This week PhotographyKC had the opportunity to interview Kira Goff from Kira Whitney Photography. Kira is an amazing Kansas City photographer who loves telling stories through beautiful images.
I grew up about 20 minutes West of Colorado Springs in a small town by Pikes Peak. I ended up in Kansas City after college when we moved here for my husband to attend seminary. I’ll be honest, before we moved here I really thought it was going to be a boring place without anything that would keep us here after he graduated, but I was so happily surprised! This city is buzzing with life and culture and is an amazing spot to be for a foodie/coffee lover like myself. Since it’s right in the middle of the country, the cost of living isn’t crazy but it’s so easy to travel anywhere you want to go quickly and without great expense. We typically get to enjoy a good amount of time for weather in all four seasons and there is so much development happening that there is constantly something new to experience.
I have always enjoyed taking pictures (cue the middle schooler running around with my little digital camera taking pictures of my friends and family on outings), but I never expected it to turn into a vocation. My dad bought my first DSLR (a Sony Alpha a33) for Christmas my Freshman year of college and once I started taking pictures of people with that, I simply couldn’t stop! People started seeing the photos I was posting on social media and began to ask me to take photos of them as they needed updated family pictures or their kids became seniors, etc. Slowly but surely, I started charging a little bit, then a little more as I got better and better. I started investing it all in upgrading camera equipment as I learned and became more comfortable and I quickly transitioned to using Canon. Today I shoot with the Canon 5d Mark IV, which is my absolute dream camera and I am so thankful for the opportunity to create with it!
From the very beginning, my family has been incredibly supportive of me becoming a photographer. In fact, my dad’s mantra for us kids for discovering what we wanted to do/be was always, “Find something you love to do and then figure out how to make money doing it.” After working in a corporate job his entire life, he knows the value of enjoying the work you do day in and day out. After all, we were made for more than working just to pay the bills up until we die My husband has been a huge encouragement to me since I first met him as well, always supporting my crazy whims and ideas and coming with me whenever I express that I could use some help. He actually became interested in videography partially because of my passion for photography and now he does that as one of the main parts of his job!
My love for people, light, and love inspires my photography. I am so drawn to people in love and telling their story through images, which is why wedding photography has become my main focus. I love photographing families too though, especially ones with young kiddos… what an amazing opportunity I have to capture those fleeting seasons of life that are so precious! I have always been very entrepreneurial-spirited, so even the business aspect inspires me and keeps me going as I love that part in addition to shooting and editing.
I’m always up for exploring new places, but so far my favorite place to shoot in Kansas City is right on Main Street downtown (at the intersection of Truman and Main). There are so many great parks and sunflower fields and skyline overlooks, but this spot more intimately captures the city lights and the buzz of traffic. It’s fun to catch the streetcar in the background as it rolls by and just after the sun dips below the buildings, the images turn out so light and pastel, which is not always the case for city photos. As far as wedding venues go, some of my favorites so far have been the Terrace on Grand (the rooftop view of downtown is so beautiful!), Weston Red Barn Farm, and The Barn at Schwinn Produce Farms (the sunflower field is stunning!).
Lots of people have a camera; lots of people are trying to become photographers, but part of what separates me from the crowd is the overall experience I give to my clients. It’s more than just meeting up at a park to snap some photos, we become friends. I guide them through the process… from easy online payments and contracts to a style guide for engagement sessions, a wedding guide to help them plan a photogenic event, personal timeline assistance, a surprise bridal welcome gift, and an outgoing, fun, and comfortable approach to posing during sessions, I believe it all starts with the way my subjects FEEL before, during, and after their time with me. Then having beautiful images to tell their story and capture that warm fuzzy feeling is, of course, the giant dollop of whipped cream on top (because extra whipped cream is so much better than cherries)!
Social Media: @kirawhitneyphotography