Guess what’s back, back again? #FrayLife Follows is back at it, and this month we’re featuring Kali Ryan Photography, a DC local photographing lifestyle, fashion, and landscapes in our city.
We touched base with Kali, and gained a glimpse into her passion for photography, and for capturing moments in the nation’s capital. Read all about her story below and give her a follow to discover the district through her lens.
1. Give our readers some background on you and your experience. How did you get started in photography?
My love of photography came about very early in my life. As a kid, I had a Polaroid camera and started taking photos at our annual holiday party. From then on, whenever we attended family functions or went on vacations, I was that person who had a camera in someone’s face!
Then I attended Quinnipiac University for undergrad, and had the opportunity to take a digital photography course as an elective and really hone in on my photography skills. I was so excited for the class that I went out and purchased my first DSLR for my course, which was a Nikon D3100. While I was in college, I also became my sorority’s photographer, attending all of our philanthropy and sisterhood events that we shared on our social media accounts. As we were a brand new sorority at the time, I loved that I was able to capture some our first moments as a chapter.
Photography is something I’ve been in love with from such an early age, it’s hard to imagine my life.
2. When did you start your photography business and how did it take off?
Everything really started coming together at the end of 2017 when I realized that my photography was admired by family, friends and complete strangers who were wondering how they could purchase prints. I had completely redone my website (www.kaliryanphotography.com) around this time, and started to have a stronger presence on social media, especially Instagram. I also decided to start attending meetups here in DC, like @walkwithlocals.
Meetups really opened up a whole new set of doors, and I’ve been able to work with various models and photographers in the area, which has been absolutely amazing. Recently, I also had the wonderful opportunity to work with The Ritz-Carlton Georgetown during their annual Fashion Santa event.
3. What is your favorite kind of photo to take?
I grew up in Massachusetts and have spent time on Cape Cod every year since I was a baby. It is an absolutely beautiful place with light that provides an ever changing scene. Every year the landscape was completely different and none of my shots ever looked exactly the same. It was on the Cape that I really fell in love with shooting landscapes. My favorite memories are waking up really early to chase the sunrise and searching for the perfect sunset at night.
While landscapes were my first love, I found a new passion for portraits in the last year or so. I am definitely a people person. Portraits give me the opportunity to interact with different models and photographers. No shoot is ever exactly the same, and I think that’s what keeps portraits so interesting!
4. What are you doing when you’re not taking photos?
When I don’t have a camera in hand (even though it’s usually within arm’s reach), you can find me in the kitchen cooking, binge watching something on Netflix, exploring new places in the city, spending time with family and friends, and editing photos. It is easy to spend hours editing a photo set and never get bored. I absolutely love playing around with new techniques in Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop!
5. What advice do you have for other aspiring photographers trying to start a business in the industry?
Social media & networking: enough said! I am a strong believer that social media can truly help grow your business if you can create and maintain a strong presence. I’ve worked with different models and photographers who said they either found my account through a hashtag on social media or who I encountered at a meetup.
As a photographer, you are a brand, so I definitely suggest creating a website to highlight your portfolio and always have business cards on hand…you never know who you’re going to meet!
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6. What is something random or unusual that most people don’t know about you?
A random fact about me would be that along with finding a passion for photography at a young age, I also had a passion for sports. I was an avid athlete and received a black belt in Taekwondo. My parents insisted I take up Taekwondo because as a very petite child they thought I should be able to defend myself, and because it was part of my heritage. Thankfully I’ve never had to use any of my TKD skills!
7. What are 3 things that belong on the bucket list of any 20-something living in the DMV?
– Artechouse: All of the exhibits are interactive (including their drinks)! Their use of lighting is just amazing and really unique.
– Cherry Blossom Festival: Cherry Blossom season in DC, while very short, is absolutely gorgeous. If you don’t mind the crowds, head down to the Tidal Basin on The Mall. The entire Tidal Basin is surrounded by cherry blossoms and you can definitely get some magical photos there.
– Old Post Office Tower: It is part of the National Park Services and the view from the top is just spectacular. There is a 360° view from the top, and you can see everything from the Capitol Building to the Reflecting Pool. It is completely free, so if you’re looking for an amazing view, check out the Old Post Office Tower!