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Meet Kristi Elias of Kristi Sutton Elias Photography in Long Beach

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kristi Elias.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I have always been an artist, when I was in high school I knew, I needed to find a way to make a living as an artist at that time I decided that photography would be the most profitable medium. After high school, I went to college at Brooks Institute of Photography in Santa Barbara. I will never forget the last year of school, everyone said aren’t you excited! My response was we are about to be unemployed artist, I knew I needed to start making assisting connections with other established photographers. During my last year I also drove to Pasadena and took night classes at Art center college of design on art direction. I wanted to learn what the people hiring me knew and were looking for.

During my first few years as a professional photographer I was fortunate enough to do both editorial and commercial work. after a couple years I landed the Z Gallerie account, shooting all their product photography and advertisements. They had my shoot on the 3rd floor of their store in Long Beach, that is how I ended up moving from L.A to Long Beach and where I later met my husband. A few years later we moved to Florida where we had our son and I mostly worked on my fine art gallery work at that time. Another couple of years later we moved back to Long Beach and I started my fine art portrait photography business Kristi Sutton Elias Photography. I decided I was not going to look at what other photographers were doing or charging, I was going to create what I wanted to create and charge, what my time and talent was worth. Since my style is very different my business took of very fast, faster than I had expected. My style is not for everyone, no do I want everyone to be my client, but for those who crave the dramatic old word artist style and who want to live in the art on their walls, I am the only one who photographically creates this style of work.

I have been fortunate enough to not have some of the most amazing clients, but I have also been lucky enough to be awarded with some of the most honorable accolades in the photography industry. It all took a lot of hard work, believing in yourself and smiling at others when they said it can’t be done. I currently run a fine art portrait studio and art gallery on the water in Shoreline village of Long Beach CA. I also have an underwater photography studio in Long Beach.

Through my success with print competition and accolades I have also become an international speaker at photography conventions and I teach workshop on both business and fine art photography to other photographers. I am almost finished writing my first book that is due to the publisher mid-July.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
When you start out as an unemployed artist your road is paved with obstacles. When I started getting commercial work out of college it was back in the film days, I stated getting more and more accounts. Then digital came and all of a sudden everyone was having their designers shooting their products. I started to lose work, but luckily the .com boom came at that time and I was hired to shoot thousands of products for internet companies. Having shot for so many .com company’s it gave me the confidence and portfolio to go after the Z Gallerie account once the rush of the .com businesses started to crash.

Always believing in yourself, being adaptive to change and never giving up, has been the only path I know to take. There will always be obstacles along the way.

Kristi Sutton Elias Photography – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
Kristi Sutton Elias Photography is a fine art portrait photography studio located on the water in beautiful Long Beach California. I specialize in creating fine art Masterpiece Portraits for my clients. I photograph my clients both in my studio or on location. I also have an underwater photography studio for clients who want underwater portraits created. My clients include maternity, newborn, children of all ages, families, boudoir & personal portraits and even pets. I create art for those who want to live in the art on their walls.

I am most known for my photographic style and creative master piece editing. A strong Chiaroscuro style can be seen in all of my work, there is a lot of detail and storytelling symbolism placed throughout my work even in the shadow areas.

As a company, I am most proud of the consistent growth both in clients, sales and constant refinement of my style. I love what I do and the clients and friends I meet along the way. In every session, I give it my all, personally, professionally and creatively, it’s very important to me that each client loves not only the art we create but also the complete experience.

My unique vision is what sets me apart from other photographers and artists. My clients hire me to create their likeness with my creative vision. ” The Art that we do not create no one will.”

What is “success” or “successful” for you?
I personally define success by always pushing to be the best, both in business and personally. By setting the bar higher with every marker that is met. I am a very competitive person by nature, this has always pushed me to strive to be the best of the best.

I also define success with managing a good life work balance, especially when you own your own business. This is something I constantly find a struggle with, but when that fragile balance of the pendulum is till, I feel successful in that moment.

Contact Info:


Image Credit:
©Kristi Elias

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