MY STORY

If you ask a professional photographer when they first realized they had a passion for photography, it’s usually a story born of a childhood experience, a high school dream, or a side hustle turned full-time later in life.

I believe your relationship with your wedding photographer should be built on trust and honesty. It takes a lot to welcome someone into the most personal and intimate moments on your wedding day. So before I share my approach, I wanted to tell my story first. It’s a bit different than most.

I’ll be honest. When I get the question, “How did you get started in photography?” I often respond with a canned surface answer. Because my love for photography started more out of desperation than passion.

Five years ago I had a position at a fortune 50 company and was on a career path for my dream position in corporate communications. I started experiencing some unexplainable health problems that eventually led me to lose my job. I felt trapped. I couldn’t get out of bed some days. I lost my job and my independence. I remember living in fear that the rest of my life would look that miserable.

One of the biggest methods of healing, was picking up a camera. I didn’t own one; in fact, I hated taking photos since I was a little girl because my mom took so many! But I bought a cheap DSLR and just started shooting. I had no idea what I was doing. But I took photos of the trees, of squirrels, of the sun peeking over the hill. I soon realized that while I was shooting, the whole world sort of faded away. Focusing my mind on creating slowly started to drown the fear.

I started to get stronger. I gave myself grace through my process of healing and my camera was always close by.

Five years later, I’ve photographed countless weddings all over the world, and have witnessed more incredible moments than I can count. I can’t help but be grateful for this unexpected passion I’ve turned into a career. One that allows me to pour into people and fulfill my creative spirit.

I had always been embarrassed about my story and covered it up with a simple unsubstantial narrative. But through every major life shift I continually find myself leaning on the art of photography. God turned my desperation into passion. And that passion evolved into a way of life.

Central/Peoria Illinois Destination Wedding and Elopement Film Photographer, Kristen Kaiser

INSPIRATION + APPROACH

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been an old soul. And not just because I enjoy vintage board games, listened to 60s music with my grandpa as a kid instead of pop, and eat Grape Nuts cereal every night.

I’ve always been attracted to the past. There’s something about it that feels effortless, simple, and pure. Things that seem important to us now didn’t matter then. We were in the moment. We were present. How this era was documented on film resonates in the depths of my souls. It’s candid. In the moment. Effortless. REAL.

My photography style has evolved quite a bit over the past five years. It’s difficult not to be swayed by trends, new technology, and comparison. I’ll even admit that I lost myself for a season in going after weddings that resulted in making more money, rather than prioritizing a true connection with my couples. But I’ve found my home in recapturing the sometimes messy, undone, imperfect but authentic feel of film from decades past.

I photograph weddings and portraits on a mix of medium format film, 35mm film and digital. Capturing the timeless, in the moment feel of weddings with a documentary approach.

My parents have been married for almost 35 years and their wedding photos taken on film play a major role in my inspiration. They’re candid, imperfect, and timeless.

Here’s a few of my favorite photos taken on their wedding day in 1985.

And just in case you couldn’t get enough of these cutie patooties, I’ve included more film from their honeymoon.

“Working with Kristen is a dream. She is the most incredible human who cares deeply about the couples she works with. From the moment she stepped foot onto our wedding venue, everything was effortless, fun and relaxing. She was by far my favorite person to work with on our wedding day because she kept my husband and I laughing all day and allowed us to slow down through all the crazy to just enjoy time together as a newly married couple.”

“In the end, you HAVE to pick a photographer whose work moves you. Speaks to you. Someone you can get along with. Someone who will be a friend. And I know that person will be different for everyone. But for me, I couldn’t have found a more perfect soul to accompany us on the beginning of this adventure. I will be forever grateful.”