We had the good fortune of connecting with Karlie Widhalm and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Karlie, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
Believe it or not, I was a Biochemistry major in college. I went to college for five years with the intention of attending pharmacy school. If you would have told me even a few years ago that I would drop out of college to start my own photography business, I would have never believed you. Many things lead me to change professions, but the main reason was my happiness. I was never happy in college, never excited to learn about proteins or the stereochemistry of organic compounds, and I kept telling myself, “next semester will be better,” “the next science class will be better,” and it never got better or became more interesting. When covid hit, and everything went online, it gave me more free time. I started to mess around with my old Canon Rebel t1i, and I LOVED it. I found myself waking up every day to listen to photography podcasts, watch YouTube videos on how to edit, and I was reading photography business books. Photography became my life. It was never planned or organized that way, it just happened. So when I got the email from school stating that classes would resume in person again, I had a pit in my stomach. I knew in my heart that I wouldn’t be going back. I wish I could say I make more income as a photographer than I would as a pharmacist, but it’s simply not true. However, I never have to work a day in my life because my passion is my source of income. I would rather be happy, then have all the money in the world and be miserable. I chose an artistic career not because I thought I would make a six figure income, but because I was choosing my happiness. I get to make others see how beautiful they are through my lens, and capture precious moments that no one will want to forget. I get to meet people from all over the world, make my own schedule, travel, learn something new every day, and I will never have to work a 9-5 job again. I encourage others to do what makes you happy, do not let others dictate what a “good” career path is. Only you can decide that for yourself. It’s not about the paycheck, it’s about the people and the experiences that will fulfill your life in ways you never thought possible. Take a risk, you will never know unless you try!
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
I am a wedding photographer in the state of Minnesota but I travel for small destination weddings and elopements. I started my business only a year ago, and I have grown exponentially since! It has not been easy running my own business, and probably never will be. Being your own boss is harder than it seems! Not only am I the employee, I’m also the manager, accountant, marketer, media manager, designer, photographer, editor, scheduler, and more! I took a huge risk starting my own business. Not only did I drop out of college to do it, I also put my life savings into it as well as my blood, sweat, and tears. However, it already has paid for itself and more! I have been booked every weekend for the past year and I am almost completely booked for next year! With my loved ones always having my back, it was never a question of “if I make it,” but a question of “when I make it.” There are a few things that my clients appreciate about my brand and that is professionalism, time management, and friendliness. Not only am I your photographer, I’m your friend! I’m easy to get in contact with because as my client, you will always be a priority to me. Your time is precious and I recognize that! I am here to help make your wedding day less stressful. From the shot list and the timeline, to vendor recommendations, I am here to help!
My brand is built on kindness, flexibility, creativity, and professionalism. Let’s capture your unique love story!
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I currently reside in a small town of Princeton, Minnesota. It’s a quiet little town with about 6,000 people. We would for sure have to grab breakfast at Merlins, there is just no other restaurant like it! Then we could take a walk through the bridges and tall pine of Young Park. Once we finished our walk, we could go window shopping at the small boutiques in downtown Princeton, maybe even grab a beer at the local Pizza Pub. Of course we would have to check out Thunderblades which is a fun rollerblading arena with an arcade. Maybe even win a big prize as a souvenir. After a day spent in Princeton, we would for sure have to take a few road trip adventures and explore Minnesota. The Mall of America is always a must-see along with the North Shore near Duluth. We would check out the lighthouse and Black Sand Beach. Of course possibly staying a few nights at the Waterpark of America.
If you visit during the Winter, we for sure would have to see the Christmas lights on Lake Superior in Duluth called Bentleyville. Take a sleigh ride through downtown, grab coffee at Caribou, and take a walk near the drawbridge.
Of course we would take a snowmobile ride through the iron range too!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I have to shoutout my parents for supporting me in everything I do. I also have to dedicate my career to my boyfriend. If it were not for him, I would not be running my own photography business. He is the one who helped convince me to do what makes me happy, and that is Photography! I love you Rylee, always and forever.
Facebook: Always Karlie Photography