Guest blog post written by Kim Forrester
In 2013, I was diagnosed with a painful orthopedic condition that prevented me from continuing my corporate job as an assistant to the camera buyer at Best Buy Canada. I had worked so hard to get there, through years of assistant managing retail stores while working towards my degree via distance education. This affected me for two and a half years. I could no longer sit or stand comfortably for prolonged periods. I couldn’t drive or do many of the activities I loved. Financially, my husband and I took a massive hit while I waited for a surgery that was only offered by two specialists with extremely long waitlists. We put off our plans for buying a home, traveling, and starting a family.
I felt trapped by my condition, and I hit rock bottom. After a pep talk from my husband, I picked up my entry level DSLR and learned it inside out, carried it with me on my doctor-prescribed daily walks, and kept my creative juices flowing and my mind fresh by offering quick photoshoots for friends. I started assisting and second shooting with other photographers so I could learn more. My camera became my therapy— physically and emotionally.
After my surgery in 2016, I dove right into starting my own business, and got a job with the photography company based in BC Women’s Hospital where I went on to photograph over 1000 babies over two years. After only two months in business, it was apparent that I had entered a highly competitive field, saturated with “momtographers” and many newborn studios that had been in business for years. I knew I had to position myself differently, so I was offering something unique and valuable to new families. I learned that many families were not up to trekking to a studio with a new baby, and that most didn’t have the time or energy to print their professional photos. When they did, they were shiny, orange, 4×6 prints from their local lab.
I developed a setup and system that would allow me to travel to my clients’ homes as a full service, mobile newborn studio, and have them select their favorite images through a virtual or in-person proofing session so I could have them printed or developed into a gorgeous heirloom album or fine art print.
Since starting the business, I’ve had two babies, the second one this year. Like so many others, my family and small business have experienced some new challenges that coincide with the pandemic. However, my unique business model and determination as an entrepreneur helped me achieve my busiest year to date.
Supporting female-led small businesses and entrepreneurs has always been important to me alongside supporting other women and mothers. Helping each other not only to grow as a business but also as individuals, is something I’m passionate about. Beyond my photography services, working on projects supporting reproductive mental health and women through the pandemic, pregnancy and infant loss and infertility have been areas that have demonstrated community support and impact. Through storytelling we provide support, create connection and foster understanding during these isolating times. Shining light on these experiences and conversations around reproductive mental health, pregnancy loss, and motherhood is important to me – not only as a photographer of bumps and babies, but as a woman and mother myself. Last year I dove into a couple of passion projects, and had my work published! We did a few projects that I’d like to share with you that not only allowed these women to share their stories and experiences but to connect with other women in the community. These women are not invisible, and these projects made them feel seen, heard, understood, and supported. So let’s keep sharing our stories!
Check out some more of Kim’s recent projects: Pregnancy Through a Pandemic, Parenting Through a Pandemic, and Pregnancy Loss, Infant Loss and Infertility.
Written by Kim Forrester