We had the good fortune of connecting with Kayla DeLaura and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kayla, what role has risk played in your life or career?
Taking risks was probably my number one fear growing up. I would always admire anyone around me who would take these daring actions. Whether it was applying to their dream school, deciding to just go on a spontaneous vacation, or just simply the ones who jumped in their car to go and get a tattoo. The risk takers who scared me the most were the ones who reached out to their dream jobs. How was that even possible to have enough courage to just drop all of the “what if” moments and actually do something about it. I think I didn’t realize the meaning of taking a true risk until I applied myself to Live Nation. The fear and the doubt I had once I reached out asking if they had any photographer positions for me was a decision that got in my head too quickly. With all the whys and the what ifs floating around in my head, I had come to realize that if I had just sat at home and dreamed about being a music photographer I would get nowhere. So, no matter what happened at least I could say that I took that leap of faith whether they wanted me to work for them or not. To this day I’m so proud that I decided to take that jump, that scary, anxiety ridden risk that everyone fears of making.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
My photography in my eyes is told through a story. It may not seem like a story with my photographs being taken only of nature and landscapes and doing a whole 180 to concert photography and portraits, but to me I see it as a movie reel with my journey on how I’ve gotten to where I am. The setting is set to me feeling completely lost and hopeless on what life and career I want to fulfill for myself. The many questions I used to have in my head are if I was even good enough to create a following for myself and my artwork. Taking photographs of nature only helped me grow with my ability on how to use a camera, but never showing me a path on where I wanted to take my photography. I had lost all hope during my high school years trailing into college feeling completely blind as to where to go. All it took was one instance of attending a Shawn Mendes concert and watching his photographer Josiah Van Dien photographing him on stage. When you have that moment of realization that hits you of knowing just what you’re meant to be doing in your life, you want nothing more than to jump on the idea and figure out a plan on how to get started. Through the process of taking an online course based around concert photography, and watching hundreds of YouTube videos about certain settings to set your camera at, I learned that it didn’t matter what other people were doing, I just needed to make it my own and make a name for myself on who I wanted to be. Sure there were several times, and even still to this day, I lose confidence in my work and my ability of what I’m really doing, but in the end all I ask myself is, “Yeah, but doesn’t this make you happy?.” That question flips everything for me. I take a step back and take in the fact that this feeling of pure happiness I never thought I’d find in a career puts everything into perspective for me. I look back and remember how nervous I was reaching out to Live Nation without having any experience at all or even during my first show questioning how could a company this big see someone who has no clue what they’re doing. I guess that’s what I want people to realize is that if you feel like you have no idea where life seems to be taking you, just wait, be patient. I promise you you’ll find that hobby that you can turn into a career or maybe even going some place and getting completely inspired and captivated by it and it may just come to you. Be confident in yourself and your work, spend time perfecting photos to your liking, ask other peoples opinions on if an edit looks good to them or if the angle of a photo seems a bit off. Overcome that anxiety that builds up by telling yourself that you are good enough and you can do this. If you were to tell me that attending that Shawn Mendes concert was going to change my life I wouldn’t have believed you, so take that risk, work hard at what you do to become who you want to be. It won’t be easy, but it’ll be worth it in the end.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Since I love to plan fun activities for me to do already, planning a week for my best friend in San Diego would be a breeze. I would first make sure to take her to only the best spots in town where any San Diegan would go. Balboa Park is such an amazing place to not only photograph architecture, but I’ve found myself shooting many portrait sessions there. Another spot would be PB and La Jolla beach both near the best of restaurants and bars such as the Waterbar in PB and an amazing breakfast place called Snooze in La Jolla. Of course there’s so many water activities to do at all the beaches as well like surfing, paddle boarding, windsurfing, ect. I would have to of course stop by my favorite sushi place in Liberty Station called Ototo Sushi for a nice dinner and some possible Baked Bear ice cream back at PB. It wouldn’t be a trip to San Diego without an occasional day at the San Diego Zoo and then possibly finding a spot to watch the planes take off and land right next to the airport. Last but not least a concert at North Island Credit Union Amphitheatre during the summer, or Pechanga Arena throughout the year would be a must to finish off the trip with a bang.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
There’s so many people and organizations that I would love to have the pleasure of giving a Shoutout to. First and foremost, my mom and my nana. You guys have always been so supportive of me no matter what decisions I’ve made in my life with both the good and the bad. The times where I’ve felt my lowest, you both brought me up to realize that life isn’t always what it turns out to be and to never give up no matter the circumstance. Next is my friends, you all know who you are. Without the comments, the shares, and most importantly the support of me and my work, I would not have the confidence that I have today. I’m so blessed to have you guys in my life and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I also wanna shoutout Shawn Mendes for inspiring me to get where I am today. Your music has done so much for me and you will forever be a goal of mine to photograph in the future. Another shoutout I wanna give, is to my dear friend and an extremely talented photographer Miranda McDonald. You have been like a mentor to me and someone I will always look up to. Thank you for being there for me and guiding me to become the best photographer I can possibly be. Finally my last shoutout goes to, of course, Live Nation and Getty Images. Without the both of you, I would never believe that I could actually make it in the music industry let alone have the incredible experiences that I’ve achieved. Live Nation, you fully put your trust in my hands and let me grow as a photographer and as a person. You have always been the most kind and gracious company and I don’t know where I would be without you. Thank you for everything. Getty Images, even though I have yet to shoot for you and give you my creativity, I will always be so thankful that you hired me and saw how hard I’ve worked with only, at the time, having one year of experience. Thank you so much.