Meghan Salinas, The Vision Magazine staff writer
The first time Kristin Clardy, a senior art major studying photography and graphic design, looked through the lens of her first point-and-shoot camera she knew she that she walked into a whole other world.
“I was bored one day and I went out and pushed all of these buttons on my camera and took pictures of dandelions, bugs, leaves, and that is where it all started. The simplicity of that story is beautiful,” Clardy said.
She started uploading her pictures she took for fun on her own Facebook page for all of her friends to see.
“There was one day that I posted a picture I took of my grandpa’s tomato in his garden and tagged my grandmother in it and all of these older people saw the photo and started messaging me about taking photos for their grandchildren. It brought tears to my eyes,” Clardy said.
When Clardy realized that God had given her such a beautiful gift, she created a Facebook page called "Kristin Clardy Photography" her junior year of high school.
“I had hopes of owning my own photograph business one day ever since that day my parents bought me my first point-and-shoot camera. I would seek out photographers in the Upstate through Facebook asking for photography tips,” she said.
With a bright smile and a twinkle in her eye Clardy said, “A woman one day reached out to me asking if I wanted to help her shoot a wedding. The woman had an extra camera and that is when I learned that I loved the art of photography not just as a hobby on the side, but forever. I want to do this forever, unless God has other plans of course,” Kristin smiles.
With already having a wedding shoot as experience, Kristen’s customers started messaging her and she’s been booked most weekends since then.
“My dad gave me such great advice when he told me this: Kristin, never put down your camera, let people associate you with this camera,” Clardy said, laughing.
“I’ve learned so much since the day I first picked up a camera. The more you take pictures the more your eyes are fine-tuned to detail and lighting. I’ve gained more of a sense of creative freedom,” Clardy said.
Clardy has been able to see her work grow through the years as she’s taken classes in composition and lighting. With a new-found desire to capture precious moments Clardy has taken classes in business and marketing to improve her business.
Clardy has had to juggle school, interning with the marketing department and her photography business all at once but she considers it all worth it.
“I’m excited to graduate and start shooting full-time. I can’t picture myself doing anything else. This is a beautiful job. I go from being able to document a babies’ life for the first three years to taking senior portraits for seniors to taking pictures of sweet puppies,” she said.