Portrait by David Yellen


Kelly Starbuck, a native of Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, moved to New York City where she resided for 14 years. During those years Kelly found her calling to become a photographer. Fernando Bengoechea, an international celebrity, interior and lifestyle photographer gave Kelly her start as his studio manager. She assisted on photo shoots and worked as a teaching assistant at The International Center of Photography. Bengoechea tragically perished in the 2004 Indonesian Tsunami – his partner Nate Berkus, celeb interior designer, miraculously survived. Kelly began her work as a photographer soon thereafter with a focus on portraiture, interior, product, travel and lifestyle projects as well as personal fine art projects. At the end of 2009, Kelly returned to Wilmington, NC to be near her family at the beach and to make Wilmington her home base for business. Starbuck made her mark in the Wilmington art community by curating fine art photography shows at her gallery, SALT Studio Photography, in the Brooklyn Arts District. Starbuck’s gallery featured national and local photographers during the Fourth Friday Gallery night openings from 2013 through 2015. In 2016, Kelly partnered with The Brooklyn Arts Center to produce and curate Wilmington’s first large-scale photography show featuring over 35 artists titled, “Southern Exposure: A Photographic Arts Show”. Starbuck’s photography has been displayed on Larry King Live, The Sundance Channel, The New York Times, Town & Country Magazine, Southern Living Magazine, Kiwi Magazine, Hachette Book Group, Delmark Records as well as local publications The Star News, Wilmington Magazine, Cape Fear Living Magazine, Focus on the Coast, Lumina News and Encore Magazine. Her fine art photography has been exhibited in numerous group shows in the Chelsea art district of New York City, at The Cameron Art Museum, Art in Bloom Gallery and The Arts Council of Wilmington. Starbuck has appeared twice on UNC-TV/PBS to preview her fine art photography in the Cameron Art Museum’s exhibition, “State of the Art/Art of the State.” Kelly worked closely with the production designer and set decorators to shoot the studio backdrop scenes for ABC’s crime series, Secrets & Lies and supply many of the photographic works used on set. Kelly is available to shoot outside the Wilmington area and periodically travels to New York City for shoots with artist and musician clients.



Kelly Starbuck Photography offers personalized photographic services with a unique edge to business and private clients in Wilmington, NC and surrounding areas. Centrally located, we accept bookings throughout the Carolinas and beyond. We collaborate with commercial clients to provide on-brand, distinctive visual representation of products and services that will generate sales and bring attention to their business. Our intent is to meet and exceed our clients’ goals by providing fresh, unique, memorable images whether it’s for a social media campaign or family portrait session. We strive to deliver new, fun and creative ways to showcase our clients through photography. Our specialties include commercial and marketing photography for businesses portraits, headshots, fashion, interiors, product, food, travel, events, music, pets, still life and commercial photography.