Hi, Katrina! Tell us a little bit about yourself. What was your road like to becoming a photographer?
My name is Katrina Thaxton and I run Kayla Jannika Photography. I got my very first camera, a Canon T3i, as a Christmas present from my husband when he was deployed in Afghanistan and I was pregnant with our first child. Initially it was just for taking better family photos, but I quickly turned into a “mom photographer” - someone who started out taking photos of her baby girl, who then took photos for friends as a hobby, and eventually wanted to turn it into a career. Being married to a Marine and constantly moving every few years also made it easy to switch from having a corporate job to having a stay at home career.
What drew you to boudoir photography? What do you love most about it?
I wasn't necessarily a fan of the typical "boudoir”, but I love pretty things and I wanted to create something more of my style (which I like to describe as pretty, raw, intimate portraits). I love shooting beauty portraits because of the way they make a woman feel and how proud they are when they get the final product. I want women to take these photos for themselves and not necessarily for their significant other. I want women to have these photos so that when they look back 10 or 20 years from now they'll be so proud they did.
Was boudoir photography something you always had in mind to add to your business? How do you think your business has benefitted from incorporating this niche?
The typical "boudoir" definitely not, but I did want to create something similar but more empowering and sophisticated and artistic. Once I discovered how I wanted to go about describing and marketing my vision and service, my business has only flourished.
How would you describe your style?
I describe my style as raw and organic. I describe it as beautiful and artistic. I think the style has helped me draw more clients because it's something women are more comfortable doing. The experience and feedback I get is amazing and these women highly recommend it to friends who then tell their friends and so forth.
You’re not just a boudoir photographer! You also photograph weddings, elopements, and maternity sessions… How do you balance it all?
I definitely do it all! I love to photograph “pretty”, so I shoot a lot of maternity sessions and weddings in addition to by boudoir sessions. I shoot them all the same way - I always aim for raw and emotion. I want you to feel those emotions from that moment when you look at that photograph. With all my sessions I keep my workflow simple and I only use Photoshop. I don't do anything fancy or use other fancy programs. Just Photoshop.
Boudoir by nature is very intimate. How do you get your clients to relax and feel comfortable with you?
I think I'm just very personable and it's easy for me to talk to anyone. Being a mom of two and a wife also helps a lot in talking to clients about life and getting to know them.
What is the most rewarding part of a boudoir session?
The most rewarding part is clients calling or messaging me telling me how in love they are with their photos and me telling them it's all them and just me capturing who they are.
If someone was hoping to pursue boudoir photography, what advice would you give them?
Do what works for you. I started doing boudoir the normal way and it just wasn't for me. I started off trying to do things the way people said it should be done. Finally, one day, it clicked that I needed to do it my way, my style, and the risk paid off. Women tell me they've been waiting for years to find a photographer who captures them in a way that is sexy but still sophisticated and something they're not embarrassed to share.
A big part of boudoir photography are the keepsakes clients get. How do you get clients excited about receiving those physical prints?
I talk to my clients about my style and aesthetic and how I'm very picky when it comes to quality of anything. I talk to them about the importance of a print rather than just seeing something on a screen and how there's a feeling in touching a holding a photo in your hand. I provide high quality prints with texture that I know they love and appreciate.
What would you say to someone who is interested in getting boudoir photographs done but is hesitant to take the leap?
Just go for it! But definitely do it with someone that fits your style and can make the experience comfortable and fun for you. It should not only be a rewarding experience for your client, but yourself as well.
I'm Katrina Thaxton of Kayla Jannika Photography. I’m a lover of Jesus, mother of two, and wife to a Marine. I'm a photographer who loves to capture raw and pretty and a stylist who loves to shop. Music and singing is a passion and I love chocolate chips and have my own cotton candy machine at home!
When you are finished with your photo session or wedding, do you feel a bit like that guy that was recently dragged off the airplane, semi-conscious and bleeding? Because that is basically what it feels like when you’ve lost control of your clients.
The good news is it doesn’t have to be that way. You just need to reclaim the power.