We had the good fortune of connecting with Maricle Kang and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Maricle, how has your work-life balance changed over time?
Before starting my own photography business, I came from the cooperate world. I worked in that environment for 8 years. I didn’t mind the 9 to 5 schedule and it actually helped me keep a very healthy work-life balance. I wanted to implement the same structure to my own business when I started: finishing most of the work during day time and leaving night time for my family. When my husband arrived home from work at 5pm, that’s my cue to close the laptop and stop working. Of course, I knew I had to make some sacrifices on weekends for all of the wedding shoots in the summer, but it’s only seasonal. Little did I know, it’s easier said than done. When you run your own business, you have the fear that if you don’t reply to an inquiry right away, you might lose the opportunity. In the beginning, I basically let this fear run my life. I was checking my emails, Instagram DMs and other social media platforms constantly. I couldn’t pay attention during dinner time or finish watching a whole movie with my family (which is unusual because I’m a movie lover!). I still remember vividly that one summer, I made myself so busy to a point that I didn’t have any time for my family and for myself. I didn’t know what date it was and all I did after waking up was editing, emailing, shooting and repeat. I let my work take over my life and thought this is the way to run a successful business. More importantly, I didn’t feel excited or the sense of achievement after accomplishing a job or getting new clients; instead, I felt awful and very exhausted. These are the things that excite and motive me to start my own business: getting new clients’ trust to work with me and delivering photos that they enjoy and love. But during that summer, I didn’t feel any of that. That’s the time when I realized the need to make some changes and the importance of work-life balance! It wasn’t easy to make the adjustment, but little by little, having a healthy work-life balance does help make my job more enjoyable. I found that I became more open minded to new ideas and inspirations as well, which is crucial to any creatives. I was also more engaged with my clients and felt more accomplished after completing a job. Only if I can take a good care of myself, both mentally and physically, I can then put 100% effort back to the work I truly love.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I’m a wedding, portrait and editorial photographer with a love for natural light and beautiful scenery. I love to use an approach that combines documentary and fine art styles, to capture honest and timeless images. What sets me apart from others is that I don’t tend to overshoot. Every time before I click the shutter, I always make sure that the shot is clean, natural and meaningful. I want the photographs to curate a story by using light and creative angles, to emphasize the right moments and emotions, without distracting background. I want to bring the audiences into the frames to feel the emotions of the subjects: happiness, joy or sadness. One of the things that helped me to get where I am today professionally is to serve others. I’m in a service industry, whether it’s serving my clients or other vendors. I always ask myself questions before going to a new job: How can I create more value for other vendors (e.g. provide sneak peek photos for their marketing purposes)? What my clients are looking for (e.g. prepare a mood board to show the vision)? How can I offer something new (e.g. movement and direct lighting shots)? These questions help me listen, pay attention, and connect with people, in order to provide the best service possible. All these are the lessons I’ve learned along the way. In the beginning, I was so caught up in trying to make myself happy, make my brand successful and make money! I didn’t get much results. So I learned that by shifting my attention from me to others, I actually gained more than I expected! When you put priority on serving others, referrals will happen organically. I want the world to see my brand as caring, innovative, and hardworking. It is my goal to always improve, to try new things and techniques, and then create new values to my clients. I also want to be present since the beginning to help along the way for my wedding couples for any questions or advice that they might need.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
First of all, I would bring a “welcome” balloon to the airport to surprise my best friend, because I’d be as excited as she is to spend the week together! First stop has to be about food! Vancouver’s food scene is blessed with amazing cuisines from every culture you can think of. Phnom Penh is one of the restaurants I’ll definitely bring my friend to. I would also introduce her to our loyal pup Ollie, who is a rescued dog, and invite my best friend to join us on a pack walk. This is another passion of mine: helping rescue and reactive dogs. Pack walk is the activity we do every weekend with Ollie to help her socialize with other pups who share similar background as her. Other activities I’d love to take my best friend to is hiking at stunning Joffre Lake, and visit the most in trend coffee shops on Main Street. I’m an art lover and I’d take my friend to The New Media Gallery, which is a contemporary art gallery devoted to the presentation of international new media art.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I would love to dedicate my shout out to my husband, who has been the biggest supporter for me and my business. He became self-employed a year before I did. I’ve seen him waking up early at 5am, going to networking events before work and conquer another networking event after work. His hard work and dedication inspired me to start my own business. He taught me tips and tricks about how to network, do marketing and most importantly, he is always there to listen when I feel down and defeated. He has proved to me that there will be lots of frustration and failures in the beginning but with hard work and dedication will eventually pay off.
Head shot is done by Emily Michelson.