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Meet Kayla Illies of Kayla Illies Photography in Oceanside

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

Kayla, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
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 complete 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 have 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.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
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!

We’d love to hear more about your business.
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 and 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!

What were you like growing up?
I’m originally a small town, Minnesota farm girl. Growing up, I spent the majority of my time working on the farm working cattle + any other farm work that needed to be done, riding horse, competing in Western gaming horse shows, reading romance novels, going to the movie theater regularly, spending time with my small group of friends, and dreaming about my future plans.

I’m also an introvert by nature (now gone extrovert!!!), slightly OCD with being organized and I’ve always worked hard to do the best I can in whatever I do.

I am mostly known for my love of adventure + romance, my loud + sporadic laughter, my obsession with horses + the color pink and my kind + caring heart! People also often refer to me as the girl with big dreams, a stubborn + go-getting attitude, and the one who makes it happen!


  • Full day wedding coverage starts at $2500.
  • Elopements start at $1500.
  • Engagement and anniversary sessions start at $350.

Contact Info:

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

1 Comment

  1. avis starofservice

    May 2, 2018 at 14:36

    Thank you for this interview. I’m pretty happy to discover this photographer, I identify a little with his career. I totally agree that living his passion is what attracts me to the job of photographer. Of course, the path is long and have always faced difficulties. That said, that’s what makes the charm of this activity.

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