with Courtney Slazinik
Improve your photos
one click at a time
Menu 0
Have You Met Kristy Dooley
photographer interviews
Have You Met Kristy Dooley

Excited about our Have You Met series where I showcase YOU, the photographers of our community. We had over 400 photographers apply for the series in less than a week. I can’t wait to showcase the talented photographers. There is a mix of hobbyist and business owners as well as full-frame and crop sensor users. This may be my new favorite part of the site.

This post contains affiliate links. Thanks in advance for supporting Click it Up a Notch. I am no longer accepting applications for this series.

  • No.
    Tell us a little about yourself and your photography journey.

    I’ve had a long-time passion for pictures; starting in my childhood when I’d snatch images from our family albums and collage them to display in my bedroom. I studied education in college, and for several years following, regretted that I hadn’t chosen photography instead. After hearing me say this sentiment for years, my husband very simply stated “it’s not too late!” I bought a Canon Rebel on the recommendation of a friend in October of 2011 and never looked back.


  • No.
    What is the best advice you received so far on your photography journey?

    The best advice I ever received was to enjoy the process. Like many photographers, my early days were filled with an often disheartening feeling: The more I learned, the more I realized how little I actually knew. I’ll never forget my very first frame with my Rebel- my daughter was dressed in her Halloween costume and the background was actually blurry! I thought I was an instant success. After a few online workshops, I looked back on that image with very different eyes- it was out of focus, the lighting was far from ideal, and the WB was all sorts of crazy. My love for this photo faded, and as my critical eye developed, I took the advice of a friend and decided to enjoy the process. When I look back through our family albums, I can most certainly see my progress (and lots of flaws!) but I also see my babies. I see moments, milestones, and ages that I’ll never experience again, and that is far more important to me than tack sharp focus.

  • No.
    Where do you find your inspiration?

    Children. As my family portrait business began to unfold, I discovered greater use for that college degree I mentioned. I love everything about little ones- the innocence, smiles, and unique personalities of children is always inspiring to me. I have equal love for photographing my own two girls, as I do all the children I get to meet in my business. I work hard to capture what makes each child unique- the images that make their parents realize I captured their children, not just how they look.


  • No.
    What type of background do you have? Self taught? Formal training? Mentor?

    I started taking workshops over at Clickin Moms about six months after I bought my first DSLR and didn’t stop for about two years. I’m a huge advocate for an online learning environment- it’s perfect for busy moms who want to learn!

  • No.
    Are you currently doing any photography projects? If so, what?

    I’ve completed several photography projects- a 365, a 365 with one lens, and am currently more casually pursuing a siblings photo project. My absolute favorite part of being a mom is watching the relationship between my daughters develop and grow. Having the opportunity to document their connection and love for each other from the beginning is a gift in my life. The fact that they’re always together makes this project fairly easy to tackle too!

  • No.
    If you could only use one lens for a year, which would you choose?

    If I could only choose one it would be my Sigma 35mm. I use this almost exclusively with my girls and then for about 50% of my client work. I would miss the bokeh of my 85 in my client work tremendously though!


  • No.
    Share links to 3 of your favorite photography tutorials and tell us why.

    Culling and Editing to Enhance Your Story
    I’m a bit of an over shooter on occasion. This article was so insightful in terms of which images to keep and which to toss.

    Dear Self, A Photography Letter to Myself 5 Years Ago
    This is a post that nearly everyone can relate to. I love the raw, real, and honest perspective- something we all could use!

    Blogging and SEO: The Secret Power of Long Tail
    This article made a huge difference in my SEO understanding when I was just starting my online business presence. SEO is a tough subject to explain and Lisa does an amazing job making this information easy to digest.

  • No.
    What is your favorite image right now?

    This is nearly an impossible question for me, as my favorite is always changing. My current favorite is one of my two girls holding hands and talking. I had this image in my mind for months and the moment finally unfolded in front of me. I can’t guarantee it will be my favorite in a week though!


  • No.
    What type of camera and lenses do you shoot with?

    I currently shoot with a 5d Mark iii and three prime lenses- a Sigma 35mm, and Canon’s 85L and 100L. I’ve owned just about every other focal length there is at one point or another, and my heart has finally settled on these three. They do everything I need to do and more.

  • No.
    Let’s light someone else’s candle, who is a photographer you think we should check out?

    I’m a huge fan of Meredith Novario; her workshop changed the way I shoot significantly, and I absolutely love her emphasis on storytelling. My personal work in particular has taken a huge storytelling turn this year; much in thanks to her! You can check her work out here: Meredith Novario Photography.

  • No.
    What is your biggest challenge when it comes to photography?

    Photography has become akin to my right arm. Without it, something just feels missing for me. Just as the days when I miss my early morning walk, the days where I don’t take a photo that I like (ideally love!), aren’t the same. My biggest challenge always comes each winter; the days are short, the light gets old, and we are stuck inside way too much. These are the times when I will go days without shooting and I always feel like something is missing. I’m working hard in preparation for winter this year to hopefully keep the inspiration and regular shooting in motion!


  • No.
    How do you display your photos?

    I’m in the process of some new photo display walls, but for now I order yearly books from Artifact Uprising– I’m a huge fan of their products. I have single frames all over my house that I’m constantly swapping photos in- I order prints on a regular basis as my girls love to decorate their dresser mirrors with their current favorites as well.

  • No.
    What is the strangest thing you carry in your camera bag?

    I must be boring…ha! I don’t have much in my camera bag other than my gear, a Burts Bees tinted chapstick, and a pack of tissues! I’ll have to start putting more in there!


  • No.
    What is next on your list of things to learn this year in photography?

    I have recently starting experimenting with film. I’m only three rolls in, but I can tell I’m hooked. I’m hoping to upgrade to a vintage film camera in 2016 and spend some more time learning about the art of film.

  • No.
    If people want to follow more of your work where should they go?

    While I do update my website regularly, my Facebook page is likely the easiest place to follow all that I’m up to – Kristy Dooley Photography Facebook Page