Interview: Photographer Kylie Morgan
Kylie Morgan is a traveling wedding + elopement + couples photographer based out of Boise, ID with a stunning vision and a great asset to the photographic industry and an extreme lover of Mexican food (so relatable). We asked her a couple of questions about her journey through photography and here’s what she had to say!
Where did your interest in photography begin? How did you decide to follow your passion?
Ooh, that’s a tough question! I’ve always been interested in photography, as my cousin and I ever since we were younger would always come up with different shoots we could do. Dressing ourselves up and finding old abandoned buildings or setting up backdrops in our bedrooms haha. I REALLY became interested in it when I went to school in Hawaii for a year! I had been given a Canon Rebel t3 for Christmas a previous year, but really didn’t start using it until Hawaii! I was the person all my friends would turn to to document our adventures and life on the island — how could you not want to take pictures there? I also took an entreupernship class to see if being my own “boss” interested me at all, and that’s what ultimately pushed me to decide that one day I really did one to own my business. I planned to come back home (Idaho) after a year, in which I (so luckily) got asked to do my first wedding of my husbands (boyfriend at the time) friend. Which was INSANE, because I didn’t know the first thing about wedding photography. Sure I had shot couples before, but nothing even remotely close to capturing the memories of a once in a lifetime event, not to mention usually the biggest event in someones life. So from there, I rented a TON of equipment, did research day in and day out to be as prepared as I could be for their wedding. I still to this day don’t know how I at least pulled it off. Like I look back and the pictures are at least decent? haha. All in focus, didn’t miss any big moments, still in awe! haha. I slowly began to love it more and more, eventually dropping out of college after trying three different schools, and decided to put all my time and effort into it — finding my niche with couples and the love between them — and went full time with it this last February!
How would you distinguish your style?
I would say that my style is very earthy, laid back, and emotional! I’m obsessed with earth tones (oranges, blues, greens, neutrals, etc.), and I believe that shows a lot in my images! I think that derives from my love to travel and be outdoors, exploring this incredible earth. I love letting people be themselves, and a lot of that is possible through becoming friends with each and every one of my couples. Everyone has such a unique story and what makes them fit together perfectly — and my biggest aim in photography is to capture that unique-ness. I think it’s so, so important to establish relationship with my couples, and become more friends with them, rather than just having them as clients. It makes them so much more comfortable in front of a camera, and to me that’s what it’s all about. The raw emotion of their love. I always tell my couples my shoots are more like hanging out, and I just capture the moments along the way. Of course I’ll help direct and whatnot since being in front of a camera is nerve-racking, but all in all I want to capture them in their element.
What was your last shoot like?
Ahh so happy about this one! My last shoot was an Adventure Shoot and they are my all time favorite kinds of shoots. I offer these in replace of just your typical 1.5 hour engagements or bridal sessions! What I do is I plan + spend 1–2 days with the couple adventuring around an area that they choose! Shooting at a few different locations throughout the day! They’re so fun to me because A, I’m doing literally exactly what I love — photographing couples and seeing amazing places at the same time, and B, it gives me a chance to really get to know the couple-how they click, how they flow, how they act around each other throughout an entire day (or two), the ups and downs of it all and everything. It lets me connect with them on a much more personal level, giving me an advantage to capture that raw emotion that I strive to capture! so…for my last shoot we went through the Olympic National Park for their engagements! We went to Lake Crescent throughout the day, ran in the fields and watched the sun set over Hurricane Ridge, and let the waves crash over our feet at La Push Beach — and it was absolutely incredible. The couple I was with was so carefree, inviting, and a blast to be with — we had such a good time driving hours on end to each location, eating way too many salt and vinegar chips and drinking way too many Red Bulls haha. We stayed in this tiny, tiny little wall-less cabin, and joked about how I literally need to change my profession description to a professional third-wheeler cause that’s SO what it was. haha.
What improvements and changes would you like to see happen with you and/or the photography world?
There is ALWAYS something I can work on to better myself with photography. From making my couples feel more comfortable, shooting techniques, direction, editing, and then not to mention the business side of things that honestly I’m just winging and hoping I’m doing right. It’s all a lot more work then you would ever think!
Mostly, I would love to be able to connect with my couples more, and make them feel comfortable — almost to the point that they feel like I’m not even there (especially with a camera), so that they just feel at ease during our shoots and can really be themselves. And then my goal in the long run is to definitely drive my business towards the destination intimate wedding + elopement scene, for all those lovers that love traveling to high mountaintops, waterfalls, and everything inbetween. My love for travel is probably just as big as my one for photography! So incorporate the two and it’s basically heaven.
