Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Interview: Kennedy Velasco, Northern Virginia Children's Photographer

The Semi-Organic Mom's Note:  I am starting a series of interviews with fellow moms who I admire.  These are women who, in addition to being fantastic mothers, are taking time to pursue their personal and professional dreams.  

Look!  It's me!

Lookin' good, huh?  Not too shabby for 6 months postpartum.  I just need to lose twenty pounds and all the bags under my eyes.  Which will be super easy, I'm sure.

Today I am interviewing Kennedy Velasco, the lovely woman who took my picture here and managed to make me look pretty:)  Kennedy is a member of my local Mom's Group and is the mother of two adorable children.  She is truly talented and you can see her work over at her website, Velasco Photo.  Here's what she had to say about being a photographer:

1.  So, you're from the Midwest.  What brought you to NOVA?

I moved here with my family in high school due to my dad's job transfer.  Ironically, most of my mom's family already lived here - so we have a ton of family in the area!  I went through a bit of a culture shock but Northern Virginia has grown on me over the past fifteen years.

2.  Have you always wanted to be a photographer?

I have always had a passion for photography and I kick myself that I didn't start my business sooner… but I am a firm believer that things happen at their own time.  I remember going through disposable cameras as a kid and waiting for days on end (can't even imagine that in 2012!) for my film to come back.  I took photography courses throughout high school and college - working in the darkroom is one of my fondest high school memories!

3.  How many kids do you have?  How do you balance your work life and your home life?

I have two little ones at home that keep me extremely busy, sometimes to the point of exhaustion (I know all moms can relate)!  On those rough days, it can be difficult to stay up late editing or working on my blog when my eyelids feel like sandpaper… but, despite how tired I am, I can't tear myself away.  I am mediocre at balancing work life and home life at this point - although the only thing I'm sacrificing right now is sleep!

4.  Are you a "self-taught" photographer? Or did you have a mentor who "showed you the ropes"?

I had an truly amazing photography teacher for several years in high school (shout out to Kim Basinger - yes, that's her real name!).  The passion she had for the subject just oozed out of her and was instilled in her students.  I learned the darkroom basics and how to go manual on my old school Canon EOS 300 and went from there.  I often spent my lunch period in her classroom working in the darkroom - I couldn't get enough.

5.  What made you decide to be a children's photographer?

I have several professional photographer friends that have built up successful businesses and I've always considered giving it a shot - who doesn't want to do what they love?  For the five or so years after I graduated from college, I was working full-time and having babies… there was no extra time to dedicate to building a business.  Once I made the decision to stay home with my children, it was a little more feasible.  As for choosing my subjects, I am open to shooting just about anyone of any age, but I do consider myself a children and family photographer.  I love capturing the connection between parents and their children and my clients love having those memories… and babies?  Babies look different  as each week goes by so it's amazing to watch the transformation.

6.  What is your favorite age to shoot?  Why?

I love the sweetness of a newborn session, but I love the spunkiness and spontaneity that a young child of three or four can bring to the table.  Sure, they don't make the most agreeable subjects, but I think capturing laughter or silly faces is even more natural.  That's their element - four year olds are silly!

7.  What inspires you on a regular basis?

I came across a great blog post on Momastery ( and it perfectly describes what I am inspired by and try to capture.  She talks about how there are two different types of time - Chronos time, which is what we live in - and Kairos time, which is those magical moments where time stands still… time outside of time… the moments where you REALLY look at your child and see the details of their eyelashes and the beauty in the edges of their smile.  Those are the things that aren't captured as easily in your memories - so I try to capture those for my clients.

8.  During a session, how many photos would you say you take to find "the right one"?

Oh boy… sometimes I come home from a session and have 400 images to go through.  I rarely check an image when I'm shooting unless I'm checking my white balance or something of that nature… so I just shoot away for one to three hours, depending on the session.  Many images get tossed immediately - if it's out of focus, eyes are closed, etc.  It's always better to have more than you need than not enough!  Plus, when your subjects are as young as mine, sometimes you come away with some crazy faces!

9.  If your kids had to describe you, what would they say about you?  (Mine would probably say, "Mama...pretty...poop!")

They're not old enough to be very descriptive… but I'd imagine 'silly', 'pretty', 'funny'… hopefully nothing bad! ;)

10.  If you weren't a photographer, what would you want to be?

Before I had children, I worked in federal human resources.  I wouldn't say that it was something I ever dreamt of doing nor was I passionate about it.  The whole time I was working after college, I would dream of having a job that utilized my creativity - so had I not turned to photography, I think I'd still be exercising my creative mind in some way.

11.  Would you mind sharing one or two of your favorite images? 

This is my new favorite image… The new dad was a big guy so it just helped to emphasize how TINY this sweet eight day old baby was.  I can't help but smile when I look at it because he just looks so proud to be a daddy to this little girl.  It really shows how most of us felt as new parents.

What a beautiful photo!  You can find Kennedy on Facebook and on her website, Velasco Photo.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for highlighting my business, Amanda - great interview! Keep up the great work! :)