“I wish there were more than five stars. Kelly is by far the most professional, most talented, creative, artistic and overall amazing photographer we’ve ever worked with. Her ability to make my wife and I feel comfortable and happy was incredible, but her ability to engage our two-year-old was profoundly special, something I’ve never seen before. She brings out the best in her subjects and her work is masterful.” - Seth
About Kelly Sweda
Hello! I’m Kelly.
I specialize in authentic, natural, light-inspired family photography; and lifestyle photography for small, creative, women-run brands.
On the family side, I photograph people who value the authenticity of candid, natural, emotive family photos; and who want to preserve genuine moments of connection for themselves and future generations. I work to preserve unstaged moments in time, creating images that tell stories, are compelling to look at, and are fitting to live on in perpetuity. My goal with each shoot is to help debunk stereotypes of family photography as contrived, awkward and emotionless, and make it art. I’m obsessed with capturing interesting natural light and movement in my work.
On the brand side, I offer lifestyle and product photography to creative, female entrepreneurs looking to enhance their visual storytelling and online presence. I understand the value of beautiful, high-quality imagery to tell a brand’s story and help it grow. As the owner of my own small business, I’m dedicated to serving others like me. My intention is that our shared life experience allows for genuine trust and connection to permeate our relationships.
I serve families and brands in the Santa Barbara area, and am available for travel anywhere. I also shoot regularly in San Diego and every November in San Jose, San Francisco and the East Bay.
Whether I’m adventuring with a family or on-location with a lifestyle brand, being a detailed communicator is integral to my brand and who I am as a person. I believe that laying a strong foundation of trust and confidence from the get-go translates into mutually respectful relationships and the highest quality, most authentic photography.
When I’m not behind the camera, you’ll most likely find me at the beach with my best group of girlfriends, a gaggle of little kids and ice cold rose’. I love being outdoors, hiking, traveling, reading, healthy eating, my morning coffee, a clean home and homemade soup. I’m a wife and mom to an 18-year-old son and an 8-year-old daughter. My consummate inspiration!
I have a B.A. in journalism and did my master’s work in photojournalism. Whether it’s teaching in-person workshops or mentoring up-and-coming photographers, educating other creatives is a beloved part of what I do! You can read more about learning with me HERE.
Current Santa Barbara brand clients include American Colors Clothing, Jake and Jones, Renaissance Fine Consignment and A Thoughtful Home, as well as an array of stylists, bloggers, healers, yoga instructors, interior designers and home builders. My work has appeared in 805 Living, Click magazine, HuffPost, Santa Barbara Dining & Destinations, Santa Barbara Life & Style, Santa Barbara Magazine, Santa Barbara Seasons and other local publications.
In 2016, I was one of 200 finalists (the only one from Santa Barbara County) in the VOICE Image Collection, an annual photography competition put on by Click & Company, an internationally-recognized family of brands that empowers photographers to capture life beautifully. Thirty-five-thousand images were submitted for consideration. In 2015, I was included on an international list of the “Top 100 Photographers to Watch.” The list — placement upon which is highly coveted by industry professionals — is published annually by Clickin’ Moms, a vibrant community of more than 16,000 professional and aspiring photographers.
pc: Posy Quarterman