Alumni Spotlight: Robyn Kessler and Vertié Photography

Robyn Kessler, co-owner of Vertié Photography and CCSF Photo Alumni turned department Industry Advisor – recently shared her latest “shoot” with us. Read more about the engagement session, her photo business and Robyn below. When we asked Robyn what she suggest studying more of at CCSF to help prepare for a freelance business, she said that “business classes are a must”! For example “PH99 Business Practice for Photographers” offered each semester by Prof. Ken Light. She added that while photographic technique is also important – running a business is full of  surprises to be prepared for. She also suggested becoming active in organizations such as WPPI and ASMP to help network and find good examples.

About the Shoot “Christina and Antonio Engaged! 8/28/2012”

Here’s how our epic and fabulous Engagement Session with C and A went:

We started this session at the de Young (where Maria and I actually showed up early so we could check out the Gaultier exhibit, and holy amazeballs! We’ve decided we need to step our shooting outfits up a notch!). Anyway, we watched Antonio and Christina kiss and hold hands in the midst of all the beauty and it was like a real-life Ferris Bueller and Sloane Peterson- playing hookey from work and hanging out at the art museum! So romantic.

Then we head across town to the Car Wash, which doesn’t sound as romantic, but au contraire– it’s where they met!! How’s that for a pick-up joint!

And then we scooted over to Smitten and the bier garten where we finished up with some ice cream and, well, beer.

And so, we were able to sum up their life in one afternoon- Car Wash Art Ice Cream. They decided that will be the name of their band 🙂

About Robyn:

I earned a degree in photography ten years ago, but it wasn’t until some time later that I thought more seriously about it as a career path. While I continued to photograph for enjoyment and as I traveled, I had also gone back to school. I received a degree in psychology and non-profit organization management, and was in the midst of applying to grad school. A career in photography was not in the plans, but then we adopted Tatanka. Tatanka changed everything. He was the fiercest, craziest, ugliest, and cutest small brown Pug/Chihuahua mix either my husband or I had ever known, and I fell madly in love with him. He delighted and inspired me, and before long I was taking pictures of him on a daily basis. Around this time, I photographed a couple of weddings for friends which I found to be fulfilling as well as great fun. I realized I was so incredibly happy using my camera in these new found ways that I was spending more time doing that and less time preparing for school. One day, as I was driving from Golden Gate Park, I became so excited at the sudden idea of dropping my grad school plans and becoming a wedding and dog photographer that I almost got in an accident. I called my husband Shawn right then, who, in his usual supportive way, said, “Go for it!”

Now here I am, four years after that fateful day, photographing dogs and weddings, and I love it with all my heart. I feel that this is what I was meant to do, for nothing is quite so thrilling as knowing that I preserved a moment of great meaning to somebody.As I enter people’s homes and they let me into their lives for an afternoon, sharing the stories and history of their furry companion, I am continually reminded that I have one of the greatest jobs in the world. It is such a treat to be able to catch these glimpses of devotion and friendship, each one unique, each one the cause of so much happiness in someone’s life.

I am grateful I took crucial time and explored different paths to realize where I belong. My studies of non-profit organizations instilled in me a strong sense of volunteerism and giving back to one’s community. Because of this I try to run a socially and environmentally responsible business by donating, along with my clients’ input, a percentage of my proceeds to various charities. Click here to meet the ones we focus on.

Shawn and I currently live in San Francisco with the aforementioned crazy Tatanka and a very silly but charming Husky/Cattle Dog Morgan. We have become partners in our photography business and together we live a very blessed life


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