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Meet Kim Kelley

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

Every artist has a unique story. Can you briefly walk us through yours?
I have always loved photography, but I didn’t actually try to make a career out of it until my daughters were born. In elementary school I took a photography class that met during lunchtime….and I brought my Polaroid camera! Whose parents let them embarrass themselves like that? Well, flash forward 25 years later and I’ve learned a little bit more about cameras.

I always took photos when we were on vacation, but they were usually landscape shots. After my first daughter was born, I stepped up my game and bought my first nice Canon camera. I went wild learning everything I could about portrait photography. When my second daughter was born in 2008 I knew much more and that’s when I learned it’s all about the lens, so I started investing in the nicest lenses I could afford. I couldn’t get enough! I wanted more, more, more. So, I joined an online photographer community where I took classes, asked questions, learned by looking at others work and asked for advice on my own photographs. I finally felt ready to take on paying clients.

That was about 8 years ago. Today I work part time as a pediatric nurse practitioner, and with my spare time I take on as many clients as I can fit in. I specialize in natural light photography, so I try to do all my photoshoots outside in the gorgeous parks and beaches around San Diego.

Please tell us about your art.
I will photograph anything except weddings. My thought process is, there are no do-overs for weddings, and it’s important to me that my clients love their portraits, so I guarantee my work, and if you don’t love it, we do it over. It’s never been necessary, luckily, but that is my reasoning for why no weddings.

I’ve done everything else though. Food, pets, homes, and of course every age from newborn to seniors.
The babies are my favorite. More specifically, the 6-9-month-old. I love their enthusiasm, their curiosity, their quick smiles and I especially love that they can’t move fast (or at all!). I also don’t like posed photographs, so the babies work well with my vision. A photoshoot with me usually entails me running around chasing after my subject, with the parents chasing around behind me, making faces and acting silly to try to get those natural laughing big grins. I do make sure to get the family shot, posed, with everyone looking at me. But it’s never my favorite. That is reserved for the belly laughing photo, or the stunned expression after licking sand off fingers, or the fabulous squat that toddlers do when they are examining something tiny on the ground.

My goal is to capture your child the way you know him. The silliness, the expressions that only she has, the cowlick that always sticks up, or the curls that are always in her eyes. As a mother myself, I know how many times I’ve said to my husband or thought to myself: I will always remember how she did that and how cute it is. And now I realize how quickly I’ve forgotten. My goal is to preserve as many of those precious memories for you so you can always look at your photos and be instantly transported back to that sweet and innocent time.

Do you have any advice for other artists? Any lessons you wished you learned earlier?
I feel like I’m constantly learning, so it’s hard to think of good advice, when I’m still hoping someone will give me some as well!

The best advice I can give if you are new photographer just starting out is shoot every single day! Learn your camera. Don’t spend money on lenses or props or editing programs. Just sit with your camera for a little bit every day and master all different types of lighting before you add in all the extra stuff. If you can get a properly exposed shot in any kind of light, any time of day, you’ve done the hardest part of the work. And don’t do it because you have to, do it because you love it. Don’t forget that. 

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Kim Kelley Photography

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