We had the good fortune of connecting with Kelsey Swann and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kelsey, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
It evolved very organically into what it is today. When I first learned to shoot and edit back in college, my goal was to work as a photojournalist. I wanted to travel the world, document what I saw and share it with others. That never transpired, so I shot just for myself for a long time. With the explosion of social media and ease of sharing photos, I began posting images I had taken, and after awhile people began asking me to take pictures for them. Eventually I told myself, “I could probably turn this into a business”. I had no idea what I was getting into, I had never run a business by myself before, especially creating something from the ground up. I had to learn about invoices and contracts, business licenses, running my cost of doing business, marketing and networking, it was all new to me. But there are a lot of great resources for photographers, both local and national, and bit by bit I pieced it together.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
My two favorite genres are animal and children’s portraits – also arguably two of the most challenging subjects as they often have their own agenda and don’t always want to hold still and pose. But that’s part of what I love about them, I love photographing subjects in their element, doing their thing, and seeing those moments to capture. I’m an observer by nature, and it works well with my photography. I watch, I wait, I don’t get at all phased or ruffled if a subject is not in the mood and needs to run around. I work with them at whatever place they’re at and roll with it, some of the shots I’m most proud of were taken completely unposed and unprompted. Having two very active children has helped me with this, as did my years teaching in elementary schools. I try to take the pressure off of the photoshoot, and I now have the confidence that I can produce images from each session that my clients will connect with and cherish.
Any great local spots you’d like to shoutout?
When we have family visit from out of the area they always want to experience the beach. I love walking around downtown Carlsbad and Encinitas, browsing all the shops and restaurants, wandering along the seawall. For visitors who don’t live near a beach, simply walking and taking in the sight of the ocean marvels them (and if we can dine at a restaurant with an ocean-view, like the Chart House, even better!). Taking a day trip to the Temecula vineyards is always fun, which is another novel thing to do for visitors who don’t have wineries in their town. We have also taken many out of town guests to see the Midway, that’s fun for all ages. And of course a spa day at the Omni is always a big hit. With so many amazing restaurants from north to south, and sites all along the way, you really can’t go wrong!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My husband is my number one champion rooting for my business, standing by me every step of the way, I couldn’t do it without him. When I have doubted myself he encourages me, pushes me to keep growing and expanding my work. I couldn’t ask for a more supportive partner, he deserves a huge amount of credit for where my business is today.
Dutch Warmblood horse owned and trained by First Gem Dressage, Lusitano and Paint horses owned and trained by Stevie Paulson