It’s so nice to see the photography world shift to become more of a community, rather than competition. You hear it all the time, community over competition, but honestly that’s hard for everyone I’m sure. It’s not always easy putting the essence of photography and why we are doing what we are doing, over the business side of things — like NEEDING those shoots to pay bills and support ourselves because for most of us it is our only job. Slowly but surely it’s transitioning into that — with how much photographers are helping one another be their best, helping each other how to grow and transform their business into their dream, etc. etc. But in all, if you think about it, as a photographer — at least a wedding photographer — your main purpose should be for the couple. Not for the business, not for the Instagram likes, not for the feature in a magazine. You should focusing solely on the couple and their day, and try to tell their story — and that’s something that I myself needs to work on remembering too.
What does/has photography done for you?
My life has shifted a ton within these last two years. Where everything I do revolves around photography. haha. Which I absolutely love! I wouldn’t trade it for anything. It definitely has made me realize though how important moments and memories are. I still am in awe every single time a person books me for their wedding, or whatever special moment in their life they want me to capture, because once all is said and done, the day is over, the rentals returned, the flowers wilted — all you have left are the memories — and the best way to look back on those are pictures. It’s really made me value my time with my loved ones because I’m around other peoples’ love all the time and it really is an incredible thing, as well as it’s made my love for travel grow immensely. The fact that we can capture beautiful things to always look back on, still blows my mind.
Are there any concepts that inspire your work or that you draw inspiration from?
Yes one hundred percent! Amongst an amazing slew of photographers I follow that I draw inspiration from on a daily basis, I draw inspiration from a few different things! As mentioned previously, I am obsessed with traveling and seeing new places — new places in general inspire me a ton. Every time I get the opportunity to shoot somewhere new that we have to either hike to, or it takes a little bit of planning to get to it or make it happen, it makes it that much more worth it — and you know it’s going to be incredible. It’s like an adrenaline rush really! I also draw a ton of inspiration from music videos and music in general. haha. I don’t know why but theres something about music videos that just makes you feel something. I typically listen to music while I edit, and every single time I’m running a story-line or a video through my head of what that music video would look like if there was one — and I’ll jot down ideas then that I would have for shoots that ultimately came from listening to that song. I’ll get caught up watching music videos when I originally sat down to edit because they just feel so real, and that’s all I want my pictures to be, is real. And then the stars. I love stars and this incredible universe that we live in. My husband and I go camping and hiking a lot and I always bring my tripod along to get pictures of the stars because its seriously incredible how a camera can capture more than your eyes can see when it comes to the stars. There are MILLIONS. And it just makes you remember how small you are compared to this big world, but yet how big of a role each and every one of us plays.
How would you describe your place in the photography community as and why?
That’s a tough one. The photography community is growing at a rapid pace if you ask me! Which is awesome — it’s like the best job anyone could ever have in my opinion! I also could be a little bias. haha. I would just say that I’m just over here trying to succeed just as much as the next person — and trying to give my couples that I shoot the best and most memorable time to look back on.
What experiences has being so involved with photography brought you?
So, so many. As I mentioned previously most everything I do revolves around photography, so all my experiences come from it! I have had some amazing opportunities to travel and capture weddings and just people’s love in general, get to know people from England and meet them in Switzerland to shoot their engagements, travel all over the Pacific Northwest and see incredible views. Which I feel so, so lucky. But more so than the location and the traveling, with that comes the best part and that’s getting to know these couples and creating lasting memories with them. My husband will often time come on shoots with me, and I remember trying not to roll down the steep mountainside and practicing our terrible english accents with the sweetest couple from England in the heart of the Swiss Alps — where we took a cable car up to Gimmelwald and watched the sun set over the huge mountains. I had never met this couple before but now to this day it’s one of my favorite days and I wouldn’t have spent it with anyone else. Alongside that, the best experiences I’ve had with photography are made in my hometown. Nampa, Idaho isn’t anything like places like Switzerland — it’s quite the opposite. haha. But I have met some of the BEST people through my line of work, and become such good friends with them that just the other day I was thinking, what am I going to do when all my weddings this year are over, because I just love my couples so much? haha.
Where do you see you and your work going?
I’m slowly but surely trying to turn my business more into the adventurous/traveling intimate wedding + elopements. Theres something about those that just make my heart skip a beat. It could be the adrenaline from hiking forever to get to an incredible view, or it could be the intimate moments that are more often seen when it’s just you and your love eloping in your favorite place to be. All of it combined is what makes my heart happy. I love the days that I have to spend a few hours chatting with a couple, planning hikes and destinations, sending pictures back and forth on locations, it’s like all the hard work you’re putting into planning the perfect spot and day — when that day comes, it’s going to be even more magical.
In the long run, I want to always remember that what I’m doing, I’m doing it for the couple. I want to make sure I’m focusing on them, and only them, and capturing what makes them who they are and why they are together. If I can do that, I know that I’m doing my job :) and if I can do that in other beautiful countries, cliffside, seaside, and everywhere in-between, I’m pretty much living out my dream! I also have this weird thing that I feel like once I hit a certain age (depends on how well I age honestly haha), I just probably should retire from photography — so at that point, I’m thinking owning my own greenhouse is in order!!