Super excited to share this interview from Voyage Austin as part of their Stories that inspire. Thank you for letting me be part of this amazing group of people in Austin – http://voyageaustin.com/interview/daily-inspiration-meet-katia-forero/
Today we’d like to introduce you to Katia Forero.
Hi Katia, thanks for joining us today. We’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
I graduated with a Bachelor’s in Fine Arts in Fashion Design with a minor in Retail Merchandising. My first job out of college was as a product development coordinator for a company licensed to sell Harley-Davidson® novelties and headwear. While working for this company, I was part of the team in charge of the photoshoots, catalogs and new product development. This opportunity opened my eyes to the world of photography and I fell in love with fashion photography. I started practicing photography in my free time, and while learning on my own, I created a portfolio with imagery from friend’s photography sessions. They loved them and I knew I had found something I was really good at but can also give me the means to make a living. Portrait photography came naturally to me, and making people feel comfortable in front of the camera has always been one of my strengths, but I felt the need to learn more about the technical part of photography and so I signed up for photography courses. It was old school 35mm black and white portrait photography classes in a Photography School in Pittsburgh, PA. It encouraged me to seek out other photographers in the area and I was lucky enough to find a professional photographer looking for a wedding photography assistant.
Things became clear as time went by that this wasn’t just a pastime, I wanted to become a professional photographer and open my own business. I had learned about business in college but I needed to learn from the experts in my industry. With this in mind, I invested in photography conferences and workshops and learned as much as I could in those first two years in business. My main focus was becoming a wedding photographer. There is something very special about weddings and although you get to create very artistic moments on a wedding day, is the little candid moments that I always strived to capture. I started my business in Pittsburgh in 2009 and by 2015, we decided to move to Austin, TX. Through all these years in business and by living in two different cities, I’ve learned I have a natural affinity for restorative and empowering women’s portraiture. Maybe it is my background in Fashion Design or the will to create an empowering photography experience for women, but I’ve started changing gears and working more in depth with women entrepreneurs, professionals, women looking for a boost of confidence or simply to capture the best years of their lives.
Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I am a firm believer in “Nothing worth having comes easily” and I’ve had my struggles like many entrepreneurs. I struggled to get my business up and running again after we moved from Pittsburgh to Austin. Moving to a new city is exciting in on itself and even though it presented me with new opportunities, it also brought up some very hard truths. I had all this photography experience but I had no clients or a network for referrals so I had to start almost from scratch. Nobody knew me in the Austin wedding industry. Nobody could vouch for me as a responsible and talented wedding vendor so I had to work hard at building those relationships from the ground up.
Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
I have specialized in wedding photography for the better part of my 12 years in business. As I mentioned before, I strive to capture those intimate poignant moments on a wedding day and the connection between couples and their families. Over the years, my photography interests have shifted towards women’s portraiture and I am known for my ability to put people at ease in front of the camera. My boisterous and laid back approach to portraiture helps alleviate the uncomfortable feeling of being in the spotlight. Last year, I started a portable natural light studio portraiture experience for my female clients. I named this project Chez Garage Project. This is something that truly nurtures my photographer’s soul. Empowering women through not just photos but an entire photography experience. That is what this project is all about. It is a restorative photography experience for women. This is an opportunity that allows them to feel great and restore some of the things we lose in our day to day routines as moms, as business owners, as wives, as women.
What quality or characteristic do you feel is most important to your success?
I believe there is no “one” specific characteristic to my success, there are many. There are so many talented photographers in Austin while there are many that are more business savvy. I feel I have a healthy balance of both talent and business knowledge. If there is one thing I know is that I’ve never met a stranger. Being in front of a camera is not easy and to achieve beautiful images, I must put my clients at ease. This might be one of the most important things I am able to offer them in order to truly capture the essence of who they are.
- Weddings – Start at $2700
- Portraits – Start at $650