To Top

Daily Inspiration: Meet Kara Shelley

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kara Shelley. 

Hi Kara, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstories.
When I started this journey, I was a mom of 3 and had my fill of the Walmart Photo Experience. I dabbled with photography but never committed to venturing down the path. At that time, I was still working full time and just started with friends and family. When my mother became terminally ill, she made me promise I would do something with my gift. She helped me come up with the name and told me that she believed this was what I was supposed to do. Fast forward about ten years or so of working in my free time and honing my craft to try to come up with my own style. I was so blessed to be able to stay home with our fourth and last child and watch my other kids grow into adulthood. Now that the youngest is old enough to be self-sufficient, I made the decision that I was going to make waves, get my name out there, put myself out there and find my people. I started to become more active in my wedding networking groups and mentoring newer wedding vendors that was looking for a way into the industry. I remember very vividly how hard it is to be new, and it’s tough! Imposter Syndrome is real! I love being able to bring those people into the industry and help build a friendly and open atmosphere for us all to collaborate together. I work with so many amazing vendors that have turned into friendships and accountability partners, that have kept me on track. They have pushed me to work harder, be a little louder, and show everyone my talent. Now that I am in The Pitch’s Top 5 of KC Best of Kansas City Wedding Photographers, opening an office space in North Kansas City and the bookings that are filling 2022 and 2023, I am over the moon excited to see where this journey takes me!

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
When you have four kids there are always challenges, but we have tried to show them that when you have goals, you find ways to adapt and overcome. No matter what path you choose, you have to decide how important it is to you. I started out still working full time in corporate, trying to be supermom, superwife, run my business and then tried to add college to the mix! It just became too much! This is also when my chronic illnesses were getting the best of me, so knew it was time to slow down. I have since been diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease as well as Abdominal Migraines but continue to love my job so much, I have yet to miss a wedding in 12 years! Pushing through tough days has proven to me that I am a warrior and I am stronger than I ever believed.

I have also been blessed with a supportive husband, who continues to encourage me to put myself out there and break through the chaos to grow Life Expressions Photography. With his help, I was able to quit my corporate job, focus more on my family, grow myself as a photographer and grow my presence with Life Expressions Photography. With the thousands of other amazing wedding photographers in KC, I knew I had to stand out in order to be seen. New doors have been opening and I couldn’t be more excited! I am continuing to build a network of so many amazing vendor friendships that support my goals, I couldn’t do it without their help!

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
I help those celebrating their wedding day by not just capturing its most important moments and emotions, but to tell the story of their special day. An 12 year experienced photographer, people-person by nature, remarkable posing skills, my eye for detail, and touches of artistic creativity, I have been honored for years to capture satisfied couples and families. My job isn’t just about capturing the day; it’s about knowing how to handle wedding day obstacles seamlessly, documenting memories and working with your wedding vendors to have the best day ever. I focus on what makes each big day unique and personal. I work side by side throughout the entire day with love and patience (and a little quirkiness) to provide each event with the creative and personal attention it deserves, and treat them as if they were my own family and friends.

My photographic style creates images that burst with true color, life, and romance while serving my couples with passion, professionalism, and a stress-free (mostly) experience for their wedding day or family session. One of my favorite parts of this journey with my clients is when you see your photos and you relive the emotions you felt at those moments. From laughter to tears, and everything in between, I am there to tell your story.

Are there any books, apps, podcasts, or blogs that help you do your best?
Anything Brene Brown does has guided me to be courageous and strong. I am such an advocate for mental health and knowing who we are as individuals. I have listened to years of self-help and trauma work and believe that everything we do comes down to preserving our mental health and helping others find their voices. Healing of my childhood PTSD I found confidence and strength to keep pushing myself to do more and accomplishing more than I ever would have thought I could.

Contact Info:

Suggest a Story: VoyageKC is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More in Local Stories