Kitti McMeel — Westlake Village, CA

Today I am visiting the calm lakeside studio of Kitti McMeel.

Starting her 3rd year in portrait photography, life has thrown some major challenges at Kitti. Through hard work and determination, she took those challenges head on, adapted, and made her story a success story.

Kitti took my business model and ran with it. She didn’t just have a $17K month, she had 3 back-to-back!

Join me as I visit Kitti at her new serene studio space overlooked a beautiful boat covered lake in Westake Village, CA.



78 Comments

  1. I can identify on starting later in life. I started in 2008 at 59yrs with newborns and maternity here in Canada. At 65yrs now I am facing a big move back to Australia and where to start at that age?? I love my babies but the body is not so willing.

  2. This is so incredibly inspiring! I feel like there are so many commonalities between Kitti’s story and mine with one major difference … she has taken steps to breakthrough her blocks and I’m still getting there. Such a huge inspiration! What a lovely lady! I wish I could sit down and chat with her in person!

  3. Oh My Goodness Kitti and Sue you both had me in tears several times. I am 56 and have been shooting newborns & babies for a few years. I lost my mom 7 months ago and it made me sad to only find a very few photos of her many years ago. I thought what I would give to have a more recent portrait of her. I realized then that I had found my “Why” and I had to add women to my offerings. I had found Sue a few years back on CL along with the other 2 famous newborn photogs that I learned from and for some unknown (at the time) reason kept up with Sue as well. I even liked and followed Kitti on FB. For the past few weeks I have been going through the start up to learn this new genre and came to a point that I was thinking what was I doing trying to start over at 56? Then I came across this interview. Thank you so much for sharing your inspiration. I am going to totally transition from babies to women and especially women over 50. I want all children to have portraits of their mothers when they are gone. If I left this world today, my kids would not have any of me either. Again Thank you both! Big Hugz!!

  4. Kitti thank you so much for sharing your story. I am 53 and just getting started with my folio building. I have been telling myself for a year or so that you are never to old to do something new, find something that you love. I just found Sue a couple of months ago on creative live , which lead me to her education site. I can’t tell you how thankful and excited I am, this is exactly what I have been looking for. Thank you again for sharing your story. By the way you look fabulous and have the energy and spirit of someone 30 years younger.

  5. Kitti McMeel, you most definitely are a light. Thank you for the inspiration you have given me. I am 53 and am just starting out in my small studio. I couldn’t be happier or more eager to succeed in this venture of portraiture of wise, mature women.

  6. Such a beautiful and inspirational story, Kitty you made me beleive that I can do this at 45. I wish you a world of success. Thank you for sharing your story with us all.

  7. Incredible story!!! I have been struggling with the fact that I am 33, and trying to start my business-no more excuses now-you are an inspiration <3

  8. To do what you did in a few short years is truly amazing. But I would like to comment on the fee for events. I’ve been covering corporate events for over 5 years now. A do A LOT of them for some of the biggest companies out there. I can tell you know, no one is going to pay $350 “an hour” to have their event covered. $350 for two hours? I can see that. Most pay around $150 an hour and most have a two hour min. I can see events geared towards women as a great marketing outlet. But again, I think if you want to offer photo service to cover them, your price for that may need to come down a bit. Or, offer that rate for 2 hours and not “per” hour.

  9. Kitty, You FREAKING ROCK! Love your story. I identified with you loving the demographic of women over 50. I am now over 50 and am a former maternity, newborn & kid photographer. I quit the portrait business about 9 years ago due to self doubt and a hell of a lot of back pain. My husband and I have had our photography business for almost 20 years. I will shoot a little with him sometimes but have been in the backend management of things. I am very drawn to photographing women like me, plus a passion project idea I have but don’t want to go into it full time as I am very passionate about health coaching and would like to make a career of that to grow into as it feels a good fit for me and looking ahead 10 years from now. Not sure how to juggle all of my interests but your story is inspiring and kind of makes me feel I don’t need to think I need to shoot all the time. Just do what feels right to fulfill that desire and bring me and others the joy that I can visualize in my head. You may even be a good mentor for me! 🙂

  10. this made me so happy, I remember watchinh sue talk about kitty a couple years ago at wppi and thought then how incredibly talented she was. thank you for sharing your story. I also feel the same way about what kitty said about sue, just so inspired and her ability to help you feel that you can do anything you set your Intentions to. love this

  11. I found this inspiring and genuinely moving Kitti. I took early retirement from my previous career. I was lucky to stumble across Sue’s work as I picked up my camera again and was inspired to become a “proper” portrait photographer. I’ve had nagging confidence issues about really getting going and I know that part of is was around my age and relative lack of experience. Watching what you have achieved has helped me begin to knock down my limiting beliefs around starting at this stage of my life. I am wowed by your work and your attitude. You have given me a lift up in such a timely way. Thank you. Just thank you!

  12. This is an amazing video, congratulations to Kitti on all of her success and all of that hard work, it’s breathtaking what you’ve done,. I used to live in Valencia and for a time was driving all the time to Westlake Village to visit a friend. In all the years I lived in LA (I moved now), I wish I’d met someone as beautiful and inspiring as Kitti! Maybe I would not have left!

  13. Amazing story! I’m 58 and start dabbling in photography 4 years ago. I can’t seem to pull it all together as a business though. I think I need Kitti as a mentor! I love what she’s accomplished.

  14. what an amazing tour, kitty what an inspiration you are, thank you so much this came at just the right time for me as i am pretty much a beginner, just recently my journey in this business i am trying to get started has became over whelming and doubt has started to fill my brain, i thank you for starting my fire again, your work is so beautiful as well as yourself and your energy, god bless you and sue and may your dreams continue to flourish.

