Picture Perfect: Photography studio launches in old New Hradec schoolhouse – The Dickinson Press

Picture Perfect: Photography studio launches in old New Hradec schoolhouse - The Dickinson Press


NEW HRADEC, ND — Karolina Lym started her photography business in 2016 in Dickinson. She recently launched her new studio out of an old school house building about 10 miles northwest of Dickinson.


Karolina Lym Photography in New Hradec.

Jason O’Day / The Dickinson Press

“So years after practicing I decided that it was time to actually go to school and learn photography if I wanted to do this as a career,” Lym said.

She then attended college at a school of photography in New York City. She said photography is a never ending process of education because there are always new things to learn, particularly with the advancement of technology. Lym noted that she’s currently taking additional online courses based in Brazil because she also speaks Portuguese.


A family photography session.

Contributed / Karolina Lym

“From different places there’s different points of view on things that we maybe don’t do here… It’s something that you can never really finish learning if that makes sense,” she said. “It’s been a great journey. And then 2016 is when I decided that I felt prepared enough that I could open my business and start from there.”

She said she started off specializing in weddings and still does them occasionally, said the physical strain of doing that can be very intense. Now her primary focus is family photography and newborns, but she still does some of everything. For example she’s been the photographer for events like the Make-a-Wish banquet and the Bakken BBQ.


Another family portrait.

Contributed / Karolina Lym

“When I began, I specialized in weddings because that’s something I really loved… Like last year I had so many that my body was like, no more,” she said. “Even though I specialize, I have to be open to everything to survive in Dickinson. So I offer maternity cake smashes, I work with businesses and I do a lot of events.”

Lym explained that a cake smash is a photo shoot parents often have done for their child’s first birthday.

“Sometimes people get creative and instead of cake they want to do a donut, or instead of a donut they want to do spaghetti,” she said.


Contributed / Karolina Lym

She elaborated that one of the challenges she’s grappled with since launching this business is the cultural differences between southwestern North Dakota and the West Coast where she grew up.

“I grew up in Los Angeles. I feel that I have a different style. Getting into the western part of North Dakota, that’s been a challenge because people are used to a classic way of photographing, and I’m more of a lifestyle photographer. But it’s also been great. You know, it’s just a challenge to get people to see your vision sometimes,” she said.

This is very much a family enterprise. Lym has one employee named Melodie who does most of the editing. Her daughters, 13 and 11, are also both very hard workers.


Karolina with her daughter Sariah, who is the social media videographer.

Contributed / Karolina Lym

“My oldest one, she’s been doing this with me since I started in 2016, so she was six. That’s all my kids have ever known. They work with me most of the time when they’re not in school,” she said. “The other one, she’s only 11. I’m like, set on sending her to videography school because that’s a talent that she has. She does video really well. And I am not good at video because she’s great at it. It’s amazing to me, because I’m like, I can’t believe how she’s so young. And she can understand way more than I do on that. Because it’s a different art than photography.”

When asked how her daughter gained such a knack for video, she said it’s something of a mystery.

“So I just tell her my vision of what I wanted, and she knows how to do it,” she said. “She started doing it a few years ago. So I would say like, maybe three years ago. That’s when I noticed that you give her a phone or a camera, and she would actually (know how to use it)… Then after I started looking at her videos, I was like, oh wow. Then when I tried to do something, she’s like no mom, this is not the way you should do it. This is how it goes.”


Karolina with her daughter Baysha, who is the newborn assistant photographer.

Contributed / Karolina Lym

Lym said the Dickinson Area Chamber of Commerce, Dunn Commission and JDA (Job Development Authority have been pivotal in helping her launch from this new location at an old school building in New Hradec, a small town north of Dickinson that lies on the southern tip of Dunn County.

“It looked like it wasn’t possible simply because of how big the building was, and you know, it was abandoned. It requires a lot of people to trust you and believe in you and your vision that I know many people can’t see sometimes,” she said, adding that Dunn County provided her with a modest grant and helped her find other sources of assistance. “Dunn County worked on helping me because they were like, yeah we want that building to be saved.”


Family photography.

Contributed / Karolina Lym

Dunn County Commission Chairman and JDA board member Cody Buehner said he’s happy to the building put to good use.

“Karolina, she seems like she’s giving it 100%. They’ve done a wonderful job of remodeling that school,” Buehner said. “JDA… It’s just really about trying to develop our county and do great things for people, trying to help businesses get started. Carie Boster does a phenomenal job as head of the JDA.”

Jason R. O'Day

Jason O’Day is a University of Iowa graduate, with Bachelor’s Degrees in Journalism and Political Science. Before moving to Dickinson in September of 2021, he was a general news reporter at the Creston News Advertiser in southwest Iowa. He was born and raised in Davenport, Iowa. With a passion for the outdoors and his Catholic faith, he’s loving life on the Western Edge. His reporting focuses on Stark County government and surrounding rural communities.