The Portrait System Podcast with Kitti McMeel
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What initially sparked your interest in photography?
“I found Sue Bryce online in 2014. I had lost my job and I needed to make some money, when she looked at me and said, “I can make you a photographer and teach you everything about running a business in 28 days,” I believed her!!”
Kitti’s Former Studio
We all go through periods of mental blocks. How do you push past times of not finding inspiration?
“I look to the masters for inspiration. I am so new to photography that I find inspiration everywhere. I recently took up painting as a way to hone my eye, my color skills, and my artistic soul.”
Everyone has a favorite shoot – tell us about yours and why it’s your favorite.
“My last shoot is always my favorite. Each one is so special, I love the people I work with and I’ve been blessed with amazing clients. I learn something from each of them. I am happiest when I am in learning mode. But if I had to choose a favorite, I did a generation shoot for a woman that I met at a restaurant, she brought in her 80-year-old dad who was a bass singer in his church choir and who had just lost his wife. We sang Amazing Grace together at the end of the shoot, and I recorded the whole thing. For the reveal, I had the daughter give me a photo of their mom and I added her to the group photo. Her dad cried and cried over both. It was very special.”
Kitti’s New Studio
How has SBE changed your life for the better?
“Sue Bryce Education has provided me a home, a place to be with like-minded people who are willing to do the work. Being one of Sue’s supporters has done so much for me. I enjoy helping out in the groups by sharing what I have learned along the way and inspiring others by sharing my story from how I started, how I’ve made Sue’s model work for me even in a tiny space – the good, the bad, and the ugly.
How did you push past fear when building your business?
“I haven’t pushed past it, this is the beginning of my 6th year and I still have fear. I use it to help me. I act in spite of it, I don’t quit.”
Kitti’s First Paid Client
Do you regret any decision you’ve made in your business?
“No, I can’t say that I have any regrets. I sometimes feel as though I should be growing my business like all of my contemporaries and fellow mentors/supporters are doing, but balance and living this season of my life are more important. I want to make the rest of my life the best of my life.”
What do you think is the biggest misconception when people are trying to start their photography business?
“I think the biggest misconception is that you have to have all your ducks in a row before you open the doors. I don’t know of any business that starts out at full strength, full power. Again, just get started, little by little you will tailor your business to work for you. I didn’t even have a portfolio to show when I started and I sold to my very first client.”
What does the SBE community mean to you?
“Sue Bryce Education has become a family to me – a place to be with like-minded people.”
For someone starting out on their photography journey, what advice would you have for them?
“Don’t expect or wait for everything to be perfect to start your business. It takes time to make your business and your craft – it will grow, flourish, you can make money and sell as you develop and grow. Just start, the most important part of any journey is to just start, you can problem-solve along the way and repeat.”
Where do you see your business in the next 5 years?
“I love where my business is now and I don’t anticipate any changes to how I run it. I am not looking to grow a huge business. I want to make enough to cover my needs and wants. Things aren’t that important to me but experiences are. I want to master my craft, however, and be more advanced in 5 years’ time.”
Kitti’s Current Work
Kitti McMeel of Kitti McMeel Photography
Kitti McMeel is a portrait photographer, author, and motivational speaker living and working in Westlake Village, California. Her portraits have garnered merits of distinction in international and regional competitions and she has achieved Master status in the Portrait Masters Accreditation program. Kitti’s varied career choices over a lifetime have given her perspective and she brings that perspective to her personal branding, headshot, and legacy portraits in her studio work. Her first book “Reinventing Yourself after 60” is nearing completion and is expected to be released later this year.
Kitti was personally mentored and trained by Sue Bryce, one of the most recognizable photographers in the imaging industry, and has earned the honor of being listed as one of her recommended photographers.
Kitti mentors photographers all over the world and has the honor of serving as a member of Sue Bryce’s international mentor/support team facilitating continuing education for photographers.
Kitti’s portraits have been published in Society Social Calendar, Beauty Revived, The Acorn, Rethinking Your Future and Marie claire.com, and her work has been featured in Voyage LA magazine, Everilluminated.com and the 2016 WPPI Keynote presentation in Las Vegas, NV. Her Westlake Village studio was featured on Sue Bryce’s Studio Tours, a web series which highlights highly successful portrait studios worldwide.