Fabulous People: Karissa Russ-Barrett

Karissa Russ-Barrett is the lead photographer, owner and CEO of Karissa Russ & Co., a Las Vegas-based wedding and elopement photography company. Russ-Barrett provides an all-inclusive space and experience for all couples in love. Learn about Karissa Russ-Barrett…

Follow at: @karissaruss.co

Hometown: Las Vegas, NV (Born and raised, I’m a unicorn!)

First job: I was a lifeguard for the county pools and worked at a boutique starting at 15.

Favorite ways to spend your free time in NV: I like to spend whatever free time I have with my family/friends. I am a big foodie, I love good coffee and cocktails. I enjoy Disneyland, camping, off-roading and cycling! 

Your biggest accomplishment and why: If you would have asked me this question three years ago I would have said my career/business (it was my baby). My accomplishments fed a little ego and made me super proud of all my blood, sweat and tears. Winning awards, being published, hitting financial goals, etc. But truly, motherhood has expanded my view beyond materialistic things and my accomplishments/trophies. Being a good mom, and raising a kind and loving human, while giving my family my time is the biggest accomplishment I could have ever asked for. My career is fantastic and all the things the business continues to represent, but my greatest attribute to this life will be my son and forming those core memories!

The biggest obstacle you overcame: The biggest obstacle I have ever overcome is getting out of my own dang way. I made myself small for a very long time in order to please many people in my life. When I realized that was doing nothing for me, I changed my life around by quitting my salary job, moving away, leaving a relationship that no longer served me/my mental health and starting my business. So many people thought I was out of my mind, maybe I was. But it worked out!

Someone who inspires you and why: This is going to be a tie between my own mother and grandmother. They both instilled in me very young that being “bossy” was OK. I just knew what I wanted. They gave me the range to have free expression and thoughts and modeled to me a strong independent woman. They modeled women who stood up for what they believe in and worked extremely hard to support their families in so many ways (financial and otherwise).

Karissa Russ-Barrett

Advice to someone pursuing a career path in what you do: Sounds so cliché, but be yourself. There is only one of you. I’m in a pretty “saturated” market. But what sets me apart from the others is showing up, being raw, real and laying it out there. People are either going to like you or not. So why pretend to be someone you aren’t in your business? Besides that – it isn’t easy. Most people call photography a hobby for a reason. To make a livable wage out of a “hobby” for many people is no small feat. It’s going to take a while to build, be accountable, invest in yourself/business, and never think you are too good to learn. I’m a huge believer in community over competition, so find like-minded people and business owners because we all need help/to vent. 

Favorite quote: “Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes … the ones who see things differently — they’re not fond of rules, and they have no respect for the status quo. … You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things. … They push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the people who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.” –Steve Jobs

Something someone would be surprised to learn about you: I swore up and down I would never ever in a million years shoot weddings. I started in the action sports industry. I was a marketing director for a company and also handled social media – that is why I picked up a camera in the first place. I grew up racing dirt bikes, BMX and boxing. 

What makes someone fabulous: I believe confidence and accountability make someone very fabulous! I think those are some of the most attractive/energy-pulling characteristics a person can have. Oh – morals! General kindness/gratitude. Fabulous people aren’t entitled to anything – you better work.

Headshot photo credit: Taylor Made Photography

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *