Creating confidence one shoot at a time

Published on 03 November 2020

Kandee Apples Photography

Kerri from Kandee Apples Photography is absolutely one-of-a-kind with a dynamic personality! That attitude comes from a piece of advice someone once gave her - don't try to be like everyone else, just be you.

“I once said I can't wait to be as good as somebody else and was told that the person I envied is so busy, wanting to be someone else too, that if they stopped and realized how good they were they would be happier. And that’s very true.”  

Kerri started out as a hairdresser over 30 years ago right here in Rockhampton and changed her career path when she realized that the women and young teens around her felt ugly, doubted themselves and had no confidence. Kerri believes “it's ok to be different, it's ok to not look like everyone else, and it’s ok to be strong and independent,” which is why anyone that sits for a photoshoot with Kandee Apples Photography comes away feeling absolutely stunning.

TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOURSELF

I have been a local Hairdresser for about 32 years now; starting my apprenticeship in 1988 with a small salon, on Yaamba Road called Players Hair Salon. I moved to Brisbane for a short time but was homesick, so returned and eventually set up a salon with a friend, Peta, in Emu Park in 1996 for 10 years. Our lives and priorities changed when we both had children, so I sold the salon.  

HOW DID KANDEE APPLES PHOTOGRAPHY START?

During this time I realized there were so many women around me who doubted themselves, suffered from anxiety and depression, and had no confidence. One particular friend said she wished she looked like the models in magazines, and not like herself. Don't we all! But I told her that most of what you see is not actually real. The makeup has been touched up and editing on the photos can make things appear different than in reality. So I told her that I could show her what I meant. 

I had an old camera, that I thought was great - but it clearly was not! I didn't even know how to use the manual settings and had no idea what I was really doing. But had read enough hair and fashion magazines, to know roughly how to pose a model. I wanted to show my friend that she could look just like the other women. And she did!

I started out doing boudoir shoots because in my head I thought that every woman wanted to look and feel sexy. And I think we as women think that you have to be near naked to feel that sexy vibe. But you don't. You can feel just as good in an old shirt and jeans too. 

After 4 years of this new venture I found that low self-esteem was an issue for many teens, and men too. I had lots of mums messaging me asking me to do a photoshoot with their teen daughters, due to them feeling ugly. It is so sad when we think we have to look like everyone we see on TV, or social media to feel beautiful. It’s important to teach our daughters that it's ok to be different, it's ok not to look like everyone else, and it’s ok to be strong and independent. It is ok to be the person you want to be, and live the best healthy life that you can. 

I now knew this photo gig was what I really wanted to do. I had some amazing women show me some editing programs and another friend show me how to use my camera a little better too. Then for a whole year I took photos of friends, family, friends of friends, daughters of friends, and women recommended to me, by other women who knew they had been through a hard time; cancer, abuse and lots of different stories for me to connect with and help them heal from different traumas. All these women were so happy and grateful with what I gave them back in confidence, and that kept me going.

As I was still learning I worked with young models for free, who adopted me and let me take photos of them - they showed me their moves and I showed them mine! This was a great learning experience for me to work with teen girls who appeared confident, but really they joined modelling to gain this confidence. I also had some photos published in a magazine overseas, and while the thrill of that was fun, it wasn’t as good as that person smiling, crying and extremely happy with their photos themselves.

YOU’VE DONE SOME REALLY UNIQUE PHOTOSHOOT THEMES – HOW DID THESE COME ABOUT?

I have always loved costume parties, so I had lots of that already used in my themes - I literally need a bigger house, to fit it all in, and my husband thinks I am a hoarder - which would be correct! So with an interest in costumes I thought I could use some crazy themes to make my clients look and feel beautiful in something they never would have considered before.

I am lucky enough to be a qualified hairdresser and makeup artist so this helps out a lot with the crazy themes. I have made hairpieces with mesh wire, fake hair, soft drink cans, paper and anything else I think will work.

I make a lot myself. I use material and clothing I already have and my friends give me things they think I could use. I regularly shop in second hand stores and buy cheap items when they are on sale for a theme somewhere down the track. I really think my favourite shoots are the crazy themes now as I get to express how I feel a little too. 

The way I work now is when people message me to book a session I look at photos of them and based on the vibe they give off I think about what might look good on them. So far I have got it right and they are ever so happy. 

WHAT’S THE NUMBER ONE PIECE OF ADVICE YOU HAVE BEEN GIVEN?

A piece of advice would be "don't try to be like everyone else, just be you." This was told to me after I said I can't wait to be as good as somebody else. They then told me that that person is so busy, wanting to be someone else too, that if they stopped and realized how good they were they would be happier. 

That goes in life and business for me. Sometimes we get caught up trying to be as good as the next person (hair stylist/photographer), that we get jealous of what they have done. I get like this – I think most people do. I think to myself damn that looks good I should have done that. Then I think, well good on them they did an awesome job, get up and do better. It actually makes me try harder, usually after I sulk for 5 minutes. 

I also don't think you don't have to be super famous and brag to everyone about your success to be happy. For me it is the satisfaction of knowing I have done a great job for that person, and their happiness makes me happy. There have been many women I have photographed that nobody has seen due to them wanting it kept private that have made me so happy; knowing them and helping them on their journey is so rewarding.

Advice given to me by an amazing school friend/ mentor/ fairy godfather. 

You don't have to change the world, 
You just have to change somebody's world. 
Bevan :)

WHAT INSPIRES YOU?

Inspiration comes from the amazing hair stylists, makeup artists, photographers around the world, and even local business women, who spend their days building other women up. There are so many to mention!

My mother, husband and family are very supportive of my work and when I am nervous about a photoshoot I will ask them what they think. Especially my Mum if I think the photo may be a little risque. 

WHAT SETS YOU APART FROM OTHER LOCAL PHOTOGRAPHERS?

I think I may be the only hair, makeup artist and photographer in Rocky, at the moment, but I am sure there will be some more soon. There is just so much talent here. I love seeing other artist collaborations too.