Diversifying Business: 10 Questions for Photographer and Entrepreneur Daniel Kudish

May 18, 2020

By Jacqueline Tobin

We sat down with award-winning wedding photographer and educator Daniel Kudish for a candid Q&A about life at home and the industry now as it relates to his wedding photography business (which he co-owns with his wife, Davina) and his post-production outsourcing company The Image Salon.

Don’t miss his free virtual conference, Photographers Unite, May 26-27 (a one-time event for now), where attendees can make optional donations to charity. Speakers include Susan Stripling, Jerry Ghionis, Lindsay Adler, Sandra Coan, Cliff Mautner, Sam Hurd, Blair DeLaubenfels, Roberto Valenzuela, Pye Jirsa and more.

1. You and Davina are known to have grown your businesses in a fairly short scope of time. Does it feel weird at this time to be stuck in self-isolation?

Thank you for the kind words! We’ve always worked a good amount of time from home, even when building Image Salon, so this doesn’t feel too jarring for us. We definitely miss traveling, but have also enjoyed being home for so many weeks in a row.

2. What’s something unexpected that’s come out of this time at home?

All this time at home with our kids has allowed us to really get to know them better and instill more of our values on them. We’ve really learned how to better communicate with our kids. We’re teaching them to ask questions when things are frustrating and to always try to stay calm, polite and talk with respect.

At 6 and 3 years old, they keep getting better and better at playing together and resolving conflicts. It has been very satisfying to witness! The hardship of the first couple of weeks has turned into a really positive experience for our family.

3. What good habits have you introduced or maintained since isolating?

We’ve gotten into some very healthy routines: practicing yoga daily, meditating, eating healthier and enjoying the simpler day-to-day life. Mentally, spiritually and physically, this is the healthiest I’ve ever felt.

[Peruse these “Ideas for Photographers to Stay Creative, Productive, Connected and Centered.”]

4. Is there anything about your time in isolation that changed your perspective and that you’ll carry through after isolating?

Our healthier routine is something that I hope we can carry moving forward, especially once we get back on the road. After the kids go to bed, I will do at least 30 minutes of yoga, followed by some meditation. We also do intermittent fasting, 16 hours between breakfast and dinner, which is doing us so much good right now. The routine of being at home so much is helping us stick to it, so when we hit the road again, I hope that this remains.

5. What about guilty pleasures? Is there anything you’ve been leaning in to?

Tiger King!! We’ve definitely been enjoying all of the TV—so grateful to be living this in 2020. I’ve also taken some time to play more video games. Doing things that just make us happy, like when we were kids, is so important during this time!

6. We’ve observed how photography businesses have been impacted by COVID-19, but I’m curious about how it has affected The Image Salon.

Unfortunately, The Image Salon has also been severely affected by the pandemic. We’ve had to downsize our team, which was a very difficult decision, but necessary. Luckily, we were in a financially healthy position going into this, and our Canadian government has been providing a lot of support, both for individuals and for businesses. Despite posting revenue that is around 20 percent of what it should be, we’re managing to break even at the moment.

[Read the “Lessons Learned When a Dream Photo Studio Met Harsh New Reality.”]

7. What do you plan to do in the coming months to make up for lost income? 

We’ve been building a full product lineup that will fit many more photography segments, so we aren’t so reliant on the wedding and event industry. It will feature easy, straightforward options for specific photo industries—for example, a real-estate photographer will be able to come on the website and quickly find the right product based on how they shot a property. The products will cover most portrait categories—seniors, babies, headshots, boudoir, fashion—four types of real-estate approaches, and expanded options for weddings and events.

It’s something that we were already working towards, but this pandemic has definitely refocused us on our mission. We’ve also launched our blog, podcast, YouTube channel and have gotten into a nice groove with our content creation.

[Check out these “9 Ways to Keep Your Photo Business Afloat” and WPPI’s resource guide for photographers to bolster business during COVID-19.]

8. Where’s the first place you’ll travel when that becomes a normal part of our lives again?

Mexico! It was one of four trips we had to cancel. Davina and my 10-year wedding anniversary is coming up in 2021, and we are planning a renewal in Tulum. Our scouting trip has been postponed and we can’t wait to go.

9. Photographers Unite is coming up (May 26-27, 2020). What was the motivation behind starting that?

“Better the world around us” is one of our core values, and our charitable arm of the business, The Giving Salon, has donated more than $50,000 over the years to a variety of causes. We knew that by tapping into our industry network, we would be able to bring a lot of incredible speakers together and make even more of an impact, which is so important during this time. This is our way of fighting all the ugliness that is coming out of the pandemic right now. 

10. What are you most excited about with this new virtual conference?

The speakers are still flushing out their content, so I don’t have all the details yet but I’m excited for the wealth of knowledge that all the speakers have collectively, and how much amazing content will be shared in such a short period of time. I think the 20-minute, short talk format will make the talks really concise and full of value for the attendees.

[Next: 10 Questions for WPPI Judge and Speaker Joseph Victor Stefanchik]