In this latest edition of Cozy Cabin Chats, I have the pleasure of connecting with my dear friend and talented photographer, Katie Kelley. Our conversation revolves around the fascinating world of photography, where Katie shares her secrets on selecting the perfect locations for her mesmerizing photos.
Moreover, she also divulges her top picks for the charming small business shops that dot the landscape of Midcoast-Maine. So, sit back, relax, and join me in this delightful chat with Katie.
Tell us about yourself! Where are you located?
I'm Katie, and I've lived in Midcoast, Maine, for about five years after growing up in Massachusetts. I am a full-time freelance photographer and digital marketer, helping woman-owned businesses grow brand awareness through artful photos and creative marketing strategies.
Can you tell our readers a bit about how you got into photography? It's always fun to hear about people's passions.
I've always loved taking photos – from my little point-and-shoot cameras with friends when I was younger to developing a genuine love for capturing changing skies and landscapes. Fast forward about 10 years, and now I'm a portrait and brand photographer, something I never thought I would do, but I've fallen in love with it as I've become more comfortable in my abilities!
What ignites your passion for photography?
I love capturing the world as it is, without too much manipulation or styling. Being able to capture something in nature or a candid moment that puts a smile on people's faces is what inspires me to keep creating.
Please share a photograph from your portfolio and share the story behind it.
I'll share one landscape and one portrait!
This photo of a snowy owl culminates many years of gear upgrades, patience, and luck. I made it my mission several years ago to photograph a snowy owl, and while this wasn't my first encounter with a snowy owl, this photograph represents my growth and how perfectly the moment played out!
This photo is from the second wedding I have ever photographed. I was so incredibly nervous, but seeing this sunburst, along with their pure joy, and getting comfortable in an editing style that I've been working on for years was indeed a moment where I could say, "Yeah, I can do this" and continue to grow in my ability as a photographer.
As a photographer and content creator, how important is traveling and learning about different communities and areas?
We must immerse ourselves in different communities and cultures to learn what else is out there and spark new inspiration. I sometimes get stuck in a creative rut, seeing the same things every day and just going through the motions. I especially feel this in the winter, when it becomes much more challenging to be excited about "stick season" and everything feeling so blah. Traveling to a new location, even in the same state, can help open our eyes back up to new forms of creativity and inspiration in unlikely places. Plus, you often get to meet new creatives along the way.
How do you approach scouting a location?
When seeking a location, I need to understand what the client wants regarding look and feel. That helps me narrow down on a geographic area, and then, depending on the time of year, I choose the best lighting and versatility in the background for a diverse range of photos.
What do you look for in a location?
I like locations that allow for a few different spots that are unique to each other, so there's variety in shots. For example, a couple may want to take photos at the Nubble Lighthouse in York, Maine, to utilize that as a backdrop for some pictures; then, we can explore the rocks as a neutral background, followed by the beach with the ocean behind them. That's three different styles and feelings in one singular location.
Where did you go on your last trip?
My last trip was to California and Arizona!
Was that trip for business or pleasure?
It was a mix of both! It started as a work event in California, and then we rented a car and drove to Arizona for fun!
Vacation vibes: packed itinerary or allow for downtime and relaxation? And why.
I like to have a balance of both! I'm not an "every minute must be scheduled" type. I enjoy going with the flow, seeing how we're feeling, and deciding what to do afterward. We could drive down a street, see an excellent brewery, shop, or event, and pull off to explore. Winging it takes so much pressure off of the vacation.
What's one place you have to go to while on vacation [ think coffee/cafe, pizza joint, brewery type of place ]
As a photographer, I have to get out and explore different landscapes. Coffee shops, breweries, and stationery stores are also on the list!
What's one thing you MUST take with you when you travel?
What would your perfect weekend in Maine consist of?
Oh, great question. My perfect Maine weekend starts with coffee (Cafe Creme or Morning Moose is excellent!), then heading to Sebago Lake to spend time with my family, stopping at Pineland Farms to stock up on Maine-made goodies, and ending the day with a sunset boat ride, and campfire – nothing better!
We are organizing a photoshoot with a cozy cabin theme. It is necessary to determine the ideal location and suitable PRODUCTS and the perfect playlist from Spotify.
I love this idea! I would head to Rangeley, Maine, or the White Mountains for a cute, quaint log cabin stay. I must bring my Bixby Drinking Chocolate (with tons of marshmallows), handmade cozy socks from Meraki Handwoven and books! Here's my playlist!
Connecting with Katie and sharing ideas with her was an absolute pleasure. Our coffee time chats are always a highlight of my day, and I am grateful for the opportunity to learn from her about photography and marketing, two subjects that I am passionate about.
Katie is passionate about capturing family stories, showcasing brand personalities, and educating small business owners on effective marketing strategies. She thrives when she is outside and enjoying nature.
Katie usually works with multiple small business clients for their social media marketing needs throughout the year. Additionally, she often books wedding clients and schedules family photo sessions (pop-ups) during the holidays. You can follow her to stay up-to-date on her work.