KCCP Member of the Week: Kelly Powell

Our featured member this week is the amazingly talented photographer, Kelly Powell.  Because of her dedication and drive, Kelly has managed to be one of few artists whose passion turned into a career.  She encourages both hobbyists and professionals alike with her insight into the photography and the cosplay worlds. 

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What got you into photography and how long have you been doing it?
I went to school for photography after a friend talked me into taking a class while in college. I was already going to school for illustration but there was something about the immediacy of the medium that hooked me. I also loved spending time in the darkroom developing and printing while listening and singing QUEEN! I have been doing photography professionally for 9 years and have owned my own business for 6.5 years.

What is your favorite thing to photograph?
My favorite thing to photograph would probably be my conceptual work. I create characters and scenes for them to live in and photograph it. Sometimes the characters are over the top and sometimes they are just like a housewife or every day person. I actually had a show of my work Called After Dark October 3rd at the Alamo Drafthouse. My type of cinematic shooting has helped me move into the world of film as well which has been awesome. I have done a few short films and can’t wait to do more! My business focuses on wedding and boudoir/ lingerie photography. Boudoir is probably my favorite to shoot on the business side of things.

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Why did you decide to photograph cosplayers?
I started shooting for Alamo Drafthouse when they first opened and we were always doing fun photo booth sets and people would come dressed up. Eventually I met a few cosplayers and got excited when I would find out that we would have some. I love creating costumes and dressing up. So this was fun for me to shoot. Particularly when we shot for the Guardians of the Galaxy! The guy who did Groot blew my mind!

What type of camera do you prefer to use?
I use Canon! I love my 5D Mark II

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What is your editing program of choice?
I use Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop as well as After Effects and Premiere.

What is the best advice you’d give someone who wants to get into photography?
If photography is a passion, keep it as a passion. Once you turn it into a business, it becomes work. It took me along time to find a balance. It’s totally doable;  it’s just tough. I am not a person that carries a camera around their neck 24 hrs a day. In fact, you would probably never see me with a camera unless I’m working on one of my sets. But everyone is different. If you do have a camera with you all of the time, then shoot all of the time. Shoot from every angle. Get really low and shoot up. Get up high and shoot down. Shoot into the sun and away from it. The great thing about photography is that you can always experiment. And if you want to shoot people and work with people, you have to be goofy and comforting at the same time. I shoot people in their underwear every day and let me tell you people are uncomfortable! No one really likes having their picture taken so It’s important to be a people person. Loosen them up and let them know it’s not the end of the world and you aren’t stealing their souls.

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Have you considered cosplaying?
Yeah, totally! I love creating costumes and dressing up. I can just never find time for it!! I need to work on that… I was Jambi from Pee Wee’s playhouse for Halloween last year and making the genie box about killed me! I told everyone if I saw another glue gun I would snap!

What are your other interests?
I love love love movies and television especially television right now! It’s so good and I for one feel lucky to be seeing all of this greatness unfold and inspire the hell out of me. I listen to a lot of music and go see a lot of music. And I like to eat. I still do some illustrating ever now and then but again. Time management has never been my strong suit

If you could have dinner with one fictional character, who would it be and why?
I would definitely have dinner with Rust Cohl from True Detective. I’m mean do I really have to say why ladies? Am I right?! But also because I think he was/has been one of the most intriguing characters in the past decade.

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