January 11, 2023

Kelly Castro

We talk keeping it simple with Kelly.Snapshots

Describe your journey with photography.

I moved to Hollywood when I was 22 with the vague plan of joining a cool band, getting a record deal, and living happily ever after. During my first few months in LA, I slept on my cousin’s futon in his studio apartment. He was having some success as a fashion model at the time, so I was exposed to a lot of photography through he and his friends. I was too focused on music to see all the signs leading me toward photography. I missed a lot of opportunities that I kick myself for not recognizing.

Fast-forward a few years — my band got the record deal we were after and I used some of my advance to buy a digital camera. I had started learning Photoshop a few years prior and I became obsessed with photography and digital imaging.

The music career eventually fizzled out. I’ve supported myself with some combination of camera and computer ever since.

What have you learned along the way that you wish you knew earlier?

“Less is more” - a concept I continue to struggle with.

During capture, I gravitate toward excluding things in the frame that might distract from the subject, but I have to consciously practice giving each element that remains its own space and separation. 

In terms of post processing, it took me a long time to learn not to over-do-it. With today’s tools it’s very easy to make a photo look over-cooked. I make a habit of zooming-out and viewing the picture small to see if it still looks like a photograph.

How did your music career impact your photography?

There are so many parallels between music and photography. Spending time in recording studios taught me that in order to make something unique, sometimes you need to use tools in ways they were not intended to be used. An idea as simple as running a drum machine through a distortion pedal can take you in a whole new direction. I try to take that mindset into photography. 

Post photograph by Kelly Castro

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