When we came across freelance photographer Kara McCurdy’s heartwarming wedding images, we simply couldn’t look away. Vintage flair and a whole lot of compassion bring out genuine emotion in her photos. We were instantly inspired not only by her work but by her journey to starting a business-first freelance career. When Kara felt “stuck” last year, she decided to pick up a camera and pursue her long-lost passion for photography. This time, as a business. Kara now shoots portraits and weddings, capturing love in all of its forms through her images. We love how her independence and burning passion for art and photography, has driven her to great success. Here Kara shares valuable insight into how she turned her life around by freelancing.
Let’s make sure you pat your own back… What’s your biggest strength as a solopreneur?
I’m incredibly proud of my journey. I was raised in poverty, got my first job at the age of 11, and by 20 I was working multiple jobs to make ends meet. I worked my way through art school to get my photography degree and put in long hours at a day job. Then I’d come home and put in even more hours on my photography to bring it to fruition. If I fail tomorrow, I’ll be left with the lessons I’ve learned just to get to this point, and that’s honestly more than enough.
What’s the best business or money advice you ever got as a freelance photographer?
Get legal and do it now. DO NOT WAIT! Get your business registered, open a business account, and keep those personal and business expenses separate. When tax season comes, you will thank yourself!
Now for a moment of realness, what are you struggling with right now in your business?
I struggle with digital marketing most! I’m currently getting by just fine, but I know that I could be more purposeful in my marketing if I could just sit down and figure it out. Or maybe my biggest issue is that I’m too prideful to just hand this job off to somebody else, HA!
As a freelance photographer focusing on weddings and portraiture in New York, what challenges and advantages do you think are unique to your city?
I’m going to be real right now. I think that my struggles with New York are unique to me and a select few others. New York is the center of art in the USA, so I think a lot of young artists feel like they need to be in New York to be a “real” artist. But New York only sometimes feels like home to me, nd I frequently feel homesick for wide open spaces. It’s easy to get caught up in the hustle bustle of this city- there is always something going on (a big advantage!!), but sometimes that ends up being a trade-off for time spent outdoors, in the wild, which is something I personally really need as a creative to refresh. Because of this need that I have, I’ve built a big part of my business around destination weddings, which allows me to travel quite a bit! I definitely utilize New York’s big airports for that.
We know the freelancer life is all about the hustle toward incredible goals, where do you see yourself in 5 years? Financially, personally, and with your businesses?
Five years from now!? WHEW! I really want to empower upcoming female artists. We’re told as women that we’re so petty and can’t ever be genuinely supportive of each other, but that’s not true! Women challenge each other in ways that men do not, and that can make us all a lot stronger if we can just realize our potential. I love the work that I do to empower young creative women, and I’d love to continue doing that on a larger scale in the future. And maybe I’ll move out of New York City and live in the mountains, haha!