We had the good fortune of connecting with Russell Klimas and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Russell, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
I honestly wanted to see if it was possible to make a business with light painting photography. It’s definitely not easy and I haven’t been very successful, but I’m definitely going to keep trying. Just gotta make it work!
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
The biggest difference between my art and others is that I have a heavy emphasis on long exposure photography as my main style. Most portrait photographers focus on using natural light or using strobes in a studio but rarely is much attention put towards long exposure. Doing a long exposure photo or light painting with portraits isn’t a difficult process, but just like piano it’s easy to start but takes time to master, and I’m not even close. In photography and especially with light painting trial & error plays a big part in understanding light and what it does, if you fail then just try again, “film” is cheap with digital cameras. The most difficult lesson that I continue to learn is the struggle of finding clients. When you have something as niche as light painting that people don’t know about from my experience it’s been incredibly difficult to find paying work. As for my brand and story I’ve always struggled to try and be something inspirational. Don’t be afraid to try something new and continue to push that as hard as you can if you so desire. Even though I’m not strong monetarily I’ve had wonderful opportunities that I never would have had otherwise if I didn’t continue to push. This includes working with people at Eddy Sound, appearing on international TV, and giving a Tedx Talk all because I just love light painting so much.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
When it comes to cool places to go my first thought it always, “can we take cool pictures there?” In no particular order: Red Rocks, Garden of the Gods, Paint Mines, Pulpit Rock, and Manitou.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Honestly the whole light painting community. Without the unwritten rule in the community that we share everything I would not have progressed nearly as quickly into my craft. A lot of people in that community inspire me such as :Eric Pare, Zach Alan, Jason Page, Kirk Edwards, Warren Adrien Tang, and Tim Gamble just as some examples.
Models: Hannah Bowlby, Kylie Miller, and Sylvia Ross