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About Me

My name is Kelly Petersen and I'm the owner of Black Walnut Photography, a professional photography company that serves St. Joseph, MO, Kansas City and all surrounding towns. I'm a versatile photographer who's a photojournalist at heart, specializing in weddings, events, commercial and architectural photography, and family and child portraits. 

I've always loved taking pictures, even when I was young and terrible at it. I started my photography career when I was little tiny, as you can see here in this first ever photo of me holding a camera at the age of two. From there I went on to learn to develop my own film and prints in the darkroom in a summer program in elementary school, then took photo class every semester in high school, and eventually I earned a photography degree from Rochester Institute of Technology, a prestigious university known for having one of the top  photo programs in the country. This education gave me a wonderful technical foundation, helped to shape my creative eye and my skill in composition, and was my first step in becoming the always adapting, always improving photographer that I am today.

When photographing weddings or people, I would describe my style as a cross between photojournalism and portraiture. I love setting up beautiful portraits but I REALLY love just observing and capturing real-life moments as they happen. And I truly think that's what I'm best at. Being able to tell a story through photographs is what I strive to do, and usually it's in the little moments- when no one is posing or paying attention to the camera- that's when the magic happens!

Prior to founding Black Walnut Photography, I was the sole in-house staff photographer at the iconic TIVOL Jewelers in Kansas City and had images published in various magazines and printed on billboards across KC. Before that, I did photography on the side of other full-time jobs since I was about 21. 

When I'm not behind a camera, you can usually find me at home in St. Joseph hanging out with my husband and our two young sons. I love cooking, cycling, running, watching movies, traveling and gardening. 

Please feel free to contact me with questions or requests!  

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