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Life & Work with Kelly Settle

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kelly Settle.  

Kelly, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
I started my photography business in 2005 out of my house photographing my children, neighbors & friends’ families. I expanded into weddings and various other projects. I’ll never forget turning to my friend Wendy at a photography conference and saying, “I don’t want to be a portrait photographer anymore. I think I want to change lanes.” Up to that point, I was strictly focused on taking portraits of high school seniors; families with small children; and weddings big or small. In the big boom of digital, when everyone was getting their hands on a camera, it seemed there was a “professional” portrait photographer on every corner. I knew I needed to focus my skill on a specific niche. I wanted a real, vital business that I could make a living doing. 

Equipped with that realization, I started to explore commercial photography. I love the advertising world and working with businesses to create imagery to sell their product & services really appealed to me. I set out to align myself with people that could expand my knowledge and expertise in this area. One creative friend in particular opened doors for me that led to some of my first commercial projects, a large medical management system, and Miami University. I also tapped into some architectural projects with another friend that landed me my first byline in a regional publication. I was hooked! 

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall, and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Pivoting my business to commercial photography required me to really hone my photography skills and focus on running a business. In 2019 I became a Certified Professional Photographer through the Professional Photographers of America. I am currently working on getting my master of Photography through PPA as well. Commercial clients expect you to bring not only your artistic view but also a high level of photographic knowledge. You have to be able to adapt to all the challenges in any given scenario. Whether shooting on location, in a studio, or at an event there are so many variables you have to take into consideration to provide the intended imagery. 

Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
I specialize in Commercial photography. Providing imagery to businesses of all sizes. From advertising, web content, headshots, products, food/drink, architecture, and industrial. I have won several photographic competitions and even a Hermes from the American Advertising Federation for my work with Premier Health and the University of Dayton. I have several large installations at UD Arena. And have several covers and content with House Trends Magazine. I also just started as a contributing photographer for Centerville Lifestyle magazine. What makes us different is we are great at capturing beautiful images because we know how to create concepts that highlight your people, products, and mission and do it professionally. We know how to properly light your subjects, whether they are people or industrial machinery. We ask questions about how you will use your images and help you build a cohesive color story for your website and social media. We help you plan a shoot and create shot lists that will enable you to achieve the images that you envision. We ensure images are sized correctly for their end-use. And take the burden of portraying your story off your shoulders. 

What has been the most important lesson you’ve learned along your journey?
I am always looking for opportunities to learn & grow. I’m not afraid to make mistakes or try something new. My next professional class is to travel to Death Valley to learn how to photograph the Milky Way. I am always looking for something to learn and expand my skill. I want to expand my fine art photography. When people ask me for advice to be a better photographer my answer is always to practice, get out & experiment. Every photograph you take is the opportunity to evaluate and do it better next time. 

Contact Info:

Image Credits

Kelly Ann

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