We had the good fortune of connecting with Kristen Schurr and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kristen, what is the most important factor behind your success?
The most important factor behind the success of my photography business is authenticity.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I am a western photographer that specializes in capturing how you live, love, or work out west. I have always been creative and interested in photography. When I was young I had a film camera and then eventually a big video camera that I would take everywhere. I made my own little videos while traveling and even made my family partake in the videos as actors. Most of my work though was solo, and that’s exactly how I work today.
Although I put away the camera and video equipment away for about 20 years, I didn’t realize my life was about to change one afternoon while shopping in Costco. I picked up my first DSLR kit in 2017 and began shooting again while living on a ranch in Montana. I mainly took photos on the ranch for social media and for fun. As my photos grew in popularity I started teaching myself how to edit, and other photography based skills via online articles and YouTube.
In 2020 right before the pandemic hit I opened my doors part-time and started booking clients. I knew I waned to run my own business, but I was scared to jump in full time. On June 4th as I was on my way home from gathering cows horseback, a young horse bucked me off and I got kicked in the head. After I woke up from my blackout I drove myself to the hospital two hours away. I got home the next morning with a concussion and town tendons in my ankle. As I walked in the house, my boss called from my full-time sales job letting me know that I was being let go. We were branding that day, and as I crutched my way over to the crew I really don’t remember much, but I grabbed my camera and started taking photos.
I wasn’t great at sales, I knew I loved ranching but I had always had a creative mind. Perhaps it took a literally kick in the head and losing a job to make me pursue photography full time. But, that’s what I did, and I opened my doors completely to Kristen Schurr Photography in June of 2020.
Starting a business is never easy, and I’ve had to work hard at it. I never had a real mentor to turn to, or anyone else in Montana to help. My knowledge of photography is self-taught, whether it be trial and error, learning from mistakes, or just going out and shooting. My first year in business I took on over 28 sessions and one commercial project. I would photograph anything and never said no.
If there is one thing I could tell the world it would be to start now. If you are passionate about something and torn whether you should start now, you should. No matter how messy your business or your passion might be, just start now.
I know have the opportunity to pick what work interests me best, and to also split my time between Arizona and Montana. There are no rules to life and business. If you show up, work hard, and treat people right there are no limits to what you may achieve.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I hope I can make this about Wickenburg?
Weekend in Wickenburg
Between roping at the Downtown Arena in Wickenburg, AZ and hanging out at our casita 7 miles from town we would stop in to Rancho Bar 7 for Dinner and drinks. The next day we would take in the beautiful drive on the way to visit the Vulture City Ghost Town. On the way back we would grab lunch and of course margaritas at El Ranchero. Back at the casita we would take a walk on the state land and finish the night with a homemade meal on the grill while watching the sunset.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Shout out to my mom, Shari. For always believing in my business and wild dreams. For teaching me how to travel, and for supporting my business. For teaching me that sometimes life is like a Ford Mustang, you may not be able to afford the flashy, fast car, but if you want it bad enough you can make it happen.
Other: tiktok: @kschurrphoto