Behind the Lens
Remember how I said I collected business cards from coffee shops? Never know when you'll need an aerial ribbon dancer for a party right?! Well, I also seem to meet amazing people other ways too. Take Kelsey Bigelow for example. This talented young thing was photographing my nursery for the blog Couture Colorado last June when she shared that she and a friend also had a style blog where they photographed closets. Ringing bells? Yup, she did the closet raid for her blog Studio 9720. Well, if this all weren't enough to keep her, or anyone for that matter, busy, she is also a very successful wedding and family photographer and business owner, Kelsey Bigelow Photography! Lucky me who just had a baby!
So back in December, she swung by the house for a little photo shoot of my little miss. She captured us in all our cereal eating, diaper changing, peekaboo playing glory. What an amazing session she turned out of our regular day together! Well, minus those huge chandelier earrings I have on and the "up-do" I attempted and ended up around my neck by the end of the shoot. Everything else, the small moments, the kisses, the giggles- somehow Kelsey managed to sneak pics and capture it all without us even realizing it! No awkward, "stand here, now maybe do this," directives were given. She patiently, gathered. She collected what she needed without letting you in on it. Like a good sleuth!
She'd ask things like, "What is your favorite thing about her?" How do I answer that?! EVERYTHING! Or Kelsey would say, "What do you guys like to do together?" Then, when I'd answer, "Play peekaboo," we'd naturally end up tossing a blankie on miss Remy for a go at it. She got it all and I am so glad! I want to remember these exact moments with her and sometimes as a mom, we forget, or neglect to get in the photo too. In fact, I believe there was a blog post circulating Facebook a few weeks back on the very topic of mothers needing to get in the photos more.
Here's a little chat with Kelsey I had about her photography. If you'd like to book her for a wedding, a military home coming (YUP one of her specialties), a newborn shoot or you and your honey in your jammies, e-mail her at bookings@
THANKS truly Kelsey! We heart you!
How was your Christmas and New Year's?! Any highlights?
It was great! I spent Christmas with my family and my mom’s extended family in Grand Junction. I love anytime I can spend hanging out with them. My family loves playing board games together, cooking & crafting- even if our craft this year was a DIY shot glass. A highlight for me every year is a gift contest my brother and I do to get each other the most useless present under $5. He’s the best at getting the worst, most useless presents but I still try to beat him every year.
HH: Sounds like the perfect Colorado Christmas to me!
HH: What did you study in college and where?
KB: I studied Visual Arts, specifically photography, at the University of Northern Colorado. My intention was to leave Greeley within the first two years for school in California but I grew to really like the small town, small college atmosphere of UNC. Now I can’t imagine living anywhere else but Colorado. It’s such a part of who I am as a person and as a photographer.
HH: We are Colorado native and proud too! Glad you stayed!
HH: When did you start taking photos professionally?
KB: While I was in college, I promised my parents I would never be a baby or wedding photographer. I wanted to be a fashion photographer originally, but when I discovered you don’t have to photograph like everyone else, I grew to really love weddings & baby and family photography.
HH: Whew! Glad you decided to snap the little droolies!
KB: A big shift in my business was when I decided to try photographing families in their homes, from a photo journalist perspective. I’ve always been a story teller and when I figured out how to use my photography to do that for families, I started to get really excited about my work and I found others were more excited by it as well. Photographing bed time rituals or just families hanging out together is dear to my heart because those are the photos of my childhood that I hold so close.
HH: I just got chills...because that's how I felt you captured us! In our daytime routine!
HH: What is your favorite subject to photograph and why?
People. But more specifically, I really love photographing birth stories & soldier homecoming stories. They’re such emotionally charged events; it’s thrilling to be there alongside the families as they go through each of the events. I’m not an overly emotional person in general but you can’t help getting a little teary eyed when you see these incredible things happen right in front of you.
HH: I am getting emotional now...
HH: What are the highlights and lows of being a professional photographer?
KB: It can get lonely sometimes for sure. I don’t have coworkers like a lot of other professions have, but the photography community in Denver is really close knit. I have a great group of local women photographer friends. We’re often getting together for brunch or putting together a shoot. I’ve even traveled with them.
HH: Impressed that you put yourself out there and network. I admire someone who acknowledges their social weaknesses and addresses tehm head on and networks. Always network.
