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Meet Trailblazer Kelsey Kaplan

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kelsey Kaplan.

Kelsey, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
My story began early, in an 8th-grade computer class to be exact, when I first used Photoshop and immediately fell in love with it. Throughout my life, I’ve been involved in different forms of art and I’m beyond excited art is something that is so prevalent in my life.

After graduating college with a degree in electronic media and graphic design I started doing photography professionally and that is where I realized my true passion. I have to give credit to the fact that I have a strong background in videography and graphic design. After falling in love with photography, I found my style by blending traditional art principles with real-world situations, plus my own personal touch.

Initially, I worked in the Chicago music scene, photographing multiple bands each week, which ultimately led me to portraits, engagements, weddings and product photography. My freelance business started growing and I wanted to shake things up. I came to Colorado in early 2018 without a job, without a place to live and not knowing a single person. I can easily say it’s the best decision I’ve ever made. After working 5 jobs, 7 days a week, I finally got a grasp on life and started dedicating most of my time on my own freelance brands.

I shoot weddings, portraits, and music regularly, but since moving to Denver, I got into the creative side of the cannabis industry. Starting a cannabis YouTube channel, providing creative work to major companies, and traveling across the country for work has been the most amazing opportunity.

Has it been a smooth road?
Getting to where I am now was not easy, with more ups and downs than I’d like to admit. And while I have now started getting the progress I always wanted, I still see a ton of room for growth. I am more than hopeful for what the future will bring than ever before! The reality is life happens and we all have our own struggles. Dealing with depression, and anxiety is something that I’ve suffered from my entire life. Having a solid group of supportive friends who build you up, and help you be the best you, is one of the hardest but most valuable lessons I’ve picked up on.

I started my cannabis YouTube channel as a way to put myself out of my comfort zone and get over social anxiety. I’d like to say that issue is fully resolved, but it’s a work in progress and I feel a lot better now than I did when I first moved here. Being able to comfortably sit and talk in front of a camera, and forcing myself to interact with new friends, clients, and businesses was the only way to successfully grow my portfolio. Whether it’s a simple graphic project, a fun photoshoot or filming a travel vlog, every week I set goals for myself which helps me stay creative and continue to grow!

We’d love to hear more about Kelsey Kaplan Media & Kayde.
In developing my brand I took a slightly different approach and created two identities. Kelsey Kaplan Media focuses on weddings, traditional portraits, music photography, commercial photo and video work and graphic design. Kayde is my brand that works in the cannabis industry and provides creative services to companies across the country. I offer photography and videography services ranging from product photography, dispensaries, cultivation facilities, and creative cannabis portraits.

At the end of the day, I’m most proud of being able to make art for people as a living. I think that is the coolest and most rewarding job! I always say, “if you think you’re not photogenic, you’re not working with the right photographer” and that is something I will always stand by. Working with people is something I’ve always loved, and the fact that I get to bring out their natural beauty and boost their confidence makes me so happy!

I don’t like to limit myself to one specific style which is why I treat each project differently in terms of what the client wants and is trying to convey. I take a lot of pride in attention to detail. For every shoot, I go through and edit each photo individually. I don’t believe that throwing a preset over a photo and calling it a day does any justice. I have an extremely diverse art background ranging from all mediums, and a lot of experience photographing anything from macro flower shots to boudoir photos, to heavy metal bands. I also appreciate the challenge of new situations — different environments, clients, objective, etc. allow me to keep pushing myself and growing while producing more quality work.

So much of the media coverage is focused on the challenges facing women today, but what about the opportunities? Do you feel there are any opportunities that women are particularly well-positioned for?
Honestly, I don’t think there are opportunities that are better suited for women vs. men. I think if you have the right skill set and the motive, it shouldn’t matter you’re background/gender/age.

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