Kary is a photographer who runs the popular and highly-established wedding photography business, The Times We Have, with her husband, Tae! They are based in both California and Mexico, and they travel all around the world for their work - they have shot weddings in Greece, Indonesia, Korea and Brazil! Kary inspires us with her incredible talent in photography, and we love her blog, Frida Enamorada where she celebrates moments of authenticity and life! She shared with us about her career path, how she balances time between different projects, advice for aspiring photographers, and more. Check out her profile to learn more about this amazing woman!
Q: What sparked your interest in becoming a photographer? And what was your career path - how did you get from being an aspiring photographer to successfully creating a photography business?
Kary: “Since I was little I always had an inclination towards creative stuff. I grew up sneaking into storage boxes full of photographs from my dad's experiences studying in Norway and backpacking around Europe, so I think this indirectly planted a seed on me for the future. Later on, I studied Architecture and started a Master degree. During this time, I experienced a kind of a life crisis which made me rethink the way I was living and how I really wanted to live. I realized that I was in an important stage in my life where I could choose to start over again or embrace whatever I had achieved until then. So I dropped everything I was doing at that time and chose to start over again.
That’s when I started photography classes. I had always wanted to try but there was always something more important that prevented me from pursuing further. Once I immersed myself into photography, I completely fell in love. It was like love at first sight, that feeling that it was meant to be. I still remember, I used to carry my camera everywhere to take photos of my friends and then they started recommending it to others, so the initial journey was softly organic. My now husband, who is very good at business, helped me to start building a business out of photography. I think this is a key to our success in business, we both have different strong points and somehow we manage to combine our strengths."
Q: What is the meaning behind the name of your business, The Times We Have?
Kary: “Long story short, when we (me and my husband) were traveling around Europe, we were at a phase of rebranding our business. During this time, we were brainstorming back and forth with names, but inspiration wasn’t coming. Suddenly, on a little trip to Tallinn, Estonia, walking around the little city, we arrived at a popular view point. And in a wall was written, “The times we had.” This phrase really resonated with us, but in a little different way, because we were in a stage of our lives where we were really discovering the beauty of living in the present, being vulnerable, and acknowledging the importance of building meaningful memories. So we adopted that phrase and made one for ourselves, The Times We Have, and there it was, the reborn project."
Q: What is the most challenging part of being a photographer? And most rewarding?
Kary: “During this whole 9 year journey through photography, challenges have come in different ways, depending on what stage of our lives we are in. For example, when we were just beginning, we grew up so fast that work, pressure and the busyness became so overwhelming that we decided to leave everything back and travel for a little more than a year around the world. After we came back from that journey, we started all over again, not just in our business but we decided to start a family. These have been our challenges since then - being a mother has been one of the most incredible and rewarding things that have happened to me, but at the same time my world, my priorities, my energy have changed. I love my babies with all my heart but I still enjoy that creative side that gives me inspiration, energy and purpose. Now that I’m a mom and a business owner, one of the biggest challenges is to keep balance between these two sides. There is always a little bit of mom’s guilt on me every time I’m too busy working and I can’t spend too much time with my babies, or when I can’t work because mommy’s duties keep me entertained.
I think there is something super rewarding about being exposed weekend after weekend with all the moments, emotions and excitement that happen during weddings. I love to be a witness of the human vulnerability that normally happens during the wedding. For example, friends telling each other how much they are loved, tears of happiness from the parents, people celebrating love and life, and two persons promising unconditional love. And last but not least, all the friendships and meaningful relationships we have created with our couples and industry creatives are priceless."
Q: How would you describe your personal photography style? And what do you consider to be a great picture?
Kary: "I consider my photography to be natural and organic. I really love to capture the real moments of life, not too much posing. I love when people see their photos and they bring back memories of the moments they were living. I think that a good photograph is one that can bring you a clear emotion and memory of a certain moment in your life. Maybe it can be explained in a phrase we love, 'The times we have now, we won’t have them back, that’s why we have beautiful memories to keep them close to our hearts.'”
Q: You live in both Los Angeles and Baja, Mexico, and you’ve travelled through 40+ countries all over the world! What location has been your favorite to travel to and work in?
Kary: “It’s definitely always exciting doing weddings in other parts of the world - even just the travel part is exciting, and being able to take your work to other places is surreal. I think each place has had a special thing on its own. For example the wedding we shot in Korea allowed us to visit Tae’s family, and we are so grateful for that. The wedding we shot in Indonesia made us get back and travel around for a little bit, and the one in Greece, I had always wanted to travel there and just being there was an incredible experience.”
Q: You and Tae are also the creators of Frida Enamorada and Be Here Project! Can you elaborate on what these projects are? How do you balance your time and energy for each of your projects?
Kary: "Frida Enamorada is a blog where I share inspiration and recommendations for alternative couples in Mexico and Latin America - where weddings used to be super traditional but little by little the industry has been changing. So we are there, trying to inspire the couples who resonate with the vision of a non traditional weddings, which means smaller weddings, not necessarily the traditional dress and a more personalized and meaningful celebration.
Be Here is an educational platform for photographers where we share our experience and what we have learned during our journey through photography. Believe me, it’s not easy at all, sometimes it’s a little overwhelming to be involved in all these projects, but during these years we have learned how to navigate and balance our time between projects, and at the end we think perseverance and consistency is a key part of the success of the project.
And our parents have definitely played an important part in everything, we always are grateful how they have supported us taking care of our kids whenever is necessary. Without them, I see all of this almost impossible. Because we have to travel a lot, so there is no better place for them than the grandparents, so that's a big blessing for us.”
Q: Your son and daughter are so cute!! How have you navigated working while being a mom? What lessons do you hope to teach to your children?
Kary: "I know!! Maybe because I’m their mother but definitely there is something cute about being Korean-Mexican babies :P Like I said before, since I became a mom, my whole world has changed, and I’m still learning how to navigate in my new reality. I love spending time with my kids and I really enjoy being a mom, but at the same time I need to keep my creative side alive to feel fuller and it gives me a sense of achievement that makes me happy. When I manage to balance this I feel I can be a happier mom, wife and human being. And having my babies as inspiration has brought to my life another level of purpose about why I’m doing this. I hope my children grow up seeing and loving how we are doing something we really love and care about, and someday they decide to follow their path in life doing something meaningful they really care about."
Q: Any advice you would give to aspiring photographers who are at their beginning stages of their career? And what personal advice would you give to your younger self? What do you root your identity in?
Kary: "I think the best thing you can do when you start any project is to be perseverant and curious. Any good thing in life takes time and effort, so keep doing what you love with consistency and perseverance. And one day you’ll find yourself in a much better place.
To my younger and present self (hehe, I’m still battling with my insecurity, that little voice of impostor syndrome sometimes appears out of nothing) I would tell her, to not doubt my potential and value.
I root my identity in God and family."
Thank you so much for speaking with us Kary! Follow The Times We Have on Instagram and visit their website! Kary and Tae are also the creators of Frida Enamorada and educators through the Be Here Project! Check out their socials!
Photography by Kary, The Times We Have
Story by Renée Lee