Today we’d like to introduce you to Kelleen Hite.
Hi Kelleen, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today?
I started photography in 2007 when my last child was born. Heirlooms and traditional canvas had always been something that I valued highly even as a teen. And I knew, that it was something that was important to me, as I had started my own family.
In 2009, I started photographing weddings and those became the primary part of my business, I photographed weddings through 2018 when I retired from photography but still continued families intermittently. In 2020, I decided I missed photography immensely and wanted to come back full time, but I knew I wanted it to be in a way that it made a difference for teenagers.
Added to their confidence, and self-worth, and offered something different than anyone locally. I had learned a lot about customer service and varied photography styles with weddings, and I wanted to bring that into the Senior/teen genre.
Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall, and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Lord no! But what is! I started in 2007, during the worst recession of the last 10 decades, and tame back during a global pandemic! My timing is impeccable!
Most recently, switching from weddings to seniors has been a challenge- while I know HOW to do my job, marketing and communications are completely different. I am thankful for the mentors that pointed me in the right direction along the way!
Learning your own value as an entrepreneur is no easy task!
Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
I am a family, branding, and senior photographer, but I would say 75% of my business and focus is on teens & Seniors. I knew when I came back into full-time photography, I wanted to make a difference in that age range. I feel like with social media, and all the pressures that are on kids between the ages of 12 and 18, and even through college, it leaves them feeling less than, and a little bit out of sorts.
The goal with every session for me is to make the teens I’m working with feel amazing, give them confidence, and make them see themselves in a whole new light- how others see them. This is so hard because they spend so much time on social outlets, which have them feeling pretty cruddy! After every session, my clients, and the parents say to me that it’s incredible the way they feel about the whole process, especially the shoot day.
They get to spend time together, and they get to see the whole art process- lights, planning, and coordination. Parents tell me that they love watching their kids come to life at our session. And this is every senior! I think in high school, we feel like everyone else has it together, and we’re the only ones who don’t- the misfit.
And there’s something about going through this process where they see themselves differently- they feel beautiful and smart, and truthfully, hopeful for their future- and that’s what your senior year is all about! And I love that part! One of my favorite parts of my senior session is my dramatic night shots. That’s a leftover from what I used to do at weddings, and I love that I am able to offer it to my seniors.
It gives them images unlike anyone else’s- it makes them feel special! Whether it’s a Senior girl on the beach in her fabulous homecoming dress or a parachute, or a boy who has played baseball his whole life, getting photos on his high school baseball field at night, it’s different than anything they’ve ever done before and I love giving him that revolutionary dramatic experience.
I really want my clients to have a custom experience unlike any they will have again- and I pride myself in offering something totally different. From custom hair and makeup to detailed planning, and dramatic night shots- they get this awesome experience that in the end results in their own confidence growing, and parents being a part of it!
Is there anyone you’d like to thank or give credit to?
Oh lord YES! My husband has been my biggest supporter and without his business guidance and pointing me on the “business” path, I wouldn’t be here. My kids and their friends allowed me to practice on them.
The clients who have trusted me since 2007, watching their babies grow up, and get married, and being a part of all of that has been freaking AMAZING! the new clients who are trusting me with their seniors. As a recent senior mom myself it’s a HUGE moment for the kids and the parents, and a challenge and honor I don’t take lightly.
Recently I am most thankful for Jena Golden, a senior photographer in Northern Georgia for her business guidance. She has been so amazing through covid, and really pointing me on the path with this genre, from marketing to business practices and systems. And second, Megan DiPero, her business knowledge of the industry and beyond is second to none.
Her most recent book, “She Sells”, and her business workshops have been paramount in creating a boutique business. Three other photographers have been my lifeline in this new venture- Robbye Jepsen in the Chicago area, Theresa Jasper in Clearwater, FL, and Alyssa Chappell in the North Florida area. They have listened to me, motivated me, and been a true lifeline over the last two years.
They are the true epitome of camaraderie over competition and I am beyond thankful for them! I am always thankful for my photography friends from the beginning- Andi Diamond in Tampa, Dana Goodson here in Jacksonville, and lord so many countless others.
When you work by yourself, the friendships you make in the industry are your only way to stay sane!
- Custom Luxe Senior sessions begin at $40 and collections begin at $1290
- Lite Senior Sessions begin at $200 and collections at $500
- Custom Family Sessions and custom branding sessions begin at $397 and include Hair and Makeup
- Mini Sessions and Branding Marathons happen throughout the year- these are shorter and the investment is less.
- Email: email@example.com
- Website: https://www.kelleenhitephoto.com/
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kelleenhitephoto/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kelleenhitephotography
Kelleen Hite Photography