Kyara M. Lombre is a Washington native and earned a bachelor’s degree in Communication and Media Studies at Bowie State University, before moving on to Florida State University, where she pursued her master’s degree in Television and Film. When she returned home, she worked for Maryland Public Television (MPT), where she produced and directed documentaries like “Voices of Baltimore” which chronicled the 2015 Baltimore riots for Freddie Gray. She quickly realized that her talents and dreams were often being boxed away inside a cubicle, she quit her job with MPT as an Associate Producer and started her media company, Lab House Studios, which specializes in outdoor and indoor portrait photography. With over ten years of unique experience behind the lens and behind the scenes, she has continued to define and refine her craft as contemporary/modern, simplistic, and clean- lending itself to dynamic, engaging, and beautiful images. Ultimately, her mission is to create memories that will last a lifetime.
- CEO Hack: Allow people to see what I do behind the scenes, it helps me engage with them
- CEO Nugget: Find a mentor who is willing to take you through your business journey
- CEO Defined: Living out my dreams
Do you want to learn effective ways to build relationships, generate sales, and grow your business from successful entrepreneurs, startups, and CEOs without listening to a long, long, long interview? If so, you’ve come to the right place, Gresham Harkless values your time and is ready to share with you precisely the information you’re in search of. This is the I am CEO podcast.
Gresham Harkless 0:29
Hello, hello, hello, this is Greg from the IMC o podcast and I have a very special guest on the show today. At carillon break up lab house studios care. It's awesome having a show.
Kyara Lombre 0:40
I'm excited to be on the show. Thank you for having me.
Gresham Harkless 0:43
No problem. Super excited to have you on and before we jumped in. I want to read a little bit more about here. So you hear about all the awesome things that she's doing and care as a Washington native and earned a bachelor's degree in Communications and Media Studies at Bowie State University before moving on to Florida State University, where she pursued her master's in television and film. When she returned home she worked for Maryland public television, where she produced and directed documentaries like voices of Baltimore, which chronicle the 2015 Baltimore riots for Freddie Gray, she quickly realized that her talents and dreams were often being boxed away into a cubicle. She quit her job with MPT as an associate producer and started her media company lab house studios, which specializes in outdoor and indoor portrait photography. With over 10 years of unique experience behind the lens. And behind the scenes, she has continued to define and redefine her craft as a cop as a contemporary, modern, simplistic and clean, leaving itself to dynamic engaging in beautiful images. Ultimately, her mission is to create memories that will last a lifetime here. Are you ready to speak for the imcl? community?
Kyara Lombre 1:46
I am very excited.
Gresham Harkless 1:48
Awesome. Awesome. Awesome. Super excited to have you on the show. And I know I read a little bit about your bio. And though it's great to hear that you went with that little quiet voice sometimes we hear when we're getting started. And we don't know what to do or what to do or what not to do. So could you take us through a little bit more of that and your SEO story and what led you to kind of start your business?
Kyara Lombre 2:07
Okay, so when I went to film, school startup started out being a filmmaker. So I've worked like on the set with Nike and goodwill, I did a few projects with them. And then I produced some short films. One of them was screen at the White House. So that was pretty exciting. And I think essentially, like doing those things were kind of was kind of like my true passion. So being a producer, with Maryland public television, that wasn't enough for me, it wasn't fulfilling enough. Like I wanted to tell more stories, I wanted to see what else was out there. And then I think also is, once I moved on to being a business owner myself, I felt like it was important for me to help other business owners as well. So when I first started out, I started out doing videos, so branding videos, and short videos about I guess, documentary style videos for artists and things like that. And that's kind of how I was able to tell their stories. So still kind of the story making kind of things I was doing when I first left MPT, but from there, when people see that you're doing video, they also assume that you can take pictures as well. So I was doing video for a very long time. And then my friends and family, they were asking me, Well, can you take some family photos of us? Can you take some pictures? And I'm like, oh, okay, I mean, maybe I think I know how to take still images. So I just picked up the camera that I had purchased for video, which is the Canon and went out in was taking pictures, it was quite an adjustment. With the settings, I had to learn new settings, and I had to learn how to pose different people and you know, that sort of thing. But once I started taking pictures, and I found out I was good at it, I was like, Okay, this is pretty fun. It's like, it's exciting. It's still telling a story, but just through it, just a still image. So and then it's also it has, as far as like comparing it to filmmaking, you get to direct your clients, you can direct them on how they pose, the expressions that they give. So it's still sort of in the same like they have the same principles as far as video and photography. It's just taking different different pieces of those theories and principles and applying it to just creating a still image. And from there, it just grew and grew and it became bigger than the video. So now I strictly mostly do photography. I do some video on the side, but mostly photography. And I just gained a just love for it. And yeah, it's that's basically how it started.
