Sara Kauss Photography

Sara's passion for photography is impossible to miss. Her out-going and enthusiastic approach to her work is truly inspiring. A self-proclaimed people-person, Sara knows how to make her clients feel comfortable and relaxed in front of her lens. Her beautiful images balance an instinctual sense of composition and more importantly, her photos are always fun and original.

Sara links to her Zenfolio site from her main website for all client print proofing and ordering. Her clients love how easy it is to place an order and how quickly it is shipped to them. As a long time user of Mpix, Sara knows she can count on them to deliver beautiful prints every time.
Zenfolio’s seamless integration with Mpix has made Sara’s workflow a cinch. She no longer is bogged down with order fulfillment as the Zenfolio/Mpix combination does the work for her so she can focus on her favorite part of her job; shooting.
Sara uses Zenfolio to power all her client proofing and ordering needs, as a complement to her main blog and portfolio websites.

Where were you born and raised? Where have you settled?

Do you have a coffee and a free schedule for the rest of the afternoon? I could tell you the lengthy novel version, or just let you know, I was born in Houston, Texas, lived in Bradenton, Florida until I was five, and then moved to Minnesota and lived in Rochester, Chaska and Dodge Center. When I was in high school, I moved to Orlando, Florida. I met my husband, Zak, going to college at University of Central Florida, in Orlando. Zak grew up in Jupiter, Florida and that is where we have decided to settle. Although I joke about living in gorgeous Santa Barbara or my favorite city, Nashville, I'm excited to call myself a South Florida girl.

What type of photography do you shoot most often? What type of photography are you most passionate about shooting?

I love people. I love photographing people and, as cliché as it sounds, capturing emotion and telling a story through my photos. The best way to show my passion of photographing people has been through weddings. My favorite compliment has been, "We didn't have a videographer, but it didn't matter because you capture the emotion in your still photos!" I still think it's great and important for weddings to have a videographer! But, to know that I can capture enough emotion in a still photo, makes me happy and confident that I'm doing something I love.

How long have you been a shutter releaser? What led you to this profession?

In high school, I was always "the photographer" for everything. There's a photo of me, in my high school Year Book that shows me, with 4x6 prints push-pinned to my walls, covering every square inch of white wall space! It was me. I loved taking photos. I didn't realize that I could make my shutter-pushing passion into a profession until I hired the photographer for my own wedding. Derek Smith, with Sunshine Photographics, photographed my destination wedding in Cozumel, Mexico over six years ago. Photography for my wedding was so important. Hiring him, watching him work, and seeing his final product made me curious if that was a career option for me. So, with my Business Degree from UCF, my crazy passion for taking photos, and my incredibly supportive husband, I started on a wedding photography path. It has been an amazing one so far!

How has Zenfolio helped your business?

Zenfolio has made my business shine! As a part of my branding, it is crucial for my business to look professional and cohesive. It is important to me that even a not-so-technically savvy mom can have access to view and purchase her daughter's wedding photos without confusion. With Zenfolio, my clients don't feel like they have left my website – it is clean and so easy to use.

From a photographer's perspective it's a necessity. I used another shopping cart before Zenfolio and would average a small profit every month, but I would fill my own orders, ship my own prints, and spend countless hours organizing for that incredibly small amount of profit! Now, with Zenfolio, I am averaging ten times that a month in print sales, and I don't do a thing! If you are debating on Zenfolio, call me. I'll make your decision easy for you! They're amazing, their customer service is phenomenal, and I just can't speak highly enough of them. Best of all, they're affordable!

Tell us about your work flow, what editing program do you use?

People think it's all fun and games to be a photographer! I cannot tell you how many people will say, "Oh, you have the funniest job!" The truth is, yes, it's crazy fun, and I wouldn't be successful if I didn't love it. But, it's also a lot of work! I live and breathe photography.

