Reflections on 2015 (Non-Food Photography Version)

Happy 2016!

The past year was a big one for me. It was the first full year of self-employment. I started 2015 with a modest client base that I built in the last few months of 2014, and had to continue building it up in all directions to solidify this foundation (FEEL THE PRESSURE). I was lucky to meet some great people last year who inspire me, work with people I’ve known for many years in new ways, and bid good riddance to the casualties, which is of course an inevitable part of the hustle.

I ended 2015 with holiday parties, fundraisers, and treating myself to a new camera, lens, and backpack, doctor’s orders. No, the doctor didn’t specifically encourage me to upgrade my camera, but she said slinging heavy shoulder bags is likely the cause of my shoulder and back pain (who knew?). Move over, all of my previous camera bags that cost much more than $25. This $25 DSLR backpack from Amazon has been a game changer for me.

So I thought I’d share a selection of projects I worked on this past year. Feeling as though all I’ve been doing is food photography (that is far from a complaint!), I started by adding non-food photography projects and decided this was plenty of photos for this post. I’ve been so lucky to work on an amazing variety of projects with so many wonderful people! Being self-employed and a perfectionist in a creative field always feels like a work in progress and often feels like you’re kicked back to square one every few weeks with the ebbs and flows. Taking the time to reflect on completed projects reveals accomplishments and lessons, big and small.

Some things that happened:

  • I upgraded all of my technology, equipment, software, and backup systems.
  • I continued working with some awesome clients, and met new ones!
  • I published a new book (sort of)! The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur is getting a shiny new design, complete with new recipes, and coming out with a new title in June 2016. I sent in the updates, new recipes, and new photos last month.
  • I created the designs for and launched a line of prints and greeting cards, then re-launched my online shop, SHOP | kelly peloza photo. And in November/December 2015, I held a fundraiser with The Sweet Bunny Project and donated a portion of all sales made in the shop and in local markets.
  • I learned a whole lot about copyright and the ins and outs of running a photography business, read a lot of books, and started writing about all that stuff: The Dos and Don’ts of Intellectual Property and Copyright, and 8 reasons you can’t afford a budget photographer.
  • I attended the third and final Vida Vegan Con in Austin, TX over the summer!
  • My work and projects appeared on many websites and blogs, but also in print media. That media that is indeed, still alive!
  • I went to Portland, OR and ate a lot of donuts, just for fun!

Here are some of the non-food highlights from 2015 that span from product photography for Instagram, editorial portraits for print, event photography, and more:

I worked with Five Buck Vinyl several times this past year, after starting in 2014. They are a super cool Instagram-based business that auctions off vinyl records each day for $5. Here are a couple of my favorites from the past year (J.Lew’s latest album was also one of my favorites last year, so that may have something to do with this photo selection).



Last April, I met Jo Neenan of EM Interiors Chicago, a unique interior design business that was coincidentally founded around the same time as my photography business. I’ve enjoyed delving into more interior photography in documenting some of the beautiful EM Interiors spaces! I also conducted an interview with Jo on the blog a few months ago.



Last spring, I photographed Georgia Hurst for a special issue of CURE Magazine. Georgia is a writer for CURE Magazine and the founder of I Have Lynch Syndrome, a non-profit focused on advocacy for Lynch syndrome, an inherited trait that increases risk of certain types of cancer.


I photographed the founders of Chicago-based GiveForward, an online fundraising platform that helps patients handle out-of-pocket medical expenses through crowd funding.


My friends Andi and Betty started their new creative services company in Milwaukee last year, and we spent a full day shooting images for their website and social media! Check out Seadog Creative, and an interview I conducted on the blog.



I designed and photographed this business card. I’d love to do more of these designs in 2016, so please get in touch if updating your personal brand is one of your resolutions!


My buddies over at Driftwood Magazine launched a successful Kickstarter campaign and their first issue last summer, and I photographed one of the stories, a feature on Dan and Nicole of Upton’s Naturals. I worked on several projects with Upton’s Naturals last year, and we have an exciting collaboration coming up in T-minus a couple of weeksa photography job in Thailand!


I’m all about supporting the local non-profits and community groups in Chicago, and last year I was introduced to OperaMatic, a Humboldt Park non-profit organization that brings visual arts to the streets. I photographed their annual Moon On The Lagoon event at the park.


Over the summer, I photographed a brunch event hosted by Ashley Gilday. Check out that mimosa bar!


Event photography was a common theme during the summer. I photographed a baby shower for celebrity chef Fabio Viviani at one of his Chicago restaurants, Siena Tavern.


After launching a line of food photography prints and greeting cards in SHOP | kelly peloza photo, I started bringing the designs to local markets. Working on a print and gift line was a long process that required quite a bit of investment, and I’m excited to gradually build upon this portion of Kelly Peloza Photo.

Currently I sell all of the products online and in local markets, and as of this year, two greeting card designs are available at Olivia’s Market in Chicago!


Thank you for a great year!!!

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