I’ve known Kathy Cruz for years, and I have so much respect for her and what she does. She’s a talented photographer, an ambitious and hard worker, a super sweet person, and a great mother. How could I not want to share her with the world? So I asked her to share her story with me.
Kathy got her start in photography in 2008, when she took photos of projects at her engineering firm to be published in the company newsletter. This was the seed that would eventually grow and blossom into a whole new career, and she started learning photography formally by taking night classes at the PrairieView School of Photography here in Winnipeg.
“I loved the classes because we would explore different places in the city, and find something and make it look like art, so I would focus on textures, lines, and patterns. Then we would print our work and have other photographers critique it. So it’s a lot of learning,” says Kathy. I’ve seen this influence first hand. Kathy is so much fun to work with, because she’s incredibly spontaneous and not afraid to get in there and experiment. I’ve spent hours aimlessly wandering the city with her and her camera, where she sees the art in everything we come across, from cathedrals to fire escapes and back alleys. We’ve even shot on my roof. It’s a very different approach than that of most of the photographers I’ve worked with, and it doesn’t feel like work at all. Kathy will get the shots some other photographers wouldn’t bother with – she captures opportunities, and with them the beauty of our city.
When classes were over she started taking portraits of her own friends and family and investing in a full range of equipment, while primarily shooting in her home. In 2009 she registered her business as KatCruz Photography. She continued to learn about business, and KatCruz Photography evolved. One of the key ways in which this happened was the addition of a makeup artist.
Kathy found Cherry Je through Facebook, and it turned out that the two had gone to the same high school. Cherry was the perfect fit for the job. The two started scoping out work through Model Mayhem, and it was at this point that Kathy found me. My Model Mayhem profile states that I don’t seek to be a prop in a photographer’s work, but rather to work fully with them as a team. I have experience working behind the scenes in directing, styling, editing, and more, most of which I learned hands on with the amazing photographer TJ Pendragon. This might be a turn-off for some, but it turned out to be just what Kathy was looking for. She never stops learning and evolving, and she wanted me to help guide her in how to work with a model. It was a perfect match. For our first shoot I gave her a few ideas on how to come up with a concept (we went with turning a favorite song into a photo through the use of mood), recruited another photographer and neighbor of mine for support and backup, and dove right in. I showed Kathy how props can be extremely helpful for a model unsure of how to pose, and encouraged her to get past her shyness and direct. Kathy says, “She made sure that the end result was what I wanted to see on the photo. It was hard, but after seeing her photos it made me realize that this is what I wanted to do.”
After gaining more experience with Cherry by her side over the next three years, Kathy decided to venture into the realm of boudoir photography. Again I was chosen as the guinea pig, and I was honored to help out. Kathy and Cherry want to send the message across that every woman should feel good about her body no matter what size or shape she is. I’m not large by any means, but I definitely don’t look like a typical model either, and I feel like this struck a balance that would help their first project of this sort communicate this message while still keeping it somewhat straightforward. This was a positive experience for all of us. Kathy really enjoyed it and learned how to let the camera show some love for curves. I was surprised I could handle the job without feeling too self-conscious, but the photographer has as much to do with that as the model themselves. Kathy and Cherry made me feel extremely comfortable in what was by far the least amount of clothing I had ever worn in front of the camera.
This preliminary shoot worked out fantastically, and after this the pair started gaining some clients. “We love looking at their faces after they see their photos, and [when they] brag about it to their friends, and message us the experience that they felt during that photoshoot…all of that is priceless.”
This year, KatCruz Photography became GlamChix Artistry, offering both photoshoots and makeup services. Kathy finds that working with a partner is hugely beneficial, because you get to share your experiences and learn from each other. She also took a class in makeup artistry in case Cherry isn’t available, to ensure their clients will always get the full range of service that they offer. It’s clear that Kathy’s education and experience is incredibly well-rounded, and that she works hard to be the best she can be, so no matter what you’re looking for she’s got it covered.
GlamChix artistry focuses on glamour, fashion, and boudoir photography with prices starting at $200. Makeup for weddings or other special events starts at 60$. When you consider all the years of hard work and talent involved, this is nothing to scoff at. These women care about their clients and want to make sure they’re giving them a fair deal.
“Like any business, it has its ups and downs. We’re still learning things as we go – what works and what doesn’t, and what makes us unique compared to others. We get people who would inquire about our services and feel that we charge too high, which is frustrating because little do they know the work that’s involved. It’s not just a click of the camera and putting it in a CD. It’s the value as well. From consultation to preparing for a photoshoot (artistic vision, wardrobe, makeup and hair, equipment used), hours of post processing, custom printing, to picking up and delivering the product. With all of that, we make sure we deliver custom images that you’ll be proud to display for years. And that’s what you pay for.”
You can check out their blog full of useful pro makeup tips and more here at http://www.katcruzartistry.blogspot.ca/
Bookings can be done through Facebook or at (204) 688-8107.