Faces of Friday: Kelsy McCartney


The purpose of Faces of Friday:

Faces of Friday is a series I have started to provide readers with insight into the lives of inspiring everyday people. Life can take you to unexpected places and these amazing folks are willing to share with you where their lives have taken them. Not everyone in life knew exactly what he or she wanted to do or who he or she wanted to be. They had to learn from trial and error along the way and now they are willing to share with you what they have learned.

I believe that one of the most important things in this life is the connection we share with one another. Identifying with another human being is an amazing gift, it can inspire you to learn, grow, create, and opens your eyes to what more the world has to offer.  We are not alone in this crazy thing called life.  Life is a beautiful thing filled with beautiful people, and some people don’t get the opportunity to share their story. I want to help others get the opportunity to share their story and I want to give you the opportunity to hear it, learn from it, and maybe, just maybe identify with it. I believe whole-heartedly that you all were meant for incredible things, so I hope you enjoy reading stories of others, and I hope it gives you comfort knowing that you are not alone. We are all learning to navigate life’s murky waters, why not learn from each other along the way??

About Kelsy

I have never met a more positive and bubbly person in my life!  Her and her husband run an incredible film photography business, and just so happen to be our wedding photographers! Since I met her she has been one of the most caring, helpful, and fun people I know.  She has been a supporter of the blog since day one, she lent me her bike for Fall Into Buffalo Plaid (after knowing her for one photo session!) and has since met up for drinks to discuss the ins and outs of owning your own business. Her story is quite similar to my own, moving around and trying different things and then finding out the place you were meant to be was the place that you started.


The Interview:


Where are you from?

I grew up in Wausau, Wisconsin.

Where do you live currently?

Wausau is also where we currently live. It’s home! :)

Did you go to school? What did you go to school for?

I did! After feeling initially torn between the University of Minnesota or the University of Wisconsin, I chose to be a Badger and had an awesome college experience. I studied Communication Arts and graduated with a BA in Communication Science & Rhetorical Studies. To this day, we still spend a good amount of time in Madison and I always enjoy getting back to my alma mater!

What do you do for a living? Is this always what you had planned to be doing?

My sweet-hilarious-creative husband, Butch, and I work side by side in our film photography business, The McCartneys Photography. We’re on the brink of our 8th year full-time and absolutely love working side by side! Often times people laugh as they ask how we’re possibly able to spend so much time together (more often than not we’re together all 24 hours of each day), and this question is always met with a smile… for us, it just works. :)

I certainly didn’t know this would be the path my career would take, though! After graduating from UW-Madison I was hoping to move to a bigger city, pursue a career in marketing, and live the city life! We moved to Minnesota when I accepted a position working in downtown Minneapolis at Target Headquarters. After a short 6 months working in one of my favorite company’s corporate setting, I quickly realized it wasn’t filling me up the way I always imagined it would. With a background in photojournalism, Butch worked for Wausau’s local newspaper for 4 years before leaving that position to join me in the the Twin Cities. All along, the two of us had been dreaming and planning and talking for years about how we always wanted to work together. So, we figured why not give it a go?

We were 23 and 28 years old (he’s a smidge older), had no reason not to follow our hearts, and thankfully we had the support of our parents as well! With no plan B - only plan A - and a big fire of excitement, passion & optimism, we hoped it would propel us to success with our photography business. Taking photos - with friends, with family, of flowers, of everything & anything - is something I was always passionate about, but I never even considered making a living with a camera because I was focused on finding a big shiny marketing job in the city. It’s funny how life works… the right things, the things that are simply meant to be, sometimes they just fall into your lap like a gift. An example of how someone else’s plan for our lives is so much better than what our plan was! Now, Butch & I spend our days capturing beautiful moments in love & life and creating heirlooms for family & loved ones to cherish for lifetimes to come. And I couldn’t imagine it any other way!

What are your hobbies?

Can your dog be included in your list of hobbies? :) Our 4 year old Cavapoo pup, Parker, is our favorite. Taking him on hikes/walks/adventures and seeing his smiling little face just makes my heart want to explode! My bucket list of places to visit is quite lengthy as well – I love traveling & exploring new scenes with Butch, my camera, and a few rolls of film. We were fortunate to visit Carmel, CA twice this year and are excited to plan more adventures for 2016. In the summer we enjoy trying to make our gardens beautiful (and then try to keep them alive), and in the winter months I like to spend time snowshoeing/hiking the quarry trail on Rib Mountain and cross country skiing when we have enough snow. Change is something I’m inspired by; I love decorating our 1922 home and reinventing spaces… like our sunroom, which is on its third or fourth rendition!

What are you the most passionate about?

Family. My family, Butch’s family, and our friends who definitely count as family. Our schedule is pretty opposite compared to most people… we photograph weddings on Saturdays and always joke that “we celebrate Tuesdays.” So when we have a weekend or evening off, we always try to spend quality time with the ones we love!


photos by: Butch McCartney of The McCartney's Photography

What/who inspires you and why?

So many people & things!! I’m always inspired by Butch –  he is the most genuine and thoughtful person I know! Parker (our dog) is also an inspiration to me… he is the perfect example of living life by loving EVERYONE, always being ready for new adventures & playtime, and making sure everyone around you feels loved. My parents and Butch’s, who are examples of the kind of supportive parents we hope to be one day. My brother, Alex, and Butch’s sister, Stevi, who at their ages are two of the most driven & successful people we know. And on a completely different note, I find inspiration in beauty: beautiful flowers, landscapes, art, moments between two people in love, affection, etc.

What is your personal mantra?

There are a few quotes that always make me smile and feel inspired:

“Do all things with kindness”

“Most of all let love guide your life.” Col. 3:14

“Whatever it is you are feeling, is a perfect reflection of what is in the process of becoming.” -The Secret

Has life taken unexpected turns? And if so what were they?

Oh gosh, yes. I never imagined I would have the privilege of documenting special, powerful & emotional once-in-a-lifetime moments for couples & families. Our photography brings us so much joy! It has allowed us to get to know the most amazing people, and visit beautiful places. Also, Wausau isn’t necessarily where I envision myself living. I thought we would settle into a bigger city, but it just feels so right being here. We really appreciate & enjoy the strong sense of community in Wausau and love being close to our families!

What is the best piece of advice you have been given? “The joy is in the journey.” I’m not sure this is a piece of advice I was necessarily given, but when I found this quote on an art print by (which is now framed above my desk), it spoke to me immediately. By nature, I’m a planner. Especially with our business and the way we book weddings so far in advance, it’s easy to get wrapped up in what lies ahead on the calendar. This quote helps to keep me present and reminds me to soak in the little moments along the way.

If you could give advice to your younger self, what would it be?

To not worry about what anyone around you is doing, and simply be you.

Check out The McCartney's Photography here.