We had the good fortune of connecting with Kaitlin Lopez and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kaitlin, so before we jump into specifics about your story and work, let’s start higher level. What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned along your journey?
Wow! Life is full of lessons. Our journey’s teach us new things constantly, but there is definitely one thing that sticks out to me. You know that old rule mom & grandma used engrain into us as kids – “Treat people how you would like to be treated” – well I’ve learned that is SO TRUE. Soooo 100 percent, absolutely true. As a mother, wife and business owner, this gold standard rule is applicable and necessary in ALL aspects of my life. As a mom, my daughter responds so much better when I speak to her with respect and clarity in what I am saying. As a wife, my husband is a lot more considerate of me, when I am considerate of his needs. As a photographer, I try to provide clients with the same experience I would want. I don’t make demands from their sessions, I don’t push sales onto them. I welcome them in, as family. I get to know them and their story, and I take GENUINE interest in them. With everything going on in the world, it’s easy to be irritated, anxious, to notice the negative…but think about the last time someone held the door open for you, or shouted hello from across the street. These small gestures make you feel good. And if they make you feel good, don’t you think they would make others feel good? So dish out the kindness, serve the smiles, be truthful & respectful…and I promise you, the rest will fall into place.
What should our readers know about your business?
Spark the Heart Photography started about 5 years ago. I was a new mom, looking for a way to be home with my daughter more, while still being able to contribute financially to our household. I had been into photography since high school, carrying around a camera, documenting all the things. One of my first jobs was in an old camera store, developing film. Photography had been a long running passion for me, and after spending about 7 years in a retail studio setting, I knew this was the time for me to create something on my own. So off I went. Recruiting all of my friends and family for sessions to build my portfolio. I grew this thing from the ground up. When I started, sessions were FREE. In a few years, this little hobby, this side gig, became a profitable and REAL business. Spark the Heart Photography is about capturing memories, documenting moments, and doing so in a relaxed & comfortable atmosphere. I pride myself in tailoring sessions to the client, listening to their individual needs and wants, all while providing professional expertise. Affordability is a HUGE piece of my business model as well. Families shouldn’t go broke to capture important memories. I’m in the business of FAMILY, not banking. I wake up thankful every day, that I get to do what I love. Photography is my therapy, my passion, and my career, I am so gracious for all the faces I’ve gotten to photograph so far and I look forward to all the new faces I’ve yet to meet – let’s become friends!
Any great local spots you’d like to shoutout?
Oh this is FUN! I’m gonna try and avoid the ‘well knowns’ you always hear about. Gimme all the food: – Carne Asada Fries from Humbertos (on 25th) – Adobada Tacos from Tacos el Gordo. – Anything seafood from Rockin Baja, I personally LOVE the crab legs (Old Town or Oceanside Harbor for the ambiance) – Beers, frites, and the Escondido Cheesesteak Sandwich from Plan 9 Alehouse (Escondido) – The Slider Trio from Burger Bench (Escondido) Places to see/visit: – The San Diego Zoo (It’s famous for a reason) – Seaport Village (We love to snack on ice cream and fresh baked cookies, eat some lunch, and wander through the shops. It’s a great place for souvenirs!) – Old Town (Who doesn’t love Mexican food, margaritas, and hand made tortillas? Not to mention all the history!) – Coronado Bridge (take a drive over it, there isn’t a better view of our city than from there!) – Salton Sea & Bombay Beach (This one isn’t technically in San Diego, but only an hour or two away for a fun day trip. It’s a quirky place, a small city that’s almost deserted, with lots of remnants from the past. You can also grab a delicious date shake along the drive.)
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My success is 100% attributed to my family, friends & clients. I have a huge support system around me. My family takes care of me how a family should. They nurture me, comfort me, encourage me, and keep me motivated [shoutout to my kiddo – she’s the main fuel for my fire]. My friends were my first clients. They have been showing off my work since day one (even though I find some of the images cringeworthy, looking back. But hey, we all start somewhere haha). It’s been their referrals and kind words that helped my business launch into something more than a hobby. And my clients – my “army” of clients… They ROCK. There’s no better way to put it. They constantly amaze me with their support, their generosity, and their dedication! Truthfully, I prefer NOT to even call them ‘clients’, because most of them are now friends. They aren’t just a number to me, they are my TRIBE! I could name them all, but we’d be here for hours.
All photographed by Spark the Heart Photography