We had the good fortune of connecting with Kate Merrill and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kate, what do you attribute your success to?
Inclusivity. When I first started out as a wedding photographer, I just tried to do what everyone else was doing. If it made them successful, it would work for me too, right? While I did okay and booked some weddings, I wasn’t connecting with my clientele like I wanted to be. They were booking me just because the price point worked for them, but weren’t excited about my work and who I was. After working in the industry for a few years, I was starting to feel disappointed in the lack of inclusivity and diversity in wedding publications, on vendor’s websites, and even represented in the faces behind the businesses I worked with. As a bisexual woman, I felt the need to change that, and make sure my wesbite was a safe space for people to land and business was felt like a safe space for the LGBTQIA+ community. From there, I just focused on including real people in my portfolio and brand. Not just the straight, white, “traditionally attractive” couples that we see on the covers of wedding magazines. I was rewarded with the most genuine, wonderful people celebrating an amazing moment in their lives. I’ll never go back, and will keep honoring and working towards diversity and inclusivity in both my brand and the wedding industry as a whole. Most of the people who wind up booking me now mention how important it was that my website showcased all types of love, and all types of people in love.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I show up on wedding days to authentically show the love surrounding the amazing people getting married, and create portraits of them that they’ll always love to look at because it’s a true representation of who they are. I’m not happy with my work from a wedding until I got a photo that feels like the perfect mix of art and a true genuine moment between people. Running a business as an artist isn’t easy. It feels so counterintuitive to who I am as an artist to sit down with quickbooks and try to do my taxes every year. But, it’s part of running a business, and learning how to do that has made it so I can pursue creating art for people as my job, and that’s pretty magical! I want people to know that showing up as yourself, authentically, is the best thing you can do for my business. It’s made my job easy because I can be myself and make art that I love… that just so happens to be of people’s wedding days.
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?
Oooooh I’d dive right into the Denver dining and fancy cocktail scene for sure. We’d get ramen at Sera’s, have drinks and apps on the Linger patio, wander around the Dairy Block, visit RiNo and get some beers at Our Mutual Friend, hang out at Finn’s Manor, then walk down to Tracks for a drag show!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I wouldn’t be where I was without the support of so many of my wedding photography peers! Sarah Fosco has my back every time I need it, and is a huge inspiration for my creativity and art. Deziree Dufresne, Dylan Gallagher, Rayna McGinnis, Kyla Fear, and Chantalle Hegreness are incredible friends who will show up to second shoot, sit in a coffee shop editing next to me, and are just always there. My amazing family have been my cheerleaders despite me getting an art degree and pursuing a career that it’s hard to make good income doing. They have always been a huge support. My amazing husband, best friend, and life partner…I just don’t have the words for how amazing he is, and how much he has done to lift me up and help me get where I needed to be. The Denver Drag Scene made me feel like it was okay to be queer, dye my hair rainbow colors, and live as my authentic self, especially when that self felt weirder than everyone else in the room!
Sarah Fosco Photography (headshot image)