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Meet Kaylie Kempsell of Kaylie Ruth Photography in Westminster

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kaylie Kempsell.

Kaylie, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I founded Kaylie Ruth Photography in 2017, and I suppose you say I could take the scenic route on my way to get here. I honestly never thought I’d be a photographer and I certainly never saw myself as a business owner, but life has a way of showing you where you need to be.

I began my career as a NICU nurse and I absolutely loved my job. I had worked extremely hard to land a job in the largest high-acuity NICU in the region and I was taking care of some of the very smallest and sickest babies around. It was such a rewarding experience! Unfortunately, I was diagnosed with Chronic Lyme Disease and was unable to continue working the difficult 12-hour night shifts required of me. My illness was much worse than we had originally suspected and I ended up on bedrest for 3.5 years. It was an extremely challenging time for me, and I missed my NICU babies so much!

As I began recovering, I knew I needed to find a way to incorporate babies into my life again, but that I wasn’t well enough to work long shifts at the hospital. I needed something that would allow me to create a schedule around my treatment days. I’ve always been a creative and artistic person, and had started taking some photography classes… newborn photography seemed like a perfect fit! The timing worked out perfectly, too: my nephew was born right around the time I wanted to try out newborn photography, so I had my very own model! As soon as I captured those first images of him I just knew, “This is it. This is the right place for me.” I started building my website (, joined the Chamber of Commerce, and soon enough I was getting referrals!

It felt so wonderful to be working with babies again after all of those years sick in bed. I’m feeling MUCH better these days, but I’m still loving my newborn photography business! I adore spending time with families as they celebrate their newest addition. I’m constantly learning and growing in order to provide my clients with the very best experience possible. I’ve invested in a newly remodeled studio space specifically designed for newborn photography, filled with hand-picked props and baby accessories. I’m so grateful to have a job I love that allows me to work with babies and gave me the flexibility I needed during that season of my life.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Definitely not! Starting your own business is a very scary prospect. There were so many things I didn’t know, and quite a few things I didn’t know to ask. Luckily, I have a fabulous support system in my corner and a lot of wonderful people who believe in me.

When you own a business, it’s very easy to just continue working in the evenings and weekends because your work will always follow you. The to-do list is never done! I learned very quickly that I needed to set boundaries with myself to maintain a work-life balance and to continue healing. I started looking for ways in which I could streamline my business practices and began outsourcing the parts that I didn’t love or wasn’t great at. This also helped free up my time for the creative aspect of my business.

When you’re new to an industry, I think it’s always a challenge to find clients. You simply don’t have the experience or word-of-mouth referrals that are needed to show people that they can trust you. I was very grateful to have my NICU nursing background to lean on. People felt comfortable with the fact that I had a lot of experience around babies, and the referrals started coming in once the people of Denver saw what I could do.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
Kaylie Ruth Photography specializes in custom newborn and baby portraiture. I have a selection of props, fabrics, and accessories to choose from that won’t distract from baby but rather add an organic or vintage element that will compliment baby’s soft features. I love capturing true and raw emotions between parents and their newest additions.

Something that really sets me apart is my dedication to newborn safety during the photography session. This is borne from my background in NICU nursing and having an understanding of newborn anatomy and physiology. I’m also certified by the American Association of Newborn Photography Safety. Babies simply aren’t capable of supporting themselves in many of the positions you see online today, nor is it safe for them to do so. These images are actually created by stitching two or more pictures together in Photoshop to remove an assistant’s supporting hands. I always try to educate my clients on newborn photography safety and let them know why I’m doing things the way I am. When someone is entrusting me with their brand new baby, I take this responsibility very seriously.

I’m proud to offer heirloom prints to my clients in addition to the typical digital images. Digital technology is changing so quickly these days and I don’t want families to be stuck without a way to view their photographs. I also found that so many people would put their USB in a drawer and forget about it… they never actually printed their pictures! This made me so sad. I decided that new parents were busy enough, so I would take care of printing their photos for them. I’ve partnered with some of the best professional photo-printing labs around the country and I’m happy to offer my clients photographic prints, canvases, wood prints, and framed prints that can be passed down for generations.

What were you like growing up?
I’ve always been a total perfectionist. In school, I took all of the AP classes I could get my hands on, and a 98% on a test just wasn’t good enough. I really stressed myself out! I have to say, though, this mindset really served me well in the NICU where you need to be absolutely meticulous.

Growing up, I loved art and music, but my biggest activity was definitely color guard. I started in the high school marching band color guard when I was in 7th grade. This turned into a passion of mine! I eventually joined Blue Knights Drum and Bugle Corp and Oracle Winterguard and loved it!

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Kaylie Ruth Photography

Getting in touch: VoyageDenver 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.

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