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Life & Work with Hayleigh O’Brien

Today we’d like to introduce you to Hayleigh O’Brien.

Hi Hayleigh, we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today?
I got my first point and shoot camera in high school and I could not leave the house without it. After graduating high school, I attended Oregon State University studying Interior Design. In my Junior year at OSU, I took a photography class and was hooked all over again. I took some digital classes as well as darkroom classes and I again could not put my camera down.

One day my friend came up to me and told me that her wedding photographer fell through last minute and she asked if I can take photos at her wedding. I was so nervous but so excited to have this opportunity. So in 2016, I shot my first wedding!

I continued to get my bachelor’s degree in Interior Design in 2018 and jumped straight into the business of design. I loved design but it always felt like something was missing. Then what do you know- 2020 hit. In March 2020 I accepted a new job in design and had put my two weeks into my old design job right before the shutdown happened. Long story short- I never started that new job. I was left jobless and unfortunately unemployment was not an option for me since I had quit my old job. I took a risk and invested in a new camera that I had been wanting for three years. After that, I made it my mission to build a business since I had nothing else. I shot anything and everything! Two years later, I am booking shoots and weddings across California and I have my first international wedding this summer 2022!

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
The hardest part of my business was starting with nothing and inventing myself and my style. You have to invest in yourself and your business to get to where you want to be. I shot for free a lot and that leads to exposure and gives you that experience that is crucial.

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
I am a photographer – I shoot weddings, couples, brands, and lifestyles. I specialize in capturing authentic moments and cultivating the lasting relationships with my clients. I am most proud of the photojournalistic style that my photos give off. A lot of my clients come to me wanting to be captured in their most authentic moments.

How can people work with you, collaborate with you or support you?
I am always looking to add new vendors to my vendor list to recommend to others. I also always want to collaborate with venues, florists, MUA’s… etc. for collaborating in styled shoots.


  • Weddings Start at- $2800
  • Couples Session Start at- $400
  • Maternity Session Start at- $400

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Photos by me: @hayleighmckayphotos

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