  15. This tour is the best ever. Having turned 69 just last week, and being in business as a portrait photographer for about 2 years I have a long way to go to be comfortably successful. But I must say I am loving the journey and thanks to Sue I have a plan. I loved the “burned chop” bit. It’s a great description of a behavior that can be altered.

  16. Kitti, you are amazing, this was so inspiring! Age has nothing to do with who we are and what we can do except in a positive way. If i were a potential client, I would want my portrait taken by you becaue I WOULD want to see you in my eyes.

  17. Visiting you, Kitti, and your studio, having a conversation with Sue Bryce has to be the best encouragement and support that women in our demographic want and need. You have given the greatest gift of all – your talent, knowledge and experience. I learn from you all and am pursuing my dream of having a studio as well. I know my craft well and have done many shoots. But the one area I have not mastered yet is portraits and the business of it all. You are leading the way for me and I can’t thank you enough. I hope to meet you both at the next Masters Portraits Conference – you are my heroes.

  18. Kitti & Sue…I am a changing person because of both of you. I’ll share at a later date my current, temporary situation. You have both empowered me to empower myself, get up & make my life happen. Much love & appreciation to you & your teams of strong, creative individuals who are all part of the inspiration.

  19. Kitty was speaking directly to me and validating me and my desire to do what I love. I am 65, and although I have been doing photography for 50 years, I am finally devoting myself to it full time. Like she says, we offer perspective, since we have been there ourselves, and that is validating. She is truly telling me that I am on right track

  20. As I sit here crying with my mouth open wide, I would like to say Mrs. Kitti you have touched my spirit in so many ways. I have only been a member of Sue Bryce Education for about 4 months, but I truly understand where you speak from. The JOY Sue brings to your heart and spirit is phenomenal! After your studio viewing, I must say YOU bring that same JOY to my heart and spirit as well! THANK YOU Ms. SUE and Mrs. Katti for sharing your GIFTS, BLESSINGS to the both of you!!!!

  21. Kitti, your beautiful soul shines through your work- and this entire piece! Thank you for sharing your story so bravely. One question: the beautiful presentation folder for your price list… would you mind sharing where you got it? Thank you!!

    1. Im trying to post a reply but they aren’t coming up as expected. I got it from Millers. If you’ll post in SBE on FB and tag me Ill put up a link 🙂

  22. Kitty you are my inspiration!! I am 54 and not trusting myself to just let it go and do what I love, thinking that I am to old at this age to start any business. I never had any business. I worked all my life in medical field, always working for someone else. Photography is my love, passion, obsession ..life. Your images, studio, and your work is beautiful, but your life story that you are sharing with us is giving me hope that if I just stay on the path, it might happen for me as well.

  23. My goodness this video had me in tears so beautiful Kitty u are such an inspiration.. I love photography and at the age of 57 was thinking I’m too old to do this. This makes me feel like I can do this. Your photography is amazing, now to keep moving forward and follow that dream.

  24. This was so beautiful, I am writing this with tears in my eyes. Kitti you have an amazing and calming energy and are so comfortable in your skin…that golden nugget about having perspective at this age is priceless. Your studio, your images, your soul is just gorgeous!

  25. Kitty you make me feel like I have time to do this! Thank you. You are gorgeous and your studio is gorgeous. I also loved it when Sue gave the look she gives when someone calls her name, so good!! Love you both xx

  26. Kitti, I can see your heart in your images and in your space. You are a success story and an inspiration for me. I get so much from watching these studio tours. Thank you Sue and thank you Kitti! Now I must follow my heart.

  27. Oh my gosh, I need tissues, so inspiring, I am moving at 53 to a new state and work and open a studio. My Main goal in Maine, this is so right on for me.

  28. I had to stop at 34:50 to just take a minute to comment. Besides being impressed by your amazing story of starting at 63, your hard work, your success, your beautiful new studio…. YOU.ARE.BOOKED.UNTIL.JUNE! WOW. I think you just dropped the mic Kitti! Bravo. xx. (regardless of this probably being filmed last Spring. I’m still totally impressed!)

  29. Fantastic, another studio tour + story that inspires me in so many ways! Love the views of course, love the magic that Kitti was able to create in her previous studio. Love Kitt’s honesty about the feeling of losing confidence after the sales intensive. Och, love everything!

  30. Kitti, I first have to say that you have amazingly beautiful eyes. Your work is stunning. I am so glad you found what you were born to do. You are an inspiration. Thank you for sharing your journey with us.

  31. My God Kitti, thank you…I am so happy for you, and you and Sue give me so much encouragement…I will be 54 this year and have been doing photography parttime for 10 years with not very much pay, (but to be honest that is because of my own fear and self value issues…I came across Sue’s education site about 4 months ago and am going through the videos slowly and methodically, (just so I catch every last bit..lol)..Currently I am setting up a studio in my home…Also coming up with doubts about why it might not work, but trying to work through them 1 step at a time….
    Thankyou to you and Sue for your inspiration and sharing…much love and hopefully we meet in the future..
    Ana, Vancouver Canada

    1. When I found Sue I made a commitment then that I would meet her, be photographed by her and all that has come true and more!! It’ll happen Roberta1

    1. Lovely studio!! I grew up in the San Fernando Valley (now live in Missouri) but I loved Westlake Village so much. Your studio is perfect. Can you please tell me where you purchased your white frames?

    2. When I found Sue I made a commitment then that I would meet her, be photographed by her and all that has come true and more!! It’ll happen Roberta1