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Lifestyle Photography

Making the Most with Nature

Kim Rensburg seems like a natural behind the camera, whether she’s switching lenses on her Nikon or working with clients.

It’s an interest she’s had since she was a student at Marian High School in Bloomfield Hills. But she didn’t act on it until after college.

“In 2013, I took a photography class in my early 20s when we were in Chicago and things sort of went from there,” said Rensburg, who now lives in Grosse Pointe Farms with her husband Paul, her young son, Noah, and their pug, Javier.

While her parents hoped she would be a business major, Rensburg decided to explore her artistic side. “But they won, too, because now, I’m a business owner with my own photography business,” she said.

After taking photo classes and acquiring some gear, she decided that was what she wanted to do as a career.

“My husband said, ‘OK, it’s time to recoup some of this investment,” she laughed.

She started small, working with family and friends and building client referrals and relationships. She said she soon learned that Chicago was “a saturated market” for photographers.

The family’s move to Michigan gave her the boost she needed to recreate her photography business here.

As part of the product photography side of her business, she recently did several days of cooking videos, showing a client’s products being used to make chili to share on their website. She can do such product work, whether a large object or something that could fit on a tabletop, perhaps an item people could picture in their homes.

She’s been known to take multiple shots of a product with different backgrounds or settings so the client can show a fresh product online at different times of the year.

“For a business owner, it’s showing their brand, product, and business, as well as who they are behind the business. People want to buy from those they feel they know and trust,” she said.  

 She also does a lot of formal and informal portraiture. 

“A lot of that is putting people at ease, but you have to prepare for that,” she said.

This involves consulting them beforehand to decide what they’re looking for. “I always want to make people feel comfortable. I spend a lot of time getting to know my clients upfront. Once we get to know each other, we start working together,” she said.

“I want to put people at ease and make them look their best,” she said.

She mainly works out of her clients’ homes or offices, though she’s looking to open a small studio someday.

And she realizes that almost everybody with a cell phone these days takes pictures.

“The one thing I say is phones offer great portability, but the important thing is knowing how to use the right light when taking photos,” she said.

She prefers to work primarily with natural light in her job, so she offered these simple tips to aspiring photographers.

 “If the sun or window is right behind the subject, they will be backlit, and their face will be in a shadow. Turn around and let that beautiful light fall on their face. But know that bright light can also cast harsh shadows, so you don’t want that, either,” she said.

For that reason, she often prefers to work in what she called “the golden hours” – soon after sunrise or one hour before sunset when the light is softer. When shooting a family, she notes, “that may be harder on the kids, but the photos will be better.”

Rensburg can also help portrait clients coordinate their outfits. “Neutral colors work best -- tans, light cream or grey. It reflects the light while patterns tend to fill up the frame,” she said.

“I’m going for lifestyle photography, what I call ‘candid styling,’ not like Vogue magazine. I want to make them look authentic. I may give them prompts but to create that moment, to go for the natural reaction that shows their relationship,” she said.   

If asked, she also shoots on location. Some of her favorite spots for that are Belle Isle and the RiverWalk in Detroit, Pier Park in the Farms, Patterson Park in Grosse Pointe Park, and Kirk in the Hills in Bloomfield Township.

As for photos around Valentine’s Day, she suggests styling them with hearts, candy or chocolates “or the kids making and showing off their Valentines.” 

Right now, Rensburg says she’s taking many engagement and anniversary photos.

“And here’s a really fun gift idea – for moms never in the photos. Gift her with a photo session,” she said.

 – Check out www.kimberlyrensburg.com for more information. 

TEN REASONS TO CONVINCE YOU ABOUT BRANDING PHOTOGRAPHY

  1. In the digital age we live in, photos are often the first impression people get. Having beautiful brand images is necessary to make a great first impression, and that really matters.
  2. No matter what you do, you need to communicate who you are. Whether it’s on your website, LinkedIn, marketing materials or even your dating profile, professional headshots allow you to be yourself and stand out. 
  3. For business owners (both big and small), it’s important to establish your brand image. Showing “the person behind the business” will make your company more relatable to potential clients.
  4. Photography is a quick, reliable way to get your brand messaging across without ever needing words.
  5. It’s vital to have consistency between your website and social media platforms. That consistency builds trust.
  6. Professional branding photography adds inherent value. It shows you’re a brand that cares about the image they present. 
  7. Having warm, natural branding photos is inviting to any prospective client or employer. That’s why I bring lifestyle photography into branding photos! 
  8. Branding sessions bring the products from your business to life! I focus on natural light product imagery that reflects your brand image. 
  9. Brand photos reinvigorate your business and connect you with the audience you’re trying to reach (aka your “dream client”!).
  10. Branding photography is fun! During our session, I can guarantee you’ll feel confident, laugh a lot, and leave our session excited to share your talents with the world. 

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