The Youngish Professionals Committee has recharged our batteries to get the YPC Spotlight working again, and we have a great interview to kick off the next round of this bright series! Our Youngish friend Rebekah Hammond-Lehman takes to the orange chair to share her talents and interest with our community, and some advice on how to put your dreams into action.
SO…without further ado, please welcome Rebekah to our latest installment of the YPC Spotlight series!
YPC: Hey Rebekah, thanks for sitting down with the YPC! To kick things off, tell us a little about yourself and where you’re from.
RHL: Well, I grew up in Olivet, just down the road from Marshall, but I went to school in Battle Creek. Currently, I live in Battle Creek and work in Marshall.
I married my high school sweetheart, Dan, 15 years ago and we have 3 children who we absolutely love and adore. I love to travel and have been to 49 out of our 50 beautiful states. Hopefully, I will have Hawaii checked off of my bucket list within the next couple of years.
YPC: What a great state to end on! Professionally, what keeps you busy?
YPC: What kind of photography do you do?
RHL: I’m mainly a wedding photographer, but I really enjoy fine art photography as well and often shoot purely for my creative outlet. I love trying new techniques and am always pushing myself to be better.
YPC: What inspired you to become a photographer?
RHL: I’ve always been a creative type and thought briefly about going into graphic design, but then my husband bought me a camera as a gift before one of our vacations and I fell in love. I learned everything I could about my little camera and then kept upgrading from there. Eventually, people started asking me to take their photos and that’s how I ended up where I am today.
YPC: A hobby turned professional, that’s awesome. Where has your photography taken you?
RHL: Lots of places! I have the honor and pleasure of traveling all over Michigan, which is pretty awesome. I have an intense love for this state and I’m always excited to visit new cities, especially along the shoreline and up north. I’ve also shot in Alaska and Washington D.C. My dream is to become a destination wedding photographer!
YPC: What’s the coolest thing you’ve ever photographed?
RHL: Oh, gosh! That’s a hard one! I guess it would have to be any photo that moves me. I have literally been moved to tears as I document beautiful moments, or shaking uncontrollably from laughing so hard.
YPC: Is the “first look” photo you recently took, where the bride sent the groom’s best friend in her place, one of those laughing so hard moments?
RHL: Ha! Totally. It was such a fun and funny moment, and it’s wild to know that photo has now been shared over 32,000 times and seen by millions!
YPC: So tell us a little bit about the studio/co-working space and what inspired you to open it in Marshall.
RHL: Where to start! I’ve wanted to have my own studio for a long time. I was often driving to Kalamazoo or Grand Rapids to find a decent space to rent for my photography needs and it was getting old. I had hoped that someone would just open up a cool space in the area and then thought, “Why not me!?” So that’s exactly what I did. But more than just having my own studio, I wanted to share it. Not every photographer/videographer can afford to own a studio and I wanted to make this space available at an affordable price to meet those needs.
In addition to the studio space, we also have a really unique co-working space. We have three desks that we rent out monthly to independent business owners that need a creative space to work in. It can be difficult for some people to work from home, myself included, and I wanted to create a space that motivates and inspires small business owners and helps them thrive at what they do.
As far as opening up the studio in Marshall, it was just a perfect fit! I’ve always loved the Marshall vibe and the diversity of the shops downtown. Not only that, but we are located directly above East End Studio and Art Gallery. To me, it’s just a beautiful blend of the arts and it couldn’t be more perfect!
YPC: What is one thing you are most proud of in 2018?
RHL: Well, I’m definitely proud of myself for taking my studio dream and making it become a reality. I tend to dream a lot, but don’t always follow through or take the necessary steps to make it happen. I think a lot of us can be like that.
YPC: What advice would you give to someone who wants to make a dream become a reality?
RHL: In the words of Nike, JUST DO IT! In all seriousness though, I would encourage them to start talking about their dream to close family and friends. Speaking it out loud is actually a pretty big step for a lot of people. Surrounding yourself with a solid support system will be so important and you will definitely need their encouragement along the way. Next, write down your dream and then work your way backwards with lots of little goals leading back up to your dream. Just start there and see where it takes you.
YPC: What is one thing you wish to accomplish in 2019?
RHL: I would love to start teaching photography workshops in 2019! I taught a photography 101 workshop back in the day and I loved it so much! And now that I say that, it’s making me think that I need to start that list I was just talking about!
YPC: What are you really into right now, as far as music, movies, books, etc.?
RHL: Oh man…I’m a huge Making a Murderer fan and recently finished the second season on Netflix. I actually texted my sister and asked her if she wanted to go to Washington with me next year to sit in the protest. I think she thought I was joking…I wasn’t. Haha!
I’ve also been into learning the Enneagram. It has been really fascinating learning about all of the different personality types and what makes people “tick”. Sadly, I cannot figure out what type I am! But, I’m determined and will report back once I figure it out.
YPC: Is there anything else you would like others to know about the studio or your photography?
RHL: Yeah! We actually have one desk available for rent if anyone is interested. Shameless plug, I know! Also, the studio rental isn’t necessarily exclusive to photographers and videographers. We have a beautiful handmade conference table that could be used for meetings, or you could use the space for workshops, yoga classes, artist events, etc. We actually just had a local band, Steel Giant, use the space for a live recording. It was really awesome!
YPC: Excellent! Well, thank you for your time Rebekah; thank you for sharing your talent, creative space, and energy with Marshall; and thank you for being Youngish! We are fortunate to have you as part of our community of professionals!
To learn more about Rebekah and see her talents in action, check out her professional page on Facebook (@kindredphotos) and Instagram (@kindred_photo_), in addition to Kin&Co Studio’s page on Facebook (@kinandco.studio). Interested in having her shoot for you or your business? Great! Send her a private message through either of the accounts above or a direct email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We hope to see you at the Mele Kalikimaka Mingle on Thursday, December 6th (Facebook Event Link)(Website Link), that you have your calendars marked for the Wolf Tree Film Festival on January 26th (Facebook Event Link)(Website Event Link), and that you are continuing to find new ways to share your talent and energy with the great little town of Marshall!