Kelli Hayden’s Best of 2019!

One of my goals for 2020 is to be better and more productive at blogging and not just displaying my work, but sharing the details of how it came to be and document and share the amazing life that I’ve worked so hard for. I suppose one way to keep the momentum going is to highlight the key moments of 2019. This post is where my two worlds collide, by the way. Kelli Hayden Photography and Kelli Bee Photography.

I keep hearing a lot of people say how bad 2019 was for them. I have to admit that it wasn’t exactly the “best year ever” and while it definitely presented its challenges and several “WHAT THE FUCK?!” moments, I can’t help but be grateful for all the amazing things that happened in 2019. A lot of awesome and amazing things happened, and here we go with the highlights…

I started the year off with hitting the gym every other day RELIGIOUSLY for several months and by summer, I had a “bikini body” again. Thank you to countless late-night sessions at 24-Hour Fitness and my fitness expert friend, Oscar, I got back into pretty decent shape this year. My goal for 2020 is kick it up a notch and start building and toning even more.


I did my friend’s engagement session at Disneyland which almost instantly created an unintentional additional niche for my business, which also resulted in getting an annual pass so I can go for not just work, but also for fun (Star Wars land, come on! SO worth it!).


My friend Bonnie is the bass player for Nashville Pussy and they played LA at The Whisky in February. I took some backstage and live shots of them. They’re always fun.


For fun, Adrian and I stayed at the Safari Inn on Valentine’s Day because I love the movie True Romance so much. It was ok. Only once was fine. Haha!


Got to visit a friend and do some photos out in Temescal Valley in the poppy fields.

CHICAGO: Spent a few days in Chicago again just to enjoy the food and beverages that this amazing city has to offer.

Fun fact about this shot. The top photo in the middle was from a few years back when Adrian and I went into a Gio’s for some deep dish and our cool server jumped in a photo with him with our enormous pie. Fast forward to this spring, we go into the same Giordano’s and we end up with the same server! And yes, I scribbled out my face because I looked like a dweeb.


Adrian threw another Margarita Contest for Cinco de Mayo and this time was sponsored by Illegal Mezcal! Anyone who knows us knows we’re big mezcal people so this one especially fun.
…REALLY fun! 😉 (both bottles are sealed, I don’t really chug mezcal from the bottle)
Many great bands played, including Tommy Peacock and the Feathers, The HOTS!, and Motochrist.

LITTLE VICTORIES: I hit some serious business goals. I also hit some really awesome financial goals and even bought a new car.

HAHA the Audi Dealership in Beverly Hills actually let me finance an Audi!

DESTINATION WEDDINGS: I got to shoot a few destination weddings in NorCal and in North Carolina!


My amazing friend Kathleen came through for me in ways not many friends would. She also introduced me to the magical world of SURFING for the sport and therapeutic benefits, subsequently through A Walk on Water, the surf therapy organization where I’ve found a new tribe and a new love for volunteering for special needs children and adults and being apart of their Vision Team.


I got a drone and I still don’t know what to do with it other than research what countries I can legally fly it in then forget to actually pack it! *This photo is a drone “selfie”

NEW GOOD MUSIC (which, let’s be honest, there’s not much of these days):

Tool finally came out with a new album again and it’s so good! I remember finally getting to hear their new song, the first one to be released by them in what, over a decade??? I wanted to see them and photograph while they were on tour, but I was out of town a lot and I really try hard enough.


Got to go on a trip to Guadalajara with Adrian as he was flown out by Patron to contribute to their new cocktail program. He’s very talented with the adult beverages and has made a great living by making delicious craft cocktails and combining them with amazing events!


Then a trip to Seoul the following month where I got to visit friends, do an engagement shoot and an anniversary shoot in one of Seoul’s most beautiful locations.
This was special! My friend Matt who lives there told me about the local makkoli man who comes out after hours with a cart full of makkoli with a bell. I just KNEW I had to see this for myself. I love makkoli and this would have been just epic. However, it was getting late and jetlag was setting in, plus, I was SO sick and just felt like I really needed some sleep so I decided to leave early and that’s when I missed him! THE MAKKOLI MAN! Adrian got to witness this divine moment and meet him though. And brought back enough makkoli to have for breakfast, naturally.
Ok, this was special too. We decided to be “touristy” and do a food tour with a local and we ended up doing the one that takes you to the street vendor who is now crazy famous because she’s on Netflix. And yes, her food is amazing, rightfully so. Also, the top right photo is beef tartar, plus still-squirming squid. I sat that one out, for obvious reasons.


And then Austin a month after that so Adrian could show me around his old stomping grounds.
He drove me around his former city to show me his favorite bars, ice cream and food spots, and the parks. We also met up with a friend from Paris who happened to be in Austin on holiday at the same time as we were!
And THIS…this is what the Congress Bridge was supposed to look like and does look like in the summers vs what it looks like at dusk in the fall. Whoops. At sundown, over a million bats hurl ass out from under the Congress Ave bridge and fly east for the night and don’t come back until sunrise. We stood there for an hour waiting for the sun to set so I could get some bat shots, but they never took flight while I had enough daylight left to actually capture it so we bailed.

After we returned from Austin, we moved to a part of Hollywood I’ve been dying to live in for years; Beachwood/Franklin Village! More on this later, as this is a new journey and it’s insane.

PH: Pinterest


I shot more portraits for musician, Natalie Clark. The bottom right shot was taken in the garage downstairs that has a “built-in skylight” like Lower Grand Ave in DTLA. SCORE! A major goal of mine is to shoot more music in 2020. I’ve been putting that on the backburner while I build and grow my Kelli Bee Photography business these last few years.


I also got to shoot BAUHAUS! That was always a bucketlist band to shoot. Peter Murphy!!!


Rebel Rebel! I hope to do more shoots with them in 2020 because their clothing and their brand is so rad.

Overall, 2019 was legit. It was definitely better and more fulfilling than the previous years and I can finally feel a good, healthy shift in my life that I’ve been craving and needing. 2020 is probably going to be just as epic, if not better.








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