Rule breaking and stunning whimsical art is at the heart of Kellie Bieser’s work with Shutter and Glass Photography. Even her headliner on her about page screams everything beautiful and different about her work; “taking family photography in a new direction” describes Shutter and Glass Photography perfectly. I first found Kellie’s work through the wonderful world of Facebook and what stopped me in my tracks was this crazy awesome photo of a little girl in a tiny car going the opposite direction of the one way sign…check that out here! (seriously, check it out!) I had the honor of getting to know the creative behind Shutter and Glass Photography in her interview for my Those Who Inspire Project. Kellie has truly inspired me to look through that lens, remembers all the rules, and then find a way to break them to really capture that vision I see in my head that the rules just can match. Make sure to send her lots of love over on Facebook!
1) Tell us a little about yourself! Where are you located? Are you married? Do you have children? Pets?
Hi! I am Kellie Bieser and am the girl behind the camera at Shutter & Glass photography in Columbus, OH. I am married to Mr. Bieser, the world’s most patient man and my biggest fan and supporter. Three hilariously mischievous kids call me mom: Oliver (10), Noah (7), and Annie (4) and we are thrilled to be expecting our fourth little one this fall. Rounding-out the family is our wonderfully weird cat, Josie.
2) When did you first realize you loved photography, and what made you want to do this as your career?
I got my first camera, a beautiful little Polaroid, for my fourth birthday…and I think that I was equally captivated by the magic of instant gratification and the ability to record my world in pictures. I studied art throughout my childhood and school years but didn’t recognize photography as my creative outlet of choice until I received my first DSLR in 2008. I shot for myself for several years and really resisted the idea of turning a hobby into a business. It wasn’t until I finally caved to a friend wanting family pictures that I realized that I could *enjoy* photographing other people and embraced the idea of having clients.
3) As a photographer, do you feel that you see the world differently? What is your favorite subject?
I am not sure that I actually see the world differently than other people, but I think that because I am a photographer I pay more attention to certain details than most. I seek pretty light, I find potential distractions in the background, I notice when eyes smile. I use these observations when I take a picture and when I edit: my goal is always to capture not only the subject and setting but also the emotion of the scene. That said, I believe that people see what I see and feel what I feel, they just might not know how to capture it with a camera. That’s why they pay me, right?!
My favorite subject will always be my family. They may not be the most cooperative in front of the camera, but they inspire me to the fullest.
4) How would you describe your style as an artist? Are you a rule follower or a rule breaker? Traditional, modern, edgy, candid?
I would identify myself as somewhat of a rule-breaker in my work. I spent (and continue to spend) a lot of time learning the “rules”of photography and art and learning *why* they are rules so that now, I can break those rules in ways that better tell my story and convey my intended message. I like to experiment with styles…I take portraits and candids and lifestyle images…but if I had to define what I aim for in my body of work as a whole, I would probably say that I strive for authenticity above all else. Does “authentic”count as a style? 😉
5) How do you keep centered and balanced so the business doesn’t take over your personal life?
Hmmm…I might not be the right person to ask! haha! There are some days that I feel like I have this work-life balance thing under control, and then there are others that I feel overwhelmed to tears by the weight of it all. I think that just breathing, focusing more on the good days than the bad, and taking time for just *me* (apart from business AND personal obligations) is how I survive. It is amazing what an hour of yoga or sitting with a cup of tea can do for your sanity! And sleep…if I don’t get enough sleep I am worthless on all fronts.
6) What advice can you give to new business owners in any field who are trying to balance family life and work life?
I suppose my biggest piece of advice to anyone trying to balance a new business with family is to remember that family is way more important. I mean, that is who the business is for anyway, right? So take 15 minutes away from your computer and email and the phone to play checkers or ride bikes. Create office hours so that everyone knows when you are working and so that you know when to stop. Keep your priorities straight and you’ll be just fine.
7) What has been one challenge you’ve faced in your work that you’ve grown from?
The biggest challenge for me in the past has been self-doubt. I have learned that confidence in my artistic vision is key in me being able to work productively and create the kinds of images I see in my imagination. That isn’t to say that I don’t stumble from time to time, and I certainly am not so confident to think that I am infallible or that I don’t have room to improve (that would be cockiness, not confidence!), but overall I think I have grown to a place where I know my skill set is solid and believe that my photographic voice deserves to be heard.
8) When someone sees your art, what are you hoping they see?
Oh goodness, that is a tough question! I believe that as with any art, different people will take away different things from each and every piece…and I want that when others view my work, too. That said, I suppose that more than anything I want people to see authentic relationships and emotions in my work. And hopefully they will be able to connect with it.
9) What are some of the clichés in photography that you try to stay away from?
I think I try to stay away from all clichés! By shooting what is important to me and what is real and in front of me, I like to believe that I am safe from some of the questionable and fleeting trends in this field. As a general rule, I avoid a lot of props and always tell clients to come as they are…not to overthink outfits and try to match/coordinate. It all comes back to being real, and I hope that real is never considered to be cliché.
