Today we’d like to introduce you to Kim Ortiz.
Kim, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I came to the United States as a refugee from Vietnam and settled in Dallas in May of 1975 when I was 8 years old. I didn’t speak any English but picked up the language fairly quickly and excel in school because I wanted to have an education since both my parents were orphans and never had the opportunity. I started helping my dad handle his finances and became his interpreter at age 9. We moved from Dallas to Farmers Branch and I was the first to graduate from high school and then college in my family. With a degree in Accounting, I worked in many corporate positions for 20 years. I went back and got my MBA so I can change my career to Human Resource; however; after 4 years in my new career, I got laid off. I decided that life was too short to not follow my passion. So I decided to become a full-time professional photographer. I had a part-time photography business for about 4 years at this point and I always wanted to open a photography studio but fear kept me from following my dream. When I got laid off, I realized that this was the opportunity I have been looking for to take that leap of faith. It was a leap of faith because most photographers don’t have a studio. So for me to make the decision to build a brand new photography studio at the Castle Hills Village Shops a few blocks from my house in Castle Hills was scary and exciting at the same time.
Great, 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 remembered when I told my husband that I was going to be a full-time professional photographer, he was a bit apprehensive about me not going back into the corporate world. But when I told him I was going to build a brand new photography studio a very expensive lease for 5 years, he thought I was out of my mind. However, I knew in my heart that I was meant to take this step at this time in my life. So I built the studio. After the first year, I grossed more from my photography studio than I made in my corporate jobs. My husband started to take notice. With my Accounting background and drive to succeed, I hustled and worked very hard to find the right clients who would appreciate the quality of work I was offering at a price that I need to make a profit. Most photographers go into photography because they love to photograph, but they forget that photography is a business first. Yes, I love what I do. This is what I was meant to do. However, I know that I have to create a photography studio that is profitable so that I can pay my monthly rent, overhead, and support my family. I built a high school senior model team who were the face of my studio. They love their experience and they share with their friends and I was able to get many referrals. I became well known at a particular private school in Plano. It was funny, one day I went to Tiff’s Treats, which also happens to be one of my commercial client, to pick up some cookies to deliver to my high school senior models at the school, and when I told the girl at the counter my name, she said “Oh my gosh, all my friends use you at my school”. The hardest part of a photography studio is getting the clients who value photography and so in order to get my name out there into the community, I have to constantly hustle, network, and build relationships with other small businesses. However, I love most is using my photography studio to give back to the animal rescue community. I donate my photography services to local rescue groups to photograph dogs so they can get adopted. I also do a pet calendar fundraiser to raise money and donate to local rescue groups. My pet calendar fundraiser project over 6 years have raised over $12,000 for animal rescue groups. This year, I am donating $100 from each family or pet session booked to my favorite local animal rescue groups. I believe that it’s important for a business to give back to the community. I believe part of my WHY as a photographer is helping animals.
Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Kim Ortiz Photography – what should we know?
My studio is Kim Ortiz Photography, a boutique studio located at the Castle Hills Village Shops. My studio specializes in high school seniors, families, pets and business headshots. I am known for heirloom wall portraits because I believe that portraits are meant to be hung on the wall and not locked up on the computer or on an iPhone. My flagship product is a mixed media painted portrait. It is a beautiful painted portrait that is framed and is a portrait that will be handed down to the kids and grandkids. When you look at the painted portrait, you can see the raised acrylic and oil brush strokes. It is an art piece that your children will fight over as to who will get to inherit it. I am known for family portraits with pets. People come to my studio because they know that I am a pet person. I have 5 dogs of my own and I love including pets in family portraits because they are part of the family and they are only with us for a limited time. Most photographers now a days don’t have a studio so having a retail studio storefront sets me apart. I can photograph year round without worrying about the weather condition.
Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
I have a solid understanding of business through my education and also certification as a Certified Public Accountant. This helps me to run my studio as a business and charge appropriately to make a profit to support the business growth and my family. But building relationship is very important in any business as people like to work with people they like. As an extrovert and people person, I find it easy to connect and build rapport with my clients. This builds trust and during the session, it helps the client feel comfortable. Many of my clients have become friends.
- Address: 2520 King Arthur Blvd. Suite 171
Lewisville, TX 75056
- Website: www.KimOrtiz.com
- Phone: 972-814-9642
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: kimortizphotography
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/kimortizphotographer
- Twitter: kimortizphoto
- Other: www.kimortizseniors.com
Kim Ortiz Photography