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Meet Kelli Hayden of Kelli Bee Photography & Kelli Hayden Photography

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kelli Hayden.

Kelli, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I had an early fascination with photography and started playing with cameras at the age of 10. I got a Kodak Star 110 camera for my 10th birthday and began taking photos of friends and still objects and interesting scenes, something I still do today. In high school, I discovered my love for black and white darkroom photography. After learning how to roll, process, and print from negatives in a darkroom, it was time to move with the industry and teach myself digital photography to pursue an actual career in the real world. I loved shooting everything and didn’t quite know what exactly what I wanted to do with it yet. At this age, I took my camera everywhere, especially small shows and concerts. I was involved with local punk scenes in the Fullerton/Orange Country area and began shooting a lot of live music. My love for concert photography really evolved after capturing a particular image at a show in West Hollywood when I was just 17. I was very quickly falling in love with shooting music, and I knew I wanted to photograph bigger bands at bigger venues. Being a newbie and not having many connections yet, and also just not being one to ever take “no” for an answer, I began to cleverly sneak my camera into larger venues and secure a spot close enough to the stage to shoot my favorite bands. One evening in 2007, I boldly snuck in a 70-200mm lens to a Queens of the Stone Age concert and captured shots that gained me some attention and opportunities I had been waiting for. Today, I continue to cover some of Southern California’s biggest shows and festivals, as well as venture into the editorial and music portraiture field.

While building a music portfolio, I have also subsequently built and solely operate a successful wedding and lifestyle photography business under the name “Kelli Bee Photography” since 2014. I’ve been lucky enough to work for some of Los Angeles’ top-rated wedding photographers and have worked with LA’s most established coordinators and vendors. I’ve developed my style into a lifestyle/editorial feel with traditional undertones and have begun flying internationally for weddings and engagements.

It’s not easy running and building two different photography businesses. It took a long time to develop styles for both the rock n roll images, and the wedding/lifestyle images. Though those are different, I bring my fun, vibrant and edgy personality into both businesses which makes me unique and fun to work with. I get to shoot beautiful light and airy images one day, then the next day, switch gears and do a fun rock n roll shoot with a band somewhere gritty in LA. I love that I get to do that. I get to wear different hats and it keeps this whole fresh and new and nothing ever EVER feels old or repetitive to me. I’m so lucky. My tagline has since become: “Lifestyle, wedding, & travel photographer by day, concert photographer by night.”

Has it been a smooth road?
Absolutely not! I’ve been bullied since high school, been not supported by my parents, have had “friends” stab me in the back and attempt to ruin my reputation and try to destroy everything I’ve been building along the way. The only person who actually showed up to my college graduation from a Still Photography program I took was my friend’s mom! It’s been an exceptionally bumpy road. I still have many opportunities that I’ve worked for fall through, contacts and connections who just refuse to answer any one of my emails, etc. …all the hard stuff that comes with building your dream career, I’ve been through it. I still go through it. But today, I’m fortunate enough to have a partner who’s supportive, a loyal client list that continues to build, and a passport for when I need to escape and re-inspire myself!

We’d love to hear more about your business.
Music:
Concert and music photography – specialize in concerts and large events and music portraits for editorials and Cd/Vinyl releases and artist touring promotional media.

Wedding/Lifestyle:
Specialize in weddings and lifestyle photography, local and destination.

I’m proud that I’m 100% self-made so far. I’ve had zero “advantages” and have never cut any corners. I’ve paid serious dues and still continue to. The hard work was REAL and real worth it. What sets me apart from others is not just the style of my work, but the personality I bring with it. It’s important to vibe and connect with your clients. I’m not just some ridiculously fake, overly-smiley person when working with a client. I’m real about who I am. I love punk rock and I have tattoos, but I’m also incredibly professional and positive. I get the job done but I’m also a goofball and make people laugh. My clients love that about me. That makes them my ideal client. It usually makes them feel like they can be themselves in front of me too and little things like that can make an engagement shoot or a music promo shoot flow smoother when you connect rather than not connect and just feel like you’re working with a total stranger.

Is our city a good place to do what you do?
Los Angeles is a great place to be your unique, eccentric self! I grew up in Orange County and knew by the time I was 18 that I needed to be in LA. As soon as I moved to Hollywood, my life immediately just came together and opportunities just came easier.

Pricing:

  • Full Wedding Coverage starts at $4200
  • Concert Sets start at $200
  • Music Portraits start at $300
  • Engagement Sessions start at $400

Contact Info:

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

1 Comment

  1. Michael T. Sauer

    September 21, 2018 at 17:13

    Kelli, Good for You. Hey Do you still Have the Camera & and Lens I gave You ? Mike

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