My Story

All because of an obsession with creating memories and not knowing what to do with them all.

My photography journey started about seven years ago before I even realized photography could be more than just taking pictures and plastering them all over your dorm room. When I moved to Duluth, Minnesota for college in 2012, I discovered my love for creating beautiful images because of the beautiful scenery I was exposed to. However, landscape photography just didn’t seem to cut it for me. I started with a little cool pix Nikon camera that could fit in my pocket anywhere I go I would take pictures of anything and everything and even took pictures of myself all the time, before the term #SELFIE even became a thing. I was finding that I was developing hundreds and hundreds of photos with nowhere to put them I was posting them and sharing them with loved ones and the reactions I was getting was just so encouraging.

Toward the end of my freshman year I started renting those big Canon DSLR cameras from the media center. I remember thinking to myself, “why would someone want to carry one of these big things around with them all the time.” But the more and more I captured my friends during hikes, adventure walks or even snow falls, I grew a different type of love for this creating beautiful imagery. I decided I wanted my own camera more than just a Nikon Cool pix.

I was always that friend who wanted to bust out the camera and take pictures and selfies. Eventually people started encouraging me to try out photography. I was afraid to get into photography because in the past, I would always start something or something would seem intriguing to me but I would never continue or the hype would wear off and I’d get bored. So I was worried about investing in something that I would just put to the wayside after it was no longer exciting. It wasn’t until winter of 2013 my husband (boyfriend at the time) Surprised me by buying my first NEW Craigslist Nikon camera with his entire Christmas bonus. I could not believe that he would sacrifice that kind of money, (that we both definitely still need in college) to help me pursue something I was passionate about. To this day, he is still my number one fan and always willing to support me my business, my hopes and dreams and what the future has in store for Kelsey Lee Photography.

I’m so thankful for all of my friends who let me take them away from their studies to take pictures of them for fun, even brave the cold during times of snowfall photography sessions the image below is one of my first session done with a friend of mine who is still dear to me.

Caitlyn (2012) on a rental camera

Fast forward a couple of years I decided to turn from Nikon and Canon and I now currently own two canon camera bodies that I did not go into debt to purchase, I saved and saved to invest in my gear. My husband and I aren’t millionaires and we did not want to owe anything on my business so I didn’t go out and buy everything right away! This process of becoming a photographer has not been easy I had no idea that it was something that entailed, legal fees insurance, over use of social media to market, email lists, templates, tons of emails and lots of comparison.

I didn’t go to school for marketing nor did I go to school for photography so I’m still learning to this day my first wedding was actually captured in Cabo, Mexico in 2017.

Cabo, Mexico (2017)

I was so intimidated! But that’s when the dream for photographing love stories became a reality for me. Some days it’s still challenging and some days I have imposter syndrome meaning I feel that I cannot be legitimate if I don’t have it all figured out yet but I think that’s what’s been the most fun is learning and growing and watching the progress. I’m excited do you continue to watch my business grow as it was not an overnight success and some days I still feel like I’m drowning in overwhelming information and peoples opinions. But the biggest thing I’ve learned especially about the entrepreneurship world is that you have to own the way you feel is the best way to do your business! Don’t let anyone tell you you’re not good enough, you’re not experienced enough, or you don’t know enough you don’t know what you don’t know, and believe it or not you probably know more than you think you know. Don’t be afraid to ask for help asking for help doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be doing what you’re supposed to be doing it just means you’re willing to admit you don’t know it all.

25 years around the sun. 2 official years in business. So much heart for people.

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Kelsey LEe Photography