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Rising Stars: Meet Esmee Kyles

Today we’d like to introduce you to Esmee Kyles.

Alright, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started?
My love for photography all started with a travel bug… let me explain. I haven’t always been a Memphian. I’m originally from NYC (the Bronx!) and still have the accent to prove it! But I’ve lived in Memphis for many years with my husband of 23 years, Rudy. But the move to Memphis wasn’t the travel bug I’m speaking about. I started running a travel business from home when my son was a baby and we were living in Long Island, NY (WeeBee Travel – the “Wee” in my business name comes from that travel business name). I got the chance to travel all over the country and the Caribbean, even to Italy and Brazil! We moved to Memphis in 2004 and I continued to run the business. Around 2012, I noticed that I had begun to accumulate a TON of amazing photos that I had taken during my travels over the years and was itching for a “good camera”, not just a cell phone or plain digital camera. I wanted to continue to take photos of these beautiful places but I wanted to elevate the quality of those photos. I told my husband about it and that summer of 2012, he surprised me with my first DSLR camera, a Nikon 3000 which I later exchanged for a Canon T2 Rebel. I was over the MOON! I immediately became a sponge and started soaking up EVERYTHING there was to know about photography, asking photography friends for advice and tips and learning the in’s and out’s of my camera and this art form. My first destination? ALASKA! I couldn’t wait to use my camera on my Alaskan Cruise and the pictures were so far beyond anything I had ever captured before, I was hooked. I came back from that cruise that fall ready to take pictures of any – and everything! Once I started posting photos on Facebook my friends started asking me to take pictures of them, their kids, and their events…. before long, I was the “volunteer photographer” at every function, every occasion, even at some weddings, jumping in to help the main photographer! By 2013 I had had enough motivation and persuasion from friends and family to go ahead and start a photography business. I hesitantly accepted a wedding gig from one of my closest friends for September 2013 – she had so much faith in me. Oddly enough her name is FAITH! What are the odds? Faith hired me to shoot her wedding, knowing full well that I had never shot a wedding before. I was SO NERVOUS. But again, that “sponge” was in FULL effect! I took online courses about flash photography, sat in on seminars and classes through Creative Live, combed the inter-webs for everything wedding photography-related, learned about aperture, about ISO, about light, about lenses….. I armed myself with every shred of information I could find because I was determined to NOT let my friend down on her big day!!!! So in September 2013, I came, armed with my Canon Rebel, two lenses, one flash and many prayers. My friend Rayne, who was an established photographer and actually visiting from Connecticut to attend the wedding, volunteered as my 2nd shooter and was there to help me navigate through the day. By the time the day was over, I was on such a high….. and the pictures were far better than I had ever hoped. Faith was so happy! And so was I. And I think that was when Incredibly Wee was really born in my opinion. I knew I had to keep doing this. And I kept right on doing it. This year marks year 8 as a photographer. I can truly say it is my passion and my clients are simply amazing!!!

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
Absolutely NOT! I think one of my biggest challenges has been self-doubt. Photographers can get into a comparison game and rather than using that as fuel to be the best at what they do they can make the mistake of constantly questioning and second guessing everything they do – from their equipment choices, to their editing style, to the content they share on social media. If I had a nickel for every “they say” I’ve heard I would not have to do photography, I’d be rich! You’ve got to quiet the “noise” in the industry and the nagging self-doubt and center your energy on your clients (who hired you because they love your work) and most of all your heart. And that’s a struggle because you can look at another photographer’s accolades, followers and number of clients compared to yours and think “what am I doing wrong?”. There are many photographers right now – TALENTED photographers – sitting at home with no clients booked, or very little. But lack of bookings does not equate to lack of talent. There is plenty of work out there for everyone. Get out of your own way and just do the work. The clients will come. But yes the “inner voice” of self-doubt has always been a big struggle for me. I’m starting to shut her up these days tho.

As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
I am a Lifestyle and Wedding Photographer in Memphis, TN. I specialize in capturing the personality and stories behind my clients’ smiles and poses. I would say I’m known for bold, colorful, passionate photography. My photography style can be summed up in 3 words: Passion, Color, Joy… and I try to bring that style into everything I do. I’m most proud of my growth over the years to where I am now especially being a minority, woman-owned business in the South. I think what sets me apart is my energy, my passion for this art form and my work ethic. I’m a professional first, and then everything else follows.

Is there anyone you’d like to thank or give credit to?
I mentioned a couple of people in the beginning, but I’ll mention some others, including my husband Rudy who not only supports and helps me manage my business, but he is there at most weddings and sessions, driving me where I have to go, packing up and handling equipment, carrying client purses and jackets and cell phones while I shoot them, holding up reflectors, switching out my lenses, and even suggesting certain poses and shots. He is my biggest cheerleader and will always keep it completely “one-hundred” if I’m slipping! He’s even told me at a wedding, “no that’s not your style, don’t do that”. He also came up with the name Incredibly Wee. Love him! My mom is probably next in line of the cheerleaders. She has an amazing memory (a blessing!) and reminds me when I have to pick up rental equipment, go on a shoot or handle a consultation. My mom comments on and likes everything I post on social media and her support is everything to me. Then I have to thank my son Julian who many clients have seen on their shoots. He is my mini-me even though he’s taller than me haha. He matches my energy at weddings and photoshoots and I don’t know what I would do without him. And let me just say, I have the dopest friends, clients and colleagues who are ALWAYS showing support, giving me love and hyping me up! I’ve also learned a great deal from them ALL. Not just about photography, but about what matters most: the human spirit.

Pricing:

  • Portrait Sessions starting at $275
  • Weddings starting at $2500

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Incredibly Wee Photography

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1 Comment

  1. Samantha Martinez

    November 3, 2021 at 3:04 am

    I have known Esmee for many years. I am so very proud of her. I met my husband on a cruise that she organized. Her photography is amazing and she is one of the most talented people I have the pleasure of knowing. Her energy is infectious and I absolutely know that anyone that chooses her to document their event will not only treasure the pictures but will have a blast with her. True talent!!!

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