We had the good fortune of connecting with Krystal Gorrell and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Krystal, how do you think about risk?
The biggest risk I took changed my life, and that was when I decided to financially invest in myself for the first time. As a professional photographer, of course you have to invest in equipment & education. But it took me over 13 years to invest in a mentor. A person to walk alongside me in my business who has done exactly what I’m aiming to do – and can show me the exact step I need to now in order to reach milestones that I never thought would be possible for me. It was a huge upfront cost, but one that has had incredible returns. I could literally talk about this forever: How coming from a low income family you aren’t taught how to generate wealth. But in lieu of going into every detail, I will simply say how powerful it is to finally find someone who sees you the way you see yourself. Someone who can guide you that also sees your full potential. A mentor to hold you accountable to your own goals and can help clear away all the bullshit within our own psyche that often keeps us from succeeding. My tip for others going into creative business is that if you take a risk, don’t do it alone. Accountability is a powerful tool in any business.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
I picked up a camera at the age of 14 after my mother passed away suddenly. It was a devastating loss for me as a teenager. To this day all I have left of her are my own memories, stories from those who loved her, and her photographs. I suppose that’s when I started obsessively photographing everyone I love. Fast forward 15 years later and now I’m doing exactly what I want – *SCREAMS* I AM A PHOTOGRAPHER OF WOMEN! At Krystal Dawn Studios we are a full service Beauty Portrait Studio – providing glamorous portrait experience for women who value direction and connection. It may sound silly for me to say that this is the most rewarding, creative, emotionally grounding work I’ve ever done – but it’s true. Listen, the thought of standing in front of a camera is S P O O K Y for most of us, right? So to create a portrait experience for a woman where she doesn’t have to worry about what to wear, her hair and makeup, that blemish that won’t go away, or that she’s been told she “doesn’t photograph well” her whole life? It’s fascinating. I’ve dedicated my life to making women feel gorgeous, guiding them through the entire experience, providing the right lighting, styling, and angles to make sure they look their best. And in the process have realized that whole “I don’t photograph well” thing is a lie we tell ourselves because no one ever delivered to us what we see in ourselves when we feel our absolute best. I’m proud to deliver that. Not to fashion models or celebrities (even though they’re great don’t get me wrong!). But to all women who come into my studio. And when someone delivers that for us, it’s not like it’s a miracle or anything… It’s just something we deserve.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Okay girl! First off let’s get some drinks. I live in Garland, so there are a couple of places we can hit up. Keeping COVID in mind – let’s say we want to drink from home! There is a tiny little, unsuspecting beer spot that we have to hit up. It’s called AD Beer & Wine. I’m a little spoiled by all the great beer we have here in DFW, and they have literally every craft beer you could possibly want. Driving by, you would never even imagine that the beer gods were literally about to rain down upon you delicious hazy IPAs and soured ales directly from the heavens — PREPARE YOURSELF MY DUDES. Definitely a must-stop-one-stop-drink-alone-at-home spot. If we’re down for a night out, we obviously have to stop at Lakewood Brewing. Even though they don’t do drag karaoke on Wednesday nights anymore (RIP), Lakewood is a Garland landmark and has plenty of space were we can socialize at a safe distance. Next up is a little day trip in good ‘ol Downtown Garland historic square – which is also home to our portrait studio! We’ve got Rosalind for coffee + sweets, Boogie Nights for vintage shopping, followed by MORE BEER (and barbeque!) at Intrinsic Smokehouse & Brewery. The hickory smoked sausage links at Intrinsic should sober us up enough before our show at the Plaza Theatre on the corner – or else we can just kick it in the square for hours because YOU CAN BRING YOUR BEER OUTSIDE INTO THE PUBLIC SQUARE, PEOPLE. All the fun, all in walking distance. Plus obviously take some cute photos for instagram to document our incredible day together?
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
In the Beauty Portrait Studio we create glamorous portrait experiences for women and help to share their stories. After opening up our studio in August 2020 we already have portrait sessions on the books for women who have shared stories about dealing with trauma and abuse, moms, authors, criminologists studying the effects of sexual assault, all the way to a woman who – alongside her husband – built the first indoor heated pool in Nigeria (her home country) to help reduce the rate of drowning by safely teaching people how to swim. Without their vulnerability in sharing their stories and trust while I seat them in front of my lens I would have nothing. The work I do today would not be possible without the help of my personal mentor Sarah Butler (New Zealand based portrait photographer) and my husband who has supported me for the past 11 years. Now I’m thrilled to support him while he pursues his own version of creative fulfillment. Throughout my journey I have been blessed with true, honest friendships that have given me safe haven when I felt fear and encouragement when I wanted to give up. To my friends and family, I thank you. Your ability to see me fully and love me despite has perhaps been the single most important factor to any semblance of success I have attained. And finally – Thank you to EVERY photographer who has mustered up the courage to produce educational content on YouTube and CreativeLive. Seriously, you guys are the real rockstars. Without YouTube I wouldn’t be a photographer at all. And without CreativeLive I wouldn’t be a good one.
Krystal Dawn Studios