One On One With Photographer Will Kennedy

Will Kennedy

Over the years I must admit here in Atlanta, I have met some really awesome photographers! They have gone on to do some amazing work in print and more! I have done my share of photoshoots too and when you are on set, some photographers you really connect with and one of those people would be Will Kennedy! We first met on set at a Kontrol Magazine shoot and he was the sweetest guy and must I say, talented too with a great eye, open for suggestions and ideas and he’s very creative! For those of you trying to break into the photography business, especially fashion photography, come inside and read what Will has to say about the industry, challenges and rewards. Happy Tuesday! 

When did you launch Images by Kennedy? And what made you want to be a photographer?

I launched Images by Kennedy in 2008. I did so because I had just moved to Georgia and I couldn’t find a good job that I was comfortable with. I would work these odd jobs and I knew in my heart that I wasn’t supposed to be there. I knew that wasn’t my calling. I had previous experience in photography and I decided to go back to it, and see what I could make of it. In the past I had worked under an experienced photographer by the name of King Yella who was working with celebrities like Mystikal, Lil Boosie, Mariah Carey and Shaquille O’Neal. Assisting him on shoots gave me the basic knowledge of how digital camera’s operated. There was a period of time where I didn’t shoot at all while I was transitioning from living in Baton Rouge, to moving to Atlanta. Fast forward to 2008. I had been in Atlanta 2yrs. I told my then girlfriend (and now wife) that I wanted to get back to photography. Chanan’s dad had done photography for many years, but wasn’t currently shooting. At the time he had a 30D Canon camera. He said that if we were going to start a photography company we need to have appropriate equipment. He gave me his Canon 30D, and bought my very first set of lights. He gave me a crash course in how to use the camera and lights, and that was the start of Images By Kennedy.
What was one of your biggest Challenges being a photographer?

One of my biggest challenges was having to relearn everything. A lot had changed since I had last picked up a camera. If I had to be more specific, I would have to say learning lighting techniques was the worst. I had no formal education. Outside of working with Yella, or getting info from my wife’s father, my education was pretty much YouTube University and trial and error. Light was a big problem for me. I didn’t understand it, and It had me scratching my head. To learn more about light, I started doing test shoots and they were ok, but in reality looking back, they were terrible. But I never gave up, and I always learned from my mistakes. That process went on for a long time. Til this day, I’m still learning new techniques. It’s a never ending cycle and that’s what I love about it. Photography has no rules or limitations. It’s subjective, so there really isn’t a right or wrong. Its all about what is pleasing to your eye.
What has been one of your most rewarding experiences being a photographer?

One of the most rewarding experiences is walking into a Barnes and Nobles, or a Kroger and seeing our work in nationwide magazines. I cant lie, the first time I saw our work in print I said “yep, I’m the man” lol Little did I know, I still had a lot to learn. It’s difficult to single out just one experience because there have been so many times that I have found myself thinking, “Wow, this is Awesome!”. Winning Photographer of the Year for Kontrol Magazine with other great photographers like Derrick Blanks and Allen Cooley in the same category was a high. Now that I think about it, there is one major reward that trumps all the others. That feeling of making my parents proud of me as they see the new strides we are making in this industry. As the baby of 5 in family most of them know me as Billy Baby (family nickname), so I think I may have blindsided them with my work, and how quickly we exceled. I always have to chuckle when they see some of our work featured , and they ask “Billy you shot all those pictures?!” Lol!

You work with your spouse who is also your Creative Director for the brand. How is it working and living with your significant other?

A lot of couples may find it difficult always being together, or have business life spilling into their personal life. But I can honestly say I enjoy it! We are literally best friends. We look out for one another and know how each other works. I guess you can say that we’re a well oiled machine. It isn’t always perfect. We butt heads from time to time like normal couples. Although Chanan is creative as well, she tends to have a more analytical way of thinking. I’m the artist… the free spirit. So there are times when we approach things differently, but the respect we have for one another, and knowing the significant role we each play in the company, makes it easy to find common ground. At the end of the day I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Images by Kennedy

Favorite kind of shoots you like to do? And who would you absolutely like to work with?

My favorite type of shoots are the sessions that get really creative with hair, makeup or wardrobe. I tend to think that shooting the unexpected makes for the most memorable images. We like taking something miscellaneous and building a shoot around it. There was a time I was in a thrift store and saw an interesting plant basket. It looked like the old school baskets you used to see in hanging in your moms house. I didn’t know what I wanted to do with it. I just knew it looked cool and I wanted to find a way to incorporate it in something. I took it home, spray painted it, and we ended up using it as a hat for a body paint shoot our team did. I work with a bunch of extremely talented hair stylist and makeup artist who have no fear stepping outside the box, or kicking the box over for that matter. So when we come together I ALWAYS love what we create. In terms of who I would love to work with…. Off Top, President Obama would be life changing because he is a visionary and great leader. Outside of him, I ‘d love to work with Kerry Washington, or Mary J Blige, Adele, or Torie Kelly. I’m sure if you asked my wife, she’s going to say President Barack Obama as well, but the top two on her list after is probably Morris Chestnut or Adam Levine, lol!

Whats new with photography that people out there may want to know about?

We just rolled out a new offering of moving images. We call them “Fluid Motion”. It is a type of photo and video fusion that produces eye catching movement in what would normally be a static motionless image. They are great for social media and advertising. Some of our biggest clients are using Fluid Motion images with their brands and are commanding attention. We are excited at all the possibilities with these Fluid Motion images.


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