a collective pursuit
Every photographer has something to offer unique to their experience and perspective. A Collective Pursuit was established to equip photographers with a community and resources to realize their pursuits with grit, gratitude, and grace.
Three different photographers with three different paths, locations, and styles, form a strong bond over shooting weddings together, emailing each other for critiques, texting for feedback on how to deal with client conflicts, and meeting up to practice new skills. Before wedding season, the group meets-up to try hands-on technical skills in a relaxed, yet intentional, environment.
The group adds quarterly video conferences to their meetings to share what marketing efforts were showing profits, how resources or gear was performing, and for assistance in branding.
Frustrated by the lack of retreats for local photographers, the founders decide to build a retreat that would focus on real skills. The right participant would be motivated to learn new skills in lighting, editing, posing, and marketing in a relaxed environment. In brainstorm meetings, the founders agree to skip the fluff (... unless it's marshmallow fluff. Cocoa and treats are a big part of the retreats too), truly valuing each member’s time.
While building out the Pursuit Retreat, the founders realize that questions happen year-round and that a community of like-minded photographers would be a powerful movement in the lives of it's members. Thus, a collective pursuit was born.
Like many others, Kristin’s photography journey started after the birth of her 1st child. It was important for her to be able to capture the precious moments of her son's first years but she had no intentions of starting a business. At a time when it seemed like the market was way too saturated, she thought she didn’t stand a chance and could only ever stay at a hobby level. Besides, with a full time job and a family, how could she ever find the time? She had little confidence in her abilities but that didn’t stop her from wanting to learn more.
Kristin eventually expanded her knowledge and found her style through real experiences and countless educational opportunities. With the support of her beautiful family, amazing clients, and so many other photographers, Kristin Hurley Photography is now a successful full time business that takes part in an average of 20 weddings per year, in and around WV.
Kristin stresses the importance of always learning and growing in whatever field you love. She continues to learn and improve her skills each year as she seeks out some of the best photographers available who can push her to the next level. Through years of experience and education, she has built a quiet confidence rooted in solid technical skill. She began hosting and co-hosting her own workshops last year and thoroughly enjoys mentoring other photographers to achieve confidence in shooting and other aspects of a photography business.
Kristin comes from a background in engineering, so it's no surprise she is the Collective Pursuit’s go-to girl for all things technical. She is most confident in low light situations and has no problems taming multiple off camera flashes on a wedding day.
Claire grew up in the middle of West Virginia and spent her summers around campfires and fireflies. (In fact, she met Collective Pursuit's other founder, Maryn Graves, as a youth at state 4-H camp.) Claire began her photography business as a "side hustle" to support the expenses of her new photography hobby. During the days, she pursued her law career, focusing on business law. As both careers grew, Claire realized that the jobs were stretching her time too thinly and demanding too much from her young family. The prudent thing to do would have been to keep the law job and hang up photography. But after crunching the numbers again and again, and praying and praying about it- Claire and her husband came to the decision that she would keep her law license active, but hang up the full-time job and take Claire Watson Photography into the big time. So far, the decision seems to be paying off!
Claire's background has trained her to value time and to search for scaleable business practices that serve to maintain client experience, profitability, and sustainable time management. She prides herself on professionalism that doesn't take itself too seriously, instead focusing on aligned expectations and joyful service. As a member of the Collective Pursuit, Watson shines in client communications, shooting deliberately for light and playfully for posing.
Maryn Graves has a background in video productions, broadcast journalism, and business. She takes great pride from being born and raised in the quaint small town of Elkins, West Virginia; often saying it’s the loyalty and love of this beautiful state that has built her, as well as her business up.
Although it was a winding path to find her true love as a wedding photographer, she feels grateful that this is the career she landed on. She believes that there is no greater life lived than discovering your passion and pursuing it.
Maryn and her family have moved seven times in the last decade, due to her husbands military and civilian work, and her business has allowed her to find stability in her work and balance in her life as a mother.
Albeit it took years to find that balance, she has discovered that strong foundational tools, such as a true to yourself storefront (website), genuine client connections created from positive experience, good business sense, and streamlining her workflow to be more efficient has built a platform for success.
As a member of the Collective Pursuit, Maryn offers an unbridled approach to finding your balance as a businesswoman in the wedding industry, shares the secrets to building a business plan and putting that plan into practice, and maximizing your productivity to be more efficient in both your business and your life.