Weekly Artist Feature

This week we have with us J.J. from J.J. Killins Photography!! I’ve got to know J.J.’s work through our weekly themes and she’s fantastic! I’m so excited to have her with us! She has chosen the theme {Morning} and I can’t wait to see your images this week!! Have a great week everyone!!



A little about J.J.

My name is J.J., and I am the proud owner of J.J. Killins Photography. I am located near the Twin Cities in Minnesota, and I primarily shoot families. I have been married to the greatest guy for 13 years, and we have two kids – a 10 year old girl and 7 year old boy, who I love fiercely and also love to photograph. Living in Minnesota, I run all year long, but consider 10-70 degrees the perfect temperature range for a good run. I cook a lot, I love my crock pot, and I love salads. I look forward to coffee in the morning. I love, love, love to read, especially middle grade fiction. I document all of my reads and to-reads on Goodreads.


Can you tell us what photography means to you?

Photography is capturing. It’s freezing a moment that seems so small until you have that photograph in your hands and realize that it is everything. I approach clients this way and I approach my own family this way. I want to freeze what I am seeing and feeling.

What Motivates and inspires you?

My family – their interactions, the way they look now. Knowing how they looked 5 years ago through my lens compared to today is a compelling reason to keep documenting and preserving. My husband jokes that thousands of years from now when anthropologists discover the remains of our home, they will think we were much more important than we really are, based on the sheer number of photographs! It’s true, there are so many albums on our shelves.

Are you in business or a hobbyist?

I am in business as a family photographer, but I definitely have the passion of a hobbyist. I would do it no matter what.

Can you share with us 5 of your favorite images and tell us why you love them so.

JJKillins1 I love this image of my son absolutely dashing out into a summer rainstorm. He doesn’t make sure he has anything else but rain boots, and then when it’s all over they are full of water, too.

JJKillins2This is my daughter at age 4, almost 5, and don’t tell my son, but it might be my favorite image ever. It’s so her, it’s her wild hair, it’s the sun lighting her up, it’s her big eyes, it’s freezing that little golden age.

JJKillins3Same daughter, same golden wild hair all beautifully lit up with her favorite chicken, a neighbor’s that she would bring across the street to our house to dig worms for. This was a season for her, every warmish day, when we were celebrating the change of light that comes with spring.

JJKillins4My daughter as a baby with my mom and my step-dad, just the kind of emotion that embodies the photography I want to keep creating.

JJKillins5This one I have on my wall, because it is so pretty with those little kid hands and those gorgeous spring robin eggs we get every year. But there’s another part of the story, which is that this was a second clutch of eggs, and the mom never came back. So we waited and we wondered, and at some point months later we just had to take them down, and one of the eggs, if you turn it over, is cracked. But still so beautiful.


What’s in your camera bag?

Canon 5d mkiii, Sigma 50mm ART, lenspen, extra flash card, extra battery. That’s it. I like what I like.

What does your editing process look like?

I usually adjust skin tones slightly, although using Kelvin for white balance gets it pretty darn close. I brighten and add some contrast, sharpen. Some images stand out as a perfect candidate for black and white, so I’ll spend more time on those getting just the right amount of creamy whites and depth.

Anything else you’d like us to know about you?

I have been documenting my own family in my first-ever (and likely only!) Project 365 this year, and I’m on the home stretch! I love how taking a picture every single day has become a habit, and how purposeful my photographs have become as a result.

A little blurb about the theme:

I admit I’m not a morning person. When my kids were very little, sleep was so precious that I let them wake me, always before I was ready. Now that they are a bit older, I grudgingly get up before they do, and find a little quiet time before the morning rush to be essential for my own peace.

 An interesting thing happens when we set the clocks back in the fall; with morning coming on sooner all of a sudden, I see the beginning of the day. I notice the sun rising and coming inside and lighting up bits and pieces of my house in turn.

A truly inspiring look at mornings is the blog 3191 Miles Apart and especially the book A Year of Mornings. I look at this book and it makes me want to get up in the morning and see what the light does and take pictures of it!

I can’t wait to see what you come up with this week when you photograph your own mornings.

Thanks, Captivating Radiance!!

-J.J. Killins


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