Kayla Braaten, Unraveled | An Interview

Kayla is a lifestyle photographer based in Fayetteville, NC. She is a military veteran turned spouse, and mama to three year old Olivia. Apart from capturing the lives of others, Kayla is known for her bread making skills, numerous plant babies, and love for Starbucks and Target. The basic runs through her veins.

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Here is Kayla, Unraveled…

What inspired your art?

My daughter and Heather Marshall- though I’m not sure if she really knows it. I met Heather through her husband, whom I worked with. We were stationed together in Clovis, NM. One night I went over to her house for dinner and I noticed all of the beautiful images of her kiddos on her wall, almost all of which she had taken herself. Right then and there it clicked. I wanted this. I wanted these beautiful memories on my wall too. I wanted to be able to showcase my daughters childhood and to be able to preserve these memories of our family. The rest was history. 

What do you shoot with? Camera body and favorite lens?

Canon 6D Mark ii and my 35mm because #lifestyle.

What other ways do you express your creativity?

I am a crafty mama. I love to make homemade cards, scrapbook, and paint (although I am NOT good at it). I also really enjoy creative journaling - you know the ones with the questions and prompts? Those are super fun and I love how they allow me to reflect and express myself in a different way. These things were small hobbies that quickly turned into a passion and form of self care for me. 

How do you de-stress at the end of the day?

Oreos & Netflix or Hulu. Also, cuddling with my husband (my hunny bear as I would most recently call him), because I still grossly adore him.

What kind of music do you listen to while editing?

Depends what mood I’m in. I can go from hoodrat to hipster in a matter of minutes. Lol

What is your favorite book?

Sadly, I don’t read much as an adult. I just can’t seem to find the time or the space to intentionalize reading. I did recently read “Girl Wash Your Face” by Rachel Hollis, and that was okay. However, I did read a lot as a kid and one book I remember really impacted me as a young girl was, “Gracie’s Girl” by Ellen Wittlinger. I was also obsessed with “The Magic Treehouse” series. Lol

Name one movie that inspires you.

Yikes, another tough question. I can’t say I have a movie that necessarily inspires me but I do love any movie with a strong female lead. I’m also a sucker for rom-coms.

How do you handle self-doubt or creative slumps?

I’m learning how to, honestly. This time around the most helpful thing has been taking a break from the business side of things and shooting for me. I’ve been able to take some of the pressure and stress off of my plate and it’s allowed me to focus on what I want to capture. I also recently had a mini mentorship with Co Hodges and she gave me some wonderful tools and exercises for getting out of my funk and growing in my craft.

What has been the most difficult part of your creative journey?

The self-doubt for sure. It was really hard in the beginning because I was completely self taught with a little help from my long distance bff, Heather. I had other friends who were photographers but they were less than enthused about sharing their knowledge and teaching me, which made it really hard for me to feel motivated or to see my potential. Finding this community played such a huge role in shifting that attitude I had and almost giving up on photography. I still struggle a little with my confidence but I think we all go through these types of seasons as creatives.

Who is one of your favorite photographers?

Just one? Hmm...I’d have to say Jessica Louise right now. I just adore the way she captures her little girl and rich and vibrant her editing style is! #GOALS

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