Focus On: Kimberly Hill


Name: Kimberly Hill
Website: blissportraiture.com
Location: Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Portrait Photographer Since 2003

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What is your background/training in photography?
I’m a huge believer in continuing education and a significant part of my yearly budget goes to educational opportunities. Not only the big events like ImagingUSA, but smaller get-togethers with friends and colleagues from all over the country to work on marketing, new photography techniques, business, etc. There’s so much to learn from so many people and the friendships and connections you make in this business are priceless.

Late last year, I partnered up with fellow MpixPro client Michelle Parsley of Kindle the Heart in TN and we worked together to earn our Certified Professional Photographer designation through Professional Photographers of America (PPA) in February 2009. Fewer than 3% of the photographers in the U.S. have passed the CPP written exam and image review so it was a big accomplishment for me and another fabulous selling point for my business.

What inspired you to get started in photography?
I’ve been photographing people and *stuff* for as long as I can remember. When I finally decided to consider portrait photography as a career, I freely admit I was one of those who thought a camera upgrade, doubling the lab fees for prints, and a spiffy logo was all it would take. The thought I would’ve actually gone ahead with that plan chills my blood now! Instead, I started to research and wow… what an eye opener!

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What equipment do you use?
For portrait work, my go-to camera setup is the Nikon D3 and Nikkor 70-200 f/2.8 lens. I use it for just about everything from high school seniors to families to boudoir. I’m currently working on a long-term commercial project which has a completely different set of equipment: the Canon 5D MarkII, 580EX II speedlite, Canon 17-40mm f/4L lens, and the Canon 15mm f/2.8 fisheye lens. Since I’ve been a Nikon user for over 20 years, this has been a real learning experience!

Tell us about your favorite location for shooting.
Professionally, it’s a local state park. It has a little bit of everything for me: beach, pier, woods, fields, wooden buildings, roads, and even a funky stucco/brick-walled bathroom! Personally, my recharging spot is Walt Disney World. My husband is a travel agent who specializes in Disney trips and I grew up just minutes away from Disneyland so it’s a magical place for our family. I could go to Disney World every day for a year and never run out of inspiration for my business! There’s interesting architecture, colors, shapes, landscaping, characters, and locations to photograph, and then their customer service is second to none.

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What do you see as the next “big thing” in photography?
It’s entertaining to watch the trends ebb and flow in this business. One year senior portraits are all the rage, then it’s trash the dress, next it’s boudoir, now it seems to be pets. “Lifestyle” and “photojournalistic” and “real” are buzzwords we’ve heard for several years now and as more and more people get into the business thinking it’s a great way to make lots of money – after all, you just take pictures of kids in a park, right? – I think we’re going to see a turn back to classic, well-lit, well-posed portraiture and probably more studio work. There’s always a place for fabulous on-location and lifestyle/real photography, but I see clients becoming more discerning and not accepting a snapshot just because it came from a professional photographer.

What is the biggest challenge facing you as a photographer?
Balance! More than just the traditional work/home balance, there’s “how big do I want to grow?” and “do I want to tap into the XYZ market?” and “are this company/photographer’s ethics compatible with mine if we forge a relationship?” and so on. With two sons in college and a daughter in first grade, I’ve witnessed how quickly children grow and I’ve seen other photographers lose sight of their families as their business exploded. Then again, I’m a businesswoman who’s extremely passionate about her work… not just the creative side but the business part as well. Working from a business plan with long-term and short-term goals and having a fabulous support team of colleagues and mentors to help guide me have been crucial to growing Bliss® to be the best it can be for both my clients AND my family.

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How does MpixPro make your life easier?
Being able to order all of my client products at one lab is a huge timesaver! I think photographers don’t realize how much time (and therefore, money) they lose when they have to touch a file multiple times to ready it for print here, canvas there, speciality product at another place, and press-print at yet another place. I love being able to order different types of press-print products in one order, ordering several clients’ spiral-bound proof books all at one time by using the simple divider page in ROES, and probably best of all… e-surface paper, metallic paper, and true black & white paper prints all in the same order! MpixPro’s fast turn-around is a lifesaver when I need something done NOW, like for a display or marketing opportunity, and customer service is top notch.

4 Responses to “Focus On: Kimberly Hill”

  1. Marmalade says:

    Congrats Kim Hill!! Beautiful images. Well deserved honor to be featured on the blog.

  2. Joy says:

    Congratulations Kimberly! A perfect choice of a photographer to “Focus On”!!!

  3. Adrienne Washington says:

    Great profile of the best photographer I’ve ever had the pleasure to work with – can’t wait for our next Bliss family photo shoot in January!

  4. Derek says:

    Your experience speaks for itself in the photos. Beautiful! I believe that the trends in photography will vary between each photographer and their skills. Pets is not something I have had a lot of response with yet, but I have no doubt you would be troubled by capturing it- Nice work!