We had the good fortune of connecting with Cristin Spielman and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Cristin, any advice for those thinking about whether to keep going or to give up?
The past calendar year has been excruciating for most individuals who are employed in the wedding or event business. It has forced most of us to take a step back and evaluate our perspective and how we define success. There were several moments during this past year that I have asked myself if continuing in this industry and business is worth my effort and time. The answer that continues to come to me time after time is how much I love what I do. It’s more than the time and money that I’ve invested in my business, but it is the passion that drives me and leaves me breathless and excited after a beautiful session. I love making connections and valuing people while illuminating the beauty in their lives. I love the feeling of being able to communicate the value behind my work to clients and to be able to create heirlooms for my clients that they can treasure. This has been a year that will make history for hundreds of years. And when my clients’ grandchildren and great grandchildren talk about their ancestors who got married during 2020, I want to be able to provide beautiful imagery that will capture the moment in time and the emotions that were there; the love, the joy, the bravery, which led them to choose to get married in spite of all the limitations and hindrances. It reminds me of an image that I have of my great-great-grandparents when they were first married. I love how beautiful and timeless the photo is, and I love that I can see that I look just like my great-great-grandmother, that I can see what we had in common, and I have a glimpse into who she and my great-great-grandfather were. I love that I am providing that to my clients, and it feeds my drive to keep making amazing, timeless images. With all that passion and love, the idea of giving up seems impossible. I think that I need to keep going when I can’t imagine my life without all of these things that I love and am so passionate about.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I shoot hybrid film and digital photography. I focus on weddings, but also shoot newborn and family portraiture. I have brought medium format film into most of my work these days and make sure that I can give something tangible and timeless to my clients. I am so proud of the images that I have been able to challenge myself to create with film; they are what I would consider some of my greatest creative successes. It took a lot of time to build the confidence to begin shooting on film. I began my career as an exclusively digital photographer and I found the idea of film terrifying. By the time that I felt like I was ready to try shooting on film, I actually didn’t find that process terribly challenging, as once you know what you’re doing fully on a digital camera, the process of transitioning that to film isn’t nearly as difficult as it seems. I would say my focus on the timeless nature of my images makes my brand unique, and my incorporation of film is a tangible way to demonstrate that. I’ve learned a lot about being honest with myself and about refining my workflow. The process of incorporating film is a more time consuming one, as the processing takes quite a bit of time. There has to be a way to make sure that the images are delivered in a timely manner, which I’m just now figuring out. My brand is focused on creating timeless images that tell the story of the people who hire me and show how beautiful they are and how beautiful they make the world around them. I love that film gives me a way to capture that in such a fantastic way. It allows me to make sure that the images aren’t merely trendy or beautiful, but that they are heirlooms and will be relevant, tasteful, and meaningful for generations.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Ooh! This is a challenge for an introvert like me (and my best friends)! I would probably reserve a room on Peak 7 or 8 in Breckenridge and spend the week more quietly. I love Breckenridge more than any other town in Colorado, so I’d be thrilled to spend the majority of the time there. There are some phenomenal hikes on the south end of town. It’s especially gorgeous in mid to late September. In Breckenridge, I would have to visit Ollie’s Tavern for a burger and a cocktail and do a dinner at Giampietro’s Italian restaurant with a big helping of red wine. One of the wonderful things about Breckenridge is that it is a great launch point for a lot of wonderful mountain adventures, so I could head into Vail for a day and spend some time window shopping and have a delicious dinner there. I would wrap up our time by heading back to the Front Range with a visit to Flatirons Church (where I’m an active volunteer) and Sweet Heart Winery in Loveland for a delicious glass of Cabernet that they make in house! Ultimately, my idea of a good time involves quiet dinners and meaningful conversations with people I love as well as plenty of time outdoors with good books, which is perfectly accomplished in Colorado’s mountains.
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?
My husband is absolutely my greatest cheerleader. He listens to all of the thoughts that I have about my business, and he is even willing to wade into the areas of my business that I find challenging. He is great about offering feedback when I need it and being a sounding board when I need one, too. I appreciate that he not only will come and second shoot with me or listen to marketing classes with me, but will also stay home with our kids and hold down the fort when I have destination weddings and events that I need to capture. I know that I couldn’t get nearly as far as I have without his patience, support, encouragement, and unfaltering belief that I am excellent at what I do.