KB: It’s great to be my own boss. I know that what I get out of my job and my business is what I put into it. It’s so rewarding to see your business grow, knowing it comes from your own hard work. And I love meeting and photographing people! I get to hang out with people on some of the most special days of their lives, like their weddings or the births of their children. It’s awesome to be able to see all these amazing things happen with my camera in tow.
HH: That is pretty cool! Bet you have some late nights, and a love for wedding cake!
HH: Where do you see your 2014 going career wise?
KB: This year, I’m really going to be pushing for more birth photography. It’s one of my favorite things to photograph but I think there’s still a stigma attached to it. Some families are wary of it, which I totally understand. But for me, it’s about the story as a whole & the story of a couple as they become parents. I’m also going to be photographing more outside of Colorado this year as well, with destination weddings & portraits.
HH: What a great way for someone to travel! We can't wait to see where your adventures take you Kelsey!
HH: You also contribute to Studio 9720, how do you balance it all?
KB: I love having both businesses. They engage different parts of my photographer brain. As a baby & wedding photographer, I’m mostly an observer. I wait for these little moments to happen, but as a commercial photographer, it’s much more about creating the type of scene I want to convey. Overall though, I’m always looking for the best way to tell a story.
From a business owner perspective, it’s been really helpful to be strict about staying organized. My business partner and I devote one whole day a week to just working on things for Studio 9720, like meeting new people or photographing one of our closet raids. Doing that changed a lot for our blog last year and gave us a more clear direction, and I devote specific parts of the rest of my work days towards Studio 9720 projects, like photo editing, and Kelsey Bigelow Photography projects. Facebook’s scheduled post feature is a godsend too!
HH: Great tips for me to follow even with this space! Thanks Kelsey! You are so dedicated and focused and I am really drawn to that devotion.
HH: What is a typical photo shoot day outfit for you?
KB: I dress for comfort for sure. I’m moving around a lot and when I’m photographing babies and families, I’m usually rolling around on the ground with the little ones. I usually wear jeans and most of the time I’m wearing boots. For weddings, I generally wear black pants & a dressy top. I did photograph a few weddings this year in a dress. It was a little anxiety producing but the addition of leggings underneath made it easier. And when I’m photographing for Studio 9720, it’s a more dressed up version of what I wear for photographing babies. I don’t usually need to lay on the ground quite so much when I’m photographing designers in their space but I still need freedom to move.
HH: Makes sense! I am all about function too! I dress for the day ahead.
HH: What are style staples you love and own for your career?
KB: Blazers for sure. They can take a casual outfit up a notch. I also love scarves; they’re a tiny burst of pattern and color!
HH: Jessica Alba loves a scarf too! So do mommies! Instant style!
HH: What fashion items are on your wish list this year?
KB: I wanted a leather jacket since forever and I finally found one I liked over Black Friday. This year, I’m looking to invest in more local statement pieces, like a dress from 50 Dresses or anything from Seamly.co
HH: Good for you! I JUST bought a 50 Dresses dress back in December. Still need an occasion to wear it. I too have a GOOD, REAL, leather jacket on my to-get list.
HH: Whose closet was the most fun to photograph so far?
This is a tough one- each closet is so different and so reflective of it’s owner. I love the closet raids of people that I sort of know, but not closely. It’s interesting to learn more about them from their clothing.
HH: What can we expect next on Studio 9720 and Kelsey Bigelow Photography?
For Kelsey Bigelow Photography, this year will be a lot of the same- photographing awesome families- in a more expanded reach. For Studio 9720, we definitely have some things up our sleeves for the New Year that we’re excited to work towards. A lot of it will be expanding our blog & meeting more Denver creatives but we also have a few other ideas on things to bring to the Denver fashion industry.
HH: Thanks Kelsey! Definitely looking forward to watching your success!
Here's some of my faves from that day in December. Remy was 7 months on December 18.
*The owl onesie is by nohi organics from Talulah Jones and the berry romper is by Feather Baby from Gilt.
All Photos above are by Kelsey Bigelow Photography, and all rights reserved and may not be saved, copied or shared without the knowledge of Haleeb & Honey and giving credit to Kelsey Bigelow Photography.