Another day of surfing flickr lead me to Kailey’s work, which lead me onto her website, which lead to this interview. By looking at her photos you can almost tell straight away she shoots most of them with a 50mm, have a read then check out her site.
Tell us a little about yourself?
I’m a 16-year-old gal living in the suburbs of good ol’ Sugar Land, just outside of Houston, Texas. I’m a passionate lover of life, art, smiling, eating, and learning. I’m currently a sophomore in high school, where I participate on the dance team and newspaper staff, as well as strain my mind with the rigor of AP courses. My favorite food is chicken fettuccini alfredo, and I’m currently wiggling my toes.
What made you get into photography?
When I first started taking pictures, it was just a fun way to spend time with friends, or a way to look cool walking around in the summertime. As I got older and learned more about myself and what I believed about the world, I developed an all-consuming need to create. I began to explore Flickr, where my greatest inspiration is rooted. Through the photos I saw, I became witness to raw, authentic beauty and perplexing truth. I knew that I wanted to create something like that; I wanted to create an image that would come alive, an image that would provoke thought and emotion. The feeling was so palpable once I first experienced it. I guess that’s why I take pictures – to reveal something that I understand about the world, in hopes that you will share that same understanding.
How did you get started?
When I was in 8th grade, I asked my parents to buy a DSLR for me. I didn’t really expect them to buy it for me because I knew it was a lot of money, but they told me that if I could prove that I really, really wanted it, they’d buy it for me. I created this elaborate presentation for them including a PowerPoint and an essay, comparing different cameras and explaining the technical side of photography to them. It was actually really cute. They ended up buying a Nikon D40 for me right after I turned 14.
After that, I began taking pictures of my friends all the time. All the time. Since then, I’ve grown as a person and a photographer, and I believe that it shows in my work.
What sort of photography do you mainly do?
I mainly shoot portraiture. I am captivated by the uniqueness and value of a person, and my wish is to share with you the beauty and wonder that I see in the world. (plus the people in it…) Recently, I’ve become interested in self-portraiture, simply because I feel like I can be wholeheartedly proud of the results; I created the image, I was in the image, and I edited the image. I orchestrated every detail that you see.
What gear are you using?
Currently, I’m using a Canon Rebel T2i, a 50mm 1.4, and the kit lens, an 18-135mm 3.5-5.6. On occasion, I’ve been able to take out a Canon 7D and 70-200mm 2.8 from my school, but those instances are few and far between.
What’s your favourite lens and why?
Easily the 50mm 1.4. I’m obsessed with the wide aperture it offers.
How are you marketing yourself?
Word-of-mouth and social networks. I have a website that I reserve for my portfolio, and I’m on Flickr, Tumblr, and Facebook, but ultimately I rely on friends and family to get my name out there.
What’s your favourite photo you have taken?
If I have to choose, I’ll go with a self-portrait that I took last March.
Advice for new photographers looking to go pro?
I hardly feel qualified to answer this, but I’ll go ahead and give it my best shot. My greatest advice, as simple as it is, is to take pictures. You can go to a thousand workshops (and those do have their place), but you won’t grow as an artist unless you actually go out and take pictures. Throw yourself into an uncomfortable circumstance, and learn something new. Secondly, business is so important. I haven’t really had to deal with this side of photography much yet because I’m still a young ’un and totally new to this, so I can’t advise much here, but business skills are essential. Lastly, at all costs, you must love what you do.