We had the good fortune of connecting with Kelley Klein and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Kelley, looking back, what do you think was the most difficult decision you’ve had to make?
This is really a 2 part answer – I’ve had to make two difficult decisions regarding my business and both decisions involved letting go of specific jobs and areas of photography. One decision happened after I read a quote from someone that said “You’ll never have a successful business if you spend all your time working to make someone else’s business successful.” At the time I was running my own business but also doing a lot of contract work for multiple companies. I was making a great living but I was always busy and had no time to grow my personal business bigger than what it was. After reading that, I started the process of ending my contracts and expanding my personal client base. Since then I’ve never taken a contract job and my business has flourished. The second decision was based more on my home life. I photographed weddings for many years and in that time I had two children. When my children started going to school full-time I realized that I only had two days a week to spend with them (Saturday & Sunday) and I was losing that time every weekend that I had a wedding to photograph. If I had a wedding Saturday, I would be gone that day/night and then be exhausted all day Sunday. All photographers know how lucrative wedding photography can be so this was a really difficult decision to make. In the end, I chose to step away from photographing weddings and take the time to spend with my kids. I was fortunate that I wasn’t solely a wedding photographer and was able to focus on expanding my other photography. I still photograph families on the weekends but the majority of my work is now Monday-Friday and I have the weekends to spend with my own family.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I never thought of myself as an artist and still to this day have a hard time calling myself that. I first started photography in college when I took a course as an elective. I fell in love with the darkroom process and the creativity and decided to pursue it more. It wasn’t easy! I put myself through college and photography is expense – it was especially expensive when it was all film! I worked in the bar and restaurant industry all through college and bought used equipment from Wings Camera and took full advantage of the student discounts at Showcase and Sam Flax. I would often work until 3:00 am, get a few hours of sleep, guzzle some coffee and be on campus for an 8:00 am class. I ended up getting a BFA in Studio Arts with my concentration in photography and that set everything into motion. One of the things I’m most proud of, and what has probably given me success as a photographer, is that I have never been hesitant to work. I keep myself busy and I approach every job with a positive attitude. Throughout the years I have had friends become clients and have had clients become friends. The clients who have stuck with me for 10+ years will never fully understand the appreciation I have for them.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I’m a Grant Park resident, so I would have to start with a walk in the park including the new Gateway and continue the walk on the southside Beltline loop. If it was their first time visiting (and if there wasn’t a pandemic), I would take them to do something “touristy” like a World of Coke tour or a CNN tour. I’ve always been a fan of the Atlanta Botanical Gardens as well. If it’s MLS season, an Atlanta United game would be a definite must-do. For dinner and drinks, we could stay close to home and walk over to Patria Cocina at the Beacon or if we wanted to take a quick Uber, I would choose either Superica in Krog Market or Banshee in East Atlanta. Honestly, there are just too many great spots in this city! An after dinner if it’s a beautiful night, drinks outside at Ladybird. Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I’d like to give a shout out to Chrissie Kallio, who is not only an amazing friend but also gave me my first gig in real estate photography over a decade ago.

Website: www.kelleyklein.com

Other: I’m a social media pariah. While I have business pages on some sites, I never post on them.

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