The Canada Photo Convention team was able to catch up with the lovely and entertaining (and exceptionally talented!) Kelsey Goodwin, one of our CPC 2015 speakers and discuss everything from food and dancing to traveling and dancing in South Africa, and even the social implications of wearing slippers in public.
Tell me three random things about yourself.
- I was conceived in an airplane washroom over Reno Nevada. Don’t ask me how I know that and feel free not to share it.
- I really enjoy the scents of Vanilla, leather and chlorine (but not all together) and I’m not truly happy with myself unless I’m productive (something I realized near the end of a two month hooky stint in SE Asia).
- I love science fiction movies, random facts, audiobooks and slippers (the only thing stopping me from bringing them to friends’ houses is social deviance).
What’s your favorite thing to do besides photography?
I have so many favourite things! Eating is probably my favourite past time – I’m a hardcore foodie and I work out like a fiend so I can eat what I want :) I also love cooking/baking, sunny days with friends, exploring farmer’s markets, thrift stores and lounging in front of Netflix. Reading, writing and sketching are also on my list, especially when it’s raining outside.
What’s your favorite movie of all time, and why?
I love movies! Especially Sci-Fi but for the longest time, Gladiator was my favourite movie. The movie is great but I especially like it because it was the first DVD I ever watched. My family crowded around our new expensive DVD player and my dad was so excited about this new gadget and how clear everything was – I think it was more about how much fun we all had that night.
Have you gotten to travel [outside of Canada] for photography? If so, where would you go, and why?
I’ve been fortunate enough to travel all over for work and for play. Photography has taken me to photograph all over the Caribbean and as far as Africa.
Where is one place you have yet to go but want to, and why?
I would really love to photograph in Ireland because of the lush, green, magic atmosphere, in Iceland for the long purple daylight hours and dramatic landscapes, and India for the culture and colours.
What was the hardest thing for you to learn as a photographer?
I’ve always struggled technically with the craft and accounting has always been the bane of my existence.
Mentally, the hardest thing I’ve learned as a business person is that everything negative that happens all comes down to you in the end. Communication and seeking to understand is the key. The hardest things to learn are always the most important, but it’s also an amazing revelation that makes dealing with people a lot easier.
Oh, and I had 30k worth of gear stolen when I first started out and I didn’t have insurance at that time so that was a pretty hard lesson!
Is there any particular wedding, portrait session, or even just image that you’ve taken over the years that sticks out as your favorite, and why?
There have been so many moments in my career where I have been overwhelmed with gratitude and excitement, it’s hard to pinpoint them all but certain clients/jobs do stand out.
I did a levitation image for a personal fashion shoot in an abandoned warehouse a few years ago that was exceptionally fun for me. It received an award of excellence from WPPI. In the photo the model is reaching/floating towards the light and it has a really whimsical ethereal yearning to it that is represented in my hopeless romanticism and work as a whole.
A fun moment that doesn’t involve me actually taking photos is when I photographed a wedding in Africa a couple years ago and the groom called for me to bust a move on the dance floor. This was after shooting their own insane dance moves through the night (the reception was 10:00pm-8:30am). I tried to emulate their African Kuduru moves, and the evidence of that hilarious endeavour can be seen below:
Have you ever attended CPC?
Yes! I try to go every year but sadly was not able to make it in 2014. I tell everyone that I get more out of attending CPC than the entire week I spent at WPPI. I walk away every time with my notebook full of scribbles and my head full of dreams.
Give us a brief overview about your talk for CPC 2015:
My CPC talk will focus on sharing my passion for the business side of things – with a strong focus on weddings and how to price them so that everyone wins. We’ll be touching on outsourcing, simple marketing techniques and the dreaded goal setting.
What are the three most important tidbits you want people to talk away from your talk?
The three most important things I want people to take away from my talk are:
- A renewed confidence in selling their service and art, valuing what you offer while keeping your clients’ best interests at heart
- An understanding and acceptance of their personal limitations and strengths and how to capitalize on both of those to achieve a balance in their lives and operate at their highest creative potential
- An inspired enthusiasm to implement the techniques in their business right away
What’s one think you love about teaching other photographers?
I love witnessing passion. It fuels me. I love the idea that I can give back to a craft and community that has given me so much.
Tell us about your workshops in Victoria and Calgary!
I have partnered up with an amazing human/videographer Chris Dowsett to offer a jam-packed weekend-long workshop covering everything from marketing and business to photoshop composites and cinema techniques. It has been specifically designed to appeal to both new and seasoned photographers alike!
Canon or Nikon (ooo I went there):
Sony! Just kidding. But I think that’s where it’s all going and I’m okay with it – looking forward to a professional mirrorless in the near future. I’ve been both Canon and Nikon and I by far prefer Nikon 110%! I currently use a D4 and I love how well it sees in the dark, but at the end of the day it’s about what you can do with it. Some of my best images I took with a Nikon D300, and my freaking iPhone.
What’s something you wish you would have been told when you first started your business?
So many things! I did get a lot of great advice from my colleagues but it seems you always have to learn the hard way to actually believe in their implementation.
I wish someone had showed me this poem from an unknown author as it serves as a constant reminder to me that anything is possible.
“I bargained with life for a penny
and life would pay no more.
How ever I begged at evening when
I counted my scanty store.
For life is a just employer,
it gives what you ask.
But once you have set the wages,
Why, you must bear the task.
I worked hard for a menials hire,
only to learn dismayed,
that any wage I had asked of life,
Life would have willingly paid”.
Check out more of Kelsey’s awesome work on her website here!
Article by Beth Teutschmann