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Meet Katya Keely Quinonez

Today we’d like to introduce you to Katya Keely Quinonez.

Katya Keely, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
It all began when I was 11 years old, I was a shy and quiet girl in middle school and my mom went to my teacher and asked her to bring me out of my shell. My teacher invited me to join the yearbook committee and it all took off from there. I fell in love with the world of images, magazines, layouts, design, writing, interviews, photography and capturing the now moments. My mom bought me one of the first digital cameras that ever came out, to support me in this new creative role I took on. From then on, I went on to be yearbook editor in high school and joined the college team too! I’ve spent the last ten years of my career assisting startups, small businesses and personal brands with their content marketing, photography, writing, and social media community-building efforts. Eventually, I realized I wanted to go on my own and so I started to freelance my marketing skills, until one day I realized I want to deviate away from strategy and dive deeper into my creative craft. I chose to hone in on my photography and began working for a portrait studio for about a year. I diligently worked my way through learning how to pose and capture the perfect shot with intention. I photographed a lot while I worked for the brands I assisted with marketing… now I have my own boutique creative agency called Creative Sanctuaries where we focus on assisting businesses with their branding, marketing, content creation, and community engagement.

The emphasis is that all brand’s come from the heart with their marketing and that they’re truly empowered in how to connect with the audience they intend to connect with so that they can make that difference they’re looking to make in the world. I also have my own photography company where I assist interior designers, real estate agents, professional organizers, and other creative entrepreneurs with their photography. I love to photograph interiors and create beautiful lifestyle portraits. I specialize in creating photos for content creation for websites, social media and other marketing materials. I am currently working on a couple other creative projects including designing and writing an oracle deck that is intended to assist entrepreneurs in making intuitively guided business choices. I am also building a magazine for creatives through Creative Sanctuaries that highlights the mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual spaces that artists go through as they bring their work to life. My overall mission in life is to empower creators to live on purpose and to bring their passions to life in the world. I believe when people are living in their authentic life purpose and taking actions everyday that are consistent with what they’re passionate about, that this world will truly thrive 🙂

Has it been a smooth road?
It definitely has not been a smooth road! I have been through so many twists and turns, lost jobs, lost friends, lost good coworkers either through passing away or moving on to different opportunities. I noticed I stayed in places way too long out of fear.. fear of losing money, fear of losing the comforts of the “stable” environment I was in, fear of losing friends and fear of standing up to authority figures. I was a people pleaser, and I wanted to please everyone and make everyone happy. I often sought external validation for my work and it was because I never valued myself on the inside. I always lived like I was not good enough or my work was not good enough., and because of this I even stopped photographing for about two years. I never shared my work with anyone and I never wanted them to see me edit or anything. I was so anxious about it for many many years. It wasn’t until I started to discover how to take responsibility for my life and I realized that I created this reality for myself, that I started to see the real me shine through underneath all these fears that were holding me back. Little by little, I committed to breaking through my own self imposed barriers, and as a result my authentic self began to shine through and I started posting my work on Instagram. I just decided to do it and from there I got feedback that it was actually good, and so I kept going! I became more and more transparent and authentic about my process as time went on.

It was important for me to really discover what it looked like to achieve that validation internally rather than externally, and once I shifted that for myself my world changed. I started to make more money because I started standing for that for myself, I started to attract appreciative clients, and I attracted work collaborations that truly fulfilled me rather than taking on projects just because I needed the money or I didn’t really resonate with the project. It is truly liberating to be able to choose freely and to trust that the people coming my way are truly the best people I am meant to work with. They teach me as much as I teach them, and even the clients where I struggle… I have learned to truly value the conflict that arises in life as it is a growing opportunity for me to go even deeper within myself. Though the path has been challenging, I am incredibly grateful and appreciative for all of it. The highs and the lows, the pains, the loss… it has taught me so much and sometimes I wish I had a mentor to support me. I hope to be that mentor that I didn’t have for others as they venture out on their own entrepreneurial journey. That is my commitment and my contribution and the great blessing I can giveaway from all the challenges I’ve gone through in my own personal experience.

We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
I am a creative director, brand consultant, and brand photographer. I specialize in supporting small business, and holistic and conscious brands in expressing their authenticity via their communication channels ie, marketing and social media. I love to photograph lifestyle, interiors, design, events and portraits. I am known for making people feel super comfortable in their own skin and for creating a fun and easygoing atmosphere. My clients love to work with me because they say it is like hanging out with a good friend. The photography process can be awkward for people and they love that I lead the way and make the experience fun for them! I am also very good at listening for what people are committed to behind the words they say and being able to tell them what I am hearing from our conversations. People are able to discover passions, loves, and truths for themselves through our conversations that they never saw before and they are very grateful to me for those conversations. I am very happy to always empower someone to get closer to their truth, it is my passion to be able to serve people in that way. Ultimately, I always come from how I can make a difference with everyone I come across, I don’t think about what I am going to gain from this interaction first, I think about how I can give first, and I give freely.

Is our city a good place to do what you do?
Yes, it is! So many new bustling businesses and creative opportunities in Los Angeles. The key is in maintaining a creator mindset. You have to be at the source of what you’re creating for yourself, you are 100% responsible for what enters your space and what kinds of interactions you’re having. If you look at your reality and you’re unhappy with it, then you have to get really honest with yourself about what is having you create that reality. When you are clear on your part in it and dissolve the victim and fear mindset, you will thrive! I believe everyone can thrive when they believe in themselves and they keep moving in the face of challenges and “rejection” When you believe in yourself completely, the people around you will believe in you too. That’s what counts.


  • Marketing, design and social media service packages available via a free consultation call to learn more about your specific needs.

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Image Credit:
Katya Keely Photography

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