Monday, April 26, 2010

Welcoming Kayla Van Patten


Hello fellow photo freaks! My name is Kayla Van Patten (pictured to your righting on the "homework button"). Let me start off by saying that I am SO honored to be the very first guest photographer here on PhotoFreak.

Who are you? and how did you get started in photography?
I promise to paraphrase as much as possible, but here it goes:

I first fell in love with photography when I was about 12. I'm going to try not to get to "cliche" here because the rest of my life is anything but that. My mom bought me my first camera, a FG Nikon, originally released in 1982. It was film and consisted of alot of winding, along with primitive gauges for exposure, but I LOVED it and took it everywhere with me. In fact, I took it on my first missions trip to Nicaragua....which would later turn out to be the beginning of the rest of my life.

I took several years of graphic design classes in High School and excelled at everything that the teacher tossed my way. I passed the class one semester with 149%. I did all of the extra credit that I could get my hands on. I should have known then that I had found my niche, but wasn't until a few years later when God threw me a curve ball that I figured it out.

After my trip to Nicaragua, I discovered that I also had a heart for missions. I found myself in the dental department (ironically with PhotoFreak founders father in law as the Doc) pulling teeth and doing fillings. I applied for a job as a dental assistant when we come back to the states and spent the whole next year working for "Doc". When the opportunity to go to Panama came around the following year, I was one of the first to jump on the band wagon. After a freak turn of events, such as our youth pastor loosing my passport, missing my plane, miraculously getting my passport to me in less than 2 hours and having to take a flight across the entire United States, just to fly due South to Panama, then loosing my luggage. I finally arrived in Panama, where I met my husband.

Yes folks, I met my husband, Doc's great-nephew, fell in love in less than a week, and was married to him within the year. I packed up and moved to Paso Robles, where I found a job with an orthodontist and planned on going to dental assisting school, but again God had other plans for me. He placed a receptionist in my life, who worked there and encouraged me to go out and take pictures if that's what I loved to do. Little did I know that she part timed as a receptionist but was a full time wedding photographer, and a very well known one. By her advice, I went out and took some couples pictures of my brother-in-law and his girlfriend. These pictures were seen by my husbands cousin who worked for another very amazing photographer (, who happened to be looking for an assistant.

The picture that earned me my first photography position.


This began my venture into the world of wedding photography. It wasn't for another year that the receptionist mentioned above, would hire me as her full time assistant, which turned into associate.

I am currently working as a full time assistant and associate to Ashley Blake, located in the beautiful town of Paso Robles, CA. I have finally found my niche in the world. I sit on pins and needles and wait for that Saturday to come around when I get to spend all day making memories of THE most important day of someones life. I get to capture it!

So what is my style and how do I do it?

I would like to think that I have a "beautiful grungy" style. I like old, falling down, graffitied places, where I can place my beautiful subject and truly make them the center of attention. I also like to have a sexy/edgy vibe to my pictures. I have been told "you bring the sexy out in people." Here's a few examples:

Testa-Santa Margarita Ranch
Nick+Carlee-Avila Beach
Jon+Katie-Adelaide Cemetary
Leigh+Chris-Pismo Pier

I can't really say that I have a very specific style of editing. Most of the time it depends on my mood and the photo that I'm working on. It may sound a little fung-shuey but I let the photo speak to me. If it's a my daughter bouncing around through the flowers in a tutu, I might edit it like this:

Emily- San Luis Obispo (headbands and tutu by Hook and Thimble Designs)

Lots of contrast, and lots of vibrance because that's who my daughter is to me.

If there was any advice that I could give other photographers, what would it be?
I'm going to give everyone the same advice that MANY wiser photographers have told me:
1) Be humble. You will never get better if you don't push yourself. Therefore, if you think that you are the best around, you will never be better than anyone. Plus, no one likes a cocky photographer.
2) Don't be stingy your knowledge. I have been SO blessed to have learned everything I know from someone else (and quite a bit of internet research). So since we all know that we have had that certain someone who has helped mentor us, what give us the right to keep all that useful knowledge to ourselves? It doesn't. In fact, the Bible says in James 1:5 - If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given to him.

Thank you everyone for taking the time to read about me. It's the people like you that make my business thrive. To see some more of my work (That I have not updated in forever) go to

1 comment:

Photo Freak said...

HorRAY! Thankyou kayla, that was amazing! This is one of my favorite photographers on the central coast!