weTHRIVE – Kate Palker

Owner of Pearly Kate Photography

I founded Pearly Kate Photography in 2014. I am passionate about getting to know each and every client in order to create a truly personalized experience. This is why the first part of my process typically starts with a phone chat or meeting in my downtown Frederick studio, where I can get to know a bit of who you are and your ideas for your portraits.
The Pearly Kate Photography Studio is located in downtown Frederick, MD. My team and I serve the surrounding Maryland/DC/Virginia area and beyond. From stunning wedding day coverage to personalized portraits our team creatively captures the beauty and true spirit of each of our subjects. We specialize not only in stunning images and a great experience, but also heirloom albums and custom artwork. Our quality crafted artwork is the perfect way to preserve these timeless moments and to guarantee they are cherished for generations to come.
My husband and I live in Frederick, MD with our son Kai and our two dogs. Outside of work I enjoy spending time with my family, being involved in my local church community, and dining at many of the wonderful local restaurants!

Learn more about Pearly Kate Photography

weTHRIVE Episode 10 Transcript

Casey Clark (00:00):

Hi everyone. And thank you so much for joining us on the, weTHRIVE Podcast where we share stories from entrepreneurs from around the world. My name is Casey Clark and I am the chief growth officer and founder of C Clark Consulting and your podcast host. And today I’ll be interviewing Kate Palker who who’s the owner of Pearly Kate Photography. So thank you so much for joining us, Kate!

Kate Palker

Thank you for having me.

Casey Clark

So tell us a little bit about yourself.

Kate Palker

I grew up in New York, in Long Island, near the beach. I love the beach currently. I’m visiting my parents in South Carolina, so I’m really in my happy place down here. And I have a family. We live in Frederick, Maryland. We have a studio in downtown Frederick and I have a two and a half year old son and two little dogs.

Casey Clark

Awesome. I love it. It’s been so great watching your son just kind of grow up over the years. So as you know, the podcast is called, we thrive and I have personally watched you, you know, thrive over the years and really grow into your profession. So when you think of the word thrive, what exactly comes to mind for you?

Kate Palker (01:21):

I think what comes to mind is finding the good and it being a perspective because I think you can be in the same situation and just have a different heart or a different perspective. So I keep hearing the word like striving or thriving and it’s like, where’s my heart. So I feel like when I’m in a place of peace or a place of seeing the good more than I see the bad, that tends to be a place of thriving for me, that’s the first thing that comes to my mind. I love that the mindset is so important.

Casey Clark

So when you have been thriving personally or professionally, what are some obstacles that have kind of prevented you from seeing the good in things?

Kate Palker (02:08):

Trying too hard? Honestly, that wasn’t in my notes, but that’s the truth. So trying too hard. It’s ironic when I like scheme and I strive and I almost try, maybe don’t take enough time to be quiet and be in touch with who I am and what is true. And maybe do what I think I should be doing. I’ve put a lot of money and effort and time into some really things that weren’t genuinely from my heart and I didn’t find financial or emotional success. So those and then also perfectionism being hard on yourself. Those are things that have different, especially as an artist. I think that’s a common obstacle is, and I was, when I became a photographer, I was brand new. I didn’t even own a camera when I ordered business cards. I did not even know what a real camera was called.

Kate Palker (03:08):

So leap of faith was a little crazy and I didn’t, and it worked out, but I didn’t have the skills that matched the design in my head yet. And so to be able to not be at the level, I never going to be, you know, all the way where I want to be, but it’s so be kind to yourself and not beat yourself up because as a business owner, you make a lot of mistakes. So just being gentle to yourself, that’s something I’ve had to learn a lot and it’s helped me be gentle to others too. So definitely. Are there any specific moments that stand out to you where you were like, wow, this is really difficult. I just don’t know how I’m going to get through this.

Kate Palker (04:00):

There’s a couple, there’s definitely, I had a mentor really early on, who is now one of my dear friends. And that was one of the best things I ever invested in. But there was a time, a few years in where I called her and was just, what am I doing wrong? I can’t do this. And she, she said, you almost have to be willing to let it go. And it’s funny because I think I was almost, I don’t know if that makes sense to people, but it was almost like I was trying too hard and holding it too tight. And she said, you have to be willing to let something go. And for some reason I found freedom in that. And and my work life balance was really out of whack. And I think I’ve learned the longer I’ve been in business. The more I take care of myself and the more successful I’ve been.