Gresham Harkless 4:50
Nice. I absolutely love it. It's so funny how a lot of times in our lives and obviously in our businesses as well too. We have kind of like a set, I guess, way that we're going to start our business And then we're going to do and then we start to try out other things. And next thing you know, that thing becomes bigger than you said, the video part that you get started with. And I love how you talked about that kind of storytelling piece and how it's very similar to ours. somewhat similar, I should say to what you're doing with video, but it's kind of a different modality. So you have that opportunity to kind of maybe, you know, expressor tell that story in any unique way.
Kyara Lombre 5:22
Yes, for sure. Definitely.
Gresham Harkless 5:24
Awesome. So I know you touched on it a little bit. Can you take us through exactly like how you serve your clients, like how exactly that process goes, and the type of photography that you do as well.
Kyara Lombre 5:33
Okay, so I pretty much do a lot of different types of photography, so portraits, lifestyle, cover events, product photography. I've done sports photography. That's, I guess that's mainly it for the most part. And then I do a lot of branding photography as well. So branding and lifestyle, they kind of blend together a little bit, especially with social media today. And I'm sorry, what was the second part? You
Gresham Harkless 6:11
said? Just how exactly that process where do you have that process? Mm hmm.
Kyara Lombre 6:15
Yeah. So, um, to do those things, it's kind of like a, I guess, like a workflow? That's, yeah, Mm hmm. Okay. So yeah, the client can go online, see my works? And then from there, they can it's kind of sort of like, okay, maybe I should start over.
Gresham Harkless 6:34
So no, no, one second. I'm just gonna clap quick. All right, good.
Kyara Lombre 6:38
Okay, I'm sorry. So for the type of photography, always envision myself being a high end picture people. So when you go to my website, I want it to be very, very easy to book, you kind of know what to expect before you get there, you're prepared. And then you go to your session, you spend time with the photographer, you get to know the photographer, and then you'll get your edited images, after you finish, they'll come back within five to seven days. And then you're all done. So I want to basically, I'm trying to create the seamless process, but you're getting quality portraits at the same time. So our main focus is delivering high quality images and affordable price. So with picture people, you can get like decent pictures, but you can tell like, it's very image is very flat is very one note, everybody's going to look the same as far as lighting and how the overall quality comes out. But for me, because I mostly do portrait photography, documentary style, and product images, that's my main focus, I just want to create a very customer service oriented experience, where a seamless you go online, you book, you know what to expect, you're prepared, and you get your pictures within two to five days. So that's kind of the structure of the structure of it now. And that's where I want to see it grow. So more locations. And yeah, from there just get bigger and bigger.
Gresham Harkless 8:10
Nice. I absolutely love that. And I think that, uh, kind of those nuances, I think so many times in so many different industries, and you definitely, you know, touched on it so well that you kind of forget that kind of customer focus, customer focused aspect, when we're kind of running a business. And I love how that is really at the forefront. Because I think, in my opinion, a lot can be done very well if you kind of set and know exactly what is the follow as far as experience and setting those expectations. So I love the fact that you have that way that people can go, they can book, they can figure out exactly what they're going to do they know what to expect. And when that opportunity happens, you do the shoot. And then from there, they know exactly what to expect. Because I think so many times, it cannot flow seamlessly. And a lot of times that isn't a great experience for the customers at end of the day.
Kyara Lombre 8:54
Yes, and that's so true. And basically, it's been by experience, like throughout the years, you find what loopholes there are in your business, and you learn from it. And then it's your job to improve on that. And I think at the end of the day, for me, it's I want to be able, I want to create a lifetime, a lifetime product of images for the client. But I also want them to have like a lifetime experience. So when you come I want to get to know you a little bit. I want to develop these relationships, because they're very, very important in business. And I felt like in the beginning, I was just very much so one note like, just I'll meet you there, we'll take the pictures and then you'll get them in three to five days. But now we actually get to know you a bit. You know, if you want to meet with us, you can talk to us via zoom, if you want to explain you can give us a call. You know, there's questions that we ask you to help you flesh out your story because a lot of times clients don't know their story. They don't know they just see your work. And they're like, Oh, that's great. I want pictures like that. But someone else's story is not your story. So we need to help you clarify Your story and help you tell it effectively. So yours does your story doesn't get muddled, or you're telling someone else's story just because you like what, what their images are or what their brand is, their brand is not your brand. So now, for us, it's about really, really getting to know the client developing those relationships, so we can effectively tell their story. So we try to do a lot of that upfront. So when we get there, we know exactly what we need, and then you can get your images back. Quickly.
