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Meet Kayla Illies of Kayla Illies Photography in North County

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kayla Illies.

Kayla, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
The start of my journey as a photographer was, all honestly, completely random! My parents asked me one day what I wanted to go to college for and I had to give them an answer. I knew I wanted to have a creative based career and a local college, not-too-far from home, offered a Professional Photography course. So that’s what I chose! It wasn’t some well thought out plan. It was a completely spur of the moment decision! I’ve never regretted that decision!

I’ve been running my own business since 2009 and I’ve learned so many things along the way. Staying educated and learning as much as you can is so important! It’s a huge part of whats gotten me to where I am today! Every year I attend as many classes and seminars as I can! I value learning from others who’ve found success and taking pieces of what they’ve taught me, tweaking them and making them work for my own business.

Networking with other wedding vendors has also been a huge part of whats gotten me to where I am! Creating lasting relationships with vendors who share similar ideal clients as me, helping each other grow, being there to support one another and having an outside perspective to run new ideas past or to brainstorm together is a must! I fully believe in the Rising Tide Society’s, Community Over Competition.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
It has definitely NOT been a smooth road, but what journey, dream or adventure worth having is? I’ve faced many challenges and bumps along the way. Including dealing with the doubts of family + friends, trying to juggle a full time job AND a full time business, figuring out what truly made my heart sing when photographing, not knowing how to market my business, and the biggest one, moving across the country to follow my husband dream of being a Marine and essentially having to restart all over again in a new area!

What I’ve learned from these challenges is that you have to always find the positives in every situation, never give up on your dream, learn from your mistakes or failures, overcome your fears and to keep moving forward, one step at a time! Nothing worth having is easy to get!

Please tell us about Kayla Illies Photography.
I’m a wedding photographer based in Southern California and available worldwide! I specialize in photographing weddings, elopements, engagements and sweet anniversaries for the romantics at heart who love adventure!

As a wedding and engagement photographer, I choose to offer only a full-service experience to every couple that walks through my doors. What that means to me is providing my couples with an incredible experience, finding the meanings behind their most special moments, capturing that creatively, artistically and delivering beautifully printed heirlooms that show the elegance, beauty and emotion of those times allowing them to relive those memories for years to come!

That is what I’m known for, what truly sets me apart, and is what I’m most proud of as a creative entrepreneur!!! Giving each of my couples this full-service experience is what sets my soul on fire!

If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
There are a few things I would’ve done differently:

1) I would’ve focused more of my time on figuring out who my ideal couples are that I get along well with and I would’ve learned how to reach them sooner! Instead, I let the fear of putting myself out there and getting rejected get in my way. This is not the case anymore! You live, learn and grow!

2) I would’ve worked harder to get over the hurdle of being an introvert and getting out to meet new people: wedding vendors, couples at the bridal shows, local small businesses, etc. Creating true lasting relationships with fellow wedding vendors and having amazing relationships with my clients has been, so life-giving and I wish I would’ve done it much much much sooner!

3) I would’ve been more focused on what projects and business growth ideas I was spending my time on. As a creative, we tend to have what I like to call the “Oooooh Squirrel!” syndrome! We see something new, shiny, and exciting and we opt to go try that instead of finishing the project or idea we were currently on. Resulting in a lot of back and forth between projects with far fewer results. Now, I work hard to focus on the projects and ideas that will really benefit my couples + help me grow as a business and I work to complete them. Don’t get me wrong, there are still some “Oooooh Squirrel” moments!


  • Full day weddings start at $2500.
  • Elopements start at $1500.
  • Engagement and anniversary sessions start at $350.

Contact Info:

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