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Meet Kari Presley of KLayne Photography in South East Dallas

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kari Presley.

Kari, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
Where to start…… I have always loved photography. In fact, I have pictures of me holding a camera to my face starting at the age of 4. If my Bebe (my grandma) set her camera down and I was near she knew she wasn’t getting it back anytime soon.

We will fast forward to my mid-twenties when my mom bought her first DSLR. That’s when I started looking at photography as a possible business so I borrowed her camera every chance I got. I photographed everything! When I say everything I mean I have a picture of a toilet laying the side of a backroad somewhere in East Texas. Embarrassing, I know! I also had some super supportive friends who hired me to take pictures them to help me start out. At the time I was working in the corporate world and still finding my way. It took me until I turned 30 to realize this was absolutely what I wanted to do full time and I knew it was possible. I know I’m letting my age show.

I was still in a corporate job and was now in a management/training position. I was working long days, traveling a lot and juggling my photography business on the side. Talk about stress! My best friend I think made it a point to tell over and over I was wasting my talent. Mid 2014 I finally told my husband I was serious about planning out how I could quit my job and focus on my photography. He said let’s do it. I literally wouldn’t be where I am without him and his support. So 2015 started and we started building a house.

Closed on our house the end of July. In August, I told my husband I really felt like God was telling me it was time for us to take a leap and move to the next chapter of our lives. So we did and I quit my job in October. A little over 2 years later and I am still here working my dream! In fact, my husband just said to me a month ago “We made it! It has been 2 years and we made it!” I mean I’m getting teary-eyed just talking about the fact that he said that. I would have never made it without my faith, the support of my husband, my family, and my friends.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Heck no! The phrase “starving artist” is a real thing. I don’t think any photographer will tell you its been a smooth road. Plus photography is one of the most saturated markets and people are competitive. I have just now started finding photographer friends who are all about community over competition. I have had people (friends) who expect for me to work for free because most people don’t understand all the time and money that goes into running a photography company. Photography equipment alone isn’t cheap.

I am self-taught for the most part. So I have had personal struggles with comparing myself to other photographers and having self-doubt. I just remind myself that photography is one of the gifts that God gave me.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
KLayne Photography is a lifestyle and documentary photography company servicing DFW and beyond. We focus on capturing real moments that can be cherished for generations.

I am most proud of the fact that my sessions are catered to my clients. I am not capturing my memories I am capturing theirs so it’d important for me to make it enjoyable for them. Sometimes that just means letting a child share ideas and running with it. Or capturing the eye roll from a woman whose fiancé just made the corniest joke trying to make her laugh. I don’t want every picture to be perfect, I want them to be real. And I think that’s what also sets me apart.

What were you like growing up?
Haha. I was a pretty energetic kid and I could talk someone’s ear off for sure. I’m a family girl and always have been even as a kid. One of my favorite things to do was take a road trip with my parents or my Bebe.

I know I mentioned picking up a camera at the age of 5 but man I really loved photography as a kid. I started taking “selfies” before cell phones were even invented. I can still remember taking my camera, you know one of those Vivitar slim film cameras, to daycare when I was in maybe 2nd or 3rd grade and having my friends stand by the fence and pretend like they were talking. I guess that was my first photoshoot besides the pictures I would take of my childhood cat Gypsy.

Of course, until my little sister was born when I was 13 when she became my model. OH and I LOVED baseball even more than photography. (I still love baseball.) That was my life: family, cats, baseball, and photography. I guess not much has changed.

Pricing:

  • Lifestyle Sessions start at $125
  • Documentary Sessions are $450
  • Wedding packages start at $500

Contact Info:

Getting in touch: VoyageDallas is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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