Tell us about your business. What do you do and what makes it special?
Kelsey Jonvea Photographers is a destination wedding photography service that centers around authenticity and joy. I have traveled extensively doing humanitarian work worldwide and I want to bring that into my business by observing the power of a gesture and the warmth and commitment that you see on a wedding weekend parallels the same feelings that you see when doing disaster relief efforts or other volunteer work where everyone comes together for a greater purpose. You make the moment right, observe others in their environment, and foster that connection. By filling our cups, we can serve our wedding couples more fully from a greater place of joy and ultimate fulfillment. I love what I do, and with whom I work and it’s such a honor to share that with other couples.
What would you like to share with future couples?
I would love to share with others that I take on only 7-10 weddings a year. By choosing to scale small, we can give more fully to our couples because we are not running from an empty cup. We value their story and vision and want to make that vision come to life by working closely with their planners and tying everything together. By working with my team of a dedicated second photographer (Chelsey — who also speaks French) and personal assistant (who is incredible with directions and coordination) on every single wedding, everything is twice checked, well organized, captured fully, and beautifully curated. By getting to know you personally as a couple and individually, we truly care about who you are, what brought you together, and how we may compliment you on your wedding day, since we will be spending a lot of time together — I want to make sure we are genuinely connected.
What brings you the greatest joy in your life?
What brings me the greatest joy in life is sharing my passion with others of photography, and volunteering. When I am not holding a camera, I also help out with volunteer construction building teaching facilities, and assisting with Disaster Relief efforts. I get excited when I can share that with others, and show photos of what’s happening and how everyone is being taken care of. When I have that joy, I am even more excited to photograph couples and hear what brings them joy during our time together. I truly believe when you do something you love, you aren’t working — that’s how I feel most of my life. I am an ENFJ, a true cheerleader at heart and I want to be that for others. It truly does bring me the greatest joy. I want to bring that joyful energy to others as much as I can.
What brought you to Tahoe?
I am originally from Santa Cruz, CA. My mom and our family came to South Lake Tahoe in the early ’60s. When I was 5 years old we moved back so I could go to the same elementary school — Meyers and grow up in S. Lake. I grew up ski racing at Heavenly, Sierra-at-Tahoe, playing soccer with AYSO throughout my entire childhood and loving the lake Tahoe tight knit community. It’s a beautiful place to grow up and I love sharing my favorite places with others.
What is a must-see hidden gem in Lake Tahoe?
Summiting Mt. Tallac is probably one of my favorite places to see in the South Lake Tahoe Basin. When you reach the top you can see Lake Tahoe in her entirety all 70 miles from end-to-end. Also, its not a “Lake Tahoe hidden gem” but everyone who visits Tahoe, needs to go to Cafe Fiori and have homemade white chocolate ice cream for dessert with fresh strawberries. It life changing and only here in South Lake.
Describe Lake Tahoe to someone who has never been here.
She is stunning. Lake Tahoe is one of the best spots to live in and grow up around. It truly does look like the Caribbean on the North Shore because of the amount of granitic rock that acts like a filtration system that can only be found on that side of the Lake. Lake Tahoe is one the second deepest lake in the US and has the capacity that if there was an earthquake it holds enough water to create a Tsunami. Growing up going to school in the Lake Tahoe Basin and learning other fun facts about Lake Tahoe was that still today you can find Native American mush pots that they used for grinding grain in many of the boulders that we see around the lake. You can sometimes still find arrowheads as well. There is so much rich history and culture in the Basin that it’s something everyone has to experience and explore. Everyone when they come here has their journey, what they love about the Lake, and what they find when going hiking or biking. It’s such a lovely place and I can’t speak highly enough about it. Even talking with the friends recently in Australia, they were excited to make a trip here.
Tahoe lifestyle: winter or summer?
Winter: Grab an epic ski pass, start early, and ski half day – too crowded in the afternoon, unless going to Kirkwood. Have a late lunch at Sprouts Cafe off of HWY 50. After skiing head back to the cabin, roasting by the fire to warm up, read a great book, and take a much-needed nap! If you are a sushi lover, head over to Samurai Sushi for dinner. Be sure to have a quail egg shooter – the best I have ever had anywhere and a side of the mussels. Repeat. Summer: Hike one of Tahoe’s amazing trails (Tallac, Maggie’s Peak, Eagle Falls Trail), after a long hike, head over to Angora, a glacial lake in the Basin for a nice cold plunge and lounge in the sun. Pack some snacks from Grass Roots Natural Foods, and for dinner head over to Steamers on Saturday for $1 crispy tacos or Snow Flake drive in for the best fro-yo.
If you were not a photographer, what would you do?
If I were not a wedding photographer I would be 2 things. When I was little I had the desire to be a dentist. I love teeth and I notice a great smile! It is still my favorite field trip twice a year to this day. Secondly, I had the desire to be an artistic welder, I had all these drawings of what I wanted to design and create because I thought it sounded interesting and I thought metal work was really pretty — the boys took all the spots in school and I naturally fell into photography after taking an art class in High School.
What inspires your work?
I love the subject of love. I love the 5 love languages and playing off your partner’s strengths. So when you pair positive psychology aspects and great communication with your subject to create joy. It is my absolute favorite. Everyone is their most beautiful when we are naturally joyful. So however I can bring someone out to create joy — that is my biggest goal and trusted joy.
What is a fun fact about your company?
A fun fact about my company is that I started in 2008, the same year as my favorite wedding dress designer, Australian brand Grace Loves Lace, and had the opportunity to see their storefront front on the Gold Coast while I was there visiting in November. Such a nice moment to see their gowns in person and their store. I fell in love all over again.
What’s the most useless talent you have?
The most useless talent I have is that I can remember useless and random facts.
What is the closest thing to real magic?
Work hard toward a goal and manifest it!
What was your go-to activity to do outside of work?
I love running when I can — and currently learning to jump rope which I am having a lot of fun with.
What kind of wedding guest are you?
I always dress for the occasion! I do love to dress up, so I always want to wear a nice outfit. I love to dance, I am not the best dancer but I am out there having as much fun as everyone else. I love meeting new people and getting to know how they are connected to the bride, groom, or sometimes both.
Any song you can add to our brides’ and grooms’ budding wedding playlist?
Working in the wedding industry is not for the faint of heart. So how do you rest and rejuvenate?
1. I take on less so I can take care of myself more. There is only 1 of me and I have learned it’s not worth burning out. I have learned the hard way. I R&R with regular supplements, I juice daily, eat mostly plant-based and gluten-free. I notice those few things keep my energy up and my memory sharp for photographing. I do weekly acupuncture and fire cupping to detox and balance my body as well.
What is something people might not know about you?
I can count from 1-10, say thank you and your welcome in Japanese; and at one time was learning a little Swedish because I had plans to move there one day. I do love the Scandi culture!
Any four-legged friends in your home?
my rescue, English cream golden retriever – Tally. Named after Mt. Tallac, my favorite mountain.