We had the good fortune of connecting with Kathleen Bracken and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kathleen, where are your from? We’d love to hear about how your background has played a role in who you are today?
I’m from Chicago! My husband and I moved to Denver for a change of pace back in 2009. Eleven years and 3 kids later, we have put down roots here and love living near the mountains! I actually have my degree in elementary education and my masters in curriculum and instruction with a focus on ESL. I absolutely loved teaching and working with children, but once I my second child, I needed to find balance that worked for our family…. I couldn’t be a teacher, a mom, and a photographer. So I decided to leave teaching, and focus on what I had always done on the side, photography! In 2015, I started advertising my newborn and family sessions on Facebook and I was lucky enough to start getting clients! I absolutely love being a mom, it’s my number one job… but I’ve always needed to do something creative and I loved working with babies, kids and families. Photography has provided me with perfect balance!
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I think there are tons of amazing photographers in Colorado, and I’m honored to even be considered among them. Most of my business comes from repeat clients and tons of referrals. So I think that always keeping the clients as your top priority is the most important. I value every one of my sessions and hopefully that is conveyed by me! I think the biggest realization that has gotten me to where I am today, professionally speaking, is that I am never going to be done learning. It’s not like I learned how to work a DSLR camera and how to edit in Photoshop and now I’m done. Photography is an art, and my art is changing every year. By having social media accounts, I have a timeline of all of my work dating back to the beginning. When I scroll back through my photos even from 2019 or 2018, I can look at them with a critical eye and see what I would have done differently, if I was to reedit them. I took me a long time to figure out my brand. I think I wanted to know right away what I was trying to achieve during a session, but letting that evolve organically was more important…. and it took many years. My focus during a session is about capturing joy and connections between family members. Most of my clients leave a session saying they had so much fun. Photo sessions should be about loving on your family, being in the moment, laughing, playing, and letting me capture all of those memories.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I love all of the mountain towns in Colorado: Breck, Vail, Copper Mountain…. but I would probably take them to Estes Park. I love the small town feel there and nothing beats Rocky Mountain National Park. We’d spend a few days hiking and we’d grab sandwiches from the best place in town… Rocky Mountain Deli! Then we’d spend at least 1 afternoon on the water… there’s a fabulous marina where you can rent boats by the hour on Lake Estes. We’d have to do a girl’s night of wine tasting at Snowy Peaks Winery and the boys would would have a guy’s night at Rock Cut Brewing Company!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My parents and my husband are my biggest supporters! My parents were always so proud of my creativity and let me sign up many art classes. I took pottery, painting, sketching, watercolors, and photography. My birthday and Christmas presents were always centered around artistic tools. I think all of those elements helped me to feel confident learning how to edit photos in Adobe Photoshop. I loved how I could alter the color in an image, and change how a photo felt by working with different lenses and apertures. My husband was the support behind actually taking the leap into photography. I knew I wanted to start my own business, but the thought of creating an LLC, getting an accountant, and applying for all of the licenses in Colorado made me panic! I just wanted to take photos!! My husband not only encouraged me to start my own business, he also handled all of the startup paperwork that I needed to move from a weekend hobby to a legit company.