Finally! It’s here. My opportunity to vent about being an Instagram Husband! Well, not really. About two and half years ago, Kelsey, who I reflexively refer to as KelseyKaplanFashion as though I’m promoting her on my IG or Snap accounts, made a decision.
She was already working from home as the Marketing Director for BuildMyBod Health, a separate healthcare price transparency business I started. Not surprisingly, signing up doctors to participate in a price transparency platform wasn’t fulfilling enough.
She enjoyed writing but press releases for BuildMyBod didn’t tap into that enjoyment. There was another passion just under the surface. One day, she had an epiphany. Why not combine her writing ability with A Career in Fashion?
She always loved fashion. Not just as a shopper but also in a very professional and scholastic way. She graduated in fashion merchandising from LSU and worked as a manager at the fashion forward Rodeo Boutique in Baton Rouge, LA.
When she told me what she was going to do, I asked if she felt like she had enough content to blog and take photos consistently. I don’t remember her response exactly but looking back on these last couple of years, the overwhelming amount of content she has produced definitively answers that question.
Little did I know how much this epiphany would involve me and our Shih Tzu Ginny. Like many fashion bloggers’ Instagram husband, I became her photographer. In this particular case, it made sense. Aside from the cost savings of having me take her photos, my day job as a plastic surgeon made me more familiar with photography than most.
As a plastic surgeon, through training and practice, you’re programmed to take before and after photos of every patient for every procedure. It’s not just for cosmetic services. Even for a mole, you take photos to see if it’s changing in size or color; attributes that can be concerning for cancer.
However, in my case, it is for cosmetic services. When we moved to San Francisco from Louisiana four years ago, I took over an existing plastic surgery practice. I wanted this particular practice because it had its own in-office operating room, which allows for a very VIP patient experience. So day in and day out, I’m taking before and after photos of patients considering breast augmentation, tummy tucks, facelifts, eyelid lifts and any other lift you can think of.
“You can buy a really good tennis racket or nice set of golf clubs and you’re still bad at tennis and golf. Buy a good camera and you can fake being a good photographer.”
I knew a little about cameras and had an entry level DSLR at the office, but it was still overwhelming using it for anything outside of the exam room. So we started with an iPhone. While I recognize many photographers out there are successful with an iPhone, and Apple loves to show off some of their greatest hits on billboards across the Bay Area, we never really hit our stride. The photos were simply too grainy.
We finally bit the collective bullet and bought a really nice Nikon D610. I’ve made this observation many times, so here I go again: You can buy a really good tennis racket or nice set of golf clubs and you’re still bad at tennis and golf. Buy a good camera and you can fake being a good photographer.
We started out setting the camera on automatic. Then as our comfort level grew, we switched to aperture priority and now we’re fully manual! I’m proud to say that I better understand the interactions between ISO, shutter speed, f stop, and type of lens. Before we started, I didn’t even know the meaning of those terms, now we’re manipulating them depending on the lighting, outfit and background.
We even got a 50 and 85mm lens. I wasn’t sure why we needed various lenses at the time but the diagram below really brought it into focus for me (pun intended). Now I understand the relationship between the angle of view and the distance from the lens to the sensor (the focal length).
But learning all of this was frustrating. The frustration was compounded by the overall thankless aspect of starting a fashion blog. Minimal traction. Brands don’t pay attention to you. Collaborations were non-existent. I started to wonder why Kelsey was doing all of this. Obviously you want your spouse to succeed at anything they put their mind to. And when Kelsey puts her mind to something, the saying, “a dog with a bone” comes to mind.
Finding her way
Kelsey was trying to find her niche. She wasn’t tall like a runway model. She wasn’t plus-sized so she couldn’t use the curvy moniker and tap into the body positivity movement. Kelsey was just this petite, fit, Bar Method, field hockey playing, Colombian Jewish girl from Connecticut. She grew up in a loving home with no major baggage. There was no real origin story or struggle.
But she did have one thing and her followers recognize it. A genuine love of fashion and rather than simply wearing nice clothes, she’s got this amazing gift for styling. I didn’t realize there was a difference between wearing clothes and styling clothes but she made that distinction apparent to me.
Every outfit, when appropriate, has a statement necklace, statement earrings or bangles.
A plain skirt is transformed with a tinsel fringe jacket that looks like she stole a cheerleader’s pom poms.
Our marriage is based on love like a lot of successful marriages (hey, hey, six years already!). But I know we also see this institution (of marriage) as a business partnership. Which is why you see about 20 hyperlinks in this post promoting both our mutual and respective businesses. That’s part of who we are.
And don’t forget to follow me on Instagram and Snap @RealDrBae!
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Photos by yours truly…the Instagram husband responsible for writing this post!