Creative Soul Photography is an Atlanta based business run by husband and wife team, Kahran and Reg Bethencourt.
With almost a decade of working with hundreds of children, families and brands, they specialize in lifestyle photography and authentic, visual storytelling.
Recently, photos from their “Afro Art” series went viral worldwide. We wanted to find out more about them and how they they make marriage and business work.
SB:How did you meet each other?
Kahran: We met in an urban graphic designer forum in 2004. We were both learning graphic design at the time so we both had a common interest and community.
Unfortunately we were on two different coasts, so we dated long distance for a year and a half before coming together. “Photo dates” helped us through the long distance period and gave us something to look forward to until our next meeting.
SB:What inspired you to start a business together?
Kahran: When we moved to Atlanta in 2006 Reg decided to major in photography in college. My mom helped us to get a few clients and we started our business in my mom’s garage while he was still in school.
We already loved capturing portraits of people and knew that we wanted to be able to document kids, love and connection.
SB: Natural hair plays a prominent role in alot of your work. Is that intentional and why?
Reg: Yes, definitely. We feel that it is so important for kids of color to be able to see positive images that look like them in the media. Unfortunately the lack of diversity often plays into the stereotypes that they are not “good enough” and often forces kids to have low self-esteem.
We try to combat these stereotypes in our photography by showing diverse imagery of kids who love the skin they’re in, their own natural curls and their culture. We think that these stories are important to show in order to shatter the current standards of beauty.
SB: Describe your individual personalities. How you blend them in order to make the business work?
Reg: Kahran is a left-brain/right-brain type who has a love for data/technology as well as the creative side. She is often the customer facing side of our business and helps to keep the business running.
Kharan: Reg is the “magic maker” and helps to create the magic on set – from props to backgrounds, lighting, camera equipment and more. Although we both shoot, we separate our other roles in the company to give us a little space and freedom to have our own “lanes”.
SB: What advice do you have for couples that are in business together or thinking about it?
Kharan: The biggest thing that helped us was figuring out our lane and staying in it! Reg is much better at some of the technical things that I am (such as lighting, prop making, retouching etc.)
I’m much better at the client side of things, business and marketing so we try to stay in our own lanes which gives us a sense of personal ownership even though we both own the business. It has also helped us avoid lots of arguments!
SB: Where do you see the business in 5 years?
Reg: We have slowly started to grow our business into an international business. We’d love to continue expanding internationally so that we can take what we do to countries around the world.
SB: What is the most important business skill a photographer need to learn or develop in order to have a successful photography business?
Kharan: Coming from a marketing background, I’m a huge advocate of photographers having some marketing skills. I believe that this is really important when it comes to photography.
A lot of photographers struggle with this and it makes it hard for them to get their work noticed.
-Tony Oluwatoyin Lawson (IG: @thebusyafrican)