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Rising Stars: Meet Caitlyn Cloud

Today we’d like to introduce you to Caitlyn Cloud.

Hi Caitlyn, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstories.
I went to college to be an event planner, and the ultimate goal was to work at weddings. I’ve been in love with weddings since I was little. My grandma owned a bridal gown shop and the wedding industry just always felt like where I’m meant to be. When I graduated college in December 2016, I moved to Stillwater, OK to be with my husband (then fiancé) while he finished his master’s degree. Planning our wedding showed me that being a wedding planner was not my dream job so I either had to give up on working in weddings or find a new avenue. And I was struggling to find an actual job since it was a new city and I didn’t have any connections.

One day, I saw a friend of a friend who had started up a photography business and I literally thought to myself “I could do that.” So I spent a good chunk of my savings on my first DSLR and started asking my friends and family to model for me. I taught myself how to use my camera and how to frame a photo. Pinterest and Youtube were great resources, but practicing is what helped most. I ended up getting a “real” job at Make-A-Wish Kansas as the Event Coordinator and had to put the photography business on the back burner. But I still worked on the business on the side and started getting paying clients. I got my first wedding in early 2018 when a friend of a friend asked me if I do weddings.

I worked at Make-A-Wish for a little over a year, until we ended up moving to Kansas City in mid-2018. When we moved, I knew I didn’t want to go back to working for someone else so I dove headfirst into my photography business. At that point, I had photographed a couple of weddings and had a few more on the books. Moving the business to a new market was my next hurdle. I started offering free sessions at all the popular photo spots in town to build my local portfolio. I also focused on learning the business side of owning a photography business, took some workshops and mentorships from other wedding photographers. I also started second shooting at weddings for some local KC photographers to build a local wedding portfolio as well.

It didn’t take long for my business to pick up, Kansas City is a great market. We’ve been here for over three years now. This year, I was featured in WeddingRule’s Top 25 Wedding Photographers in Kansas City.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
The two biggest challenges in owning a business: burn out and imposter syndrome. Being a solopreneur means that you wear all the hats. Everything rests on your shoulders and only your shoulders. And imposter syndrome is your brain sabotaging you by telling you you’re not good enough to be doing what you’re doing. Made worse by social media. If it weren’t for these two problems, the road would be a lot smoother.

As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
I am a wedding, couples, and senior portraits photographer. I specialize in documentary wedding photography.

Weddings have become a victim of social media. We started to value cool photos more than the actual wedding. But my style of photography, the documentary-style in general, allows the couple to bring the focus back to the important part, getting married and celebrating with loved ones. I approach the day as a witness, meaning I do not interfere I simply photograph everything.

So I’m most proud of the moments captured. The moments are frozen in time have the power to transport you right back any time you look through your wedding photos. That approach to wedding days is what sets me apart.

Can you talk to us a bit about the role of luck?
I don’t think luck has played much of a role in my business. I’ve worked very hard to get to where I am, and I continue to work hard. If anything, I’m lucky I was born into a certain level of privilege that allowed me to do things like use most of my savings to buy a new camera without the worry of still being able to afford basic needs. But everything else was achieved because I worked for it.

Pricing:

  • Weddings range $1500-$3400
  • Couples, families, seniors $350

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Caitlyn Cloud Photography

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