Karen Skelly, of Karen Skelly Photography, was four years old when she held her first camera. Her father was a wedding photographer and took portraits of his family. Skelly still has the pictures that he took of her throughout the years as a baby, toddler and teenager.
She also has the memories. In today’s world dominated by digital photographs and amateur photographers, Skelly uses her professionalism to capture moments in tangible ways. “That’s the sort of thing people need to treasure,” Skelly said of printed and professional photographs. “It’s always nice to have something more permanent.”
Even though Skelly has years of experience with photography, she did not develop her hobby into a career until 2007, when she moved from Denver to Rifle, CO with her husband and son. “It was a good place to start,” Skelly said. “I was able to learn, education myself, and practice.”
Having always wanted to do photography as a business, Skelly began focusing on honing the craft, which included successfully completing a certification course. The certification process consisted of a 100-question test and the submission of 20 images from 20 different photo shoots, all of which were judged on lighting, posing and exposure. Even after moving to the Durango area in 2012, Skelly continues what she started then by constantly learning, studying, and shooting. “It’s a personal journey to make sure I’m doing things properly for my clients, that I know what I’m doing,” said Skelly.
Skelly focuses mainly on weddings, but she also enjoys shooting family portraits and high school seniors. “I love creating fun memories for my clients, whether it’s a wedding or a family portrait,” said Skelly.
Skelly helps create those memories by offering two or three locations for family portraits, often suggesting outdoor locations and a fun activity based on the weather. Fall might have the family throwing leaves in the air, winter encouraging snowmen construction, or summer offering a game of tag. For weddings, Skelly prefers to select weddings that have an unusual aspect or are otherwise creative in some way. “I enjoy the emotion, the love, the families,” said Skelly of her wedding sessions. “It’s just such a special occasion and I love being involved in it.”
When she’s not behind the camera, Skelly and her husband, who are now empty nesters with their son in college, can be found camping, hiking or running. “I’ve met a lot of great people here,” said Skelly. “I love Durango.”
Originally published in the September 2013 edition of the Durango Chamber of Commerce’s Chamber Connection.