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Meet Kelley Dykes of Photography by Kelley in Tierrasanta

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kelley Dykes.

Kelley, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I started getting into photography to document our crazy military life where we get to see a lot of different places, and where pictures are so important when loved ones go away for long periods of time. Friends started asking me to do their pictures more and more, so I decided I wanted to take the leap and go to school for professional photography. After I finished, I started my business, and I’ve been in love with what I do ever since. I try to make a very personalized start to finish experience for each client. We work together to make their ideal session a reality. I love to capture the love of families, the fleeting little moments of children, and make pregnant moms see themselves as the glowing goddesses that they are. It’s a wonderful feeling to have a mom who struggles with body image in pregnancy look at the album I deliver to her after our session and cry because she sees just how beautiful she is. I use the abundant natural beauty of San Diego, lovely natural lighting, and the vision the client and I create together to make portraits they will love and pass on for generations.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
The biggest struggle for me has been being a military spouse, I’ve had to start my business over each place we have moved. It’s a bit overwhelming and we never know how long we get to stay somewhere. Also, a majority of my clients are repeat, and it’s sad when I can’t be there to photograph the next milestone for their family.

Please tell us about Photography by Kelley.
I specialize in boutique portraiture. I shoot families and couples, but I specialize in dreamy maternity sessions. I love to visualize a session for a client that will make them look their best and showcase the beauty of San Diego at the same time. I work with the client to pick the best location, time, and wardrobe to bring our vision to life. The sessions themselves are very relaxed, and a lot of fun. By the time they are over, we are usually great friends. After the session, I bring proofs to the client’s home, what I call the session reveal, which is such an incredible time! I get to see them see the pictures for the first time, and I help guide them through choosing which they want, and we work together to create custom artwork for their homes, be it wall art, albums, and other high quality archival products. My favorite thing about the way I run my photography studio is how personalized it is, and how it is start to finish. I walk everyone through every step and when we are through, the client walks away with a finished product that they love and that I am proud of. I feel like I’ve done my job, which is to make the process easy for them and to have portraits that will be on their walls, and albums that will be cherished passed down to great grandchildren.

If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
I would have learned more about business before starting, perhaps going to school for that as well. I got super overwhelmed with it in the beginning because all I thought about was the art part of it!

Contact Info:

Getting in touch: SDVoyager is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.


  1. Courtney Suesse

    November 9, 2017 at 5:51 pm

    What a fantastic article on an AMAZING photographer! Kelley has shot our family MANY times iver the last four years. We are always looking forward to her creative, fun approach to photographing our most important family moments.

  2. Leslye

    November 9, 2017 at 7:26 pm

    You are an amazing photographer Kelley! I’m so glad we have proof of your amazing growth and work in the form of our own photos taken over the years. I can’t wait to hang them in our new home. We miss you!

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