Today we’d like to introduce you to Megan Kelsey of Megan Kelsey Photography.
Hi Megan, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself
When I was a little girl, I remember being fascinated by the family Polaroid camera. I couldn’t play with it enough. Photography always interested me, from capturing a new MySpace profile pic to memorializing family vacations. I started taking “professional” photos my senior year of high school when friends wanted headshots for their theatre portfolios or their senior pictures taken. I had a cheap pawnshop Nikon camera my dad had gifted me for my 14th birthday with a $200 lens I’d saved up for from Amazon. I didn’t really know what I was doing, but I was learning as I went. I remember getting paid $40 here, $80 there, and feeling like I’d won the lottery making money doing what was just a fun hobby for me.
When I went off to college, my suitemate was an amateur photographer as well, and she introduced me to the world of wedding photography. I began following other photographers’ blogs and social media pages, learning everything I could from observing what they were doing. I received more and more inquiries for family photos, senior sessions, newborn shoots, and after a few years, weddings! With every image I took, I mastered my skills on a deeper level.
By 2015, I was shooting 35 weekends a year. I was invited to speak and teach at photography workshops and as a guest on educational podcasts. My blog had thousands of readers and I loved being able to share my passion for photography with an audience that appreciated and encouraged my art.
A few years ago, I started a business as a private photo editor for other photographers and began selling digital products for photographers as well. I’ve scaled back on my wedding workload (I still shoot a small handful of select weddings a year), and I take on a couple portrait sessions a month for families, high school and college seniors, and couples. In my new season of life as a mom, I love the business I’ve built because it allows me to take on as much work as I have the capacity for at any given time. I also get to provide my clients with an incredibly personable experience because I am working with only a small handful of clients a year.
I love being an entrepreneur and using my passion for the photographic arts in so many ways (shooting, editing, selling presets, etc.) and I’m excited for what this next season has in store!
Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
Of course, there have been obstacles. Nearly every entrepreneur I know speaks of their “burn out” season. I went through it, too. However, I think there is a time for “the hustle.” I started my business when I was single and living with my dad. My busiest season as a photographer was before I became a mom. I worked really hard and had some crazy long hours (and tons of traveling days), but it was loads of fun and so educational. I’ve shot weddings in Mexico and France, booked sessions on the fly in California, Colorado, and Hawaii, taught hundreds of creatives about business and photography, and launched multiple digital products with varying degrees of success (and failure).
Those experiences taught me more than any course or textbook ever could. I built a solid base for my business that weathered the storm of the global shutdown (when 80% of my workload disappeared overnight). As a business owner, you have to know how and when to pivot and what your other options are at any given time. You don’t need Plan B, C, and D, but… we all constantly imagine what those might be when we hold the responsibility for keeping our businesses afloat. I still have backup plans I ruminate on all the time, and I constantly look back and see things I could have done differently. However, the best decision I made and best advice I can give is to have multiple streams of income (shoots, products, services, digital shop, etc.) so that if one goes, you don’t lose everything.
Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
I’m a wedding and portrait photographer who captures bright, airy, vibrant, and joyful imagery. I love that my photography style is full of light and color. It’s true to life, and I capture the most meaningful moments and people at their absolute happiest. I always hear from clients that the candids/unposed shots from the day are their favorite images. I’m very detail-oriented and always make sure to capture every last little special element. I’m most proud of my ability to anticipate when something extraordinary is about to occur. As a photographer, you eventually develop a “sixth sense” for this, but sometimes our instinct is there to begin with, and I’ve always felt like my instinct is quite strong in this regard.
When I’m not shooting, I’m a private photo editor providing Lightroom editing services to other wedding photographers, and I sell digital presets for both professional and mobile use. My skills as an editor are all rooted in my commitment to consistency. When you look at a gallery of images, it’s my goal that they all undoubtedly fit together and tell a visually cohesive story. I’ve edited over a million images to date. My eye for color and lighting correction has been years in the making.
The crisis has affected us all in different ways. How has it affected you and any important lessons or epiphanies you can share with us?
Having multiple streams of income (and multiple marketing “channels” driving traffic to your business) is always a good idea.
Also, dig in your heels and keep doing the work. Don’t give up. There are always more ways to serve others doing what you love.
- Wedding Collections begin at $5,200
- Portrait Collections begin at $400
- Email: email@example.com
- Website: www.megankelseyphotography.com
- Instagram: www.instagram.com/megankelseyglasbrenner
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/megankelseyphotography
- Other: www.megankelseyblog.com