First Blog Post: A Brief History of Me

Well, it’s happened. I’ve finally started an official Katherine Elyse Photography blog! Now, I’ve done this in the past, started writing with no rhyme, reason, or plan. But now, NOW I am doing it the right way. I’ve got a list and everything. With this fool proof plan I can’t possibly fail! (Knock on SO much wood.)

So. Here we are. Here…. we… are…… I wasn’t sure what I wanted to talk about in my first post. I toyed with the idea of just jumping right into advice for brides or my favorite gear or talking about the business aspects of photography, but I figured that might come off a little but strong, a lot-a-bit pretentious, and pretty darn impersonal. After all, the common thread holding all of my business aspects together isn’t really any of that stuff, it’s just me! So, here I am, ready to talk about myself.

I guess I’ve been lifting lenses and shifting shutters for the past 6 or 7 years. To be honest, I have always been a musician, not a physical artist. But when I snagged my first film camera from an ex in college something happened inside of me. It felt like magic in my hands. I felt cool just holding it! I had one goal at my families Thanksgiving extravaganza at my Grandma’s house: get that little pointer thing inside the camera into the middle and snap away! (You can see how formal and technical my excruciatingly humble beginnings were…) I managed to change the film without exposing it to the light and was able to take some photos over the weekend. I remember being so excited to take them to Walgreens to get them developed. In the end about half of my images were pitch black. A discouraging start, to say the least. But some of them, somehow, were magical and perfect (to my eyes, at least)! What had I done to accomplish this?? To pull the shapes from the darkness and balance light?? I had no clue. But I knew that I was going to love figuring it out.

I’m pretty sure I swindled my parents into buying me my first camera soon after as a joint Christmas/birthday present. It was expensive for something so small that I had never shown any interest in before. Their act of faith in me and their willingness to help me to expand my passion is something I’m thankful for on a daily basis. That is the type of people they have always been. Always pushing me forward, always keeping an open mind to my fickle and ever changing interests. Long story short: They. Are. Wonderful.

Anyway, after I got my first camera is was months of photoshoots with my friends, taking pictures of my roommate’s reggae band, going to the skate park with my Zumiez co-workers, and wandering around trying to be deep and taking pictures of single flowers on lonely vines. I was every inch and artist at heart, I just didn’t have ANY technical skills. I was figuring it out the long way; experience first, explanation later. I find I still do this and it really makes me laugh. I could have learned SO much quicker had I walked to the library and read a darn book, but where’s the adventure in that?

I’ve always been a pretty speedy learner and I seemed to constantly have a creative thought in the back of my mind so I’m happy to say I got better quickly. I practiced all the time (HINT: PRACTICE IS KEY) and I was having so much fun! From candid shots to portrait sessions to themed shoots, I was working hard to get better and that is exactly what happened. Then I remember having a few friends inquire about doing their senior sessions and it stopped me in my tracks. These were photos that were going to be shown to family; photos to commemorate a huge step in their life; photos that would be around FOREVER. I was terrified. So I agreed, but I was adamant that we go shoot with low expectations and then see how they turned out. No way was I going to guarantee good photos. I mean, they could potentially end up being absolute garbage! No guarantees, I said over and over. But in the back of my head… in the back of my head I thought maybe. Maybe I could do it. Maybe I could pull it off.

HUZZA! A small taste of success! Are they perfect? Is my editing on point? Not quite. (Looking back at them I do cringe a little bit.) But were they useable? Did they capture personalities? Were they at the very least acceptable? Yes! I had never been so thankful to have friends who loved me. Friends who trusted me to do this. Even if they didn’t know it then, this first round of sessions helped me break a barrier I had within myself. Maybe photography was not just for my personal pleasure anymore. Maybe this art form wasn’t just for kicks and giggles. Maybe I could get GOOD at it!

After those sets of grad photos everything was a whirlwind. I kept practicing at shows and in fields. I co-led a project that I am still proud of that centered around word play and tastefully nude women (yes, you read that right). I graduated from college, I moved to the Bay Area to follow my heart, and through it all I managed to get hired to take photos of people I hadn’t previously met. I was ecstatic! I don’t think I realized it then, but the path photography took me down has continued to make me happy in ways I never expected. Life was (and continues to be) good.

                             2009               2010                2011                             2013


Fast forward slightly to 2016 and here I am writing a blog about myself to a handful of friends and fans. 2015 and 2016 have been the most incredible years for me as an artist and as a person. I’m receiving consistent requests for wedding photos, family photos, maternity shoots, and everything in between. I’ve grown into a human being that I can honestly say I would want to be friends with. Together with my boyfriend, we’ve built up a beautiful world to exist within and I’ve fallen more deeply in love with him than I could have ever imagined. I’ve begun to focus heavily on and nurture the relationships that are most important to me. And, of course, I have developed a deep strong passion for photography and grown my little business into a (nearly) full-time venture. I’m always out capturing engagement kisses, meeting big crazy families, rubbing pregnant bellies, and watching people marry the person they love most. I’m feel lucky and proud that a simple interest in photography has sparked something this incredible. It’s a wonderful art form with an incredible community of people to be a part of.

Oh! And to all you dear readers who are struggling to find purpose in their photo work, the takeaway here is that I never knew I’d ever be standing here, owner of my own business, building my little empire. But I’m here now, and I wouldn’t change a damn thing. 🙂


                                                                      2016 (So Far!)

About Kate

Kate Cohen (she/her) is an International LGBTQIA+ wedding photographer based in Northern California who is focused on storytelling, candid captures, and iconic portraits of couples all over the globe.

  1. Maddie McSorley says:

    I am so happy for you Kat, and I can’t wait to have you at my wedding to take pictures! =) Everything you take is so beautiful, and the happiness is almost tangible. I look forward to following your lovely new blog! -Maddie

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