Welcome to my blog! For those of you who don’t know me that well my names Kayleigh, I’m a Fashion Photographer based in Bristol, England.
I thought for my first ever blog post I could tell you a little bit more about me and how I got to where I am today. By no means am I anywhere near where I want to be, but I still can’t quite believe how far I’ve come in the past two years.
This might be a long story, so grab a cuppa and some biscuits and let's get into it…
Let’s take it back six years: I was in sixth form at my local school and I had no idea where I wanted to go in life. My original plan was photography but I didn’t know if I was any good at it, let alone whether I'd be able to make a career out of it! I studied Art at school but ended up failing as my teacher at the time told me I couldn’t do photography in Art and that I wasn’t any good. I gave up on that dream and decided to study Events management at University.
September came and off I went to Falmouth Uni. A year went by and it was great, but I knew deep down it wasn’t where I wanted to be. My flat mate at the time studied Fashion Photography and I would occasionally help her out assisting with shoots. Holding lights that sort of thing, assisting with costume changes, that kind of thing. I think this made me realise that I wasn’t doing what I loved.
This is also when I started to notice my mental health declining. It wasn’t just the uni course, there were several factors in my life that were really starting to affect me. My anxiety was severe and my depression grew stronger. I struggled to get out of bed and I would regularly suffer from panic attacks.
It was November 2015 that I made the most difficult decision of my life to date. I decided to quit Falmouth University and come home. To most people this might not sound like a difficult decision, but when you’re not sure on your next step and you don’t want to disappoint anyone, this really is hard. If you know anyone going through this then please please do not judge them, just be there for them, I can’t stress this enough.
I started working full time at a local café. the following year I travelled Europe with my boyfriend at the time for a month, which was such an eye opener into the world and its beauty. I couldn't shake the dream of becoming a full time photographer and I had always considered travel photography but had no idea how to get there!
Knowing that photography was the route I wanted to go down, I decided to start photographing Weddings on the side of my café job, this was great! I got a few booked in and started to get experience, but it didn’t take long before the anxiety came back. Weddings are great money and are such a special day to be a part of, but the stress is unbelievable, especially for someone who already struggles. So I quit, (again) and decided it was time to learn more about what I love to do.
Time for University – Take Two!
In the September of 2017 I started at City of Bristol College’s University centre studying Professional Photography. It had taken months of battling with student finance and going over and over my difficult decision to leave Falmouth, but I was determined to take this step into the career path I wanted.
In my first year I focused a lot on issue-based photography. I delved a lot deeper into mental health and how I could represent it with images as it was and still is something I am so, so passionate about.
In the summer of my first year I discovered the world of Instagram and social media influencers. I realised that I could photograph people for their social channels as a lucrative side-hustle! During that summer I found my passion. I finally found something I loved to photograph and something I could make a career from.
I went back to uni focused on fashion! I’m not going to lie, I think I did pretty well!
In the March of my final year I went through a break up. I really struggled to focus and to keep busy. So in a bid to keep myself going I emailed a local fashion week and by luck (and convincing myself that the worst they could do is say 'no'.) I was fortunate enough to be offered a position as their official photographer for the week! It was an unbelievable opportunity, and little did I know that it would lead to so many more memorable career moments. I finally got through Uni and in the November of 2019 I graduated with a distinction and also an award from the Plymouth University for how much I had personally achieved in my two years there.
In the May of last year, I was given the unbelievable opportunity to fly out to Miami Fashion Week and photograph the run way for a company, it was one of the most incredible weeks of my life and I am eternally grateful that I was able to go.
The Miami trip gave me the motivation I had been waiting for, so once I had returned, I was ready to get my head down and work with as many influencers as possible. I was coming to the end of my uni course and I had made so many plans to grow my business that I had to cut down my days at the café! I was so busy - and I loved it!
Last September, I landed an interview at Getty Images for an internship. Unfortunately I didn’t get the internship, but I was offered a freelance position with them instead! Which I still can’t quite believe is true!
I went to London Fashion Week in February to shoot for them. I captured some amazing street style shots and gained invaluable experience when it comes to being backstage!
Just when I thought things were finally falling into place – enter, COVID-19. It can feel a little like being back at square one again, but I feel we're slowly getting there and slowly building back the business.
I’m focusing on working with a lot more brands now. This is super exciting and I can't wait to see what direction 2021 is going to take me in!
My mental health has since improved and I’ve never felt better. I’ve been feeling on top of the world since I started shooting fashion. Doing what you love really does have a huge impact on your health. I can’t stress enough that if you’re thinking of doing something but you’re not sure if it will work, just do it! What’s the worst that can happen right?
Well that's my life story over the last 6 years… I hope you’ve learned a little more about me and what I do!
See you next time,