Kline doing well on award circuit

Adam Larck
“Purple Heart...To Little Heart” is one of Christie Kline’s more memorable portraits because, “It was something that was close to my heart.” It won a Kodak Gallery Award.

In 2006, Sonshine Portrait Design co-owner Christie Kline entered her first print competition.

Now, six years later, she has received the Fuji Masterpiece Award, three Kodak Gallery Awards and many more and she shows no signs of stopping.

“I’m addicted to it,” Kline said. “I can’t stop now. I have one coming up in April that I’ve already started working on images for.”

Kline’s mother, Barb Primm, started the studio in 1977. Kline said she grew up watching her mom and knew what she wanted to do.

“Right out of high school I started working at the studio,” she said.

Kline, who lives in Germantown Hills, started out photographing seniors because they were close to her age, but said that her niche is now newborns and children.

“I still like the seniors, but children and babies, I think, are my passion right now,” she said.

While Kline likes to make photo sessions for newborns around what the family does, she said that print competitions are a “whole different realm” than standard sessions.

“There are certain elements that judges look for in print completion as far as lighting and composition and emotion,” Kline said. “There are 12 different elements that are a factor.”

Since starting to enter print competitions, Kline has won several awards at the state, district and national levels, and has been featured in the Professional Photographers of America International Loan Collection. She also just received her third Kodak Gallery Award in Wisconsin during the weekend of Feb. 27 at the district judging.

“There were 900 images entered in the print competition and they give out three Kodak Gallery Awards, one to each category. There are portrait category, illustrative category and wedding,” she said. “They picked one of mine out of 900 for the portrait category. It scored a 94, which a 100 is the best. I was pretty excited for that.”

Out of all the portrait’s Kline has done, she said the most memorable had to be the image that won a Kodak Gallery Award.

“It was something that was close to my heart,” she said. “I built an image from my grandpa’s Purple Heart that he got from the war and I photographed my son holding the flag that they used at his burial and he’s wearing his Purple Heart in the image. It just had a lot of emotion in it for me.”

Besides entering more print contests, Kline also has a few speaking presentations lined up for this year as well.

“I’m going to start speaking about babies and children,” Kline said. “A lot of photographers just get the fuzzy blanket and prop the babies up. I try to make more of an art piece. I’m just going to teach photographers how to be creative and think outside the box and do something that’s different and not the same thing everyone else is doing.”

Her first presentation will be in May at the studio for Super Monday, with the other being a presentation in southern Illinois.

“I’m just starting out so I’m really nervous to start out doing it,” Kline said. “I think that once you get out on the speaking grid then other states and organizations will start booking you. I’m just starting out with these two and seeing where it goes from here.”

She is also using the presentations to work toward her craftsman’s degree in photography from the PPA. She earned her master’s earlier this year.

To get her craftsman’s degree, she needs to earn 25 merits, half from speaking and the other half from service merits by helping out behind-the-scenes at competitions.