Hi, I’m Kelley.
It was nine years ago today that I was getting on a plane in San Diego to come home. My head was swirling. I had just finished a photography workshop with Blue Lily and it was the beginning of my insatiable need to leave corporate and start my own photography business.
To do something that mattered.
I had spent time with two friends wandering around the San Diego Zoo with two friends. We talked about possible names for my company as I daydreamed. While most photographer/businessy advice said to use my name, I didn’t want to because both my first name and last name are easily and constantly misspelled. I wanted it to be easy to remember, easy to spell, and something that didn’t pigeon hole me into a specific category.
I liked two words in front of Photography. Just to make it clear that I’m a photographer. Names were thrown out. Many botanical or relating to nature. The three of us discussed Peach Tree Photography because, well, I lived in Atlanta and EVERYTHING is Peach Tree here. But I’ve never felt like a southerner. I was born in Chicago and grew up in St. Louis. I feel more like a midwesterner, if I have to stick to a region. So Pear Tree Photography was thrown out and that name stuck in my brain.
It’s the name I used within a year to obtain my first official business and it stuck for several more until I built a new website and the developer suggested I add Atlanta to my business name for SEO purposes. So I did and then my website landed on the url you’re on now.
In the past 8+ years of owning and running my business, I’ve met and photographed so many incredible souls. They’ve taken me to the Gulf of Mexico, the Atlantic Ocean, the Dominican Republic, Banff, Minneapolis, the Rocky Mountains, the Grand Canyon, and even hanging out of a window of a little bi-plane with so many spots in between.
My clients have become my people. I’ve laughed so hard I couldn’t breathe. I’ve had tears stream down my cheeks as I’ve documented the beginnings of marriages and was thankful I already had focus in my camera and didn’t need to see. I’ve enjoyed thousands of hours with my people and thousands more at my computer making sure their images were the best ones for telling their stories in the way they wanted to remember the people they love the most.
I’ve made mistakes. I’ve learned a lot. And I’ve grown as a person and photographer. In loving humanity even more as I’ve been honored to step into some of the most private and vulnerable spaces. I’m so thankful for the trust I’ve been given. And I’ve been rewarded with incredible reactions and appreciation when returning wedding days and sharing portrait sessions.
In short, it’s rare that I don’t go to sleep at night with a smile on my face as I think about my people.
This past year, my photography offerings have expanded from photographing all people fully clothed to also photographing women less than fully clothed as a form of empowerment. The new images aren’t about lust and desire, but confidence and worth without all the extra layers of protection and masking what is perceived to be anything less than the idea of beauty generated by ad companies.
I’m pumped for what 2020 will bring as my calendar is already filling throughout the year with people waiting to be photographed. In so many different ways and for different reasons.
If you’re interested in stopping time, document what is happening now, and want the tangibles to always hold onto, then go ahead and start a conversation. I’m a good listener and I can’t wait to hear what you have to say!