Kate Palker (04:51):

And then also I had my son, he was born six weeks early. And that was finding a new groove between being a mom and an entrepreneur. My doctor just looked at me, he’s like, you need a nanny. This is normal. He’s like, you’re not crazy. You just need a nanny. Cause it was really hard. I was trying to do everything and that was a big life adjustment. That’s totally worth it. And I’m definitely finding a lot more balance, but that was a really hard, tricky season.

Casey Clark

Yeah. I think you bring up such a great point that we have to slow down and just kind of let things flow and just kind of know that they’ll fall in place. I mean, to me, like control comes to mind, like when we try to control too much while we’re like, we control it because we want to know what’s happening. But when we let it go, like you said, there’s so much more freedom in that I relate so much.

Kate Palker (05:49):

That’s the story of my business and the beginning. Yeah. I took such a leap of faith and I didn’t have doubt. I felt, I just felt in my heart, go start a photography business. And I don’t act like that now. I just followed my heart and it was, every step was provided. It didn’t even feel like it was from me. And I actually, wasn’t a believer in God. And through that process became a believer in God. And then I started taking control and give it back and trust again. You know? So it comes through in your work when, you know, you had the open house when you opened your studio. I mean, we walked in and Jason said, well, I see we found our photographer. Like it, it just pours out of you. So whatever you’re doing, you’re doing well.

Casey Clark (06:49):

Yes. So talk to us a little bit about some resources that have helped you kind of get through these years in business and being a new mom and a wife and, you know, everything that you have on your plate.

Kate Palker

I have really good friendships and I feel really blessed by that. That’s a huge thing for me is good, genuine friends and to anyone that feels like they don’t have that, I recommend just putting it out in the universe, just, just praying or just saying, like being open to it. And cause there’s been seasons where we moved and I was like, am I going to, you know, so that’s been like a big thing for me is great friendships, like a couple of good friendships. I have had a mentor in the beginning, which she taught me so much and you can learn, you know, I don’t have a college degree in photography.

Kate Palker (07:49):

So for me having hands on experience and a mentor and someone who who’s there to critique you, like she saved me so much time and energy and I paid her, but it was just learning from someone else’s mistakes who’s ahead of you is huge. But then also having fellow entrepreneurs who are both in similar fields or the same field, I have a woman in town. We are technically competition where our businesses have very similar. We’re such great friends and it’s just so nice having someone who’s on, like we’re on each other’s team. We can. And then my best friend from growing up is entrepreneur and being able to just know other people and you can talk, it’s different being entrepreneur. So it’s nice when you can talk to people in similar situations. Yeah. Yeah. I feel like a lot of us have the same struggles, but you know, depending on your business, it can bring a whole new level of uncertainties and challenges.

Casey Clark

That’s awesome that you have that support system though. It definitely helps when people can relate to you. Yeah. Yeah. So when I think of a thriving and like using resources, I think specifically of entrepreneurs who are like creating a legacy and they’re really impacting others. So when you hear legacy, like what do you envision for yourself?

Kate Palker (09:00):

The first thing that I picture in my mind is my heart. And just being in touch with who you are and continually trying to learn what my purpose is and to pass something on that is genuine from my heart that I can shine light into people who I meet and just be there for them. I’m predominantly a lot of work I do is with weddings. So just, just being able to support people and be there for people and just impact people in a good way as I walk each day. But also just getting deeper into like, what is my purpose on this earth and how can I pass that on and do good. I just really want to do good in the world, I guess. That’s awesome. And if I can’t remember exactly what it was, but I think that there’s like an additional offering or something that you do special for the bride and groom to be around their wedding, that kind of sets you apart. I could just be losing my mind.

Casey Clark (10:37):

I think I recall you doing something special. That was really genuine.

Kate Palker

My favorite part of my job is getting to know everybody. So we definitely, whether we go to dinner or get coffee, I jet or do any engagement session, but I try to get to know each couple and let’s see.

Casey Clark

I felt like there was something around engagement sessions. Like, do you offer that as part of your package or something like kind of like an added bonus?

Kate Palker

We do a lot of engagement sessions and people are blown away. It’s funny because when I grew up, I wasn’t very organized, but the longer I’ve been in business, I’m like more and more organized. And I walk with each couple and like talk about the logistics of their day. Usually they’re hiring me a year in advance, but you start right away and people are always like, I didn’t know, I hired you to do this. So we do the whole timeline together. And I just take a lot of time because I realized I care about their day and it’s to my advantage in theirs that I do this. So I I’m willing to go above and beyond. And I think that’s been something that surprises people. And then I also write their family lists. It used to be a homework assignment, but it’s really cool. I’m going to be with you on your weddings.

