Take Control of Your Creativity

Have you ever felt like you have passed your prime- creativity wise? 

The past few months I feel like everything I had created looked the same, none of it had a solid concept, the colors were all wrong, it just wasn’t my best work…  I felt like anything good that I would ever create was in the past.

Why continue if I would never get better? 

Instead of feeling bad about myself, I decided to push myself to get out of the invisible box that I had encased myself in.  I got together with my first ever muse, Emily, and everything fell into place.

I always work better if I have a plan before I shoot.  This time I had sketched three separate ideas in my journal and even thought of one on the drive there!  We ended up cutting one of the ideas and saving it for a different day and location.
I feel really proud of this image, not because it’s the best image I’ve ever created…  However, it is one of my favorite pieces because it brought me back to my  creative reality.  It is something so out of the ordinary for me to work with little to no color in an image, or my subject facing the side of the frame, and no movement.  Making these small changes in the way I shoot really opened my creative process to create something that feels more authentic and has more emotion attached to it.


We are all artists, it’s okay to have bad days, bad weeks, and even bad months and years.  It happens!  We are all very creative, emotional individuals who use art as a way to express those emotions.  That being said- find a way to break out of those invisible boxes that so many of us find ourselves in and create new and original work because of it!

"Take Control" ©KaLee Kilgrow 2015

“Take Control” ©KaLee Kilgrow 2015




What Defines Creativity?

I was honored to be asked to participate in a creative perspective event that was being held including a few local photographers and models, who were all strangers.  We were all to show up blindly to the chosen location and a concept would be reveled and we would then go off on our own with our selected models and create art using the theme provided.  At first it was hard not to look at it as a competition, though after some time shooting we all became friends.  This was a major challenge for me, as I am used to planning every detail including a “sketch” to refer to.

I photographed 5 different scenes, and so far have edited 2.  This was a dream of an experience, I can’t wait until I can participate in one again!

"All Things" ©KaLee Kilgrow 2015 Model: Madi Beckstead

“All Things” ©KaLee Kilgrow 2015
Model: Madi Beckstead



"Withered" ©KaLee Kilgrow 2015 Model: Madi Beckstead

“Withered” ©KaLee Kilgrow 2015
Model: Madi Beckstead

My Identity

I try not to talk about my personal life online.  I like to keep that part of me separate from my work.  Though this is a subject that has really been weighing heavy on my mind lately.  I want to introduce myself and explain my art in its entirety for the first time.

I identify myself as many things.  Amongst many things I am a wife, a mother, and an artist.  Those things aren’t my identity.  My identity is in the Lord.  I am a daughter of Christ, saved by grace and grace alone.  I lived my life identifying myself with things all around me, and I never had a chance to be myself.  After becoming a Christian on July 4th 2009 I have been striving to express myself and my faith through my art.  I don’t usually explain my concepts when I release a new photo, most of the time the model doesn’t even fully understand why I am pouring red sticky liquid over her head while she stands in an empty field…  This post will hopefully explain that.


I have had numerous people tell me that I am “Gothic”, “morbid”, “creepy”, and so many other words that I don’t find complimenting to my art.  I understand that it is not said in harm and they aren’t, in any way, trying to offend me.  How would they know that my photos all come from a biblical reference?

  • I use a lot of the color red in my images, mainly to represent blood.  Blood is a very prominent aspect of the Christian faith, as Jesus laid down his own life for the world.  Believers are covered or washed by the blood of Jesus, making us clean and new in His sight.  So to me the color red represents a new creation.  It is a joyous expression to show that what was once broken can be healed and washed new.
  • Something else I use a lot of in my art is bones and deathly looking characters.  This is to represent our bodied while we are living in this world.  The brokenness of a brittle lifeless body can express the feeling of being so broken, turning to Jesus because He is the only thing that can get you through the trials ahead of you.


I realize that in sharing the back story behind my work, it may not appeal to as many people as if I would have never shared my reasoning, however I felt it to be an important topic to explain.  That being said, feel free to interpret my art any way you’d like.

"Loves Full Embrace" © KaLee Kilgrow Photography 2015

“Loves Full Embrace” © KaLee Kilgrow Photography 2015

"By the Blood" ©KaLee Kilgrow 2013 (7 of 52)

“By the Blood” ©KaLee Kilgrow 2013
(7 of 52)

"The Haunted" ©KaLee Kilgrow 2013 (1 of 52)

“The Haunted” ©KaLee Kilgrow 2013
(1 of 52)

"Knitting Class" ©KaLee Kilgrow 2012 Model: Emily Lefler

“Knitting Class” ©KaLee Kilgrow 2012
Model: Emily Lefler


It’s Been a While…

The title says it all…  It really has been too long since I’ve created, since I’ve written about my passion, and since I’ve felt the same type of passion I have for my art.  Some of you may know that I am coming back from a long, and much needed, break to give myself time to prepare and have my baby boy, Canon (I just want to preface that I did not name my son after a camera).  He is a little over six months now, and couldn’t be more amazing.  He is truly a joy and my very best friend.  I have enjoyed spending every moment with him while I am getting to know him, and while he gets to know the world around him.  That being said, I think a year is long enough!

