Passion Projects Q&A with Kellie Bieser

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Kellie Bieser is the creative force behind Shutter & Glass Photography based in Columbus, Ohio. Renowned for her mastery of lighting techniques and enthusiastic teaching style, Kellie is a professional kids and family photographer, Miller’s Speaker Team member, Clickin Moms mentor and Profoto Legend of Light.

You’ve spent a lot of time capturing portraits of children and families. What led you to farm animals?
The reason I picked-up my camera all those years ago was to document my own family, my own kids, and our memories together. From that, a photography career organically grew into one that also centers around family – just other people’s families instead of my own. 

That said, my family has grown since I started. I have added a couple kids AND a few animals. Poor Mr. Bieser, I asked him for “just a few chickens” (because fresh eggs!) and somehow we have ended-up with 30 something chickens and four goats (in addition to our cat, dog, and five human children). 

Because I see our animals as very much a part of the family with their own personalities and quirks, it just makes sense that I would want to photograph them as well. For my business, this has brought a whole new clientele who sees my work with our animals and wants to include their own furry family members in their sessions. Again, it’s my personal work that has tapped into something with my clients and has allowed me to grow a business based on what I love.

You have a real gift at bringing out personality and emotion in all of your subjects. How has your portrait style translated to capturing farm animals? Any similarities in your approach?
Well thanks! I have always believed that anyone can capture a face but a truly fantastic portrait captures more than just physical features. It will forever be my goal as a portrait photographer.

Luckily, our farm animals make capturing personality quite easy because they are hilarious and aren’t camera shy at all. Much like human kids, making sure the animals are comfortable (ie: not shoving a camera in their faces without a little “getting to know you” chat) and motivated (TREATS!) can go a long way in getting the kinds of shots I want. A good assistant is worth her weight in gold for both kids and farm animals!

And vice versa – Do you have any takeaways from your animal photography that you find yourself applying with your children and family sessions?

If anything, photographing the animals on the farm has reinforced how I approach kids and families. Going in prepared and yet without too many expectations, knowing when to take breaks, and choosing to laugh when things go off the rails are key!

Whether you’re trying fun photo setups with your family for the holidays, attempting to recreate famous paintings with modern portraits or capturing your farm animals – you always seem to make time for creativity. Why are these passion projects so important to you?
Again, I started learning how to use my camera strictly for personal reasons. I consider myself to be really lucky to have a business that has grown from that original passion.

That said, I have seen plenty of photographers—people who LOVE this craft—burn out and quit working as professionals. It’s pretty easy along the way to get swamped by the “work” and forget why you started it in the first place.

I have made a point to prioritize those passion projects because those are the ones that keep things fun. They reconnect me with the exhilaration I had when first learning how to use my camera. I get to try new things, learn new lessons, fail, and evolve as a photographer.

In short, my passion projects are the ones that are most fulfilling to me as an artist AND they keep my professional pursuits from feeling stale or cumbersome.

Why is printing pictures important to you?

It goes back to my memories as a kid sitting at the kitchen table with my grandma flipping through album after album of old family photos. I was positively mesmerized by those images and the stories behind them. That nostalgia is why I am so insistent that my clients get printed products and why I am so diligent about printing my own personal work. My biggest dream is that some kid will sit at a table one day and be as mesmerized by the photos I take as I was of my grandma’s photos.

Do you have any favorite photographers that you’re following right now?

There are SO MANY people creating SO MANY amazing things right now! I am a huge fan of the CreativeSoul Photography team and can’t get enough of their imagery. 

What’s in your camera bag? Any favorites?
My camera bag for a typical photo session will include a Nikon D850 and a Nikon Z7 along with a bunch of prime lenses ranging from 24mm to 200mm. I love them all and choosing favorites would be like asking me to choose which kid is my favorite.

I also have a Profoto A10 and B10 along with a TTL remote and various modifiers with me at all times. While I love the sun and natural light, I have found that creating light has made my job so much easier and has made me a more efficient photographer both in the studio and on location.

At home I use all of this plus I have dipped my toe into the world of vintage cameras so I have some 35mm and large format cameras that I have been using just to stretch those creative muscles a bit.

And lastly – if you could go back and give yourself one piece of photography advice, what would it be?

Embrace failure.

I used to be so scared of taking pictures that weren’t good enough or didn’t meet my ridiculous standards of perfection. It took me a while to change my thinking but now I actually get excited when I fail at something because it means that I am trying something NEW. It’s just another opportunity to get better and if I fail enough times, I will eventually succeed and will be better for all of the experience I have gained.

For more on Kellie Bieser, you can follow her on Instagram or check out her website.


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One thought on “Passion Projects Q&A with Kellie Bieser

Fred kahler says:

Who prints stand alone chicken and chicks?
I would like to have some churches printed like this. Thank you

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