We had the good fortune of connecting with Alli Kennedy and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Alli, do you have a budget?
I was blessed to have parents who sat down with me and taught me the importance of financial stability and budgeting from the time I had my first job at 15 years old. I have a spreadsheet with all of my expenses and budgeting that I reconcile with my bank accounts at least once a week. Within the spreadsheet, I budget for living, equipment, expenses, client gifts, taxes–everything that I need to make my business successful. However, that doesn’t come without room for entertainment spending. I love to travel, so I save up for trips and try to use my credit card as little as possible. Being fiscally responsible gives me pride in my business because I can see that I’m actually continually profiting as a business and not just recklessly spending my way to success. I’ve learned that I should be able to work well with the little equipment I began with, which teaches you to really know your craft. Financial peace is something I try to educate other small business owners and friends about because of how rewarding it has become for me personally in my business and my lifestyle.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I’m most proud of the unique style of my personal presets–the tone and color grade of my images. From the beginning, I had the idea that I wanted to set myself apart from those in my field. Every photo looked the same on my social media feed because photographers were buying other photographer’s presets. While I think that buying presets can lead to success and become a helpful tool, I wanted to start from scratch. I have now built up to knowing the ins and outs of Lightroom–the editing software the majority of photographers use–like the back of my hand. To create my presets, I took inspiration from what I loved in nature around me: evergreens and autumn colors. Nature heavily influences my images. Early on, I remember feeling frustrated that I didn’t feel like I was moving as fast in the photography world as others around me. I was building the foundation of brand recognition slowly for my business to stand upon, but I saw others rising high above me in success. I learned that this slow foundation in my style and my brand has helped me draw in people who genuinely love the warmth and depth of my photos. I want people to know my images right when they look at them and that they feel the true authenticity of love through each image. I think about it like this: in nature, everything is different. Every leaf, rock, mountain, and star–they’re all distinctly and carefully made by God. When documenting the unique individuality of humanity through photography, I remind myself we are all a part of creation–the extraordinary contradiction of uniformity.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Greenville South Carolina is home to a pretty wonderful coffee scene. Whenever my friends visit, I love to take them on a coffee crawl through downtown Greenville and the surrounding areas. It doesn’t matter if we visit the beautiful pink and whimsical plant-covered Village Grind, the industrial modernity of the famous Methodical Coffee, or the tiny home turned coffee shop Scandï Tiny Coffee, there’s really always a place you can sit and chat over a mocha (my personal favorite) in a gorgeous setting. My favorite places to eat all have to do with bringing everyone together: Gather GVL and The Commons. Both are open-air restaurant concepts, one outdoors, and one indoors. I always end up seeing someone I know, which is one of the reasons I love Greenville. It has a growing city feel with a small-town mentality.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I would love to dedicate my shoutout to Taylor Cash Photography. I remember about three years ago when I knew absolutely nothing about what running a photography business (let alone what all the buttons on my camera meant) I messaged him and asked if I could glean from his photography wisdom because their account was so beautifully curated with authentic images the likes of what I dreamed to see on my own account someday. My blissful ignorance of the “competition over community” aspect of some of the photography world gave me the courage I needed at the time to reach out. He answered and let me ask all of my “dumb questions.” He encouraged me to keep striving towards my goal, even when my portfolio really had nothing to show for anything at the time. I honestly don’t think I would have begun my business without that conversation.
Facebook: Alli K Photography
Alli Kennedy – all images except for portrait (red head) Sarah Lawerence Photography – portrait