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Meet Kelsey Swann

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kelsey Swann.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
My love and appreciation for photography began when I was very young. My family always had magazines like National Geographic around the house, and I was mesmerized with the pictures and how the photographers were able to tell stories through their images. My father is an avid photographer himself and was my first photography teacher, helping learn how to manipulate the look of photos through the camera settings. I had a variety of film cameras growing up, and loved getting the prints back showing what I’d captured. But it was in college at Pepperdine University that I got my first digital camera and a whole new world opened for me. It was the first time that I was exposed to the concept of digital editing, as well as being able to instantly see what I’d photographed. Everywhere I looked I saw photo opportunities, and photojournalism became my goal, combining my love for photography with my enthusiasm for writing. I had dreams of traveling the world, working for magazines like the ones I grew up reading. But life, as it tends to do, had different plans, and after graduating I wound up going down a different road and getting my teaching credential. Ten years passed before I began seriously thinking about photography again. Inspired by portraits I’d been taking of my sons and by the gift of my first true professional camera, given with the message from my husband that he and my boys believed in and supported me following my dream of photography that had started so many years earlier. So, with that, Kelsey Swann Photography was officially created!

Has it been a smooth road?
Being a stay-at-home mom to two energetic boys has made starting and growing my own business a challenge. Some days, I feel like my work is done in ten-second increments throughout the day, looking for a time wherever it presents itself and trying to balance motherhood with wanting my business and brand to grow organically. Another challenge has been starting out in a very saturated market and trying to promote what I do and get clients when there are so many others in my area offering photography. In a way though, these obstacles have made me stronger, in that being, both a mom and small business owner has helped me learn how to balance and maximize my time, and being one of many photographers around has pushed me to find a way to stand-out and continually strive to improve my skills and techniques.

We’d love to hear more about your work.
My specialty is portraits, specifically children’s and teen’s portraits. Because of my teaching background – and having two little wild ones at home – I’m able to really connect with my child models on their level. I understand that kids have days where they’re feeling extra wiggly or grouchy, and none of that phases me. I follow their lead and make the sessions as fun and relaxed as possible. Childhood is messy and unpredictable, but also beautiful in its innocence and enthusiasm. If my littlest clients want to pose and model that’s great. If they want to run around and throw leaves in the air – that’s great too. The most important thing is that they’re having fun because that will shine through in the photos, whether they’re posed or unscripted…

Another one of my favorite genres is personalized branding sessions. With such a huge growth in the number of local small business owner and bloggers – and myself being a small business owner – I recognize the importance of creating a brand that people will recognize and want to talk about and recommend. During Branding Photoshoots, I work with these entrepreneurs and influencers to come up with a series of marketing photos to tell the story of their company – what they offer, what it’s like to work with them, what makes them unique.

Children’s Portraits and Branding Sessions are in a sense very opposite genres. Photoshoots with kids are very go-with-the-flow, work with what you have at that moment and improvise as needed, while Branding Sessions are coordinated and planned out every step of the way. That may be why I enjoy them both so much, is that the contrasting styles allow me to show my creativity in a variety of ways!

Is our city a good place to do what you do?
I love San Diego, I’ve lived here my entire life. It’s changed dramatically since I was a child, but at its heart is still that wonderful beach town that makes so many people want to live here and tourists want to visit. The number of photographers in the area is ever-growing, and I’ve found several groups within the photography community that has provided amazing support and camaraderie. I’ve met many amazing colleagues who genuinely want to help each other learn and succeed, and when that mentality is created of “it takes a village” – everyone benefits.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Images of girls in yellow and white gowns – clothing by San Diego Dress Designer “Chicaboo”, Images of boy with sunflowers and boy in hat – clothing by “Knuckleheads”

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