Who are you and what do you do?
I am a mom, a wedding photographer and I love people. My name is Sara Mannino and I own and operate Sara Kate Photography.
Where are you from?
I grew up in Glen Ellyn, Illinois but have lived in St. John since 2006.
How did you get started?
I bought my first SLR (real camera) before I had kiddos. It was a film camera as this was before the digital age came along. I took photos of everything but quickly realized it was people that I loved photographing. That grew and I spent LOTS of money on film during those years! The digital age came about and I had my first born and bought a point and shoot digital camera. I took a LOT of photos of my kids (as most new parents do) and bought a DSLR camera. I didn’t begin taking photos of other people until I was comfortable and knew my camera backwards and forwards. (Although I still learn new things about my camera all the time!). I promised to everyone that I would NEVER photograph weddings. NEVER. The fact that you can’t ever re-do a wedding…you simply got one shot at it…scared me! A family friend asked me to photograph her wedding and said “No pressure…we love what you do and would love for you to shoot our wedding”. That first wedding was 10 years ago! The rest is history.
Do you have a side hustle or hobbies?
I have two teenagers (Ben & Haley) who take up much of my time when I am not shooting. I enjoy my veggie/fruit/herb gardens, I love creatively decorating (and on a budget!) my home and taking my dog for walks as the sun sets.
What was one of your biggest mistakes and what did you learn from it?
From the Wedding photography point of view…I have studied, practiced and tried to be as intentional as possible NOT to make a mistake. There is not a lot of room for mistakes on a wedding day. However, I did a family session about 5 years ago that I LOST the CF card for after it was over. Couldn’t find it anywhere! I was heartbroken. I re-shot the family and processed the images and then 2 months down the road found the CF card underneath my couch! They got double the images…but I learned then and there….every CF card gets downloaded immediately after each session. Thank goodness that family was full of grace for the situation!
What are the top tools you need to do your job?
My Canon Mark III, my 50mm lens and my Mac. I could run my entire business with just these if I had to. (Oh…and a CF card!)
Who or what inspires you and why?
Mostly the idea that I make a goal at each wedding to try something new. It could be posing the bridal party in a different way, or setting up a First Look in a new way. On a wedding day there isn’t a lot of space or time to try new things. So that makes me aware of trying to continually be inspired. Also…shooting someplace that I have never been to always makes my creativity spark!
What do you love about Northwest Indiana?
The beaches and the sunsets. You can’t beat them!
What resources are you finding to educate yourself?
Workshops, conferences and the internet is invaluable.
What advice would you give to someone starting out in your industry?
Practice, practice, practice. Shoot in all sorts of light and get your camera OFF of automatic mode. Also…if you are going to do this for any kind of profit…you should get insured first.
What’s next for you?
Who knows? I will keep photographing weddings for the BEST COUPLES EVER! I always say that I don’t take it lightly that couples trust me to tell their love story. It truly is an honor. We will see what God has planned for me next…I am excited to see what it is!
Where can we find you?