Kate Palker (12:05):

So I actually want to learn about the family dynamics and who everybody is. And so we do things like that. And now after the wedding at our studio, you can come design your album with me and it’s a three hour process and it’s so cool. I, I really like it. So whatever I can do in my business to make it personal and really get to know you and not just treat you like a number I tried to do.

Casey Clark

That’s awesome. And I mean, talk about leaving a legacy like you are there on one of the most important days of someone’s life and then, you know, creating an album for like a keepsake for them to have those memories to live on so that I just love it. And I love the personal touch that you give and how hard it is. So that’s awesome.

Kate Palker

So what other nuggets do you have for our listeners? You’ve given a lot about, you know, mindset and just coming from the heart and having a mentor.

Casey Clark

Is there any other specific nugget that you’d like to share? I like what you said about that album and that’s true. That is important. I think that’s like skipped over today. A lot is people are so digital. We forget about the value of like printing something.

Kate Palker (13:30):

What came to mind when you asked my mentor kind of, when she first worked with me, she said, do you just want to service a ton of people for cheap? Or do you want to like maybe be a little more money and really do a great job? What kind of question I knew I was like, I want to make a lot of money. So I don’t know. I thought that was an interesting like prerequisite question and I’m not sure where I’m going with this. Exactly. But I, I think I am in a space right now where I think it’s nice to take a step back from your business and think what’s your heart, what’s your purpose. And even though I’ve been in business for years, I’m continually thinking, let me zoom out for a second. And what is the point of what I’m doing? Because you can just, I think those are the times where I strived. I was looking at everybody else and looking at how can I do this.

Kate Palker (14:31):

And when those albums like to take three hours to make an album, it’s kind of a very long time, but that’s my heart. And to hear someone’s voice when they have that in their hands and to know that they can look at that for generations, like, so that’s something that’s right for my business and for me, and I think you sometimes need to just take a step back and just really think like, what’s the point of what I’m doing.

Casey Clark

Yeah, absolutely. I’m hearing a few things in there, you know, take time out, step back, do what’s in your heart. What’s true to you. Not necessarily what’s trending in the world. So I love it. So any other nuggets that come to mind for you?

Kate Palker (15:33):

I guess that’s been the theme really is like be you more and more. And for me also, it just feels silly, but I would tell entrepreneurs to take care of yourself and to be you. And honestly, there were seasons where I was so sleep deprived and I felt in my heart, all I need to do is take a nap right now. And I’m very, you know, work really hard, so that didn’t seem logical. But when I would take that nap, when I knew that’s what I needed, I swear I’d wake up and I have $2,000 check, just come in. And that sounds nuts. I’m not saying just sleep on your job, but I think it’s more important to take care of yourself. And last year I started playing pickleball, ironically, just a ton. And it sounds so weird, but that was the best January we ever had. I just, I still work a lot. You’ll find me at the office all the time, but the more I’m in touch with taking care of myself, being kind to myself, I feel like I’m able to pass that on to other people and be more focused.

Kate Palker (16:38):

So not to be repetitive, but I think that would be my ironically in my theme, my theme is just like be gentle and be kind and purposeful.

Casey Clark

Yeah. Have you ever read the book micro resilience?

Kate Palker


Casey Clark

So I highly recommend what you’re talking about is like, kind of doing those small sprints and understanding that you need to take a pause. So I think you’ll resonate really well with that book.

Kate Palker

That’s awesome. I’m going to have to write that down and I think books are so cool. That’s an easy mentor, like pick up a great book or good podcasts, things like that. Like what we fill our mind with during the day, like, while I’m editing, I try re that’s like a big resource roomies books, podcasts. What I read each day. Yeah, absolutely. What you put in is so important.

Casey Clark

Awesome. Well, do you have any burning thoughts that might’ve popped up that you didn’t share while we’ve been chatting?

Kate Palker (17:50):

No, I am good.

Casey Clark (17:51):

It’s definitely been a pleasure chatting with you. And like I said, it’s been awesome watching you grow and develop, and I look forward to continuing to see you thrive in the Frederick community and beyond. So thank you again for being our guests.

Kate Palker

Thank you so much.

Casey Clark

You are very welcome. And I’d also like to thank our sponsors, Steven Lamar Moore, who produced the music for our podcast. So thank you again, Stephen. And thank you again, Kate.

Kate Palker

Thank you so much, Casey. Have a good one.

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