The Woman Behind The Lens

What’s up friend I’m Kayla! At this moment I am 25 years old, married to the love of my life, and have two fur babies by the names of Phinnegan and Ella Rose. Phinn is a 1.5yr old Golden Retriever and Ella is an almost 3yr old Brittany! My husband’s name is Austin, and we have been married a little over 2 years, but together 10 years this coming May! Yes, we are high school sweethearts!! My husband and I definitely want human babies, but not quite yet!! We have a few more goals we’d ideally like to achieve before throwing children in the mix, and for right now our fur babies are our world!! I was born and raised in North Central West Virginia, and here I plan to stay!! I am a hopeless romantic who probably drinks way too much sweet tea, loves shopping for house decor, going on walks with the pups at sunset, and Jesus Christ. There are many things I enjoy… like watching movies, creating mood boards for each room of our future home, and keeping up with Phinnegan’s Instagram account… but what I am most passionate about is PHOTOGRAPHY. 

I suppose I should start with where my love for photography originated… dating back to the early 2000s when I was a little girl, my nana and I would scrapbook together. She owned her own scrapbooking business at the time and I would spend many weekends with her at her store. She hosted lots of parties and would allow me to help where I could, join in on creating things with the other women, and in her spare time helped me create my first album filled with all the memories of my first trip to Disney World! What is the most important part of the album… the PHOTOS you put in them!! A photo is a moment that you can't get back, but a piece of a memory that you can hold on to forever. That’s one thing I have to say about my Nana and Pap, is they have always loved to document everything! Family gatherings, vacations, camping… if it happened they’ve probably got a photo of it somewhere HAHA!! Once I got my first camera, I began to do the same thing. I’d take pictures of my childhood pet Oreo, random things around the house, selfies in the mirror, probably some unflattering pictures of people at family gatherings… then put all my favorite photos on a little pink electronic photo cube that came out when I was little (if you know you know) HAHA! Fast forward to high school, when I got my first canon camera for Christmas. I joined the photography club freshman year, and this is when I really began contemplating if I wanted to make something out of it! I would look up other photographers, research about cameras, and wonder if I could actually do it… BUT I allowed self doubt and fear get the best of me, and as a high school student who worked a minimum wage job… to start my own business seemed like too big of an investment. Then in my lower 20s my husband proposed!! When looking for a wedding photographer for our wedding, the same thoughts and feelings kept creeping back up. I had a passion for photography, I knew that I would absolutely LOVE IT, and I knew exactly what niche I wanted to work towards if I did it. It was just the “just do it part” that had me worried. I kept thinking… “Just do it, just make the investment, just put yourself out there and believe in yourself Kayla.” After many conversations with my husband and lots of research, the following year after we got married  I went for it! I invested in my first DSLR body, lens, and the other gear I needed to get started. I obtained my business license, created all my social media accounts, and did the dang thing! I began shooting anything and everything. I practiced a lot on my pups, but I also did several model calls and free sessions just to get practice and create a portfolio. Eventually I began accepting paid sessions, and just like that my dreams were coming true. I knew that my goal was to eventually take on weddings because as I said before, I’m a hopeless romantic. I love LOVE, and I have since I was a little girl. At a very young age I had made a list of “my perfect dream man” while at church camp one year. I was very detailed in exactly who and what I wanted this man to be and look like. Hair color, eye color, really white teeth, taller than me, respectful, to have siblings I got along with, to love Jesus just like me… the whole nine yards HAHA!! I prayed over that list for years, and I still have it to this day. God gave me exactly what I asked for. My husband is this list to a T!! He could tell you that himself because yes, he has seen it LOL!! I was blessed enough to find him at such a young age, become high school sweet hearts, and take his last name shortly after graduating college. So when I tell you that I am a hopeless romantic, that I’m a sucker for a love story, and that I want nothing more than to tell yours… I MEAN IT!! Nothing sparks my creativity more than a couple in love. Couples, Engagements, and Weddings are what makes my heart happiest!! SO once I got some experience and my portfolio built up, I started investing in wedding styled shoots. I wanted to get the experience of how to shoot weddings, how to get “the shot” in a more relaxed environment before throwing myself into the fast pace of a wedding day with no prior knowledge of what to do, and I wanted to invest in the future of my business so that couples would trust in my ability to capture every important moment of their special day. I also had the opportunity to second shoot with another photographer that had way more experience than me, and who taught me a couple things. I think THAT is my biggest piece of advice for new photographers that would like to start shooting weddings. INVEST FIRST. GET EXPERIENCE FIRST. LEARN WHAT YOU CAN FIRST. Not because you do not have the ability to shoot weddings, but because you do not want to put yourself in a position to make a really bad mistake on YOUR CLIENT’S special day. It isn’t about you as the photographer, it’s about them and the service THEY are paying for. It’s one of the most important days of their life and you want to capture it perfectly, so that they trust you to capture every other important milestone of their lives. That is exactly why I made the decision to invest before, and take on weddings after. I have prayed a lot, put in the work, and made the investments. I believe by doing these things combined with the passion I have for the job is what has made me successful. I have more than doubled my weddings this year and I am beyond grateful. I am so excited to have the ability to tell the love stories of so many wonderful couples this year!! IM SO EXCITED!!! I’m grateful for every mistake made, lesson learned, and opportunities I have had up until this point. I cannot wait to see what more 2023 brings and am looking forward to the future of my business!! I want to give all of my clients the BIGGEST THANK YOU I can for trusting in me and becoming a part of my story, and for your continued support of my business!! In just two years I have accomplished SO MUCH and I have no words for how beyond blessed I feel. I love you all, thank you for reading, and stay awesome!!