I remember the first time I saw Kim at the Story Book Wedding show in 2018. I had just started photography as a more serious hobby about six months earlier and her work blew me away to the point that I was incredibly intimidated by her even though I had never met her. Fast forward a few months and she was at Kay Collective's (then Kreative Eye Studios) couple's workshop. I was still intimidated by her...and Kayla (Kay Collective)...and everyone else there too (I may have a confidence issue?). As we went along everyone was super helpful and kind and I became a little more comfortable with the idea of talking to these talented people. I remained super intimidated by Kayla for quiet a few months, not because of her personality but her talent and her role as the leader of the workshop. Kind of like positional power in an organization - she was to be feared and respected because she was on top. Again, these are my own issues and is no way reflective of how Kayla actually is! She's actually very kind and passionate about what she does.
Then there was Kim...Kim was suddenly approachable because she was "on my level"...in that she wasn't in charge and was therefore not as intimidating. Her photography skills are way up there so I have a ways to go still haha. As time went on I started talking to her over Instagram, asking questions, mostly. She would always take the time to answer my questions, be supportive, and help me learn. I attended her workshop in September (above) and learned even more from her and the other photographers involved; this time I wasn't as intimidated by everyone. Just a little intimidated. I think I had started to own the fact that I am a photographer in my own mind with the practice I had obtained and the help I had from Kim. She went as far as letting me assist/shadow her at a wedding this fall so that I had the opportunity to learn more.
Inspiration in a human form
Kim has been a professional photographer for around three years and while she has celebrated a lot of success in those three years, she's also still very humble. She loves that photography can give people a tangible memory. So what's her favourite memory from her photography career so far?
Kim: One of the bridal stores in town recommended me and called me about a wedding. I was like “wait, they know who I am?!” I cried.
That humbleness is present in her personality every time I see her and I am always blown away by it. She focuses on helping others achieve their goals and to see their own strengths. It's a quality I very much admire in her, as people (myself included, for sure!) tend to be fairly self-focused. Spend some time with Kim and you'll start to appreciate aspects of yourself you never knew existed. You might even learn to be a better person if you hang around long enough haha.
That's not to say she doesn't celebrate her successes. She loves the feeling of being a bad ass boss lady that running her own business gives her (Yassss!) and the financial benefit of course. In her spare time she hangs out with her cat in their gorgeous house, and watches sci-fi movies and t.v. shows. Sounds like a pretty kick ass woman to know, doesn't it?
Community over competition
At the wedding I was talking to her second shooter, Terence (above), and he was telling me about how Kim was just as kind and helpful to him and every other photographer out there. It's pretty awesome when you get to meet someone that genuinely kind. Kim is a huge believer in community over competition and she promotes it every chance she can get.
Community over competition is a fine line for a lot of people. Experts typically don't want to share their knowledge with newbies for free because they had to invest time, energy and money to learn what they know (which is totally fair). Kim's thoughts on it are that "We can all succeed at the same time. No ones success will ever make you less successful." I am all for that! I love that the focus is on lifting others up and still succeeding yourself. She's also an educational assistant so maybe it's something she's learned from helping the kids learn? Kids are full of all kinds of surprise life lessons.
A lot of people talk about community over competition but they don't live by it; Kim lives by it. I had the idea for a styled indoor couples session a few months ago now and I, of course, asked Kim for advice and input into the organization and set up. She didn't just answer my questions, she helped me create an experience that was enjoyed by a total of 8 photographers in the first ever photographer's meet-up I've hosted. She believed in me, helped push me to see the value in what I was envisioning for the other photographers I wanted to invite, and basically held my hand through it. She helped pick the AirBNB and the models, even putting out a model call on my behalf when we hit a small roadblock. That kind of involvement is not something you get from everyone and I am so incredibly thankful I have gotten to know her and learn from her. She has taught me (and others!) so much about more than just photography and there is no way words can summarize that feeling of gratitude I have. There may be happy tears in my eyes writing this; I'm a bit of a sappy person haha.
I hope you enjoy these photos of Kim doing her thing. If you don't know her, she is very tall, which gives her great angles but also means she has to squat where most of us can just bend over a tad.
If you don't already follow Kim on Facebook (KG Photography) or instagram (@_kgphotographs_)., you need to check her out!