While sitting at home playing with my boy, I had this passion rush over me, I felt the want NEED to create!  So I sat down and “sketched” an idea.  On the same sheet of paper I wrote down every detail of the shot.  I even went as far as to sketch (and I use that word loosely) my detail shots after the initial photo had been taken.  I wrote down what the piece would mean to me, how it inspires me, who will model, who will assist, who will do makeup, where the photo would be taken, what the color scheme would look like, how would it be cropped, where the horizon would intersect with the models body, etc.  I wanted to make sure I had every detail on paper so I didn’t have a chance to forget.  I became obsessed with this idea, I just had to bring it to life!

Once I had all of my planning and organizing completed, I called two of my favorite girls to help me create this photo, Katy as the beautiful and brave model and Megan as the talented and awesome makeup artist/assistant.

Here is the final image from my first shoot coming back from maternity leave.  Many more photos will be coming soon!

"Loves Full Embrace" © KaLee Kilgrow Photography 2015

“Loves Full Embrace” © KaLee Kilgrow Photography 2015

Megan was so awesome and took some behind the scenes shots, check them out!

Photo Jun 17, 11 31 17 PM Photo Jun 17, 11 31 15 PM Photo Jun 17, 11 31 12 PM Photo Jun 17, 11 31 10 PM

And a final look at the amazing makeup that Megan did on Katy!!!

Photo Jun 17, 11 31 20 PM

Solo Gallery Show at Luxe 218!

I couldn’t be more excited about my very first solo gallery show at Luxe 218 in Indianapolis Indiana.  It ran from February 2014 to the end of March and I was completely shocked to hear about the amount of people who looked at my work!
Here is a tally from the March opening:

Counter started 2 HOURS after the doors opened!!

Counter started 2 HOURS after the doors opened!!


This has been such a great experience for me in my photography career.  The year started off a little rocky, to say the least, with the loss of my grandma late in 2013 and a lot of new changes happening early 2014, I wasn’t so focused on my photography work.  After seeing the photos from my first gallery (In an entirely different state, none the less) I am so inspired to keep running hard toward my goals and working harder than ever to be as successful as I dream to be.
I know I talk about myself and my goals a lot, but this one is a little different.  I read a blog about writing to yourself from the future about who you are then.  Listing a few things that make you a better person than you are today.  By doing that you can give yourself a role model that you can actually strive to be like, rather than looking up to a completely different person.
I wanted to post a few things that I am hoping I can say to myself 10 years from now:

– You make it. You make it past the point you are now.  It’s hard to believe in the moment, but you make it.
– You give more.  In your art, you give back to what you believe in.
– You express yourself exactly how you want to, there is no holding back.

These are things that I want to work toward and be more like the future me.  The future me is someone I can aspire to be exactly like!
I don’t take photographs to become successful, though that is something I aspire to become, but it’s not first and foremost importantce wise in my creative journey.  I want to inspire others, and I want to share my life with the entire world.  I have some really big things coming in the next few months and I am so excited to share them with you.  But for now I will leave you will a few photos from my very first solo gallery show!

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“I look up to my future self instead of someone else who I can never become, because after all, the best person you can ever hope to be is the best version of yourself.”
                                            ~Brooke Shaden


6 things I wish I would have known when I started photography

I was thinking the other day, I have learned so much from the first time I picked up my camera to now.  I have made so many mistakes and I’m sure I will continue to make mistakes and I will continue to learn from them and become a better photographer from them.  Here is a list of things that I wish someone had told me from the beginning.
I wanted to compile a list of my thoughts and “failures”, for lack of a better word, but I wanted to keep it more general.  For all creatives alike!  So I am talking about photography in my life, but these can absolutely be applied for anything creative that you enjoy.
A wise man (my dad) once told me that in anything creative, there will always be people who live their lives solely to make you feel bad about what you’re doing, because they can’t do it themselves.   There will always be someone you look up to and hope to be like in a few years, likewise, there will always be someone who thinks the same about you.  So keep growing and challenging yourself and it will happen!  We are all creative- It’s just takes some time to remember how to use it.

"To Feel Something" ©KaLee Kilgrow 2014 Model: Miss Amber La Roux

“To Feel Something” ©KaLee Kilgrow 2014
Model: Miss Amber La Roux

6 things I wish I would have been told when I began photography:

1. Be yourself. 
There is a fine line between being inspired by a persons art and duplicating someones art.  It’s easy to do, and it’s done so much!  I do understand that there are no new ideas.  It’s like that with any creative world.  Music is all borrowed–>revised–>released, art is the same way.  Just remember to know your story and you will put your fingerprint on all you create!

