Instagram Takeover with Leslie McKellar

Hi! I'm Leslie McKellar, a local editorial and portrait photographer, and I took over the Charlie Instagram feed for a week! When I first moved to this ridiculously photogenic city nearly 15 years ago, I loved capturing its postcard-worthy scenes. And while I still occasionally grab my "real" camera to capture a crazy exploding flower box or the bridge against a beautiful sunset, it's certainly not my favorite way to see Charleston anymore. My favorite way to see the city is in in-between moments—when I'm rushing from a photo shoot to meet a friend for a drink, or walking my dog. Charleston presents itself to me in quirky ways during my everyday. I shoot it with my iPhone, because I'm on the go, and it's not for work. It's not that kind of moment. It's my Charleston. The real one I live in. It just sort of... winks at me.

I captured this shot on a Sunday in April. The weather had gone from warm to hot, and I decided that the first ice cream cone of the season was in order. I called some friends and we strolled down the Folly Beach boardwalk, quickly realizing we weren't the only ones who had declared it a beach day.

I captured this shot on a Sunday in April. The weather had gone from warm to hot, and I decided that the first ice cream cone of the season was in order. I called some friends and we strolled down the Folly Beach boardwalk, quickly realizing we weren't the only ones who had declared it a beach day.

For several years I was the photographer for the College of Charleston marketing department. If you've been on this stunning campus in the heart of the city, you know it wasn't tough for me to make it look good. But when it rained, I usually stayed in my office to edit photos—until, on this particular day, I was on my way to grab lunch and caught this reflection on the bricks. I never counted out rainy days again. 

For several years I was the photographer for the College of Charleston marketing department. If you've been on this stunning campus in the heart of the city, you know it wasn't tough for me to make it look good. But when it rained, I usually stayed in my office to edit photos—until, on this particular day, I was on my way to grab lunch and caught this reflection on the bricks. I never counted out rainy days again. 

On rare occasions I offer my photography services for trade instead of payment. This usually involves me getting to eat really delicious food, but in this case, it landed me a weekend at The Sanctuary on Kiawah Island. I woke up super early the first day and wandered into the pool area. The morning light made it look like a movie set. 

On rare occasions I offer my photography services for trade instead of payment. This usually involves me getting to eat really delicious food, but in this case, it landed me a weekend at The Sanctuary on Kiawah Island. I woke up super early the first day and wandered into the pool area. The morning light made it look like a movie set. 

While on assignment in beautiful Rockville, SC (home of the famous annual regatta), I met this boy, who had just arrived for a visit with his relatives at their beautiful home on the water. He was very excited to show me his new playground for the week.

While on assignment in beautiful Rockville, SC (home of the famous annual regatta), I met this boy, who had just arrived for a visit with his relatives at their beautiful home on the water. He was very excited to show me his new playground for the week.

Just before Morris Sokol closed last year, I caught this reflection while walking down King Street. (Full disclosure, I was on my way to Jeni's for more ice cream.)

Just before Morris Sokol closed last year, I caught this reflection while walking down King Street. (Full disclosure, I was on my way to Jeni's for more ice cream.)

I love photographing the behind-the-scenes action during the famous Jack of Cups of Saloon pop-up dinners on Folly Beach. The kitchen is tiny, so sometimes I sneak out the back door for a breath of fresh air. One night I did so, and the sky looked like cotton candy. I loved the juxtaposition of the human-made back porch lights and the Universe-made "sky lights." 

I love photographing the behind-the-scenes action during the famous Jack of Cups of Saloon pop-up dinners on Folly Beach. The kitchen is tiny, so sometimes I sneak out the back door for a breath of fresh air. One night I did so, and the sky looked like cotton candy. I loved the juxtaposition of the human-made back porch lights and the Universe-made "sky lights." 

Even photographers who love to sleep in won't deny that early morning light is hard to beat. I took this photo this spring, and it was my first time walking the Arthur Ravenel bridge. I have no idea what took me so long.

Even photographers who love to sleep in won't deny that early morning light is hard to beat. I took this photo this spring, and it was my first time walking the Arthur Ravenel bridge. I have no idea what took me so long.

Driving through my neighborhood with my friend Kelly, I passed this wall of jasmine, slammed on the brakes, and announced "I SEE A PICTURE. WE'RE GETTING OUT OF THE CAR." My friends are very accustomed to becoming spur-of-the-moment models.

Driving through my neighborhood with my friend Kelly, I passed this wall of jasmine, slammed on the brakes, and announced "I SEE A PICTURE. WE'RE GETTING OUT OF THE CAR." My friends are very accustomed to becoming spur-of-the-moment models.

For the record, an alligator sighting in Charleston is way more common than a Bill Murray sighting. I got a little too close to this guy and spooked him- hence his escape into the reflective waters at Magnolia Plantation.

For the record, an alligator sighting in Charleston is way more common than a Bill Murray sighting. I got a little too close to this guy and spooked him- hence his escape into the reflective waters at Magnolia Plantation.

Charlestonians will forever be changed by the tragic event at Mother Emanuel last summer. I took this while walking by the church a few months later, after the news reporters had finally left and the hundreds of flowers that had been laid in front of the gate had withered. After everything that had happened, this was what AME wanted to say: Thank you. It occurred to me that love and gratitude are the strongest weapons we have as human beings.

Charlestonians will forever be changed by the tragic event at Mother Emanuel last summer. I took this while walking by the church a few months later, after the news reporters had finally left and the hundreds of flowers that had been laid in front of the gate had withered. After everything that had happened, this was what AME wanted to say: Thank you. It occurred to me that love and gratitude are the strongest weapons we have as human beings.