Kaitlyn Mikayla: Firestarter

Full Name: Kaitlyn Mikayla
Age: 30
Country: US
Photography Genre: Fashion

1. Could you please provide us with a professional introduction about yourself and your photography work?

My name is Kaitlyn Mikayla and I’m a Los Angeles based fashion photographer. I’ve been shooting since I was a teenager but started working in fashion nearly a decade ago, directing commercials and shooting international campaigns.
Featured in: Lomography Magazine, Paper Magazine, OUT Mag, People, and Times Square Billboards

2. Can you tell us about how you got started in photography?

As a teenager, I used to shoot my friends myspace pictures, each profile photo crazier than the last. I went to film school but got frustrated with the lengthy process, so I started taking pictures of landscapes and actor friends in New York. I would post my photos online and they just caught on. Before I knew it I was fully immersed in the fashion scene.

3. What was your passion driving you during your journey? Who or what prompted you to begin?

I’ve always loved visual art and cinema was a big creative influence on me as a child. I loved playing around with my dad’s cameras after school. I would always beg to be in charge of the camera on family vacations. I think the love for the lens developed when I realized I could show my parents how I saw the world.

4. Could you walk us through your photoshoot planning process?

For me, I always love to start with my subject and try to build a world around them. Once I have my model, I search for the perfect location. As a photographer who prefers to shoot in environments, location is one of the most important things to me. Having been somewhat of a nomadic photographer, spending the last year shooting between Los Angeles, London and Europe, I’ve had to become my own stylist. So after I have my location, I start pulling outfit inspiration, mostly from Pinterest or films I love. I’ll spend the days leading up to the shoot seeking out the best vintage pieces and props I can find. Finally, I’ll build a mood board with emotions, hair and makeup, movement and framing suggestions. Then I’m usually ready to shoot!

5. As a photography expert, what sets your work apart from other photographers?

I certainly would never think of myself as an expert but I hope my cinematic take on the female gaze sets me apart from other photographers.

6. Where do you get your ideas for photoshoots?

I studied filmmaking and have always been entranced by cinema. I find a lot of my references are often films I’m struck by. I always get inspired when I’m traveling, so often times a lot of my work is done on the road. New landscapes and architecture are my favorite things to explore for my fashion shoots.

7. Can you tell us about the most memorable moment you’ve had as a photographer and what experience you gained from that?

It’s hard to pin down one moment, but I find that when I travel and shoot I am the most inspired and manage to take the best photographs. I think a new environment allows me to see the world with fresh eyes and it entices my imagination!

8. What are the most important components of an extraordinary photograph, in your opinion?

Emotion and composition. A photo is worth nothing if it can’t make you feel.

9. How do you strike a balance between your artistic expression and your client’s expectations during a shoot?

For every 100 frames for a client, at least 20 are for me. I try to capture what they want and need for their line and then once I’ve achieved that I give myself a few frames to play.

10. How do other artists influence your work? Are there any other photographers you look up to? Who?

Again, I’d have to say filmmakers really are my biggest influences. I found while shooting and living in Europe this past year, I gravitated towards creating images that reminded me of Wim Wenders’ Wings of Desire; moody and whimsical black and whites with a euro backdrop.

11. How do you enhance your vision after a session by post-processing your photos? Do you have a best-kept secret for editing processing that you’d like to share?

Since I shoot primarily on film, I have a pretty brief editing process. It’s usually just a curves pass, some selective color (my secret weapon) and some light retouching.

12. Can you tell us about the most difficult photographic challenge you’ve ever had, including lighting, unexpected situations, and how you managed the issues on set?

Most of my issues have been in relation to the unpredictability of film, which you’re often not finding out until after the shoot. The most difficult thing has been accepting my mistakes, knowing I can’t go back and recreate a moment, but to learn where I went wrong and try again next time.

13. What are your top tips for aspiring photographers on skill development and finding their own creative voice? How did you develop yours?

To hone your skills, just keep shooting. Don’t get discouraged if you’re not achieving what you want. It all takes time. I think your creative voice is ever evolving and you just have to trust it. I’ve gone through so many styles and variations in my career. It never stops changing.

14. What is your favorite piece of work you’ve ever shot?

My favorite thing I ever shot was with my muse, Josephine. I transformed her into an Angel and we shot overlooking the Tuscan countryside.
vulkanmagazine.com/project/tuscan-angel15. Can you tell me about an upcoming project you’re working on and the idea behind it?

My next project is actually a narrative film to be shot on 16mm. It’s a story about my childhood and that’s all I can say for now!

16. Where can we view more of your work and connect with you?

Instagram: @kaitlynmikayla
Website: kaitlynmikayla.com


Photo: @kaitlynmikayla
Model: Hayley Friedman

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