10)Who has most influenced your work? Other photographers?
I was able to take an amazing course through Clickin’Moms called The Art of Observation (taught by the equally amazing Caroline Jensen), and among a thousand other things, the class reconnected me with my love of painting and art history and allowed me to be inspired by that love in my own work. Right now I am a little obsessed with Edward Hopper and his use of light in his paintings. As far as other photographers, I love Adrian Sommeling’s work. Every time I see one of his images I realize that I have SO much to learn (in a good way!).
11)Are you working on any projects personal or work related at the moment? What keeps you inspired and makes you want to jump out of bed in the morning?
Well, I am pretty pregnant right now, so not many things are making me “jump out of bed”at the moment…haha! I have an ongoing project called the ThirteenSeven project that focuses on capturing people in relationships that have endured time and circumstances…kind of like engagement photos for people who were engaged twenty years ago. That project means so much to me and it is always a joy to photograph those sessions. As far as daily inspiration, it is summer here and I am with my kids all day with no schedule. Watching them embrace lazy mornings and hours of carefree play in the yard has fueled my photography for the past few months…it is so great to see them have some freedom from the routine and really be kids.
12)How has social media helped or challenged you and your work as a photographer?
I am probably the worst social media person in the world. I share most of my photos on my personal Facebook page and only occasionally put anything into my business page or my blog. I really do aspire to change this! That said, I have been introduced to some amazing people through social media and am grateful that I have a way to be instantly connected to people all around the world. While I know a lot of people have had challenges, I have been really lucky thus far to have had a wholly positive experience.
13)How do you get away and relax? Do you take your camera everywhere even when you are “relaxing”? 🙂
I was just saying the other day that I need to get away from everything for a weekend and relax! So obviously I am not doing such a good job as of late…haha! That said, I think that it is important to engage in little bits of relaxation on a regular basis, whether it be getting a massage, treating yourself to a scoop of ice cream, or just taking a midday nap. My ideal would be to go somewhere with a good book, good coffee, and good company. And of course I would bring my camera! I find that photographing outside of “work”is incredibly relaxing and rejuvenating!
14)What is something you’ve done that has made a huge influence on your business’s success?
I really believe that the key to the success of my business is honesty. I am honest about what I can and cannot (or am not willing to) do. I am honest about expectations. I am honest in my style. I don’t try to put images in my portfolio that aren’t what I want to create for *all* of my clients. I think that this kind of consistency is what has created a business that I love and one that my clients will recommend to their friends.
15)What is in your camera bag? Do you have any favorite items in your bag?
I am a Nikon girl and shoot with both a D700 and a Df. I have a happy collection of lenses that take turns being my favorites: a 24mm 1.4, 35mm 1.8, 85mm 1.4, 70-200mm 2.8, and a Lensbaby Composer with an Edge 80 optic. I know a lot of photographers who say that one lens stays on their camera almost all the time, but I really do use all of these at every session!
Beyond cameras and lenses, I never leave without my ExpoDisc (seriously, it nails white balance every time and the few minutes it takes to set-up saves HOURS in post-processing), a LensPen, and my Vintage Clothespin camera strap/scarf. I also have an Olloclip 4-in-one lens for my iPhone that I am just starting to use on a regular basis (and I am quickly learning to love it!).
16)What are you most excited about in the next year for you and/or your business?
It is funny because I feel like my professional triumphs this year have been more than I could have ever dreamed for myself! I think in the next year I am really looking forward to settling into my role as a mentor with Clickin’Moms and further exploring the “teaching side”of my business. I always love seeing my repeat clients and seeing the kids grow and change. And of course, I can’t wait to photograph this new little one when he arrives this fall!
17)What is one thing you wish your clients or other’s who admire your work knew about you? What is one question someone hasn’t ever asked you before, but you wish that they had?
I am pretty open about this, but I hope that anyone who admires my work or thinks that I have some sort of magic knows that I am really a normal wife and mom. My kids, my house, my gear, my life, are no more or less special than all the wonderful things happening around each and every one of us. I am just so lucky to have tools to capture my normal life in a way that illustrates memories the way I want to remember them. And I have Photoshop to get rid of the dirty socks on the floor (I promise that is my only magic! haha).
A question I haven’t been asked before but WANT someone to ask? Perhaps, “I really think you could use more peach cobbler…Can I please get you *more* dessert?”
Thanks so much, Kellie for being a part of this project with me!
Friends, don’t forget to check out more of Kellie’s work on her website, and if you are anywhere near her give her a call to book an amazing session with her today!
Photographers, looking for a great mentor??? Kellie mentors through Clickin’ Moms (a site that I LOVE!)! Check it out here!
I’d love to get to know you better! Come on over to Facebook and Instagram to share your work and to connect!
Wanna be a part of the Those Who Inspire Project? Just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for stopping by!