Kaylee Hoeflicker: Hardworking Creative
I’ve been following Kaylee on Instagram for years, and I absolutely love her beautiful editing style and fun happy personality. Read her tips for budding photographers and for all creatives below!
What does it mean to you to be a “hardworking creative?”
For me, it means to find your niche. Finding it takes more than stumbling upon it, you must make an effort to find it. Get out there. And when you find it, keep working at it. For me in photography, I found my style by taking photos for years! I’ve only recently within the past year felt like I’ve defined so to say what my “style” is. And it took trial and error, and tons of practice. While I may have my style now, I still work at it and improve so I can continue cranking out my best work.
Tell us in one sentence what you do and why you do it.
I am a photographer and I do it because taking photos is my favorite thing in this world and I am so pumped it gets to be my job! I want to serve people in a way that gives them beautiful photos and a strong friendship as well.
When, how, and why did you start taking photos?
I started taking photos years and years ago (probably 2010ish is when I got my first camera, a cute lil pink point, and shoot.) I’ve always loved anything creative from a very young age, in fact, I spent most of my brother’s baseball games coloring in coloring books. I dabbled with drawing, sculpting, and any art form I could take on. As high school began, I got my first DSLR and took photos of EVERYTHING. And I’ve loved being behind a camera since. I started taking photos because it became a really neat avenue for me and I just fell in love with the idea of freezing a moment.
How old were you when you began your photography career in earnest? Has it ever been difficult to be young in the industry, and have you ever felt like you’re not taken seriously?
I started taking photography more seriously the summer after I graduated, as I spent most of high school taking photography classes. I finally had a chance to focus primarily on the photos I wanted to take. So, I set up a website, and have never looked back. It’s been hard being young especially since I’m only five feet two. I’ve shown up to weddings before and gotten some looks as if I’m a 12-year-old photographer. So, from the get-go, some people have seemed a little concerned but after I show them what I’ve done and given them their photos, those ties to my age go away! I truly think age is just a number and having x number of years of experience aren’t what makes you great.
What was something that surprised you as you began pursuing photography in earnest—something about the process that you didn’t expect, whether good or bad?
What surprised me is how many people are in this business for the wrong reasons. I’ve worked with people that have only been in it for the money and fame, which makes me sad because taking photos for people is SO much more than being Instagram famous. I’ve also been surprised to see how many people are willing to bring down someone else’s work so they can feel better about theirs. This isn’t a competition, this should be a community. I hope everyone that has the same title as me is successful! Even though I’ve met some people like that, I have also met the most amazing photographers who have the heart behind their work and I’m so glad to call them friends!
What advice do you have for young creatives who want to do something with their work but just can’t seem to get off the ground? And more specifically, what advice do you have for beginning photographers who are trying to figure out their personal style?
It’s probably cliché and I would’ve hated hearing it too, but put yourself out there. Even if it feels annoying or obsessive. If you are wanting to get into photography, take your friends out and then post those photos like wildfire. Tell your family that you would love to give them a free shoot! Whatever you do, you need to be taking photos as much as you can! My first photos are of Christmas decorations in my house! The more you experiment, the better you will feel.
What are your short-term and long-term goals with photography?
My short-term goals are to get all of my seventeen sessions from the past two weeks edited as soon as possible! My long-term goal is to make this thing a full-time thing! I’m looking at getting my associates degree May of 2019 and then I’m going full time. And I’m STOKED.
What does a typical day in your life look like right now?
A typical day looks like waking up late for class, going to class, coming home to nap, waking up for a photo shoot, come home to edit, edit for a while, get Chick-fil-a or canes, get organized, stay up till 3 am, and then do it all over again!
What camera equipment do you use?
I shoot on a Canon 80D and primarily use a Sigma 35 mm lens. I’ve found this gets the job done for the average shoot. You don’t need the most expensive camera to take a good photo!
What’s the most effective way that you have advertised yourself?
Instagram for seniors and Facebook for my family have been awesome, but word of mouth has been the best! My clients have been incredible with recommending me to their friends and family, and I’m so thankful for that.
Do you currently (or have you ever) have a job outside of photography? If so, does it help or hurt your creative career, and how?
I also nanny two kids and I’m involved with my church music team, but it has never been overwhelming for me! I don’t like having school with all of these things, so I’m saying see ya later to college, haha 😉
What’s the best piece of advice anyone has ever given you regarding your photography career?
The best advice I’ve ever been given is that at the end of the day, these photos aren’t my own. They are someone’s first look with their husband, their last photo before going to college, their tender moments with their loved ones, and a frozen moment in time with their family. I’m taking photos for other people that they’ll cherish and have forever, and photography is not about creating all of the trendy looks and the greatest photos for social media, it’s for moments that matter. When I’m shooting, my eye needs to be trained to see the people for who they are, not just another artsy photo for the gram.