Rebranding My Photography Business with a Baby Pokemon Trainer on the side

So many changes have occurred in the last few weeks, the most obvious being the update of my blog design. I've been participating in a lot of photography based webinars, trying to hone in on how to be a better photographer while building and promoting the business side as well. Something they all consistently preach is finding your style because it in and of itself can speak volumes about you and the type of work you put out. I have the absolute best brother-in-law Chris at Hubby Jack's Blog Attack, who did another blog design for me, this time incorporating my love of houndstooth and gold. When he asked me to describe what I wanted I said, "Kris Jenner." Even though he didn't know what that meant, he somehow managed to channel her and I LOVE IT. 

Houndstooth is my favorite print in the whole wide world. My house is covered in it from my pillow covers to my ottoman, table runners, valances, seat covers, even my refrigerator is lined in it. I have purses, clothing, scarves, and I even stenciled a houndstooth wall in my daughter's room.

No chill when it comes to Houndstooth
The photo quality is shitty - I took it with my POS iPhone 5S because I was too pregnant to go get my camera at the time. Thank God I'm no longer with child, and I've since upgrade my phone. This is not an accurate representation of my work ;)

Anyway, back to the changes. So outside of my amazing blog re-design, I also decided to re-name the business to Kayla Layla Photography. Something else I learned in the last couple of weeks is that branding is key, and I felt that my previous name was confusing and hard to associate with me. My social media, blog, and business name are now all Kayla Layla, which streamlines everything and helps with brand recognition. Plus, it's just more me, ya know? And since it's still early and nothing has really been set in stone, it was easy to do.

Chris also made it so that my images can be pinned to Pinterest so if you're here and want to help make me famous, pin away :)

Lastly, Lorelai just hit the 4 month mark a couple of weeks ago. Each month I like to do a themed shoot for her. It's something I want for her to have when she grows up, and it helps me work on my skills too which is great. Bradley and I loved playing Pokemon GO! this summer so it was the obvious choice for her 4 month theme. I hand painted her onesie and hat, and accidentally ordered a knock-off Pikachu from Amazon. It looks nothing like the picture did, but whatever, you get the point.

So, so cute and so much fun to shoot. My kid is perfect (not that I'm biased or anything) and I can't get over how beautiful her face is. Bradley wants the next theme to be a girl since I keep dressing her up as boys:

Not that there's anything wrong with that of course!

Chris also made me a super cool watermark for my images, so now I feel like I'm super legit! I'm so ready to continue working toward cultivating more of my style and brand, and obviously getting better and better behind the camera. It will all come with time, and I'm just excited for the journey at this stage in my life, I'm not so much focused on the destination anymore. Unless the destination is Cabo, in which case, let's go!!!!


Bradley's Surprise 30th Birthday Party

My husband Bradley's 30th birthday was August 28th, but since we had a trip planned to Houston that weekend, and then Labor Day weekend was after that, I decided to throw him a surprise party this past Saturday the 10th. Plus, having thrown it so far after his actual birthday, it helped add to the element of surprise.

I spent over a month planning, purchasing, creating, and going insane trying to do it all on the sly. I knew I wanted the theme to be the Alabama Crimson Tide, because he is a die-hard fan, and it would also be football season. I also had to purchase everything without him seeing it on our online banking, keep everything hidden from sight, and spend conservatively since we are now a one income family.

My sister Jaime agreed to host the party at her house. She has a huge finished garage and lives on a farm with lots of land for the kids to play and people to space out, and also to have a bonfire at the end of the night as well. My sister-in-law Holly and brother-in-law Chris volunteered to help me out by creating a football table, complete with goal lines and posts, and also bringing the beer and Jell-O shots. The necessities ;)

I shopped for expendable (read:I can throw it away when I'm done) items such as napkins, plates, silverware, tablecloths, etc. at Deal's. Deal's is my go-to for party decorations. You can't beat their selection and with everything being $1, you don't have to spend a fortune on shit you'll only use once. I ordered just 1 package of Alabama plates and napkins to layer in with the cheapies just so people would think I spent more than I did. Fake it 'til you make it. Then I bought things like balloons, noisemakers, the wrapping paper for table runners, cupcake toppers, etc. on Amazon and had it all shipped to my sister's. I decided to blow up my own balloons since our local party store wanted $8 a piece to blow up the mylar balloons, and $1 a piece for the latex. Fuck that noise! So I bought a tank for $20 at Walmart, problem solved :)

I used the table as our centerpiece so to speak, and decorated it with football shaped serving trays for the cupcakes and football shaped cheeseball. My sister Dede made the cupcakes which were delicious, and my friend Amy made the football shaped cheeseball. I made the houndstooth and red birthday sign. My brother in law Kent hung it and the "30" numbers up, can you tell? :)

 Each table had a red tablecloth, and I used houndstooth wrapping paper as table runners. I also had two picture frames per table with front and back photos of him as a kid and some as an an adult. Sprinkled amongst that were pins I made with a picture of him dressed head to toe in Alabama clothes, and buckets I decorated with stickers and filled with frozen water balloons to keep the waters cold. I also used the buckets to tie my balloons to for each table as well.

