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Meet Caitlin and Dave Kraina of Iron and Fern in Costa Mesa / Orange County

Today we’d like to introduce you to Caitlin and Dave Kraina.

Caitlin and Dave, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
We’ve always had a deep love for visual storytelling. Dave grew up filming skateboarding and snowboarding and Caitlin documenting her global travels– and both saw their cameras as a powerful weapon for good, to showcase the beauty of the world and humanity and to inspire creativity and connection.

They got into filming weddings somewhat by accident– Caitlin was a bridesmaid in a wedding and she offered to make a short highlight film for the bride of her wedding weekend. Caitlin filmed moments leading up to the wedding, and Dave filmed moments throughout the ceremony and reception. She loved her film and was so grateful to have an heirloom of such sacred moments to cherish forever.

A friend ended up seeing that film, and it led to our first client. Our first client led to our second client, and we ended up falling in love with wedding videography. Since then, we’ve filmed over 100 weddings and haven’t looked back!

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
At the beginning, it felt like we learned something HUGE after every wedding day and hit big learning curves when it came to filming, editing, managing a wedding day, and the logistics or running a business often. This was both humbling and at times defeating, and caused us to question often if it was worth continuing– we were spending so much money on equipment, countless hours editing, learning, and building our website and workflow– with little to no financial return.

I remember in the early wedding days having gear failures, running out of batteries, having countless audio issues, and stumbling through all the ins-and-outs of running a business. Neither of us came from entrepreneurial families and it was such a learning curve learning how to do things right (and legal), pay taxes, how much to pay ourselves and when, how music licensing works, refining contracts along the way, how to serve our clients well, and so much more. Another huge part of our struggle at the beginning was learning how to balance all of this with full-time jobs. For the first two years, we filmed over 15 weddings a year on top of full-time day jobs and the logistics of that almost made us throw in the towel many times.

We’ve always heard that (ideally) a job should be around 60-75% what you love to do, and to expect that every job is going to have at least 25-40% parts that you don’t. This is the first job we’ve ever had that we love almost every part of and definitely worked hard for it (and continue to!). We feel very fortunate to work with amazing couples that have felt more like friends than clients and have made the hard parts of our job and journey SO worth it.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Iron and Fern – what should we know?
We are natural, story-driven wedding videographers who focus on capturing raw and authentic moments. We strive to get to know each of our couples and tell the story of their love & wedding day in a way that feels true to them. By weaving together the voice elements from their day with cinematic footage & thoughtfully curated music, we strive to create artistic and meaningful heirlooms that the couple and their families can cherish for generations.

We know that there is so much more to our couples beyond their wedding days, and are grateful for the opportunity to have a sacred glimpse into their story, their love, their families– and we don’t take that honor lightly. We know that our couples have had first dates, first kisses, butterflies in their stomach, inside jokes, favorite breakfast cafes, and a million secrets we will never know. Their futures will hold a lifetime of joys and sorrows; vacations and mortgages, fights and grief, roadtrips and laughter; they may take risks to chase their dreams, hold each other through painful seasons, or experience the joy of a growing family.

For all this and more, we don’t believe in cookie cutter films. We take a caring, customized approach with all of our couples and create meaningful heirlooms with them and for them. We strive to be listeners first and storytellers second and treat their wedding days as a documentary rather than a production set. Our filming approach is attentive, unobtrusive and intentional – leaving sacred white space for our couples to feel, cry, dance, laugh and enjoy the precious moments they’re in with the people they love the most. We consider our role to be as simple as this: to look, wait and listen for the little slices of joy and honest love; to borrow and freeze them for always, and give them back to those they belong to.

We likely won’t be there to capture many of the moments we mentioned above for our couples, but we may be there for the day they say yes to all of it– the day they choose the adventure of sharing a life together, forever. This is forever our greatest joy and privilege, and we honor that by creating films that not only capture the joy of their beautifully wild, once-in-a-lifetime day but that that honor the depth of their story together.

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
That’s a great question– and it’s so hard to just choose one! Here are a few that came to mind:

1. Humility. Know you are always learning and don’t be afraid to ask questions or ask for help. There are plenty of generous people who have gone before you and have the answers you don’t. Seek their wisdom!

2. Know your why. It was essential for us to discover our own purpose and expression in what we do. When we realized our why our work became so much more fulfilling and meaningful, we started serving our couples SO much better, we stopped getting caught up in comparison (although this will always be a struggle), and even the hard or tedious parts of our work felt contextual to our deeper purpose.

3. Put your clients first– checking our pride, portfolio and brand at the door and truly seeing our couples and the ways we can serve them best. Asking ourselves important questions like, “what will they like to see 25 years from now?”, rather than simply showcasing what is pretty or what will serve us.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Personal Photo – Taken by Valerie Denise of The Beloved Photo (http://thebelovedphoto.com/) Other photos – Emily Magers (https://emilymagers.com/), Caitlin and Dave Kraina, Dakota Lynn Photography (https://www.dakotalynnphoto.com/)

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