Your Name: Kim Belverud
Business Name: Andora Photography
Tell us a little bit about yourself. Where are you from? Family? Pets? Hobbies? Etc.
I’m Kim, the artist/photographer behind Andora Photography. Andora is named after my two kids, which feels apropos for my photography work because their personalities represent what I hope to capture behind the camera – loving, nurturing, and playful connections. While I’ve lived in San Diego for almost 8 years now, I consider the Washington D.C. area as my second home. I have loved living on both coasts and I try to travel out east at least once a year to visit friends. I am truly in my element when I’m creating. If I’m not creating art with my camera, I’m out on the dance floor taking hip hop classes, or taking art classes in painting or calligraphy. I also love to travel with my family. Our favorite places to visit are National or State Parks. And of course, I love photographing these beautiful locations as well!
Tell us about your Photography business. How did you start and why? What do you specialize in? Would you go back and do anything differently?
I am a natural light lifestyle family photographer. I also shoot landscapes and macro nature. I love when I can combine dramatic skies and landscapes in with my family photography. This fall will be 2 years since I started my business. Up until that point, I had spent 17 years as a software tester, with 12 of them in the higher education sector.
Photography had been a hobby of mine since I was a kid. I was content keeping it as a hobby, but there were a number of things that aligned perfectly that pushed me into it professionally. One of the biggest things that changed my trajectory was losing my father. Everything shifted at that point. I was struggling with grief, while becoming more conscious of the value of connection. I had been working remotely for the majority of my years as a software tester, and while convenient, it was very isolating. It felt draining to work alone in my house while the majority of my team worked together in an office on the other side of the country. I wanted to be out in the community, connecting with others. I had intended to switch jobs to work locally, but started to pick up the camera more. Slowly, I decided to let go of software and let my passion drive me forward. I was both excited and anxious about leaving the corporate software world and heading into this new business venture, but it was the perfect blend of my analytical and creative sides.
Has it been a smooth road? Have you encountered struggles that you could share?
There have definitely been bumps along the way. I think making mistakes and having failures are an inevitable part of the learning process. The main things I had to overcome were self-doubt and the idea of “if you build it, they will come.” For me, it was more like “if you build it, put a lot of time and effort into it, think outside the box, consistently put yourself out there, stay focused and push yourself passed your comfort zone, they will come.”
What do enjoy the most about what you do? What do you enjoy the least?
What I enjoy the most about photography is when I can capture an everyday ordinary moment and make someone feel moved by it and turn it into something timeless. I enjoy creating art, period. I love having a vision and then creating it. I enjoy pushing myself creatively in ways that make me step outside of my comfort zone. I love learning.
What I enjoy least is trying to sell and market myself. I have a hard time valuing my work at times. It’s a creative passion and outlet for me, so it can be difficult to monetize it in a way that is not just sustainable, but flourishing.
What inspires you?
I’m inspired by authentic art that sparks emotion. I’m inspired by people who are genuine and courageous enough to be vulnerable in order to foster true connections. I’m inspired by those who are committed to their families and their art. I’m inspired by artists who create from their heart.
What is your farewell piece of advice for someone interested in taking the first steps toward entering into your field?
My biggest advice is to stay committed and keep going. Don’t get caught up in the game of comparison because there will always be people further along their journey than you. If you can use it as fuel to stay motivated and be inspired, then use it, but don’t ever let it negatively affect your confidence. For those who are in the beginning of your journey, hold on to your passion and vision because setbacks are bound to happen, but if you can push beyond them, it will only make you stronger. And don’t ever stop learning!
What is your favorite Candy Bar?
I’m not too big a fan of candy bars, but I do have a sweet tooth for gummy candies. My guilty pleasure is Life Saver sour gummies.
What is your favorite Childhood Memory?
Too many to choose from! But I remember the first pet we got. At one point, our family had a dog and 3 cats. The dog was the first to come when I was in second grade. We adopted her from a family who was moving away from the area and couldn’t take her, and I remember how excited I was about it. It also coincides when I first picked up a camera. She was my first subject and I loved trying to pose her to take photos of her.
You are a new addition to the crayon box. What color would you be?
I would be one of those multi-colored crayons, something you’d get after melting a few of them together and swirling the colors together to form a new one.