Kimberly Sha Caton found her calling.
And now, with a space in The Merchant Yard at 1455 First St., Escalon, she is eager to share her vision.
Specializing in maternity, newborn, wedding and family photography, Caton is in Suite 1 at the renovated former Escalon Lumber and Hardware facility, taking up one of the four available suites.
She moved in to the space with a partner a few months ago but, as of Nov. 1, is the sole proprietor of The Studio Off Main, as her former business partner moved out of the area.
“The studio is about 1,000 square feet, it has a main sitting room and a separate room for getting ready in, I also have my own small office as well,” Caton explained. “We specialize in family, maternity, newborn photos and we do weddings as well.”
Caton has been doing photography for about eight years.
“I had a full-time job but it had me on the road a lot and kept me away from my family,” she explained.
Photography, eight years ago, was just a hobby but Caton soon discovered that there was a need and she was able to fill it.
“It just really expanded so about three, three-and-a-half years ago, I was able to turn it into a business,” she noted of leaving her prior full-time job for the new venture. “I’m so thankful I was able to do that; I love it.”
Caton also said it was her best friend insisting that she photograph her wedding that really started her interest in the field.
“She made me photograph her wedding, she made me photograph her child,” Caton said. “It’s amazing being part of the milestones.”
She keeps up a busy schedule and said most of her business comes from referrals; previous clients who have shared her work. She can be reached through kimberlyshaphotography.com.
“For weddings, next year, I am already pretty booked for 2022,” she pointed out. “I did have an assistant this year to help me with bookings.”
For her newborn photos, Caton likes to photograph them four to 14 days after the baby’s arrival. Maternity photos can be taken in studio or outside and there is a ‘client closet’ where she has some unique outfits for use in the in studio sessions.
“I don’t really have set hours,” Caton said, adding that her schedule is driven by the appointments booked and whether they are on site or at a location of the client’s choosing.
“Fall is always a busy time,” she added, especially with family photos for the holidays.
Born and raised in Escalon, Caton has lived here her whole life, except for time spent at San Diego State, where she got a degree in psychology. She also has worked in real estate, in that business for nine years, before moving on to the Direct Customer Service post that had her on the road. With two small children, however, she wanted to be closer to home and now has that with the photography business.
Assistant Shannon Montgomery also helps with some of the photo shoots, particularly weddings.
Caton also said moving in to the refurbished space on First Street was a smart business decision.
“Larry (developer Larry Grossi) has done such a good job with this, so attentive to detail, I love the exposed brick, the flooring, the lighting,” she said. “My studio has windows on both sides and wonderful natural light.”
The Studio Off Main is available for other photographers to rent out and some businesses have also used it for small gatherings and events.
Caton said one of her most memorable photo shoots was being able to “capture my stepson propose to his wife” and she is excited to be part of the thriving business community at The Merchant Yard.
She praised Grossi’s vision in refreshing the facility, keeping the old time façade but modernizing the interior.
“We are so appreciative,” she said.
She can be reached through kimberlyshaphotography.com.
This is the third in a four-part series of features on the businesses in The Merchant Yard; look for the final installment in the Nov. 24 issue of The Times.