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Community Conversations: Let’s Meet Amy Kratish!

Amy Kratish has been creating memories for the past 25 years. She offers exceptional service and quality at an affordable rate. She loves photographing all of life’s precious moments. Her pricing is very fair and she always offers full resolution images on DVD. Packages for special occasions are also available as are montages, sign-in books, and coffee table albums for your events. She is also my cousin and has been a positive influence on my life. Amy helped me come up with the concept for my “Wild Writers” poetry book series and introduced me to pickleball, among many other things, and I love her dearly. Here is how to contact her if you need her services:

Facebook: MYFace Instant Photos and Montages: https://www.facebook.com/myfaceinstantphotosandmontages/

Without further ado, here is our interview!


­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Tell me about your life/childhood. What was that period like for you?

To tell you about my life, I was one of four children. I was born in Rhode Island and then later moved to New York. I left home to attend college at the University of Miami in 1979.

As I mentioned, I was one of four children and the only girl. I had two brothers that were very close in age who had cerebral palsy. I always was very loving and nurturing to my younger brothers and helped with their day-to-day living skills. So, when I left New York to attend the University of Miami, I naturally decided to go into special education. I was awarded a full tuition scholarship from the school and proudly accepted the scholarship and earned my degree in special ed.

My favorite hobbies growing up were going to Broadway shows, participating in community theater, and always had the love for photography. I would love taking photos of friends and nature. I used to babysit and save all my money up for new camera equipment. My friends would save their babysitting money up and buy records.

How did you become a professional photographer? What has photography taught you about life? What are your favorite subjects/styles/types of photographs?

I never thought that I would be a professional photographer as my actual occupation versus enjoying photography strictly as a hobby. However, I always had a camera in my hand for vacations and family gatherings as well as I started to take headshots for my daughters modeling composite. All the agents would say to me, “Who took your photos of your child?“ I would say, “I did.“ Before I turned around, I was getting messages and people knocking on my door to take their child photos within our neighborhood. I then had the “Aha!” moment, where I figured that I could turn this into a business!

What started out being a tiny area within our living room with two workshop clamped lights on a pole and a black backdrop morphed into two studios built on to my home, as well as our backyard, which was designed with small vignette areas in order to make each photo different. For example, we had an area with stockade fencing, a tractor and bales of hay; we had a beautiful lagoon waterfall pool, we had walkways and pathways filled with exotic greenery, and many different areas of our fencing were painted to give the feeling of different backdrops. I quickly became a fan favorite and won many awards, and the coveted Kids Crown Awards from my Tri-County Area for numerous years in a row. I always loved film photography.

Who do you look up to? Who are your favorite photographers? Who/what inspires you to thrive as an entrepreneur and an artist?

Photography allows me to capture memories to be enjoyed for years to come. That is absolutely a gift to be able to provide to people. As far as who I look up to for photography, it is kind of a hard question for me since I was self-taught. I think Anne Geddes was by far an inspiration to the type of photography I did with babies. She is a photographer that used to put the newborns and young babies in flower pots and adorable costumes and was quite creative.

How did you become a montage maker/event planner and how did you balance them?

When digital photography came out and phones all had cameras built-in, my photography business took a huge turn from studio photography to event photography. Being the person behind the camera watching all the events through my lenses, I was able to understand the event business and how to produce a quality event. I worked with a few very well-known companies in South Florida, which let me learn about the event industry. My montage business came out of the event industry, saying that large corporate events included a video slideshow as I noticed that the social market was beginning to include slideshows for lifecycle events. So, I began to offer that service. Being a professional photographer and able to edit people’s not-so-great photos I became once again very popular in my new montage business.

How did you get started with pickleball? How has it helped you? Why do you like it? What have you learned from it? Any advice or life-lessons?

