Kel Holliday + The Story Behind

Kel says it best when she shared this image on IG that immediately struck a cord with us….”my weirdness is my magic.” As photographers, we sometimes get stuck in a rut. The creativity runs dry because you are doing the same thing over and over within your photography realm. That’s why when we have ideas, as weird as they may seem, we need to create them. Some will fail and some, like Kel’s, will soar!

We are super excited to have Kel on the blog today in our continuing series, The Story Behind. Keep reading to learn more about how this inspiring photo was created:

IG Handle:.

What inspires your art?
My children. I hope that they always believe in magic and that anything is possible. My style came about from trying to make their childhood imaginations a reality. Also, Illustrations. Books. Movies. Many times, just life in general. I love making the “impossible” possible.

Where was this photo taken?
This photo was taken in Kansas City, KS, in my son’s bedroom.

How did the location add or hinder to your image?
My son’s room is the only room in our home that has fantastic window light. If I’m going to be shooting indoors, I always use his room.

DSLR, iphone, instant or film?
DSLR, Canon 6D Mark II and shot with a Sigma 105mm 1.4 lens.

What were your camera settings for this image?
1/320 sec at f1.4, ISO 160.

Can you tell us “The Story Behind” this shot?
This image was actually for a loop I’m in and the theme that week was “Black and White.” I had this concept floating around in my head for a while, but it got put on the backburner. So when I saw the theme for black and white and I knew this would be the perfect opportunity to attempt the idea, and give it that dramatic feel I saw in my head.

What speaks to you about this image? What specifically made you press the shutter?
Anything involving my children always speaks to me in some way. I’m pretty sure all parents feel that way. For this one, I loved the details of his hands. This was one of the first times I had used the Sigma 105mm, and I was so blown away by the details. After I edited this one, I wasn’t expecting it to affect me in the way that it has. It’s weird. It’s different. It’s exactly what I strive to be as not only an artist but a human being. As I said in the caption of this image, “my weirdness is my magic.”

What was your composition technique with this shot?
I definitely wanted center composition for this shot. I wanted my son to be the main focus of the image.

Did you have any lighting challenges/How did you light the image?
This is all window light. This day was a cloudy day, so I had to watch my lighting when the sun would go behind clouds.

Did you use any special techniques – freelensing, prism, etc?
Not for this image.

Was this photo happenstance or did you visualize it prior? If so, how did you envision the image and set up for it?
The concept was one I had wanted to do for some time. I knew I was going to have to take two separate images of my son — one with his hands on his face and one of just his face. That was easily the most challenging part of this whole image. Trying to get a five year to sit still and look at the camera at the same angle is not an easy task.

Did you use a preset to edit this image, your own selective edits or a combination of both?
I edit everything by hand in Photoshop and Camera Raw.

Do you have any addition information you would like to share with our readers?
I think the most asked question I got was if this was an in-camera double exposure or not. And no, this was all done in Photoshop. I took two separate images and blended them in PS. I wanted it to look like a double exposure but didn’t’ want to attempt to try and get it in-camera. Simply because Photoshop is and always will be my comfort zone. I know that I have complete control of the placement and making my vision come to life. And also, as I said previously, my son is five, and I knew him sitting still was going to be the biggest challenge with this concept. Trying to get an in-camera double exposure, probably would have driven me bonkers.

See more of Kel’s inspiring work at the following link: