We had the good fortune of connecting with Kim Hefner and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kim, what role has risk played in your life or career?
After spending a decade working in accounting and finance, I left my corporate job to pursue building a creative business as an elopement photographer. I can say with certainty that most people in my life considered this a risky move.
And I actually agree. Staying at my 9-5 would have offered more financial certainty, at least in the short term, since building a business takes time and there are no guarantees of success.
But the way that I think about risk is that every decision you make is inherently a trade off. A trade off of time, a trade off of money, etc. When you pursue one route (or stay in your current one), it means you are forgoing all others. Even making the safe choice has a cost—the opportunity cost of not pursuing other options.
So for me that played a big part in my decision to change careers. I had to consider the risks of leaving but also what the risks were to staying in that corporate job too. If I stayed, I would be forgoing the flexibility that being a small business owner offers, the sense of accomplishment working on something that you created and solely own, and of course the rewards that come with being able to pursue a creative passion.
So at the end of the day, I think you have to accept that even choices that feel safe actually have risk too. And once you realize that, you open up a lot of opportunities for yourself.
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?
Through my business, Wild and Found Photography, I photograph couples for the special moments in their lives. Specifically I focus on Colorado elopements, microweddings, proposals, and engagement or adventure sessions.
I differentiate myself from other photographers by truly being a full-service provider.
Most wedding photographers are just going to show up to the wedding day and shoot for you. There’s really no need for them to get more involved because with traditional weddings there is usually either a wedding planner, a venue coordinator, a day-of coordinator, or at least a very involved friend or family member to help.
With elopements and microweddings, as well as proposals, sometimes as the photographer, I am the only professional my clients have to help with things like figuring out the perfect location, logistics, and timelines, figuring out permits for public lands, and finding trusted local vendors. So all of these things (and more) are included as part of all of my photography packages.
It really does make a difference for my couples, and it brings me so much joy when couples say that I have made an impact on their story.
Building this business and getting to the point where I am today certainly was not easy. Being a photographer is 10% photography and 90% business (marketing, strategy, accounting etc.). I think if that’s one lesson I could share with people aiming to start their own business, it’s to know this. The way I like to phrase it is that you might be able to make the best cupcakes in the world, but that doesn’t mean you’re going to be good at running a bakery. You’ve got to be ready to treat what you do like a business, and any business takes time and hard work to grow and succeed.
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?
Ah I love this question. One of the best parts about living in Colorado is how many friends and family members from other places want to visit because we live in such an awesome state!
Hopefully the friend visiting loves the outdoors—because those are all my favorite spots. For a great hike that isn’t too challenging for beginners or those unacclimated to the elevation, I would head to St. Mary’s Glacier. For a less active excursion, we could take the scenic drive up to Mount Evans or Loveland Pass. I’d take my friend climbing at one of my favorite gyms in the area—Movement’s Baker location. And then of course we’ll have to grab a bite at one of my favorite restaurants in Denver—Denver Biscuit Company.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I owe a lot of my inspiration in life to a blogger and podcaster named Paula Pant. She runs a blog and podcast called Afford Anything. Listening to her story and her interviews with others helped shape my change in career path. The premise is that you can afford to do anything with your life but not everything. You have to decide what your values really are and what you actually want to do with your life. The actions you take on a daily basis determine whether or not you will have a life in accordance with those values.