Corporate

#AdobeLife at Home: 3 Steps to a Self Portrait with Kelly Kennedy

April 14, 2020

How are people spreading joy at home? Our #AdobeLife at Home series is all about highlighting how our community of passionate employees are doing just that. Through this series, we’ll be featuring Adobe employees who want to teach our readers new skills—from emotional wellbeing tips to creative online classes. Here’s how they’re spreading joy.

Today, we’re spotlighting Kelly Kennedy, an Employee Experience Communications Specialist at Adobe, and how she’s spreading joy through educating audiences about photography in her “How-To” video on Self-Portraiture! Check out her 3 easy steps and read our interview with Kelly to learn more about her passion for photography. 

Tell us a little bit about yourself! Can you tell us how you got into both the photography and modeling world?

My interest in photography started when I was young; my aunt lent me her monstrous Nikon film camera and that was it. In high school, I combed estate sales and antique shops for old film cameras, cleaned them and tried to work with them. I didn’t seriously pursue photography until college, when I freelanced, worked on personal projects and dabbled in graphic design.

One summer, I interned for San Diego Magazine Inc. in the Art Department. I designed layouts, culled images and worked photoshoots for a number of their publications. On one shoot for their bridal magazine, the photographer asked if I would try on one of the gowns – that was my first modeling job. I briefly signed with a modeling agency in Southern California and built a network of other photographers, models and designers I looked up to.

Now, I’m in both worlds. Being on both sides of the camera gives me a completely different perspective; it’s strengthened my ability to give direction, execute a concept and experiment with new ideas and techniques. Having experience as a model and a photographer has made me a better collaborator, both creatively and in my work at Adobe.

What are some cool projects and photoshoots have you worked on in the past? What are you working on now?

I’ve done some interesting shoots – brand work, e-commerce, bridal, beauty. Whether I’m shooting brand images for a start-up, climbing through abandoned trains, or having waist-length hair extensions taped in, I love bringing vision to the projects I’m involved in, no matter what my role is. For a few years, I’ve attended a multi-media event called Yeah Field Trip for a few years (thank you to Adobe’s Learning Fund!) where I’ve met intensely creative people from around the world and had a chance to learn from the absolute best in the industry.

Right now, I’m working on compiling a book of images I’ve shot in the desert over the past five years and doing more self-portraiture.

What inspired you to create your “top 3 steps” video for self-portraiture?

Last year, I moved into a house with what the owner called a ‘hot tub room’ in the backyard, which I quickly outfitted as an art studio. One day, it clicked that I could take my own photos – self-portraits – to continue honing my skills on both sides of the camera. It was super difficult and I was actually embarrassed to share the work I created in those first few weeks. Now that I’ve been creating these images for months, I realize I shouldn’t have hesitated to put this work into the ether. Taking self-portraits is a great way to feel more comfortable with yourself, expand your creativity, and practice photographing when meeting up with others isn’t possible. You definitely don’t have to be a professional to take beautiful images – you can use your iPhone, an old point-and-shoot from your junk drawer, or your grandparents Polaroid.

Anything you’d like to tell our readers?

Find something that changes the way you see the world. Photography and modeling have brought me an infinite amount of perspective and introduced me to a community I’d be lost without. While I didn’t go to school for art, I’m so grateful to be in a role at Adobe that combines many of my interests and challenges me to expand my skills. If you’re considering diving into a new project or hobby, just sit down and start. It might be imperfect, awkward or uncomfortable, but the best thing you can do it take those experiences and persist. There have been many times when I felt I wouldn’t be taken seriously because of my age, lack of formal training, experience level, you name it – but if you don’t at least try, you won’t be able to look back and see how far you’ve come from that first moment.

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