Helping People See the Beauty in Themselves: Marissa Kelly Photography

Helping People See the Beauty in Themselves: Marissa Kelly Photography

I’m so excited to be back with another creative spotlight - where I share the stories of artists, creatives, and vendors in the wedding space and beyond. This week I talked with the amazing Marissa of Marissa Kelly Photography. Marissa is a self taught photographer who started by shooting couples, family, and senior sessions. She photographed her first wedding for a friend during her senior year in college, and fell in love with helping couples celebrate their big day and capturing the special moments. (Note, the stunning photo for this blog post is by Marissa!)


S&S: How did you get started with wedding photography?

Marissa: I actually didn't plan to get into wedding photography when I first started shooting. I was perfectly happy to be doing couples, family, and senior sessions because I was mostly self-taught, apart from a few photography courses I had taken in college. My senior year, I had a friend from high school reach out to see if I was interested in shooting her wedding. I almost said no because I thought it was too much pressure and that I was too new to photography to be hired for one. I'm so glad I said yes though, because I immediately fell in love with capturing people's wedding days and all the special moments throughout them.


S&S: Why did you decide to expand it into the business it is today? What do you see for the future of it?
Marissa: After that first wedding, I realized this was something I wanted to do for a full-time job. I knew I didn't have a big enough client base to jump fully into it at the time, so I applied for a 9-5 job out of college and had photography as a side hustle for about a year and a half so I could grow my skills, business, and clientele.


As far as the future of my business, I definitely see myself staying in the wedding industry for years. It's hard to know exactly how many more. It can be tough to give up weekends, and weddings are definitely more physically and mentally demanding than other types of photography, but I always see photography being a part of my life.


S&S: How would you describe your style?

Marissa: I describe my shooting style as fun, candid, and joyful and my editing style as vibrant with true-to-life colors.

S&S: Do you have a specific creative process you use that you can walk through?

Marissa: I try to look at every couple differently and use their unique personalities and relationship to lead my creative process for that specific shoot or wedding. If a couple is more outgoing and boisterous, I'll lean into poses that match that like piggy back rides or running and dancing prompts. If they're more quiet or reserved, I'll lean into more intimate poses like close cuddles or sitting next to each other to just talk while I step back really far and use my 85mm or 135mm lens. 

I like to send questionnaires to my wedding clients, too, so I can hear in their words what they're looking for, like asking what kinds of photos they're most excited to see from their wedding day.


S&S: Where do you find inspiration?

Marissa: I definitely find inspiration from other wedding photographers. I love saving photos that stop me in my tracks and asking myself what it is about the photo that drew me in. The composition? The editing? The posing? It helps me be more critical of my own work and strive to try new things. Another great way to find inspiration from other photographers without falling into the cycle of imitating someone else's work is to follow photographers in completely different industries from my own. As a wedding photographer, I love looking at fashion photographers' and photojournalists' work because it reframes the way I look at capturing weddings and portraits. Other types of art I love to be inspired by are movies, paintings, music, and fashion.


S&S: What do you love the most about what you do?

Marissa: I love so much about what I do but my top two would be helping people see the beauty in themselves and in their relationships and celebrating them on one of the most special days of their lives. And the second is being my own boss and having the freedom to run my business and live my life exactly how I want to.

See Marissa’s gorgeous work on her site, and her Instagram @marissakellyphotography

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