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{low down, throw down} with Kelly MacDonald

We are thrilled to have the winner of our Red Leaf Studios photo contest featured on our low down. Kelly MacDonald of Kelly MacDonald Photo + Design  submitted a gorgeous image that captured much attention from our judges. Our readers are what make TML so special and exciting to be a part of and our amazing vendors, like Red Leaf Studios - continue to encourage, inspire and believe in our incredible photography community. It makes us proud. And Kelly -  we celebrate you. xo

Name: Kelly MacDonald
Business name:  Kelly MacDonald Photo + Design
Location:  Woodstock, Ontario, Canada
Website/blog:  www.kellymacdonaldphoto.com and 

Tell us one sentence to describe your photography:
I like to think it's fresh, fun and real!
What's one thing that everyone should know about you?

This is actually my first self-portrait ever... obviously not one of my strengths!

How long have you been doing photography and how did you get started?

I have always loved it. Played around a bit with film but bought my first dslr about 4 years ago and went in to business shortly after. 

What change are you looking most forward to this year...both professionally and personally?
Finding a balance between my work and home life. It's tough but I think that's the one thing that will make you burn out if you don't find it.

When you take pictures just for you, what are they of?

Anything really.

If you were given $500 today, what would be the first thing you would do?

I have a couple of lenses on my wish list - $500 would at least be a start!

Where do you go to find inspiration?

Just about anywhere... fashion magazines, store windows, movies, song lyrics, clothes, colours, people. And quite often inspiration hits where and when you least expect it.

What is your best post processing tip?

Go easy. Clean processing is timeless.

What would you tell someone who is just starting up a photography business?
Be creative and follow your heart. It's hard not to be sucked in to the same thing everyone seems to be doing - work on making yourself stand out.

What color paint is your bedroom? Why? What about your bathroom?

As of just a few days ago it's a light tan and blue/grey. I was at a Jinky workshop in BC and came home to find my boys' bedrooms and ours repainted. A nice surprise (I'm so indecisive about things like that I guess my husband figured he better do it while I'm gone if it's going to get done). And the bathroom is that same light tan (it was just painted as well).

What equipment do you use and if you had only one lens to use...what would it be?
I shoot with a Canon 5D mark II and my only lenses are the 50 1.2L and the 24-70 L. I use the 50 about 85% of the time so that would definitely be my go to lens.

What session idea are you dying to do, but just don't know how to pull it off?

I have a million floating around in my head. Hoping one day they all come to fruition.

Do you have a hidden talent? Or a stupid human trick?

I'm sure I do, I just can't think of it. .. maybe a little too hidden! I do make a mean buttercream!

What was your first paid session like? Were you nervous? Did it turn out how you wanted?
I was very nervous. Instead of doing portfolio building sessions like many photographers, I decided to jump right in and although I look back on it now and cringe, I think I did pretty good considering.

What music do you love? Do you have a favorite song of all time?

I love music that makes me feel something. Lately I've been on a girl kick and have been listening to a different style than I'm used to - Sarah Bareilles, Mindy Gledhill, Amy Seely, Melody Gardot, Ingrid Michaelson, Tristan Prettyman, A Fine Frenzy... all girls.

What is at the top of your wish list right now?
Happiness and success. Happiness I have a hold on but want to keep it or become even happier (who wouldn't want that) and success I hope, is close by... although isn't simply being happy a success.

If you had an entire Saturday to do whatever you wanted...what would you do?

Sip on a latte (uninterrupted) while still in my pjs, then spend the rest of the day with my family and my camera - go for a walk, have some ice cream, play around with nothing else to do but have fun!

When you look back at your life, what are you most proud of?
My boys. I know every parent says it but seriously, they're the best things I've ever created!

How do you get a connection between you and your client?

Honesty, laughter and understanding. It's been pretty easy actually - maybe I just luck out with the greatest clients - I have made so many friends through my sessions.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I've never been good at looking into the future and quite honestly, I can't see past this year but I hope it's in a good space - with my camera by my side of course.

And lastly.....when we started the maternal lens, all of us filled out this questionnaire and shared our answers....now it's your turn :)

What is your favorite word? seriously (maybe not my favourite but definitely used the most)
What is your least favorite word? hate
What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally? a good bottle of wine
What turns you off creatively, spiritually or emotionally? a bad bottle of wine
What sound or noise do you love? the ocean
What sound or noise do you hate? a child in pain
What is your favorite thing to say when you get mad? nothing - when there's silence, that's when you know I'm really mad.
What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? A professional taster... maybe on one of those food shows on tv. What could be better than sampling amazing food all day?
What profession would you not like to do?
If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? You're just in time for happy hour.

Thank you Kelly!!!


  1. Fantastic interview, Kelly!!! Much deserved too! Such a fan of your work and love your fresh style! :)

  2. awesome interview!!

  3. I love your style Kelly! Great interview!!!

  4. Beautiful beautiful work!

  5. Wow! Kelly, you ROCK!! Those are some FANTASTIC images. Thanks for being an inspiration and doing what you love.

  6. Kelly - love your answers, and your fabulous photos!


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