2. Listen to others, but don’t let them rule you. 
The public can be such a great encouragement when you post your work online.  We have all seen it before: you spend hours working on a piece then you post it online. Almost immediately you have so many likes and comments on how beautiful and magical what you created is, but then that one person has something to say that may not be as positive and it ruins your whole outlook on life in that very moment.  Don’t let this happen by loving everything you put out into the world before anybody has a chance to do anything but love it as well.

3. Don’t spend too much time looking at other peoples work.  Let yourself be inspired.
This goes along with number 1.  Being yourself sounds a whole lot easier than it actually is.  I think we have all had our moments of loving someones work so much that it gets to that point where you want to be them and create the same work they are creating.  I know we all have that person that we look up to and learn from.  For me, and so many other people around the world, this person is Brooke Shaden.  I watch all of her videos, I schedule time out on my calender when she is on CreativeLive or doing other interviews, I have seen every one of her photos on flickr- many times, I have her books and follow her workshops (I wish I could afford to actually go to one!!).  Around the beginning of my fine art journey I actually wanted to create the same work as her.  I would study her photographs and I would look at every detail until I had it memorized!  I don’t think this was healthy for me, personally.  I love her work and I will continue following her for the rest of her career!!  Though I came to a point when I realized she is a human.  Just like me.  She was “just starting out” once!  She was once not as amazing as she is now.  It took practice for her to become the person she is today and it inspires me, down to my core, to know that I can become “as good” as her one day.  But I don’t want to be her.  I want to be me.

4. Just because you’re one type of artist, doesn’t mean you can’t be another.
So many times in my creative life, I have wanted to venture off into some other creative industry, but I thought it wasn’t allowed because “I’m a photographer” and I can’t do anything but take photographs and that is all.  This scared me because personally I am a very creative person. I love to write!  I am absolutely no good at it! But I do it for me and no one else so it makes me happy!  I am here to tell you that it is allowed! You can be as creative as you would like and if that means you take pictures, play music, write books, and paint then so be it!  Show the world your creative heart, it will make you happy, and that will make others happy.

5. Learn as much as you can!
When I picked up my first camera I actually thought I knew it all.  I was the photographer who wanted to do everything myself and I wouldn’t take anybody’s advice because I thought I had all the answers.  Turns out, I didn’t.  I think this subject is so important!  As an artist, it feels natural to be extra sensitive when people give you advice or critique your work, but remember that they have been where you are and chances are, they only want to help you and see you succeed.

6. Make everyday an adventure- be inspired by the world around you!
This one is a big one for me, personally!  I have a hard time finding inspiration while looking at the same scene I look at every day on my commute around the city, but lately I have tried to look at the world differently!  I’ll give you an example!  Spring is coming a little early this year!  I am very afraid of bees and other flying bugs and I saw my first bee the other day while getting into my car.  I did what I normally do when I see a flying creature- Ducked and ran into my car, slammed the door and locked it to be sure it can’t get me!  Then after I did that I watched it for a minute.  It was flying around my window and a thought came over me that this bug is one of the first of its kind out in the warm clean air.  It has no intention of hurting me, it’s only doing what it was created to do.  I found something so beautiful and poetic about this bee, it helped me to see the world in a different way that I would normally.  I am making it a personal goal to search these moments out because those are the things that inspire me to create.  Try it for yourself- it’s truly a warm feeling when you see the thing you’ve seen your entire life in a whole new light.

I have many thoughts that I would like to share, so I decided to split this blog into two different posts.  Part two will be coming soon with some exciting news about what is happening with my work!

If you have anything that you wish you would have known before you began your creative journey, I would love to read about them!  Leave your comments below and follow me by clicking the links below.


A New Direction: Week 3

For this weeks image, I wanted to step out of my comfort zone a little bit and push myself a little farther than I’ve ever gone before.  I got together with one of my good friends and went to the local cemetery, from there we went with how we felt.  We just let the our creativity lead.  I had a few specific details I wanted, things like I wanted her in a long cloak, and I wanted darker makeup and red hair, other than that we just ran with it!  She did so great as I asked her to run to me wearing 4 inch heels through show down a hill.  Or when I asked her to spin in a circle while running toward me without tripping on the cloak.
Here is my favorite image so far from the set:

"A New Direction" ©KaLee Kilgrow 2014 Model: Miss Amber La Roux

“A New Direction” ©KaLee Kilgrow 2014
Model: Miss Amber La Roux

And a before and after:

Before and After

Before and After

I spend a while on this image making it into what I had envisioned on location.  I liked the blue lining in her cloak, but I wanted a pop of red because her character reminded me of little red riding hood making her way through the woods to visit her grandmother, but in this story she got scared in the woods and ventured off on a small road headed in a different direction.  She is lost on her own and trying to find her way back to the woods that she is so familiar with.  It is a classic story that has been done and re-done many times, but I have always had a strong love for nursery rhymes and their dark meaning! I look forward to recreating some of my favorite classic nursery rhymes!
The rest of this series will be released throughout the next week on my facebook and instagram accounts!

If you like my work, please feel free to check out my other work at any of these links below!