Updated: Dec 27, 2020
Today we’d like to introduce you to Kaylinn Gilstrap.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Kaylinn. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there. I grew up on a cattle ranch in Southeastern Colorado so I first started doing photography in 4-H. I wandered around taking landscape photos, calves born with five legs and whatever else I came across. Then the yearbook in high school and then went to college at the Art Institute of Colorado in Denver for photography where I started focusing my imagery on people. When I finished school I stayed in Denver for a couple years assisting two photographers and then I moved to Atlanta where I assisted local and national photographers until I went out on my own.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way? I’ve had a slew of them! I had (hopefully it stays in the past tense) a series of thefts starting in college which is challenging both financially and also a violation of spaces you’re comfortable in. I think finding how you stand out from the crowd, what makes you an asset in a very competitive market and also find people that will trust you with their jobs is like finding a magical equation. It’s not a business where people can tell you how to make it. As a creative I think you have to be very resilient and be able to work harder than everyone else.
Please tell us about Kaylinn Gilstrap Photography. I specialize in character driven imagery for editorial and advertising purposes. My photographs are all about telling stories through an individual whether to help sell a product or help an audience further immerse themselves in what they are reading. I am especially drawn to and skilled in working with real people rather than models. I often have people tell me how they are not photogenic or do not like being photographed and then come back later and tell me they love my photo of them. I’m good at making people feel at ease and helping a subject find a space where they feel comfortable with the camera. Everyone has a story and I’m genuinely interested in people. People respond to that.
If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently? I would have bought equipment insurance in college but besides that I think you learn from all the false moves so I’m not sure starting over to escape them would be productive. I think I would have told myself to be less timid about experimenting with my craft earlier and that those mistakes would help me out later on. I cannot stress enough how valuable assisting was in my education and development as a creative and tell that to anyone coming up.
Image Credit: Kaylinn Gilstrap © 2017