1. Tell us a little about yourself and your studio?
My name is Kelly Melissa Brown, and I am a photographer living in Southern California. I like to stray from the traditional studio photographs in favor of outdoor settings. My favorites are green grass, woodsy areas, fields, beaches and urban settings. They can add so much to portraits and engagement shoots.
2. Where is home and what do you like about it?
I currently live in Southern California, with my soon to be husband and four beautiful dogs. We lived in Arizona for a couple years, with its amazing red rocks and beautiful valleys, but eventually I had to come back to where I truly feel at home.
3. How would you define your photographic style?
I would define my style as a mixture of art, photojournalism and emotion. I prefer taking candid shots rather than formal portraits, although I do both. My love of candid shots comes from the emotion that can be captured when I can capture someone smiling with pure love at their new husband, or a child’s face completely crinkled with laughter. There are some shots that just cannot be posed.
4. What’s your favorite and least favorite aspect of the job and why?
There are long days, and I won’t lie, my feet do get sore. It’s a lot of hard work and being on my feet for hours. In the end though, seeing all of the photos afterward make all of the aching feet worth it.
5. Where do you turn for inspiration?
My sources of inspiration are endless! I’ve been lucky enough to photograph people and places that have inspired me and kept me going and always wanting more.
Apart from that I also have a major obsession with wedding and photography blogs! Some of my favorites are www.stylemepretty.com and www.oncewed.com
6. Who are some of your favorite photographers?
Jasmine Star, Leigh Miller, Jose Villa, Punam Bean are amazing photographers.
7. What is your favorite part of the wedding to photograph and why?
The ceremony is my favorite – it’s always filled with beautiful and raw emotion. Capturing the first kiss is one of the sweetest moments. I also love shooting the family of the couple during the ceremony. There you can catch a mother, father or best friend with smiling, glistening eyes. It’s a beautiful moment to watch.
8. What has been your best photographic experience (wedding or non wedding) and why?
The wedding of Jamie and Todd Wright was one of my favorites. They are a beautiful couple who had a simple, yet elegant wedding. They were the type of couple who are so in love that you can’t help but smile when you see them together – they were radiating! They had their wedding in their backyard, among their closest friends and family, followed by dancing under twinkly lights.
9. If you could shoot a wedding with someone who would it be and why?
If I could shoot with anyone it would be Jose Villa. His style is amazing. His work is timeless, classic and exquisite.
10. What advice do you have for photographers just starting out?
Shoot, shoot and shoot. Be realistic of where you are in your career, don’t try to oversell yourself.
11. What are some things you say or do to put your clients at ease in front of the camera?
Many of the shots that I get are candids so I tell people to pretend I’m not there and I will move around them. A lot of clients have said that after a few moments they forget that I’m there, and they relax and the shots are beautiful.
12. What is the last workshop or seminar you attended and what did you learn?
The last workshop I went to was called Guerilla Lighting given by Lin and Jirsa. I learned how to light for really low light situations. Among other things, I learned how to use a $25 brinkman flashlight to light amazing pictures.
13. Do you make time for personal photographic work? If so, what do you enjoy photographing?
Absolutely. My six-month-old nephew is one of my favorites. I’ve been able to capture all of his first precious moments. My teenage sister is another favorite of mine. Her willingness to let me take her to any location for a photo-shoot has allowed me to experiment and play with my surroundings. I love her for it!
14. Is there anybody, living or dead you would love to capture on film and why?
Nelson Mandela would definitely be one of my top choices. He has lead such an admirable life and overcome so much. Another person – or people I would love to photograph would be Barack and Michelle Obama. They are such a power couple; constantly traveling, working and at press conferences. Yet at the same time, when you see photos of them out on a date, you realize that they are still a couple very much in love. I could imagine catching these sweet hand-holding moments, or intimate glances.
15. What is something photography related that is overrated?
Being allowed entrance into some people’s most precious moments could never be overrated ¦.
16. Where can we find you on a Friday night at 9 p.m.?
In bed! I usually go to sleep pretty early. The last few years, I have been pretty focused on work and family. So, when I’m not working on the weekends, I like to spend time with them.
17. What is your favorite film of all time?
I have a ton of favorites – one of them is Breakfast at Tiffany’s- Audrey Hepburn’s charm can never be matched. I also liked Into the Wild – visually it was an amazing movie and the courageous theme really touched me.
18. Do you shoot what you feel is best for your clients or do you allow some to clearly define what they want?
I always let them tell mw clearly what they want, and I tell them my professional opinion of what I think would look good. I always shoot what the client wants, and after I’ve gotten more than enough shots, I will take more photos the way that I want. This way I can present them with not only what they asked for, but a variety.
19. Are you looking for assistants, second shooters, or shooting partners? If so, how can they contact you?
I would love to shoot with fellow photographers. They can contact me through my website at www.kellymelissaphotography.com
20. What do you think the biggest misconception in the wedding photography industry is?
For clients, I think that sometimes people don’t understand how much work it is. It’s not as simple as just going and shooting a wedding, it’s also another 24 to 48 hours of work, editing, making albums that are cohesive and fall in line with what clients want. Another misconception that clients may have is how attached we actually become to their beautiful stories! As a photographer, we try to meld into the background, but many of these weddings have truly brought tears to my eyes.