Sellersburg father turned hobby into lucrative side job with youth sports photography business

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Jun. 23—SELLERSBURG — For Keith Russell Jr., getting the perfect sports shot is about being at the right place at the right time, and that philosophy also relates to how he launched a lucrative side gig.

About two years ago, Russell bought a camera because he wanted to photograph his son, Landyn, on the baseball diamond during Silver Creek Little League games.

Russell wasn’t a professional photographer, and didn’t have much experience in the field. Thankfully technology and his neighbor, who is a professional photographer, provided Russell with the basics he needed to get started.

“I got on YouTube and I took some advice from my neighbor, and I just kind of started playing around with it and experimenting with it,” Russell said.

He posted some of his initial photos on social media, and that drew the attention of other parents on the team.

“A few moms would say ‘hey, can you get a few of ours?’ They were friends, so I said sure,” Russell said.

Before long, parents from other teams were asking if he could photograph their children on the field, and they offered to pay.

“I never thought about it as a business, but I said sure, I’ll show up,” Russell said.

From there, Russell launched a Facebook page and website for what was becoming a popular business, KR Photography.

The requests kept coming, and not just for youth sports. Russell has been hired to shoot senior portraits, maternity photos and design graphics for high school player commitments and all-star teams.

He’s been credentialed at University of Louisville basketball games, Louisville Slugger baseball contests and many other events. And it all started with a few mothers asking him to take photos of their sons playing baseball.

“I bought a $2,000 camera and turned it into over the last year-and-a-half over $60,000 in revenue just doing photography work on the side,” said Russell, who said he’s happy with his full-time job in Sellersburg and intends to keep photography as a part-time gig for now.

In fact, it doesn’t really feel like a job to Russell. He used to play golf regularly, but said these days he’s more entertained by shooting a photo session than hitting the links.

“It’s definitely a passion of mine and I think that’s why I excel at it because I love doing it,” Russell said.

He credits some of his success to an unmet need. There are a lot of professional photographers in the area, but not many who focus on sports, he said.

Russell spent time this week shooting Little League tournaments in Clarksville and Charlestown. Next week, he plans to be at the New Albany Little League park for district action.

He’s also found a way to give back. Russell recently launched K2 Performance sunglasses and batting gloves. The sales generate money for kids who can’t afford league fees or equipment, he said.

For more information, visit KR Photography on Facebook, or email [email protected].