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Community Highlights: Meet Kait Lavo of LAVO Photography

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kait Lavo.

Hi Kait, so excited to have you on the platform. So before we get into questions about your work-life, maybe you can bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today?
I was first gifted a little point and shoot camera when I was 11-years-old, I started by taking random pictures throughout my Nonna’s garden. After showing the images to my father, who was also an artist, he was impressed with my perspective and my eye for photography. This motivated me to continue to pursue what I imagined would only be a hobby. By the time I turned 16, my father had passed away from cancer. I would use his DSLR Nikon Camera and began taking more and more pictures as one of the many ways to stay connected with him, even after he was gone. When I used my father’s camera, I felt as if he was guiding my eye and helped inspire many concepts. Even to this day he continues to inspire my work. My first “professional” gigs were little photoshoots for my high school classmates to raise money for cancer research groups, usually they were cute little friendship portraits in the park. My friend would help me with these photoshoots. We only ended up making/donating $40, but that was the beginning of what made this hobby into an actual service. From there, I began working multiple retail jobs to save up to purchase my own camera. After working for the JCPenney Portrait Studio in the mall, I finally saved up enough to purchase my very own Canon Camera. It was the best investment I ever made for myself and my business.

With the new equipment, I was finally able to capture the quality of work I had always dreamed of accomplishing. It was a slow start, took years before I got to the point where I am today. It began with lots of family Holiday card portraits, baby announcements, and generally a lot of family-friendly imagery. As I expanded my services outside of my hometown, I was given new opportunities beyond commercial portraitures. I started to get hired for random jobs all throughout Los Angeles. Anything from behind the scenes and stills photography on movie sets, menu photography for restaurants, cosplay and makeup portfolio work, actor’s headshots, a couple of weddings, live band photography, all the way to boudoir for pin up and fashion models. It was always an adventure and I never knew where the next job would take me. It continues to be a surprise every time I receive a call for the next job and that is what I love most about what I do. You never know what is next, but it continues to bring me into new situations and allows me to meet amazing people along the way. Currently, I decided to take my photography to the next level by getting my degree in journalism at California State University Northridge. Each day working to get one step closer to becoming a full-time magazine/website photographer.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
One of the hardest parts about being in an artistic career is the self-critical mind set. There is always something you wish you did better. After I finish a job, I refuse to look at the work I did unless I really need to, otherwise I will overly analyze everything I do. Being a woman in the industry also comes with the territory where it is common to experience lots of masochistic comments and sexual harassment, especially while working on movie sets. When I first began, because I look particularly younger due to my height, 5’1 to be exact, so it was very hard to have others take me seriously. Eventually, after years of practice and experience, I feel like I am finally starting to be taken seriously as both an artist and a businesswoman.

We’ve been impressed with LAVO Photography, but for folks who might not be as familiar, what can you share with them about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
I have been operating an affordable photography service that caters to locations all around Southern California. My specialty is portraits and capturing unforgettable moments in time. Bringing out the personalities of even the most camera-shy individuals. In my life, pictures have always been an important part of keeping memories and I love that I get to have a job that gifts that to my clients. I am known for capturing the natural beauty of the subject. You don’t have to be a model to shine in a photograph. The best moments are seeing someone’s eyes light up when they see a photograph of themselves and they see how beautiful they truly are. I will never alter the appearance of my subject, everything I take is directly from my eyes. Photography is the one art form where you can see directly from the eye of the artist and can tell a story in just a single frame. Getting to tell the stories of others through imagery is the best part of my job. You can see each individual’s essence shine through my work. As a female photographer in a male-dominated industry, I believe I hold my own and bring a new perspective with how I view the world.

Is there anyone you’d like to thank or give credit to?
My family has always been so supportive of my photographic pursuits. Whether they hired me for their own portraits or recommended and promoted my social media pages to others. I couldn’t have come this far without their support. I also owe a lot of my success and the growth of my business to Thresa Richardson and Tequila Mockingbird Productions for bringing me on for many different types of projects and introducing me to so many amazing people.

Pricing:

  • Portraits/Headshots- $80-$300
  • Group Portraits- $20 per person
  • “The 2020 Special” Social Distance “Porch Portraits”- $20
  • Photoshoot sessions- $100-$300

Contact Info:


Image Credits:

“Chocolate Mousse”- Piccola Trattoria (Santa Clarita) “A Mother’s Love”- Gloria Gallegos and son Portrait/Headshot Sample- Jacob Boscarino “Laughing”- Gina and Evan Lavo “Waffle”- A Taste of Belgium (Los Angeles) “Carnival Night”- Sarah Hofstedt “Apocalypse”- JD Gibson

Suggest a Story: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.

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