“Once that happened, I realized that I was a photographer and saw it from a whole new perspective, becoming very passionate about it. You have to work at anything that you do in life, and I believe it is passion that carries you through any hard times.”

February 28, 2011

Arts & Literature, Interviews

Renee Keith is a commercial creative stock photographer residing in Salt Lake City, Utah. She and her husband, both self taught photographers, own BellaOra Studios, which specializes in everything from personal portraits to high concept photographic art and commercial projects.

As an artist, she also works with body paint and has recently began to study makeup.

How would you describe yourself as an artist? What’s your style?

Art has always been my passion, starting with oil painting at 7 years old and then discovering photography in my early-mid 20s. I am always developing my style and hope to get more and more creative with time. I am also a makeup artist and eventually plan to add costuming and wardrobe to my list. As long as it has to do with visual art, I am interested.

You’re both a visual artist and a photographer. Which is your “first love”? Do you prefer one over the other?

If I had to pick one, it would definitely be photography… but I do still paint once in a while and sometimes I combine the two using people as my canvas. You can check some of it out at

What inspired you to create your “bloody handprint” design? Can you tell us a little about the process and how it was made? Did vampires ever cross your mind?

I made a batch of fake blood (you can google recipes), and went to town creating blood splats, bloody foot prints, and a bloody alphabet. Since it was created for stock photography, concepts are left up to the designers… but we have also shot a really cool vampire series too.

What art, or artist, inspires you?

The kind of art that is from someone’s mind… I prefer creative over realistic. It is also inspiring when you can see the artist’s passion through their work.

Can you tell us a little about your experience with stock photography? How did you first decide to become involved? Has the relationship been profitable, and would you recommend it to other artists?

I found iStockphoto in 2004, joined and became highly addicted. At the time I liked photography but wouldn’t have called myself a photographer. It was so much fun that I pretty much stopped everything else that I was doing and did photography full time. Once that happened, I realized that I was a photographer and saw it from a whole new perspective, becoming very passionate about it. You have to work at anything that you do in life, and I believe it is passion that carries you through any hard times. I’ve had plenty of my files rejected from the site but never gave up and pushed myself to learn as much as I could through the process. After years of hard work and little pay, it has now become very profitable. Stock photography can have it’s ups and downs… but if you are passionate and persistent, it can be an amazing lifestyle where you can have total creative freedom, be your own boss, and have a perpetual income. If you ask me, it doesn’t get any better than that!

What do you enjoy the most about being an artist, and what do you find most challenging?

I love creating. The most challenging is to be original and creative. I would love to have an unlimited fund to pull from to create whatever I want and to make more complex sets, etc.

How would you describe your technique? Has it evolved over the years?

Hmmm, I would describe it as artsy, contrasty, and interesting? I’m not sure; I just know that if I don’t like looking at it, I will take it out of my portfolio.

What are you working on right now?

My husband and I (both photographers) are constantly working on random projects. This year we have a few horror themed shows and exhibits in October.

What advice would you give to an aspiring artist and/or photographer? What’s the best advice someone gave you?

The best advice comes from one of my favorite quotes: “Unless you try to do something beyond what you have already mastered, you will never grow.”– Ralph Waldo Emerson

Finally, what’s got you excited or inspired?

Meeting new artists, models and stylists who like to collaborate on stock photo shoots!


Renee Keith is a Featured Member of DarkMediaCity.

Her work can also be found at the following websites.

Stock Photography:…



(All interviews are the exclusive property of DarkMedia, and may not be reproduced or shared without permission.)

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