore; let’s shout it from our windows and rooftops until someone calls in a noise complaint (kidding, of course – I’m still technically licensed as a lawyer, but I do not love confrontation). But seriously, how did we all get so self-reliant?

Accepting help

Signing a print in my living room with my dog by my side.
My pup Hudson patiently waits for me to sign one of my favorite prints.

A couple of months ago I received an email from a copywriter named Jenna Klobucher, who offered to help me with my (non-existent) blog. I was thrilled … and relieved. I’d intentionally scratched blogging off the face of my to-do list a long time ago because I simply didn’t have time for it. It was a shame because I’m so passionate about my work that I want to share it with anyone and everyone willing to listen.

I’d always thought of blogging as something I’d have time for eventually. That was cute. Not only do I not have time for blogging the right way — um, hello, super-intimidating SEO — but another reality is that I’m not a great writer, just an okay one (although Jenna disagrees and says I’m better than I think). Anyway, that’s just fine because I’m not pursuing writing. I’m pursuing photography. As an extremely talented writer who has actually studied writing, editing, and publishing, Jenna will be able to help me communicate my thoughts and feelings ten times more effectively, in 1/10th of the time it would take me to cobble something together, and at the same time, hopefully attract potential clients who wouldn’t have found me otherwise! (If you are one of them, hi, hooray, and welcome!)

Do you need a copywriter or know someone who does?  Learn more about Jenna and check out her website here. I know you’ll love her.

Jenna’s email came at the perfect time. My business has grown substantially over the last couple of years, which means I have so much to say and share! And thanks to that growth, I now have a little wiggle room in my budget to pay someone to help me do one of the many things I can’t find time for in this season of my business. In the short time we’ve been working together, Jenna has already helped me realize that I know a lot more than I think I know when it comes to photography and being a small business owner.

Above all, blogging is an investment in myself and my community. I want to grow more, share more, and ultimately provide a truly amazing client experience from beginning to end. This includes offering my clients more resources than they could ever ask for and delivering stunning, magazine-worthy images every time. This is a big ask, and I know I can’t do it alone. Fortunately, I don’t have to.

What’s next

So that brings us here, to my little virtual living room (without the dog hair!). I hope to create a cozy space here to speak candidly about my life and work as my business expands. And of course, to talk about the best way to capture what you love most: pictures. I’ll be sharing a lot more about being a professional photographer in Nantucket and Boston, as well as tips to help make your photography session with me a huge success, and some behind-the-scenes stories as well.

I’m also planning to share my favorite business resources with you, including educators I rely on, my favorite website templates, client management tools, social apps, and more. So… basically all the things that keep me from losing my mind. I’ll be working on a new page for my website with links and discount codes for you to take full advantage of, too.

To everyone who has lifted me up over the years — my long-time clients and supporters — I would only be treading water without you. I am deeply, fully, positively grateful. What a journey it’s been already. And a new path starts here, one that will most certainly require me to continue accepting help and relying on the experts to do what they do best, while I continue to do what I shine at. There’s so much more to say and I couldn’t be more excited.

My goal is to run a blog that you can actually look forward to reading. If you have topics you’d like to hear about or questions you’d like answered, leave a comment below!

Now go check out Jenna’s website, klobuchercopywriting.com.

  1. Cheryl says:

    Wonderful, Kristen! Loved reading this and learning more about you and your story. I would love to hear more about how you went full time in your business (congrats on 5 years!) but I’ll be looking forward to it all! Is there a way we can sign up for blog updates so we don’t miss anything?

    • Kristen Swain says:

      Thank you, Cheryl! Best way to get updates about my blog will be in my Newsletter (you can sign-up on my website or by emailing me and asking to be added) and on Instagram! You can expect to see new posts here every couple of weeks. 🙂

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