Kim Bamberg '99
“Every wedding has a story,” Bamberg says. “There is so much joy in weddings, so much love and overwhelming happiness.”
"I get to create beauty for people," Bamberg says about her job. "I get to know families, and that's amazing."
"I love the ballet," says Bamberg, who's shot dance photography for two years. "I get to be a fly on the wall."
Kim Bamberg '99
Willamette University alumna captures beauty through photography
Kim Bamberg ’99 is convinced she has the best job in the world.
She’s charged with diffusing stressful situations. She makes new and lasting friendships, and she surrounds herself by happy people. Best of all, she immerses herself in some of life’s most memorable celebrations.
“My job is to capture the beauty of everything,” Bamberg says about photography. “I’m meant to do this. It’s something I can’t stop.”
Co-owner of La Vie Photography in Seattle, Bamberg shoots everything from weddings to fashion models. She works alongside her husband and business partner, Adam, and credits much of their success to the lessons she learned while attending Willamette University.
“I still feel so connected to Willamette,” Bamberg says. “I’m so thankful for its camaraderie and openness. Through Willamette, my world got bigger.”
Learning how to learn
At Willamette, Bamberg — whose maiden name is Loewen — immersed herself in campus life. She joined Ph Beta Phi Sorority, competed on the women’s crew team and studied in Paris through an international exchange program.
“You are so encouraged to try it all, and it’s a small enough school that you can,” says Bamberg, who majored in religious studies. “At Willamette, I learned how to learn.”
Bamberg continued her pursuit of self-exploration after graduation. She worked as a river raft guide in Glacier National Park in Montana. She served coffee at Starbucks, and she sold outdoor supplies at REI.
Then she discovered photography by enrolling in a class at the Photographic Center Northwest in Seattle. Through that experience, she forged relationships with other photographers, perfected her trade and founded Junebug Weddings, a website that features advice, editorials and recommendations for everything wedding related.
In 2002, Bamberg booked her first wedding, and through her ties with Willamette alumni, her client list began to multiply.
“It’s so much about energy, confidence and your ability,” Bamberg says about attracting business. “I’ve photographed at least 50 people and 10 weddings, just through networking with Willamette. Those connections are so important.”
By 2005, the Bambergs had transformed their shared passion into a full-time career. Specializing in weddings, Kim Bamberg says she spends more time with the bride on the wedding day than the groom.
She enjoys creating lasting memories through her craft and playing a small role in a couple’s special day. Her background in religious studies has also proven useful, since she commonly works with people of differing cultures and faiths.
“Every wedding has a story,” she says. “There is so much joy in weddings, so much love and overwhelming happiness.”
The Bambergs say working together provides them with much needed balance. While Kim describes her husband as laid back and funny, Adam says his wife is an “unending fountain of energy.”
“She’s really effusive,” he says. “There is almost nothing that isn’t electric about her. She can take an ordinary object and make it beautiful.”
Coming full circle
From late June through mid October, the Bambergs shoot a wedding almost every weekend. For each one, they spend eight hours taking photos of the preparations, ceremony and reception and another 40 hours editing and meeting with clients.
Besides working as a wedding photographer, Kim takes artistic shots of dancers for the Whim W'Him dance company in Seattle and uses her creativity to choreograph edgy fashion shoots.
Her newest project is investigating ways to give back to the community — such as by taking family portraits of people who are battling terminal illnesses.
“I get to capture some of life's most intimate moments,” she says. “This is a new side I am exploring, to be a part of the whole process of life.”
Although establishing her business has been anything but easy, Kim Bamberg says she’s never been happier. Because of Willamette, she says she learned at a young age the value of believing in herself.
“Photography is my soul, it’s a part of me,” she says. “I’m so lucky that I love what I do.”