I am working on a Spotlight Series showcasing a few of my favorite Small Business in the area (Including videographers, venues, family and newborn photographers, etc.) Today, I am showcasing Danielle from Porter Kat Photography located in Bedford,NH. Danielle is an amazing photographer with an extremely artist talent when it comes to shooting and editing. I wanted to share her work here because it is VERY different from my kind of editing. She specializes in Fine Art Children’s photography and each time she posts a photo on her social media pages I can not help but think WOW that is a crazy awesome edit! So, sit back, grab a seltzer and check out who it is behind the camera at Porter Kat Photography and keep scrolling for some of her amazing Fine Art work!
Who is the person behind Porter Kat Photography? How did you get the name?
Danielle LeColst, me! For years and years and years (pre-owning a camera) I had always wanted to dabble in photography. However, being a poor college student, and then a poor post-grad student, shelling out thousands of dollars on a camera and equipment wasn’t something I could do. Enter my late 20s, after I had my daughter and was financially stable, I had hired a photographer to take some family photos. I kept telling my husband how I wished I was the one behind the camera instead of in front of it. I even knew in my head what I would call my photography business, “Porter Kat Photography”, after my daughter, Porter Katherine. Right after that, he surprised me with a camera and my first lens, a 35mm. The photographer who took my family photos, Lauren, met up with me a few times to show me the ropes and how to work my camera. She was always there to answer any question I had about my equipment or editing. She helped me so much, and I am still so thankful to her. Practice makes perfect, and I really felt like I took to everything quickly. I knew right away this is what my soul was meant to do. This was my dream come true. Photography quickly became a huge part of my identity. I believe everything happens for a reason. I was a stay at home mother with time on my hands (ha.. well, some time), and a camera basically fell on my lap at the exact time I needed it. If this had happened at any other point in my life, I would not have had the time, or patience, or Lauren there to help me.
I am so thankful to be a photographer, and for every single moment I have been lucky enough to capture.
Walk me through the step-by-step process that you went through to get to where you are today. What was the first thing you did?
So as stated above, it all started with my husband buying me my first camera, this was the first step. However, getting a camera and not knowing how to use it, does not make you a photographer. So, my friend Lauren, a photographer, stepped in. She introduced me to Lightroom, to photography groups, to my actual camera. She taught me lighting, aperture, shutter speed, ISO, and so much more. I am SO thankful to her. Around the same time I met Lauren, I met another mom with a passion for photography, Nicole. She and I would get our kids together and photograph them every second we got. We would bounce ideas back and forth. Teach each other new things we learned. Having a friend who shares a passion with you is so important, and I feel incredibly lucky.
Once I was set, and a pretty great photographer, I started to host sessions. Everyone loved their images, but I honestly felt like I wanted more. I wanted more out of my photos. I didn’t want my images to look like every other photographer’s. I wanted mine to stand out. I came across Noelle Mirabella Photography’s work in a photography group. I was blown away. Her images made me weep (and they still do). Were they paintings? Were they photographs? Was this even real life?!
I had never seen something so beautiful. I knew right then and there, that this was what I wanted from my work. I wanted to be a fine art photographer.
But how did I get there? My images were good, but they were not fine art, and I had no clue how where to even start. I knew I needed to learn Photoshop to achieve this look.
I then started to Youtube how to use Photoshop every single free moment I got, because up to this point I had only been using the editing system called Lightroom.
Photoshop was literally like trying to teach myself a new language. I cried, ALL. THE. TIME. I was so overwhelmed. I got myself to understand the basics.
Remember what I said about everything happening for a reason? So I had bought a carousel horse a while back, and my husband told me it was time to sell it (it was taking up too much storage space). So, I listed it on a yard sale group. I had someone who wanted to buy it, and as it turned out, she was a photographer. We sparked up a conversation, and low and behold, she was a FINE ART photographer. Her name is Kayla, and we quickly became good friends. She invited me over to watch her edit. I learned SO much, and I continue to learn so much from her. She is one of the best photographers I know.
Fast forward a little bit, and Kayla and I both signed up for Noelle Mirabella Workshops. She would be in NJ, and I in Canada.
I learned a lot that weekend in Canada, and I feel like after returning home and really practicing more and more, I could officially consider myself a “fine art photographer.” It took me years to get here, but I am here.
What service(s) or product(s) do you offer?
I offer family and children portrait sessions. I am starting to dabble in weddings, but my heart is in portraits.
How do you advertise your business? ( SOCIAL MEDIA, VIP Groups, Etc.)
Because I am a stay at home mom, I limit my sessions to weekends when my husband is home to watch our children, and some weekdays if my friend Alex (that’s you Ali B Photography) can babysit. Because of this, my business is still small and will remain small until my children are in school full time. Thus, I only advertise on my personal or business Facebook, and via word of mouth.
What made you choose your current locations for events/sessions?
The locations I choose for sessions are carefully chosen based on how they will photograph in a session. I want to see how the light will hit the trees, if there is shade, the bokeh I can get, etc.
What is (are) your goals for yourself and business?
To be a nationally known Fine Art Photographer. To be one of the best.
Do you work locally or nationally?
Locally.. for now 😉
What is unique about your business?
Fine Art Photographers are few and far between. Fine Art photographs tell a story. They make you question if certain images are photographs, or maybe paintings. They are not your average photos.
I think this is what makes me unique.