Another blog post, another creative spotlight! This week I chatted with the lovely Kiana of Kiana Grant Photography. Kiana first became intrigued with wedding photography as a college freshman. Since then, she’s built a successful, 6-person photography business, as well as a business-coaching business. She dives into what it’s like being an entrepreneur and a mom balancing work and life.
All photos associated with this post are by and courtesy of Kiana!
For Kiana, everything in her business is centered around relationships. And it’s the relationships in her life that have inspired her and helped her soar—from a friend who sparked the idea to learn photography, to a luxury wedding photographer she interned with, her team, her family, and her clients.
S&S: How did you get started with wedding photography?
Kiana: I was in school as a college freshman and always had a passion for all things creative. I grew up in an entrepreneurial family, so I was pretty aware of picking a career path that scratched my itch of being creative every day while also making a decent living. I met a friend in college that was an 18 year old wedding photographer and I was immediately intrigued and said, "Wait, I want to do that! Will you teach me?" We went out for coffee and I picked her brain. Soon after that meeting I landed myself an internship with a high end luxury wedding photographer that I spent the whole summer learning under. My business really took off from there. I was really humble, eager to learn from the best in the industry, served my butt off, and just started soaring.
S&S: Why did you decide to expand it into the business it is today? What do you see for the future?
Kiana: As with life, there are seasons for everything in business. I spent the first several years of my wedding photography business traveling out of state to book and photograph the most scenic and stunning weddings. The wedding world loves to glamourize traveling for weddings, but that honestly got old for me pretty quickly. As my family grew and my desire to be home by the end of the wedding day did too, I really leaned into building a client base locally. After my first baby was born, I contracted a trusted photographer friend to help me photograph weddings when I gave birth right in the middle of wedding season. I got a taste of what it would be like to have a team of photographers working for me and I was immediately hooked. That was five years ago, and since then I’ve grown my team to six photographers serving clients based in two different states. In recent years I've also launched a business coaching business to help women, often mompreneurs, scale their businesses like I have without sacrificing living a meaningful life outside of work.
S&S: How would you describe your style?
Kiana: The number one most distinguishing thing about our team is that we value people. Everything about the process of working with us is relationship driven, keeping celebrating their marriage together front of mind. The environment we create on wedding days - the feeling of hanging out with old friends - creates a really natural setting for photos. People that don't know us at all, but observe our work on the internet love to say how joyful, candid and fun our photos are.
S&S: Do you have a specific creative process you use that you can walk through?
Kiana: I have a lot of creative processes! When it comes to photography, it's pretty simple –– I make them feel comfortable. You're probably wondering how that works when everyone feels awkward in front of a camera. Clients are more comfortable when they aren't stressed by time or other things. When they trust you to make magic out of every moment, have enough direction to feel confident in what they're doing, feel relaxed because you've earned their trust, and they're moving often so they can work their anxiety out.
S&S: Where do you find inspiration?
Kiana: My biggest inspiration is my own life. The age-old saying that "you can't pour from an empty cup" is so true. When I prioritize time with my husband, simple moments with my kids, getting ready, getting off the internet, I'm the most inspired and top of my game than any other time.
S&S: What do you love the most about what you do?
Kiana: That the world is my oyster! Owning your own business or businesses gives me the freedom to be available, to prioritize what's important to me, and to work with life-giving clients that I love. I want to have a business AND a life that I'm proud of. It's a joy to say that I'm living that dream.