On top of classes, homework, college life and other school commitments, senior Kelsey Smit has also established her own photography business. Smit manages everything with grace and joy, using her passion for photography and people to help her develop her artistic talent and build new relationships.
Her passion began when she saw how her photography could affect people. Seeing the joy on people’s faces and hearing how they cherish the captured memories is the most beautiful part of the business for Smit.
Smit officially launched her business in late 2017.
She started taking pictures in middle school. Her brother saw her interests in technology and photography and convinced her parents to get her first DSLR camera for Christmas. With this new toy in her hands, she was always outside shooting.
“I grew up on a farm,” Smit said. “There were always things to photograph.”
She learned her camera like the back of her hand and only upgraded during her freshman year of college.
But Smit didn’t start college with dreams of being a professional photographer. In fact, she had no intentions to start her own photography business.
“To be honest, I thought it was unrealistic,” Smit said. “That I would always have to settle for photography being just a side hobby.”
After taking pictures of friends and posting them online, her best friend’s brother asked her to photograph his proposal and engagement. Later they asked her to capture their wedding as well, and though she was terrified and felt too inexperienced, she said yes. After that, the bookings for senior photos, family pictures, engagements and weddings started rolling in.
While there are a lot of things to love about photography, one of Smit’s favorite things is the challenge it presents her. It took years for her to develop an eye for photography and learn how to work with light, technology and editing software. Now she truly enjoys the entire process.
“No matter how many photos I take, I’m still fascinated by the fact that we can freeze a moment in time and have that moment to remember forever,” she said.
With each session comes unique challenges, and Smit says she needs to react quickly to a variety of lighting situations and weather conditions. The fast-paced and high-pressure events like weddings are also an exhilarating challenge for Smit.
Weddings, in addition to senior shoots and engagement pictures, are her favorites because she enjoys getting to know her clients and making them feel comfortable in front of the camera.
“I try to focus on the experience, making sure my clients are relaxed and feel good in front of the camera so that they love their photos,” Smit said.
The relationships with her clients are also very important to her, because she works with so many people, many of whom are repeats. She enjoys seeing how her clients change from year to year, and she enjoys building relationships with them and helping capture their happiest moments.
As a senior business administration and marketing major, Smit hopes the things she learns in the classroom and the skills she cultivates through her business now will help her grow her business to full-time within the next five years. She is already booked from June to October, but she isn’t sure yet if she will step directly into full-time photography right after graduation or use her business degree for a part-time job first. Either way, Smit is excited to see what the future holds for her and her business.
If you’re interested in working with Kelsey, find her on Instagram at kelseyann.photo or you can check out her website: kelseyannphoto.com.
If you’re a student on campus and have a personal business you’d like to promote, contact the features editor at email@example.com.