Mike Kelley

Owner / Founder

I'm a photographer based in Los Angeles, California who specializes in photographing architecture; I also have a mild airplane obsession.

After studying studio art and environmental science at the University of Vermont, I moved to Lake Tahoe, California, in hopes of becoming a professional snowboarder (graduating during the most tense moments after the '08 recession made this sound like a great idea). A couple of years and countless injuries later, I found myself taking up an offer to photograph a few homes for a client I'd met while recuperating. What started by chance turned out to be the perfect mix of technical challenge and creative outlet, and I was immediately hooked with photographing architecture. I decided right there and then that it absolutely must be my career.

Over the years I've been able to blend my interests in architecture and infrastructure together while working on some incredible projects: from hanging out of helicopters over Miami Beach to photographing homes in the wilds of Iceland, it's been one heck of a ride.

Interview: Darren Bradley, The Global Mid-Century Modern Specialist

Darren Bradley: TED talker, Dwell cover boy, global traveller and book author. Not bad for an architectural photographer! I met Darren a few years ago at an AIA award ceremony and instantly found him fascinating; so I couldn’t be happier to make this interview happen. Darren has dodged alligators, run from security guards, and slept in Florida’s sketchiest hotels in his quest to be one of the world’s preeminent Mid Century Modern specialists.

Humor: Architectural Photography Bingo

We’ve all been there and to deny it is just an outright lie. Whether it’s “can you just photoshop that” or “I promise the contractors will be gone by the time the shoot happens,” you’ve got to roll with the punches and over my career I’ve turned to humor to do so, otherwise someone would be scraping me off the floor of another five-over-one apartment somewhere.

The Ultimate Geared Head Review: Arca Swiss D4 vs C1 Cube

There are really only two tripod heads to consider if you want to use the best of the best: the Arca Swiss D4 and the Arca Swiss C1 Cube. The worst thing about them is you’re spending over a thousand dollars on something that doesn’t actually make you a better photographer, but the best thing about them is that they make it so much easier to take pictures I don’t even know how I’d begin to go back to the cheaper options.

The Biggest Wastes of Money in My Photography Career

I already know that this is going to be a controversial article, but it’s something I have to get off my chest because I look back and almost feel guilty about how much money I have spent on these things. The photography industry is full of products that you may or may not need and separating the wheat from the chaff is going to be important when you’re watching where your money goes.

What to Charge for Architectural Photography in 2019

This article is essentially impossible to write, but it’s the single question I am asked more than any other. In fact, I apologize to anyone who has emailed me or asked me this question in person because I simply do not answer. That’s because there is no easy way to answer; it’s the equivalent of walking up to someone and asking them “how long is a piece of string?” Here I will attempt to walk you through coming up with sustainable price to charge for your architectural photography.