The Missing Link Student Feature: Kristin Darling

I first released The Missing Link: Creating A Natural Light Look With Artificial Lighting back in 2013. Since then, I have helped thousands of photographers around the world elevate their photography and business using artificial lighting. This month, I’m highlighting a selection of students who have taken my lighting course and who have completely changed their business in the process.

kdarling photography | Sandra Coan teaches photographers to create a natural light look with strobes and flash

Meet Kristin Darling

Today I’m introducing you to Kristin Darling, owner of kDarling Photography. Kristin has been a Missing Link student for only about a year now, after making the switch from digital photography to film and realizing she had to learn artificial light in order for her business to survive and thrive.

Why start using artificial light?

Kristin lives in Central Illinois and says that “the winters are long and cold and what daylight we have is blue when it's cold - we also have a TON of snow.  I technically could make do with natural light, but that would greatly limit when I could shoot, and I don't like to be limited. Also, on a cloudy gloomy day, I'd be in trouble.  Also, since film needs lots and lots of light, especially for my bright and light aesthetic, using artificial light was a no brainer. 

BUT, it had to mimic natural light, or it would be a no go.”

Judging by her photos, Kristin has without a doubt learned how to create natural looking light. Was this style of lighting difficult to learn? “Great lighting doesn't have to be complex.  Simple is often best. Sandra is a great teacher, her methods are tried and true. Easy to implement. She practices what she preaches 100%, you get the real deal with Sandra.”

How artificial light has changed her business

If you ask Kristin how her photography and business have changed since learning to use artificial light, she says that now her “work is consistent and easily recognizable to potential clients.”  She is able to “stand out in a saturated local market.” And she knows that she “can meter once and then just shoot away. I know the light will be flattering to everyone because of the soft shadows, and I know my editing will be minimal - which is HUGE!” 

Let’s look at the numbers

Because implementing artificial lighting can come with high upfront costs, I wanted to know more from Kristin about how much it cost her to get started. Crunching the numbers, Kristin spent about $750 total on all of her equipment, including a $500 Paul C. Buff Einstein strobe. But was this a good investment? “Without a doubt.” When she first purchased this equipment, she “was charging $500 for a newborn session,” which means that it took her about a session and a half to cover all of the upfront costs. Now that she’s able to produce beautiful and consistent work in the studio, she’s now upped her price to $650 for sessions. 

“I can go into a studio session and know without a doubt that the light will be right and my film will be properly exposed.  I don't even bring my digital camera to sessions anymore!”

That’s what I love to hear! 

You can see some of Kristin’s work below, and be sure to check out kDarling Photography on Instagram and Facebook!

If you’re interested in learning how you can achieve beautiful and CONSISTENT work just like Kristin, I’d like to invite you to grab a free seat to my introductory webinar, Creating a Natural Light Look with Strobes and Flash.

Click the button below and I’ll see you there!