Des Moines Parent Spotlight: Katie Spellman

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Des Moines Parent Spotlight: Katie Spellman

I absolutely love Katie Spellman! Katie is a local Des Moines photographer who has done some of our amazing family photos. She shares a lot about her photography business below, but she is also a great resource and knowledgeable when it comes to social media and marketing for small business owners. I am always in awe of everything she knows. Learn more about Katie, her business and her Des Moines favorites below!

Katie Spellman, Des Moines, photographer

Give us a little background of your family and personal life! How many kids do you have? Have you lived in Des Moines all your life?

My husband and I live on a small farm outside of Woodward.  Our house has been in his family for 6 generations and was built in the late 1800’s!  We farm (corn and soybeans, no livestock… except for a few cats!) and I run our photography business.  We have a 14month old son, Matthew, and our 3-year old chocolate lab, Penny (who is our perpetual naughty toddler).  We both grew up in Woodward, attended Woodward-Granger High School but didn’t date until later in life.  We love living outside our hometown because A. our parents live within 5 minutes of us (Hello free babysitters) and B. we have a real “hometown” community feel.  Even though it’s years away, we are excited for Matthew to attend our same school.  He will be the 3rd generation to graduate from Woodward-Granger from both sides of our family.

What is your business, and what do you do?

My photography business, Spellman Photography, was actually started by my husband over 10 years ago.  (He actually took my senior pictures and I was on his business card for years!)

When we started dating, he taught me how to use the camera and after 3 years of working alongside him, I left my corporate job to run our photography business full-time.  This allowed him to focus his energy on farming and allowed me to be a true entrepreneur for the first time!  I focus mainly on family and senior photography and Aaron will still work in the business to do real estate or agriculture photography.  I’m the person who will chase after your kiddos, run around, jump up and down with them so they have a fun time.  Aaron is the whiz with lighting set-ups, etc.  I shoot natural light (mostly) and focus on fine-tuned editing so that mom’s little “love lines” are softened and that bruise your kiddo had on his leg doesn’t show.

Why did you become a small business owner?

I worked at Principal Financial Group and really loved the people I worked with.  But in the end, I wasn’t passionate about the business and I think the large corporation feel just didn’t work for me.  I knew that I wanted the freedom to control my schedule, flex my time as needed and be more present once we had children… So really it’s the lifestyle that attracted me.

Where is your favorite place to take your children to play indoors?

The Valley Community Center.  I love that you can get yourself a coffee, meet up with a friend and let your kids burn off some energy!  We even hosted Matthew’s 1st birthday party there which was perfect since the kids could all play in the playground.

Where is your favorite place to take your children to play outdoors?

Honestly, because we live in the country … we just go outside our house a lot.  Matthew was too young last summer to really “enjoy” the outdoor fun but now that he is mobile, I’d like to take him to Jester Park since that is close as well (and has the new indoor nature center which is perfect for rainy days).

Parent’s day/night out. Describe your perfect parent only day/night out in Des Moines.

Dinner at The Iowa Taproom – their fish sandwich is AMAZING. Then enjoying The Nadas outdoor Nitefall on the River concert.  We love craft beer and the Nadas so this would be the perfect night for us.  (And I would like to include 2-3 couple friends… Aaron and I work and live together so we see each other enough… we actually enjoy going out with friends as a group more than 1:1 date nights)

What are some tips on juggling parenthood, working, and personal life?

Daycare. In some form.  I wasn’t sure how I would run my business, care for Matthew and stay committed to the foundation work that I do locally… I started off with part-time daycare and it was a lifesaver.  Matthew enjoys playing with his friends and I am able to have true focus time to edit, catch up on emails, etc.  With the photography season ramping up, Matthew has actually started going to daycare full-time and he has just been having a blast and we have so much fun together when I pick him up.

What is your number one parenting tip?

Structured sleeping arrangements.  Matthew was in his crib the night he came home from the hospital.  He’s never known any different.  We had a more structured nap/bedtime schedule and it has served us really well.  Sleep has never been an issue in our house and its the one thing that I am super passionate about.  If you aren’t sleeping well, it makes it really hard to function as a parent, business owner, friend, wife, person …

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Katie Spellman, Des Moines Parent Spotlight, photographer, Des Moines

Photo Credit: Aly Carroll Photography



Erin Huiatt

Erin is a reliable resource and stepping stone for women and families to find support and make connections within our community. She wants families to feel confident to reach out and ask for help and advice to get pointed in the right direction. She enjoys traveling and exploring with her two children in tow!

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