My work flow… between my assistant and I at a wedding, we'll typically shoot anywhere from 2000 – 4000 images. As soon as I get home from the wedding, I upload my un-edited small JPEGs to a private gallery on Zenfolio, as a back up. I go through my raw files and cull them in Adobe Bridge. I three star ones I want to edit and five star rock'n ones that I want to blog. I pick just one of the five stars to blog right away. Pretty common workflow after that… edit the three and five stars in ACR (Adobe Camera Raw), maybe tweek one or two in Photoshop that are five star'ers, and then upload my high-res JPEGs to Zenfolio for the client to "oooh" and "ahhhh" over. The client sends out Facebook messages about their fabulous photos posted and voila! Prints are being shipped in a ridiculously fast time to their friends and families. The bride and groom also create a favorites gallery of the images they would like in their album and "share" that with me. I get started on their album design and the rest is photographic history.

Do you have brand loyalty for Canon, Nikon or something completely different?

Canon. There's huge debate on Canon vs. Nikon vs. whatever! I started with Canon and have been incredibly happy with their product. The color that Canon lenses give my photographs can't be beat! I will always use them.

When you aren't shooting, what is your favorite hobby?

When I'm not shooting? If you know me, you know that never happens. Even off-duty, I'm still that girl with a camera, ask any of my friends how many times they've had to pose for photos! Living in South Florida, I love deep-sea fishing with my husband, scuba diving (which I'm working on purchasing underwater housing for – Nemo really needs to have his photo taken more often), kicking butt in Tennis, and if I can make it to the north, I also love snow skiing and could probably beat anyone at any board game ever! I also am obsessed with music, and I'm writing a book!

Are your photography skills self-taught or were you classically trained?

Self-taught.

What advice would you give a new photographer just starting out?

Work your tail off! I've networked and met people and made friends in this industry, making friends is probably the most important thing you could do.

What was your first published work?

A couple years ago I photographed Country Music Legend, Alan Jackson's boats. Not sure if that's the first time I was published, but it's the coolest to me, a huge Country Music Fan. The photographs I took of his boats were published in a commemorative book about Rybovich Boats and their history. Waking up at dawn on a huge fishing yacht and shooting into the sunrise was probably the neatest experience ever!

What inspires you as a photographer? Or who?

Fun people! Really, if I show up at a wedding, the bridal party has their iPod pumping, they are dancing around the hotel suite while the make-up lady is trying to add lip-gloss, I get so excited and know that creative images will just happen because these girls are fun and this wedding is going to rock! I also get inspiration from music, my two furry golden retrievers, and my hubby, Zachary, who is constantly making me be a better person and photographer.

Do blondes really have more fun?

YES! There's definitely something in those highlights that make me spunkier. There has to be! Because the decaf Starbucks Coffee I drink every day has got nothin', and I'm a kinda-crazy, full-of-energy girl.

What is the very first camera you ever owned?

Eeek!! I have no idea! I searched in my old photos to see if I could come up with a fun photo of me taking a photo as a kid, but no luck.

Tell us something about yourself that we would never guess.

I'm addicted to baby carrots! Seriously, I have an issue and will most likely turn orange soon. I eat at least a bag of organic baby carrots every day – straight up, no ranch, just carrots. Have you ever met a Golden Retriever that loves carrots? Mine do. They are already orange-ish though, so you'd never know.

What piece of equipment or doohickey do you have with you on every shoot?

My Shoot-Sac! Love that thing.

Do you have any final words of wisdom on being a first class shooter?

Love what you do. If you love what you do, it will show in your clients faces, and you will capture that once in a lifetime emotion everyone is hoping for. My favorite quote is, "Success is not the key to happiness, happiness is the key to success. If you love what you're doing you will be successful."

Sara Kauss

The Pro

Sara Kauss,
Professional Wedding Photographer Jupiter, FL

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Articles & Mentions

Q&A with Sara Kauss, Professional Photographer June 2013