So now you are asking about my pickleball passion or should I say addiction? I was introduced to pickleball at our Georgia cabin community. I was very out of shape and probably not considered very healthy when I was introduced to this sport. I was working many hours in front of a computer and not allowing myself to exercise due to the amount of work that I had to do. After being introduced to the sport and taking the opportunity to play, I found that pickleball was not only fun but easy to learn and provided a lot of health benefits. I have always enjoyed playing games and never in 1 million years did I think I would enjoy playing the game of pickleball in the blistering sun for hours at a time. The sport provided me with so many benefits, not only in physical health but helped my emotional well-being. We met many new friends who shared the same pickleball passion and have created quite a social network. My health has improved immensely; my game has improved with time and lessons. With my husband Marty Kratish, who is a realtor (https://www.facebook.com/martykratishWaterstonerealtygroup/), and is also an ambassador for the sport, we are always out teaching pickleball to the community. Keep an eye out on a new pickleball business that we are presently creating and will be launching soon.

Your son/my cousin Justin Kratish is now a party planner/DJ/entrepreneur/businessman. How does it feel to have him following in your footsteps and thriving along his own unique path?

Justin Kratish – my son – has followed in the event industry as well, and has created quite a name for himself. We used to take nightly walks when he was still in high school and discuss business and the ethics needed to run a successful business (https://www.facebook.com/triplepent/ and https://www.triplepentertainment.com/ ). There is no doubt he has truly taken the bull by its horn and created successful companies under his brand.

Melissa – my daughter – has also created a very successful community theater up in Orlando. She has worked over 15 years with Disney, and is now working with a company called Broadway Media (https://www.broadwaymedia.com/about/team).

What are your core principles? What has your life taught you about human nature and how people should treat each other?

I have learned many life lessons throughout the years. My absolute favorite lesson was taught to me when I was in eighth grade. My teacher drew two bicycles on the blackboard. One bicycle had many spokes in its wheels, whereas the other picture of the bicycle had no spokes. He explained that when we sat on the bike with spokes in wheels, the bicycle would support us. If we sat on the bicycle without spokes it would collapse, and the bicycle would fall to the ground.

In life, we have to go through challenges in which we have to navigate successfully. He told us that every time we had to deal with a difficult life situation and came out better on the other side, we awarded ourselves a spoke in our bicycle. My life has many challenges growing up and I certainly added my fair share of spokes as I learn to cope through some difficult times.

So, I am grateful to be a compassionate, loving and accepting person. People say I have more patience than a Saint. I truly believe that you should treat people the way that you want to be treated in life. It’s easier to be nice than not to be nice. And to be the type of individual to offer help and be on the giving side rather than the receiving side.

Tell me about how you won a contest that allowed you to celebrate an all-expenses-paid anniversary vacation to Hawaii. What was that like?

Wow, this is a fun question that you are asking me. I wrote a story and entered a contest for Shop At Home, which was an Internet shopping site. They asked the readers to write a story about an anniversary or special time in your life.

I wrote a story about how my husband lost a game of Pac-Man and had to propose to me and get married if I were to get 30,000 points in Pac-Man. I was so pitifully bad in Pac-Man. However, I went back to my home in New York and grabbed every available quarter to learn how to play the best game of Pac-Man ever. So, the contest loved my story and it was put onto the Internet and people all over the world had to vote on their favorite stories.

My story came in number one and that is how I won the contest and had the most wonderful trip to Alaska! The contest was for an all expense paid trip to Hawaii. However, my hubby wanted to go back to Alaska. 

Who would you like to acknowledge/shoutout/promote/thank for their involvement in your life and how they helped you get to where you are today?

I think my daughter Melissa might be a great person to be interviewed. I love that she is so involved with her community and offering the opportunity of theatrical arts to everyone. I do sit on the board of directors for the theater company! We are looking for a permanent home for the theater. Perhaps, your interview can help get donations for the theater. I also want to thank the University of Miami for my college scholarship!


INTERVIEWER’S CLOSING NOTES FOR THE READERS

Thank you for your time and readership. I hope you enjoyed this interview. There will be more interviews with more people to come in the near future. Have a great day!

~Andrew

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