We had the good fortune of connecting with Kim Hartz and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kim, have there been any changes in how you think about work-life balance?
When I first started my business, I didn’t have kids so my perspective and time was very different from what it looks like today. I worked longer hours and more days, but I realized I wasn’t necessarily working smarter putting in the extra time. Once, I had kids, I realized the value of outsourcing and setting boundaries in my business. Now, I’m working much smarter in that I don’t have to pull the long work days because I outsource anything and everything that I don’t do the best in my business. Some of those things include bookkeeping, my taxes, and retouching. By doing this, I’m working smarter and able to free myself up for family time, which is super important. I also set boundaries in my business by having set work hours, studio policies, and things in place so that I don’t feel like I’m working for my business. My business is set up so it works for me. You have to have some down time, so I step away from my business as soon as my work hours are over. I don’t respond to calls or emails outside of those hours either.
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’ve been a photographer full time for ten years now, and I always find it amazing that I get to photograph babies with fur. I’m a huge animal lover, so it’s really a dream come true. My work is different from other pet photographers because I always use a light regardless if I’m in the studio or on location. I like to focus on a minimal palette that compliments the pet’s fur and highlight that pet with minimal distractions. I work very hard to showcase that pet’s personality and create a piece of art that the parents are going to love. I have been in business for ten years because I work very hard to create an amazing experience for my clients, and I also work very hard on the business side of things. It’s hard to be a working photographer (or artist of any kind) if you can’t run a business. I faced a lot of challenges out of the gate and made some serious mistakes, but they taught me lessons that I still use in my business today. When I decided to become a full time pet photographer, I was faced with a lot of cynicism. No one thought it would work – this was also before pet photography really exploded. I knew there was a market there and that I wanted to pursue it. I took the huge risk of putting my eggs in that basket, but I also worked my tail off to brand myself and my business, and take my place in that niche market.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
That’s also a tough question because Houston has so much to offer! First, we would have to go to dinner at BCN. That is, hands down, my favorite restaurant in Houston. But, of course, we would have to get some Tex Mex as well at El Tiempo at some point! I’m a big fan of Broadway Musicals, so if there was a good show like Wicked, Phantom, Hamilton, or something in that range playing we would probably do that too! I also love the summer series the Houston Symphony puts on where they play the score to a popular movie. We have some amazing parks as well that would be fun to check out, and the art scene is quite fun! I enjoy the Museum of Fine Arts as well, and the Bayou City Art Festival is so fun!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
This is a tough one because so many people have helped me along the way! I’ve had huge support from my family and friends, especially my husband, Ted, and my mom, Mo. They encouraged me to continue forward even when I would hit road bumps. I am a firm believer in continuing to educate yourself even if you’re established. Not only is there great education but also fabulous networking. I’ve met some amazing people at workshops and conferences that I continue to collaborate with and bounce idea off of when I’m stuck. I do want to give a shoutout to my fellow Elevate coaches for keeping me inspired, and my Dog Photography Bootcamp co-instructors for keeping me motivated!