We had the good fortune of connecting with Kailey Nellis and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kailey, what role has risk played in your life or career?
I think of risk as an opportunity — an opportunity for growth, adventure, and creativity. Risk has played a huge role in both my life and career. Almost three years ago, I took the risk of moving half way across the country to a city I had visited once. I moved away from everyone I knew and the place where I had begun to grow my photography business. I spent two years there before deciding to take yet another risk by working travel contracts and only knowing where I’ll be living for 13 weeks at a time. Not having a permanent location has forced me to transform my photography business. Instead of focusing on portrait and event photography, I have shifted my focus to travel, wildlife, and landscape photography.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I am a travel and landscape photographer. What sets me apart from others is that I move to a new location every 13 weeks, so the subject of my photography is constantly changing. I got to where I am today professionally by going out with my camera and challenging myself to find new ways of photographing places that have been photographed by thousands of other photographers. With so many other photographers out there, this is no easy task. One lesson I’ve learned along the way is that as a photographer, you can’t think of other photographers as your competitors. We are all in this business together and can learn and benefit from cooperating with one another.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I’m not one to go out for a night on the town, so I’ll leave the eating and drinking recommendations up to someone else. The best places Arizona has to offer, in my opinion, are their national parks and monuments. While the Grand Canyon gets all the attention, and rightfully so because it is truly magnificent, Petrified Forest National Park should be on everyone’s list to visit as well. The Blue Mesa Trail is an easy hike that anyone can do and the views are unlike any other place in Arizona! For animal lovers, I’d suggest the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum or kayaking / paddleboarding the Lower Salt River to see the wild horses and river otters. The Desert Botanical Garden also can’t be missed if you’re in the Phoenix area.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
There are many people who have helped me to get to where I am in my career now. In fact, too many to name! I am most thankful for all of the friends and family who join me on my crazy adventures and don’t mind my frequent stops for photos/videos. Also a huge thank you to all my coworkers I’ve met along the way who’ve treated me with such kindness and given me great advice on places I need to check out while in the area.
Other: TikTok @kaileynellis
All images taken by me – Kailey Nellis Photography