Interview: Photographer Baylee Dennis
How did you first get started in photography and decide to pursue it?
My Uncle is a photographer as well & gifted me my first DSLR when I was 13 years old because I was always taking pictures! I wore that sensor out in a couple years (Nikon D1, throwback!) by shooting literally everything. I have always loved shooting portraits, & got really into it when I attempted a 365 day photo challenge on Flickr when I was 16. I didn’t make it the full year, but I had so much ambition after then to make this my career! Fast forward till now & I’ve been shooting full-time for just under 3 years!
How would you distinguish your style?
I always struggle with the right words for this! Shooting wise my style is about 50/50 with posed vs candid, I love romantic shots but I just as equally love the playful ones! Editing wise I love my warm tones, creamy whites, & keeping colors true enough for that timeless look without giving up that dreamy factor!
What has influenced your style and work the most?
I am constantly finding inspiration from my PNW roots & also my travels. I love photographing couples in places that they too are inspired by! My favorite places are the Columbia River Gorge, the Oregon Coast, & anywhere tropical with a nice beach! I love rich greenery, creamy tan beaches, warm sunsets, & the cool ocean. Ever since I met and fell in love with my now husband, I’ve fallen even more in love with my choice in career. There’s nothing I enjoy more than seeing couples in the happiest phases of their lives & my work feeds off that positive energy!
What things would you say your work is doing or striving to do?
I strive to make the couples (& individuals) I work with not only look but feel like the version of themselves they like the very best! I want them to love their photos like they love each other, to look at their gallery and really go ‘wow, these really show US’. I am a pretty positive person & I try to bring that kind of energy into every shoot as best I can (I’m overly expressive always, SUE ME), I want it to be a fun experience from start to finish, and I want to inspire others!
What is something you see photography communities lack?
Everyone says ‘community over competition’ and I truly believe in THIS. I want my peers to be successful. I want to encourage beginners to keep working at it, even when they doubt themselves because we have ALL been there. There is plenty of room at the top, and as much as I care about myself and my business, I also care about people. That’s our job, and there isn’t enough of that in this industry.
What has the evolution of you and your work been like since you started?
I’d like to think that I’ve drastically improved since I started half my lifetime ago!! Hah. But really, when I started I knew nothing, other than that I was camera trigger happy and shot everything in site. I remember when I was 13 I was SO PROUD of this photo I took of a rainbow drawn in sidewalk chalk. I photoshopped everything around it b&w & I thought it belonged printed in the house for sure! I forced my friends to ‘model’ for me in HS & started getting paid to do senior portraits as a Senior. When I was 19 I shot my very first wedding & I’d never been more nervous in my whole life. When I was 23 I left my part time job (I almost always had 2) to pursue photography full time (not without lots of preparation & saving!). I just turned 26 this past month & I’m so humbled & grateful to say I’ve never been busier in my WHOLE LIFE! I just hit my goal in Wedding bookings for summer of 2018 & the New Year hasn’t even hit!! Being an entrepreneur has it’s own hardships, there are a lot of blood, sweat, and quite literally tears that go into working for yourself. I’m still trying to find that balance of work / everything else but I wouldn’t trade this life of mine for the world!
What was your last shoot like?
I’m visiting Utah for the first time currently, and had a styled shoot I’ve been looking forward to this evening, with this adorable couple at Antelope Island! I was so giddy all day, spending time with a fellow photographer friend (Lexxi Smith Photography) who I met modeling for in Oregon! A florist friend whom I adore (the potted pansy) made this dreamy bouquet that I seriously could’ve stared at forever (oh wait, I did) for the shoot and everything about it was even better than I had imagined in my head!!
What are some of your all time favorite hobbies other than photography?
Traveling! My mom works for the airlines and I’ve been blessed with being able to travel to so many amazing places my whole life! I love going places I’ve never been and I’m constantly in awe of how beautiful this planet of ours is! Some more favorite pastimes are hiking, snowboarding, adrenaline chasing, eating everything in site, petting my dog & everyone else’s dog, and spending time with my family, babe of a husband, & amazing friends.
Is there anything, anything at all, we didn’t ask about that you’d like to share?
Remember that Instagram showcases the best of the best moments in ones life, so do yourself a mountainous favor and please don’t compare your very REAL life to someone else’s ‘best of’s’. The worlds greatest photographers I promise you, are still constantly learning from others. The prettiest models can still take unflattering photos. You should never feel less than, when I promise you there are very real people, with their own personal struggles behind every account you follow and/or look up to! You’re never alone and if you’re ever feeling that way, know that you’ve got a friend (& listening ear) in me! @bayleedennis