Interview with a Maker - Kaitlin Sheran Photography
Updated: Oct 2, 2019
Kaitlin is an AMAZING person with a great eye! We quickly fell in love with her and her business. She is a true inspiration to those looking to run their own business!
What do you Make/ what is your business all about?
I’m a life photographer! I have a passion for photographing moments and details that preserve feelings, emotions, and the overall spirit of each stage of people’s lives. I love life, I love love, and I feel like the most outstanding love of all is the one found between the walls of our own homes. It’s my job to capture that.
How did you get started?
There are a couple profound memories that guided me to be where I am today professionally. When I was a child I thought I’d be a nurse without question. Through a series of unfortunate events, transferring between several states and schools, the journey to nursing was unreasonably long and expensive. While I worked toward my RNBSN I had enough credits to attain a degree in Human Development and Family studies from the University of Wisconsin.
In 2005 I met my husband. We loved to go on hikes and adventures—he’d tolerate my desire to photograph ALL THE THINGS. We were talking about what we saw in our future and he asked me “if you could do anything you wanted for a living no strings attached what would you do?” After pushing past all the outside expectations I realized and said, “I’d photograph love and get paid for it.” That Christmas, he got me an ‘expensive to me' Kodak digital camera. Just a short time later I experienced the loss of my great grandmother. It was a painful loss. I can still feel the hurt I felt the night we spent in remembrance as a family. Her son brought out old photo-slides of her life and we spend hours in reflection. I was moved. SO moved. I also had so many regrets. I didn’t have enough photos, I didn’t have enough memories, I had very little to teach my own children some day about her; a women that is so much of what our family was made of.
I never looked back. I began to document it all. My life, your lives, anything I possibly could. I love so much to look at photographs of everything and try to understand the feeling and experience and history of what is happening. I have a secret persona as a super secret phsychologist that can receive what makes each person in those photographs who they are today just by seeing that split second in their history. That’s normal right?
So, as I continued to be ’that person’ who always said “let me take picture!”, or, “ok now everyone get together let’s get a picture!”, you know, just doing me. It was a release and a break from my academic rigamarole. Something I was equally as passionate about but also allowed me to begin to find myself again after a decade of college and work on repeat. Suddenly people began to ask me to do it for them. And slowly, they began to pay me.
Eventually I began my business. My first name is Kaitlin. My middle name is Sheran. At the time I became legal I wasn’t yet married but I knew I’d be marrying my now husband eventually. My middle name is my great grandmother’s last name. (See my grandmother story above). It seemed fitting at the time. I still love it because its me and it has meaning but from a business standpoint, it definitely confuses people.
I have been a legal business, KaitlinSheran Photography LLC for a little over 10 years. I took a leap, quit school, and quit my hospital job in 2012 when my first daughter was born and never looked back. It has been the best move, while scary and a LOT of hustle hard work and sacrifice, it has allowed me to spend time at home with my children during their first years of life and allowed us so much flexibility in our daily lives. I now consider my photography business my full time job, easily working 40+ hours most weeks of the year. I don’t take a single second of it for granted and am eternally grateful to everyone who trusts me with their special moments <3
What's your biggest SUCCESS this far?
Growing my family and my business simultaneously. I have a husband, three young kids, and a dog. They are my biggest life dream come true. I have been a full time stay at home mom, full time stay at home photographer until this year. There have been a lot of “what the hell am I doing!?” moments. A ton of guilt, a ton of mistakes and tears and lots of stress but I finally feel like I am in a good space and when I look back on how far I have come personally and professionally, while I often feel held back professionally by my littles, I am amazed at how far I’ve come.
A year ago we remodeled an entire floor of our house into a studio for my business. And this year we decided to enroll my two littlest into daycare two days a week. When I think about even just three years ago, I would’ve never expected either of those things to happen!
We love all the work Kaitlin has done for Brass Tacks
What's your biggest Failure?
So many. There are little failures that felt huge at the time that I could go on for days about. But that is part of growth. I think my biggest failure may be more personal than directly related to business. I have a tendency to put my work above my family when I have a lot on my plate. I worry and stress about my client’s experience and forget about how it will make my kids feel. It has been hard for me to leave work outside of my personal life for many reasons. It’s something I likely will always struggle with—but I work toward being cognizant of it and balance it appropriately. Letting go of things I can’t control and just moving forward.
What do you love the most about making/your business?
From a practical perspective, I love knowing that I am giving people something awesome that they can have for the rest of their lives and pass on for generations. I love meeting so many amazing people and being a very small part of their families for so many years and seeing their kids and families grow.
From a personal perspective, creating makes me complete. It lets me use a part of my mind and soul that is a big part of who I am. I love making things. Anything. But I love photography equally as much—so to combine the two, its a release for me.
What is your business Super Strength?
I care. I think that with anything if there is love, passion and commitment behind it, you can tell. I have not had a session yet, that I didn’t love. Each time a make a photo, I want it to be something my clients can love. Also, I just love people. I think, well, I hope it shows in my work
What advice do you have to those makers/ entrepreneurs afraid to take the next step?
Fall into your fears. Being scared means you aren’t comfortable. When you aren’t comfortable you are driven to succeed. When I feel comfortable, I get worried, because comfort=complacency. I don’t ever want to be complacent in my business. The minute a sit in the comfort zone will be the minute I become irrelevant. Take the leap, TRUST YOURSELF, follow what lights a fire within you.
What is your spirit animal and why?
I recently traveled to Mexico to photograph an amazing one of a kind orphanage. While there, I had my tarot cards read by an ‘authentic’ teller. It was pretty amazing—she told me the black panther was my spirit animal. They are agile, strong, and stand out as well as they blend in with the night. They sit back until they need to be known . They adapt well but also influence things around them. I think its a pretty accurate description—it’s something I never thought about before so I’ll go with that.