I didn't get any good pictures of the tables set up before everyone got there. I'm still upset with myself that I didn't take a minute to take pictures of everything to have as a reminder of all my hard work. Between setting up, coordinating his arrival, dressing and nursing Lorelai, I had no time to think, let alone plan ahead for something like that. I also didn't get a family picture of the three of us either. Every party I throw from now on, I will be sure to designate that role to someone beforehand so it gets taken care of.

I also had my cousins make Lorelai a custom onesie to wear and she was absolutely adorable.
Boo Boo Kitty did not last long since we had a long day already before the party even started. It was our town's Marigold Festival, and between that and being passed around all night, she was pooped. She eventually got her second wind and was the life of the party until she finally went down for the night at 11:30pm.

Holly's father-in-law made a slideshow video of pictures that we showed during the party as well. I ugly cried throughout pretty much the entire thing, it was so, so good. Bradley was surprised, everyone had a great time, and I'm glad it's over and I don't have to worry about him finding out anymore.

Now that it's over, we can all focus on more important things. Like my upcoming 30th birthday in January!


At Home Newborn Lifestyle Shoot and a Sister's Photoshoot

I had the opportunity to photograph my beautiful friend Tiffany and her daughters Jane, and newborn baby girl Claire.

Tiffany and I have been friends for 17 years and no matter how much time goes by in between us speaking, we can always pick up where we left off. 

I'd never done an at-home shoot, but I had a clear vision of how I wanted it to look. I wanted my images to capture the emotion and connection between the three of them, and showcase the essence of the love of a mother and her girls. I also wanted their beauty to be the focal point, and have their genuine smiles and gazes demonstrate all the feels of having a new baby in the family.

I always say it's so much easier when you have beautiful subjects and not just in the physical sense. For me, photography is about capturing something more than what meets the eye. Whether it's a moment shared between my subjects, a feeling or emotion they display, or a part of a bigger overall story, it is one of my greatest pleasures to capture that inner beauty and light on camera. I'd like to think this shoot embodies all of those things and more. Cheers to Tiffany and her husband Ben on the beautiful family the have created!

I also recently did a shoot with the winner of a contest I ran on Facebook when I first started my page. These two beautiful girls, Peyton and Reese were naturals in front of the camera and had the most infectious smiles. The weather was perfect and their outfits were absolutely adorable. I hope to have the opportunity to photograph them in the future and watch as they blossom into beautiful young ladies!


My Trip to Houston and a Baseball Baby's Photoshoot

I promised myself when I started up blogging again that I would average 3 posts a week. So far, that hasn't happened ;) In my defense, I've been extremely busy with various shoots, we took a trip to Houston, TX, and I've got a lot of other things going on in the background as well.

Our trip to Houston was to visit my sister-in-law who just had her baby boy, Brooks. He is a lady killer, absolutely handsome in every way. I was given the honor of taking his newborn pictures, and we spent the majority of the weekend putting him in various outfits and poses, and ooh-ing and ahh-ing over how cute he is.

We ate our weight in bacon donuts, and enjoyed Whataburger more times than I'm comfortable admitting. I love visiting our family and enjoying a few baseball games at Minute Maid where it's climate controlled ;) Houston has become one of my favorite cities, there is so much to do there, so much to see, and the best food around every corner. I wish I was a millionaire so I could buy a house there and visit whenever I want to.

I miss my family terribly and can't wait to see them soon and watch Baby Brooks as he continues to grow!

In between all of this, I've been wrangling this little monster.

She's growing like a weed it seems. Most days I question if she is my child. She looks identical to her daddy, which is an insult to me given the 40 weeks and 5 days I carried her, the 23 hours of unmedicated labor and delivery, and the last almost 4 months of exclusively breastfeeding and catering to her every whim. But, c'est la vie. She's still perfect, and the reason I am able to stay home and put my energy into my photography. She's my muse I guess you could say and I couldn't love her more.