Gresham Harkless 10:30
Yeah, nice. And I absolutely love that. And like you said, because so many times, you don't realize that the product that you see, or the image that you see has a lot of behind the scenes, as you talked about evolving in the business, but also really understanding that person's story. And that is the manifestation of those conversations, event knowledge. And I love that you take that into account. So would you consider that to be what I call your secret sauce, the thing you feel kind of sets you apart and makes you unique, that you're able to kind of take it, you know, from you know, what would be like a photo into having a really, really great lifelong experience.
Kyara Lombre 11:03
Oh, yes, I would agree. Definitely. A lot of people after the session, say they have such a good time, and they'll be back before they even see their images. They will when they leave, they'll say oh, I'll be back, I'm going to book, you'll see a lot of just different sessions come in, I'll be back. Or they'll say, you know, via text message, they'll say, Oh, I have such a good time today, you know, or if we, you know, if I'm looking for something in particular, they'll share that information at the end of the session. Or if they're looking for something in particular that's unrelated to the to photos, they'll share that information. So yeah, it's it's been like, I guess, yeah, you can say that's kind of my my secret sauce is Yeah, developing those relationships. And it actually attributed to a book that I read earlier this year. It's called the five keys to success, like a successful five keys to powerful business relationships. I read that book earlier this year, and I purchased it from the dollar store, the dollar store looking around for different things. And I thought, oh, wow, they sell books at the dollar store. So I started looking through, and I found that book and I'm like, Okay, yeah, I need to read this, I need to know what the five keys to a successful business. And you know what those are. And they said, it's relationship building. It's building those connections with people, and networking, and making it personal, making the experience personal. I think that's what's really, really important for sure.
Gresham Harkless 12:30
I absolutely love that. And so I wanted to switch gears a little bit. And I want to ask you for what I call a CEO hack. And you might have already mentioned this, but this might be like an app or one of those books or a habit that you have that makes you more effective and efficient,
Kyara Lombre 12:41
at least for my industry, I think what has helped me is to allow people to see what I do behind the scenes, people only get to see the final product, but they don't get to see the amount of work and the who you are and what you do unless you let them in. And that's how they get to know you and feel you and want to work with you. So I actually have I do behind the scenes videos, for my followers that follow me on my personal page. So it gives them like a better idea of who I am, I get to articulate different, different things that I do. And also people can also comment, and I can engage with them. And I kind of develop my own community. So I think it's important to probably allow people to see what you do. And they see how passionate you are about it, how much knowledge you have. And then from there, you develop your own community of supporters. And believe it or not, those people will market you more than you probably market yourself, they're going to be resharing your posts that you show them behind the scenes, that's really fun. Or they're going to be talking about you if they meet someone, because you've let them into who you are and what you're doing. So I would say that's definitely something that like entrepreneurs, or anyone at least, and going into my field is allow people to see who you are and what you're doing and see all the effort and the work that you're putting into it. Because people admire that. And people love people who are like humble and you know, have really, really great energy. And if you know that's who you are, and you want to show your community that and they'll do all the work for you. You don't even have to.
Gresham Harkless 14:32
It's truly phenomenal. And so now when it asks you for what I call a CEO nugget, and this could be a word of wisdom or piece of advice, and might be something you would tell yourself if you were to happen to a time machine or you might tell a client as well to
Kyara Lombre 14:44
probably look for a mentor, someone who is seasoned in your industry who was willing to mentor you while you are getting started. I wish I would have five years five plus years ago. really done my homework and did my research to find someone that could take me through this journey. And it doesn't have to be like a serious commitment, but just someone I can reach out to who's in my field that I could ask for for guidance.
Gresham Harkless 15:12
I love that bet that nugget. And so now I wanted to ask you my absolute favorite question, which is the definition of what it means to be a CEO. And we're hoping to have different quote unquote CEOs on this show, so kr, what does being a CEO means you?
Kyara Lombre 15:23
For me being a CEO means like, I'm living out my dreams.
Gresham Harkless 15:27
I truly appreciate that definition. And I appreciate your time even more. What I wanted to do is pass you the mic so to speak, just to see if there's anything additional, you can let our readers and listeners know and of course how best I can get a hold of you and find out about all the awesome things you and your team are working on.
Kyara Lombre 15:40
If anyone's interested and what I do and would love to see my photography. They can go to my social media tags. The my company's tag is a lap house studios. You can find that on Instagram and Facebook or if you just want to follow me and follow behind the scenes and get to know me a little bit more. You can follow my personal Instagram page, which is Chiara ky era. underscore Maria Ma Ri. Awesome. Awesome.
Gresham Harkless 16:09
Awesome. Thank you so much. Again, Chiara. We will have the links and information in the show notes just so that everybody can follow up with you. But definitely an honor was all ours to get out to you to hear all the phenomenal things you're doing and all that advice that you gave as well too. So I appreciate you again and hope you have a great rest of the day.
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