Hey there… I am Kelley, this is Brian, and we make art.
When I (Kelley) was 16 my dad lent me his Olympus OM2n for a photography class… I took some pretty awesome photos with it and then it was stolen. I was crushed and my dad still won’t let me live any of that down…
So when I turned 18, I begged my dad to buy me a new Canon Rebel film camera… begged. Somehow he caved and got me the camera despite my terrible track record. On this camera I took a bunch more awesome photos and continued to learn the bulk of the rest of my film photography education.
Being a painter and having that as my other passion, I took some time to learn how to do that and photography became my hobby for a while. But I still always loved to take photos, it’s always been my favorite kind of “instant art,” only I spent much of my hobby years taking photos of random stuff I thought looked pretty cool and nothing really… you know, good.
I got my degree at UCSD in art history, no one told me that was a pretty useless thing to get a degree in… and a fancy research thingie that basically said I can search the internet really well. I got a job at the San Diego Museum of Art basically dating, scanning and photoshopping old photos from the museum’s library basement so they could be printed and digitally stored for future use. I can’t tell you how many times I had to put a piece of Margaret Thatcher’s face back on… It wasn’t a very fun job but I learned a lot about Photoshop and the other various details of digital editing.
But, unfortunately, during the recession in 2009, it became impractical for both myself and the museum (mostly the museum) to keep me, so I left….. Not the best time to have that happen.
And then my options became fairly simple only because they were very narrowed… move to LA or San Francisco and get a job at one of their bigger museums OR stay in San Diego and try something else. Being that I got married to this amazing man who is also an incredible musician and his band is here in San Diego, we decided that staying in this gorgeous city was a good idea.
So now what? I fell into my art very heavily at this time while I submitted resume after resume to anywhere that was hiring, selling a painting here and there… one afternoon, after eating ramen for days on end, I ran into an old friend who was getting married. We got to talking and she asked me if I was still taking pictures of random stuff I thought looked cool and could I, maybe, think her and her fiancé looked cool enough to take photos of them? “I’ll pay you!” she said… Well, I was starving, so the choice was pretty simple and why not get paid to do something I really loved doing anyway?!
At this time I had been married for about a year already. My wedding was AH-MAY-ZING! We got married in the meadow behind a cabin in the woods of a small town called Twain Harte here in California. Everything was perfect, I mean perfect as could be for so little backup planning. Everything except for the photography… I hired a friend. Let’s just say things went very wrong and all my wedding photos were taken with a friend’s broken point-and-shoot camera.
And all I remember, all that flashed into my head as I flipped though yellow and foggy photo after yellow and foggy photo was, “this was all I could afford.”
So, skipping back to that friend asking me if I could take her engagement photos for money, I said “sure!”hahahaha! I charged her a reasonable rate and delivered every photo and a bunch of edits and she loved me enough to hire me for her wedding too… and suddenly I could buy groceries with my art. I could do exactly what I loved…
I walked into that wedding thinking “this chick is nuts to hire me” having never shot a wedding before, but it was AWESOME! Like not typical American overuse of the word “awesome” awesome but actually and truly AWESOME! AND I was able to pay my bills that week, doing something AWESOME and artistic!
I fell so hard for weddings, I just became so very into being in that moment and finding a way to capture it and make it perfect just like the love of the couple I was photographing. I mean, I loved being a bride, but I ADORE photographing the bride. It was a true calling… like rays of light from the heavens calling. My heart opened so big at that wedding, each snap being like the thud of my pulse… and I decided, I was going to be a wedding photographer.
In the beginning I worked with a wonderful woman named Kim… and we took lots and lots of photos together. But as each wedding got more and more challenging and her true love of crafting got further and further away, we decided that wedding photography was something I needed to do with someone that loved it as much as I did…
Then she said something I’ll never forget… “you should hire Brian.”
You see, the world gave me the best gift in a little brother. We’ve been hip-to-hip since we were very young and we’ve always shared many hobbies and career goals in our lives. Our father being a true fine artist and our mother a great business woman, gave us both an excellent edge in life that we share and yet harness differently.
Brian was really the true photographer growing up… Always saving to buy new gear and spending hours studying and understanding the nuances and tricks in photography and video… we’d just never been interested at the same time. He came to lots of weddings with me as my assistant… but never to really take photos of my clients, only to take my landscape and detail shots when I was too busy to do it. So when I lost my original second, my natural second stepped in.
Brian is a fantastic partner in that I have a clone that can think out of the box… Everything I do, everything I can do, Brian can do too because we learned from the same people… each other. We speak without talking to each other, we share the same critical eye for detail and our dynamic is as fluid as fresh rain. We are the true personification of the Studio Sequoia platform… we are family.
We want to be wedding photographers for people who don’t think they can afford to ask Uncle Leo to just be a guest, or to negotiate hourly rates with their best friends. Our goal is that you know, “we are here for you.”
We’re not cheap but we’re affordable. You can afford to hire us, you can afford to get gorgeous photos and you can afford to have a great time taking them because we are riots and we work with the best.
We want to be the best at what we do… We want to be the best in every area including our ability to capture those sweet bliss-filled memories. We want you to like us, we want you to see us as both confidantes as well as your photographers. And we definitely do NOT want our relationship to end with one session… Like, seriously, Facebook is not that hard to maneuver and when we see another photographer taking your newborn photos, or what have you, we get crazy jealous and a little sad. We don’t want you to go somewhere else, we want you to stay in the family.
Our goal in owning, building and maintaining Studio Sequoia is that we all win. We’re not in this to get rich, we’re in it to create something wonderful from something wonderful; to take care of our family while also taking care of yours… getting married, growing up, having children; all these things have a story begging to be told…. We’re here to tell your story.