The Photography Lessons That Shaped My Life and My Business, With Kelly Brown

Kelly reflects on a 17-year career as a newborn photographer and educator and shares the photography lessons (and life lessons!) she has learned along the way.

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Introduction (3:45)

How did you find your love for photography? (4:47)

I had to take photos around construction sites for my job as a PA, and realized I had a good eye for lines and composition. When my daughter was born, I wanted to stay home with her, and I started taking photography lessons, and within 6 months I had paying clients.

How did you find your way into education? (6:57)

As I was photographing more and more newborns, people saw my work, and wanted to know how to do it. There was a contest for potential teachers at CreativeLive that I was encouraged to enter, and I made it to the final 6. Before I could do the presentation in the final round though, I was approached by them to present newborn photography lessons in a 3-day recorded session.

How do you see your own value? (11:35)

I reached a low point in my business, where I had to sit down and write down what was and wasn’t working for me. In many ways it came down to my inability to get paid. I compared what it cost me in money and time to run my business and be away from my family I had to focus on getting paid for the time I was putting into it, compared to having a regular job.

How do you balance the passion for your client work and your personal work? (23:08)

Creating a structure for your business is the key. Knowing how much money you have to earn to cover your CODB and pay yourself a salary means you can schedule the clients to achieve that, and then structure time around that for your personal projects, without feeling guilty about it.

Advice for entering photography contests? (26:44)

A judging room is probably the best classroom you can be in, as judges have a list of topics they will evaluate. Being this thorough means you get amazing feedback. Lower marks will catapult your skill level if you see the feedback as photography lessons and go back to try and improve in those areas specifically.

Where do you find your inspiration? (30:50)

I’m inspired by light, by shape, by form – not just in photography but in any artform.

What is your dream session? (34:51)

A session where I can freely create, and that delights me. I write down all the ideas I have in my phone, and pull ideas from there all the time.

Which photography lessons do you wish more photographers knew? (37:06)

For experienced photographer: the value of what it is that they are doing. For new photographers, I wish they would be more patient with themselves and not compare themselves to others.

What is the best piece of business advice you’ve been given? (40:39)

Being asked WHY I am doing this. It made me question my reasons and focusing more on my own business.

Lightning Round! (45:22)

Where can we learn more about you? (51:04)

What are you artistically curious about? (51:39)

Installation art.

Discover more about Kelly Brown

Kelly Brown is a newborn & portrait photographer, in Brisbane Australia. Since launching her first business Little Pieces Photography in 2004, Kelly now owns and operates The Baby Summit,, The Rise International Photography Awards, Spine Street Studios, Kelly Brown Online, and a growing property portfolio. Kelly’s reputation as a creative professional with commitment to quality has seen her named a Canon Master in Australia, Canson Infinity Ambassador and Graphistudio Ambassador. Kelly is also a Grand Master of WPPI and a Fellow of SWPP.

WPPI Grand Award Portrait Photographer of the Year – 2021
WPPI Children/Teen Photographer of the Year – 2021
WPPI Grand Master of Photography – 2020
WPPI Grand Award Portrait Photographer of the Year – 2020
WPPI Newborn Photographer of the Year – 2020
SWPP Newborn Photographer of the Year – 2020
SWPP Fellow The Societies of Photographers – 2019
SWPP Newborn Photographer of the Year – 2019
WPPI Bill Hurter Award of Excellence 2018
WPPI Group Portrait Photographer of the Year – 2018
WPPI Newborn Photographer of the Year – 2018
WPPI Animal/Pet Photographer of the Year – 2017
WPPI Newborn Photographer of the Year – 2017
WPPI Martin Schembri Award of Excellence – 2017
WPPI Children’s Photographer of the Year – 2016
AIPP QLD Newborn Photographer of the Year – 2016
WPPI Newborn Photographer of the Year – 2015
AIPP QLD Family Photographer of the Year – 2015
WPPI Children’s Baby Photographer of the Year – 2014
WPPI Creative Composite Photographer of the Year – 2014
WPPI Portrait Photographer of the Year – 2014
AIPP Australian Family Photographer of the Year – 2014
AIPP QLD Professional Photographer of the Year 2014 & 2013
World Photographic Cup – Gold Medal in the Portrait Category 2013
AIPP QLD Portrait Photographer of the Year 2013
AIPP QLD Family Photographer of the Year 2014, 2013 & 2012
AIPP Australian Creative Photographer of the Year – 2012

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