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Life & Work with Kaitlin Winder

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kaitlin Winder.

Hi Kaitlin, so excited to have you with us today. What can you tell us about your story?
I have always had a love and strong admiration for photography and all this art and creativity, but I hadn’t had much of an outlet growing up poor and then becoming a very young mother. I had never had the extra money to get myself a camera. On my 30th birthday, I finally got my first DSLR, the Canon Rebel T7, and it was instant LOVE. I instantly started taking pictures of anything I could. My kids were typically my guinea pigs and got sick of me taking them out for ‘another photo shoot.’ I upgraded to the Canon EOS R6 in March, which is a mirrorless camera, and it has ignited my love for photography; even more, I love the clean, sharp pictures I can get and the colors I can capture; they amaze me! It was something I had dreamt of for as long as I can remember.

I am proud of the small photography business I started in less than a year, and I am excited to see where it goes from here! I started trying to expand my portfolio and take on clients last November. I hosted model calls for locals and started offering my friends and family photos. They started telling their friends. Through word of mouth and networking, I have built my business steadily since then, and I am honestly surprised at how quickly things have blossomed.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not, what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
I have had to deal with quite a few challenges as I have started my business. There are typical struggles like managing time, life, and finding balance. I have dealt with all those things, which are a constant battle. I am unsure how to successfully balance my life as a mother of four, entrepreneur, fiancé, and just human being in general! I feel spread too thin almost every day, but I can’t think of life any other way; I typically try to look at this part of my life as a season, a hectic season that won’t last forever, and I try to remind myself to enjoy the ride while it lasts! It’s not been a smooth road, but the bumps along the way have helped me to appreciate when things are smooth.

I would say one of the difficult obstacles I have faced is struggling with my self-doubt. It has been something that has negatively impacted me, and I want to be honest and open about it because I know I am not the only person who struggles in this realm. I can be hypercritical of my photography. I can pick apart my art so painstakingly that it sometimes debilitates me. I feel so much pressure at times, the pressure I put on myself to take ‘the best possible photos’ that I lose sight of some great photos that I take because I am so busy seeing everything wrong with them. It is exhausting; I have been working at this and digging deep to get past this negative belief system and have made a lot of progress. I can see the magic in my art; even the little mistakes are lessons for growth, which is also part of the magic.

As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar, what can you tell them about what you do?
Photography as a whole is my passion. I enjoy capturing the beauty surrounding me in nature, people, and life. I specialize in portraits. I love capturing people and showcasing their individuality and unique and genuine beauty. I love creating portraits and styling shoots. I enjoy the process from start to finish, getting to know my clients, understanding them, and then using that information to ensure I capture photos that genuinely reflect them! I love working with a client to put a look together that makes the vision in my head come to life! I am known for my bright and bold editing style and fearlessness to get out there and network with other small businesses and community members. I love connecting with and collaborating with other local and Minnesota-based photographers, working together, and learning from each other’s strengths and weaknesses. I am most proud of how quickly I have built my portfolio and small client base in a rural community in which I am not originally from and my ability to persevere through the mental obstacles that it takes to run a business as a young mother.

I believe what sets me apart from others is that I don’t let a ‘no’ keep me down. There are going to be a lot of ‘no’s in this business. Some won’t like your editing style, some won’t like your shooting style, some just won’t like YOU, and it can be tough to hear no or no thanks so many times, but after you push past those no’s, there are yeses too. I had to get good at hearing people tell me they weren’t interested in my art, and times were hearing no made me want to, quit-but because I didn’t, and I didn’t accept no for an answer, I am getting the yesses that I thought were drowning in a sea of ‘no’s. I am different because I keep pushing even when something feels impossible. It’s the grit that keeps me going.

So maybe we end by discussing what matters most to you and why?
My family is what matters most to me. I have the most beautiful family in the world, and I thank the universe for them every day. My fiancé and four kids have pushed me to become and work to become the best and healthiest version of myself. I am so thankful that I get to be a mom. Watching my children grow and documenting their growth has always been the real reason I ever got into taking pictures in the first place. They have shown me how precious time is and quickly it goes by. They have taught me not to take life too seriously, and they truly saved me from myself and gave me a reason to live. I hope I can show them that they truly can do anything they set their little minds to and that the sky is the limit.

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Personal Photo is credited to Raimi Ellen Photography All other photos are credited to Kait’s Captures Photography

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