By Will McClure
In 1989 after four years of professional experience, Kim Bearden, along with her husband Tommy, decided to open a photography studio in Stamford. Specializing in portraits, family and individual, as well as wedding photography among other services, Bearden felt it was time to open her own studio to bring clients and the studio out of her living room. 25 years later, Kim Bearden is still busy as ever, continuing to offer several services while adapting to changes in technology and photography as a whole. With October 12 marking the official anniversary, Bearden was able to spend some time reflecting on the past 25 years.
Buying her first camera in 1987, Bearden would begin her business working out of her living room as well as traveling five days a week, building up her experience as a photographer before making the decision to open an official studio for clients to come to her. After opening her studio in 1989, Bearden began with the Stamford High School prom as her first major assignment and continued to take senior portraits until the past few years. Initially offering a variety of services, Bearden revealed that she has cut back on weddings, although she stated that she still loves to work them in. When asked why, Bearden said that the transition to the digital format becomes so time-consuming it is difficult to take the photos and then spend the time to edit them.
“Before I would shoot it, get the rolls in a bag and ship them to Dallas and then get the proofs back and tape negatives to crop cards. There was not all that perfection there is now. Now, I go shoot 60 shots of the band and it’s going to take me about three hours to crop, color correct and blemishes. If something jumps out at me, I’ll fix it. So, shooting time used to be shoot, mail them off, get them back, somewhere around 30 minutes when it came back. Now I’ve got to find three hours to go work on the pictures to get them ordered.” Bearden said. While she has embraced the advantages of digital photography, which made her need to start photography all over again, the difficulty is finding the time to take pictures and work with them.
When discussing her success of the past 25 years, Bearden said that good customer service is first and foremost. She stated that if the customer had a great experience and left happy that they will return, evidenced by her reflecting on shooting baby pictures to wedding photos of the same child as they grew up. Bearden also credits social networking sites for helping continue to grow her business. While she continues to use print media to advertise, Bearden is able to share her photography on the internet, allowing her photos to go viral and draw in new customers from outside of Stamford. When asked about the future, Bearden sees herself as continuing in photography and cannot imagine not doing it. She hopes to one day see the business passed along to another to handle the major aspects while she can continue to work and take photos, such as second shooting a wedding which would allow her to enjoy the process without the extra time needed.
Until the time comes, Kim Bearden will continue to keep up with the volume of clients, referring to her checklist to keep track and continue to give excellent customer service, inviting potential and repeat clients to come to her studio and receive this excellent service. Bearden said she is grateful for the small community that supports small businesses which has allowed her to continue her work for all of these years and into the future. Kim loves the small town atmosphere of Stamford and would not trade it for anywhere else. Thank you, Kim Bearden and Bearden Photography, for 25 amazing years and here is to many more to come!