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Meet Kitti McMeel of Kitti McMeel Photography in Westlake Village

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kitti McMeel.

Kitti, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how
you got to where you are today.

I have been a musician, an engineering psychologist, a ranch manager and a small business owner, but it wasn’t until I found portrait photography that I realized my purpose in life; to create legacy portraits that will outlive me and the subject of the portrait to be cherished by generations to come.

I opened my first portrait studio in January of 2015. I had been studying the art and business of portrait photography with well-known portrait photographer and educator Sue Bryce and was featured in her keynote presentation at a large photographers’ convention in March of 2016 as an example of a successful boutique portrait business.

I specialize in magazine-styled fashion inspired portraits of individuals and families. I create an experience for my clients. Although I photograph men, high school seniors, business professionals and families, I focus on women; when she books with me, whether for just herself or for her entire family, I help her choose her wardrobe prior to the shoot. When she comes to my studio and her first stop is with my hair & makeup artist. Next, I direct and pose her down to her very last eyelash in 3-5 wardrobe/set changes. About a week later, my clients select and purchase their images. My promise to my clients is that I will take the best photograph they have ever seen of themselves!

Has it been a smooth road?
Since I was new to the portrait business, there were many obstacles and challenges to overcome. I had to learn bit by bit all the nuances of the business from marketing and getting clients in the door to creating and selling a unique product.

I do everything myself. I market, photograph, retouch and sell my portraits. Each one of these tasks requires a level of mastery and problem solving along the way; connecting with people, servicing their photographic needs, studio design and layout, using complex software to retouch and finish a portrait in a natural way, printing the final product, producing a video of the experience, and finally selling the finished product to my clients and packaging for delivery.

Every time I came across a problem, I just found a way to solve it. #findaway 🙂

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Kitti McMeel Photography story. Tell us more about the business.
I specialize in creating an experience for my clients. Many of my clients have never been professionally photographed, or only at their wedding. I had one client tell me that the only portrait she had ever had done was on her driver’s license.

I am most proud of the service I give to my clients. This day… these portraits, are all about them. I treat them like a celebrity for the day. They are pampered by my hair and makeup artist and by me. I help them to feel comfortable in front of my camera. I love to see the transformation that takes place as my client relaxes and then shines in their portraits.

I photograph the everyday woman. Not just the beautiful model types. I know what beautiful is and I can capture it. It is a light that shines from within. I want her to come back to me throughout her life and document that journey.

I create a piece of art, a timeless image of who she is now, today. I show her what I see when I look at her, so she can reconnect with the woman she is, someone she may have forgotten about.

How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
It’s hard to say how the portrait industry will evolve over the next 5-10 years. Everyone has easy access to the camera in their pocket. But I believe that the tangible printed product, a finished piece of art, of those you love will always be treasured.

One day your children will look for pictures of you, what will they find? It is the first thing we attempt to save when asked to gather our most cherished belongings.

Pricing:

  • Portrait Sitting $290 – includes hair & makeup for one person.
  • Individual Portraits start at $275, packages start at $1800.

Contact Info:


Image Credit:
Kitti McMeel
Sue Bryce
Jenna Pool
Angela Elisabeth
Dana Tao

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. Merley Greenidge

    July 24, 2017 at 14:37

    Kitty is the real deal. It truly was an amazing experience. It was taking some time to celebrate yourself in a way that I didn’t imagine. From the hair to the makeup to the shoot itself which was a it of fun. That’s not all. The reveal is the icing on the cake. I cried when I saw my photos because Kitti captured a side of me that had been buried deep in motherhood. The photo shoot reminded me that I was a beautiful spirit that needed to come out from behind the curtain. I never felt more beautiful.

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