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I love pictures and taking pictures, but I really enjoy being in them if my loved ones are in them with me as well. I take so many pictures with my kids and family because photos capture time, memories, heart, and love. Pictures are powerful. My guest today realized she could use her gift of photography to give back and create memories for people in need. Kylee Maughn is the founder of Kylee Ann Studios and the Kylee Ann Passion Project, photographing people in need, pro bono. I’m so inspired by the work that Kylee does, and I think you will be too. Join me as I learn more about the legacy, impact, and priceless connections she’s making by providing visual memories to people who need them the most!
Kylee started photography about eight and a half years ago. At that time, it was just a one woman show. Her fiancé (now husband) knew she wanted to become a photographer so one year for Valentine’s day, he sold his Xbox to buy Kylee her first professional camera (Aww)!
Initially she just took photos of her family and friends, but gradually people started hiring her. When she had her first child a few years later, she shifted her photography to a full-fledged business, jumping in with both feet.
Kylee has come a long way from those humble beginnings. These days she has a full associate team, commercial and branding photography, a marketing assistant, an editor, and more. They shoot 75 weddings a year and Kylee is also a speaker and photography educator hosting online and in-person workshops.
As Kylee’s business grew bigger and bigger, she received terrible news that her young cousin had been diagnosed with cancer. Kylee’s family asked her if she would photograph her cousin’s journey as she battled with the illness.
The best part of this story is that Kylee had the honor of photographing her cousin ringing the cancer-free bell as she left the hospital after her last treatment.
Photographing the best and worst moments in people’s lives taught Kylee that there are a lot of reasons people need photographs. Her family would not have had those crucial moments of their lives documented if not for Kylee’s photography. She recognized that her family (and many other families) can’t afford to hire a photographer and don’t necessarily think to capture their own powerful stories.
A few months after her cousin was cancer free, a friend’s sister was diagnosed with breast cancer. Kylee felt moved to ask her if she wanted any photos of her journey. Would you believe that this woman had been praying for someone who could take photos of her after her diagnosis? They did a huge fancy photoshoot with a designer gown on the day she shaved off her hair.
On a day that is often touted as the most difficult of someone’s cancer journey, this woman told Kylee that she’d never felt more beautiful. That was the beginning of the Kylee Ann Passion Project.
You can nominate anyone with a financial or physical need to receive a free photo session with Kylee Ann Studios. She has photographed funerals, miraculous recoveries, and life-changing moments that continue to drive her to pursue her purpose of serving those in need.
Sometimes Kylee is taking photos for families that will be their last family photos. Sometimes they are nervous, but often Kylee is often contacted later by families that tell her that they’re so relieved to have them if they ever want to look at them. These photos provide outlets for healing and continue the stories of people families have lost, or the triumph of victory over a difficult path.
It’s a vulnerable feeling to walk into the rooms without happy endings. Kylee takes comfort in the fact that the camera can actually connect her to people, even in the worst moments. Kylee’s unique service to offer this kind of help aids in the coping and healing of those grieving. It also helps Kylee cope with being a witness to tough moments.
Kylee is always up for a passion project and if someone contacts her, she’ll do it. Her new idea is to focus heavily on one passion project a week for six weeks during the giving and holiday seasons.
Find out what trend Kylee’s embracing now that might embarrass her in 10 years, what her “walk up” song would be, her strangest pet peeve, and of course, what it means to her to run a business with purpose.
Memorable Quote: “There’s a lot of people out there who are struggling physically, emotionally, and financially, and their stories are really important and should be shared.”