Q&A Sessions: Kim Preston, Photographer

About Kim Preston

Events, fashion, and editorial photographer Kim Preston is moving on up fast! Kim has been shooting professionally since fall of 2008. Kim grew up in Pasadena, CA and attended Cal State Northridge where she received her BA in Photography.  In 2009 she was published in Cosmo Hong Kong and Sure magazine Korea. After being involved in 5 art shows during her career, located in in Los Angeles, San Bernadino, and New York, she decided to venture out on her own to help other artists show off their work.

Check out our shots from her first curated art show, Infinite Summer Exhibition at Brass Bottle!

Kim Preston’s work is a variety of fashion and music using high contrast and desaturated colors. She likes to mix artificial and natural light with minimal post editing to the subject. She enjoys capturing true emotion and tries to avoid true centering when framing her images.

On Thursday September 25th Kim showcased her work for Scope presented by Raw Artists at the Brooklyn Bazaar. Every second month, they hand-select and showcase approximately 30 artists in film, fashion, music, visual art, photography, performing art, hair and make-up for a one-night creative explosion!


numb1What sparked your interest in photography?

While in college I changed my major so many times. I had no Idea what I wanted to do. My interest in film however led me to change my major for the second time to the Film dept. at the university I was attending. One of my pre reqs was a beginner’s black and white photography class. I fell in love with the dark room and once I found out I could do it for a living, I was sold.


Did your Pasadena, California upbringing influence your personal & artistic style?

Personal style no, that was influenced by the 1950’s and All Saints the clothing store. I love vintage and bad ass leather. However my artistic style yes. California has a very laid back vibe and almost every day is bright and full of color. You may notice that my images capture that while also capturing high fashion editorial trademarks.


What inspired you to start your blog, “Summer Wish”?

Ever since graduating, I’ve been struggling in this business to get ahead. It gets harder every day but I know I’m advancing and that I will succeed. I kept wishing for time to speed up, to finally be where I want to be. After a personal event happened I realized that I missed out on a wonderful summer. So, I used it as a metaphor. I need to enjoy every moment of this struggle and journey so that I can look back and really appreciate the hard work that I put in. My blog represents just that: depicting artists of all mediums including myself on their current journey.


In 2009, when you launched your photography business, what was it like to take that leap and start your own business?

I was and still am nervous. But I knew I had a great support system in my family and friends. My father is a successful business owner so I’m always receiving valuable advice from him.

numb5What does a typical day look like for you? Do you have “normal business hours”?

I definitely do not. When I’m not shooting I’m working retail. I never have a true day off. Always editing always shooting and now that I’ve begun to curate art exhibitions, my plate is even more full with finding venues and recruiting artists. However I wouldn’t trade it for anything.


In 2009, you were published in Cosmo Hong Kong and Sure Magazine Korea, how did it feel to have your work published?

Great!!! I kept looking at the tear sheets touching the magazine paper. I couldn’t believe my images were apart of that high glossy sheen. Even though it was just a small puff piece, I felt like I was looking into the future.


You photograph everything from runway fashion, beauty, editorial, and music, which would you say is your favorite?

I think I like all of them equally. As long as there is a camera in my hands I’m happy.


Your series of self portraits are beautiful, what do you enjoy about being the one in front of the camera? 

I actually only enjoy it if I’m the one taking the picture. I don’t do it for vanity. I think its more for acceptance from myself not from others. I get nervous and fidgety if some one else is taking the picture.


Your first curated art show at Brass Bottle was inspired by your blog “Summer Wish”, how did you decide to become a curator and what was the process of making it all come together?

Becoming a curator kind of birthed itself. All I wanted was to show my work, but couldn’t get accepted into any shows lately. I found a place that was willing to rent out a space for a decent price. At first it was just I, but then I decided to invite others to show as well. When I saw how great the event turned out I thought maybe I could pursue this as a viable career option. It’s funny, because as soon as I made that decision I met a gallery director, who has invited me to curate a show later this year.


What’s your advice for someone that wants to make money with their photography? (or a bit of advice for the reader)

Networking. Knowing the right people and making friends in your industry is a must. I can honestly say that I myself have to get better at it. Keep studying your craft and keep shooting even when you don’t feel like it. Practice makes perfect. No matter how much you network or put yourself out there, you’ll never gain clients if you’re work is terrible or mediocre.


For someone that is new to photography but can’t afford to go to school, what would you suggest for them to do to get their foot in the door of the art world?

For some one trying to enter the world of photography but can’t afford school: self teach! There are so many books that give the  fundamentals of photography. I suggest learning with film before digital. Learning perfect skills with lighting, ISO, Apertures and shutter speeds will put you above the rest of the hobbyists who take advantage of the already programmed functions that they use on their DSLR they bought in sale from Best Buy. Practice practice practice. Then embark on internships and assuring gigs. Photographers love interns. And the good ones will teach you things and guide and you. That will build your resume so you can actually get an assisting job.

Internships and assisting are important. Learning everything through those gigs is a must. Practice what you want you’re style to be. As for the fine art world, start submitting you portfolio to art spaces and galleries. Start off with those who specializes with amateurs. They can give you guidance on your work.