Let’s have a change of topic. 
Let me break down my 97 favorite photos for you in a new series – 
The Best of Kayla Kohn

So if you didn’t know, I am a Unraveled Academy Expert Artist. What this means is I put together a portfolio of my best work, I spent one whole day doing this, showing my best skills as a photographer, I curated it, organized and worked my butt off. I got accepted and that means I get to stand with many other amazing photographers and be recognized as someone who basically knows the rules of photography and knows how to smash through them to create work that people love. The images in this series are the images that got me accepted as an Expert Artist. Please like my facebook page and follow along as I continue to share the rest of the photos in this series. I will be making new posts in the series on my Facebook page first, and then updating the captions to the photos as I go.

This post is a long time coming. I have wanted to take my best images and put them in a gallery/blog post for people to see my best work all together. I am grateful for my experience in putting together and submitting my Expert Artist portfolio. It forced me to take a deep dive look into the photos I have taken and see which ones were my strongest and to deconstruct was was good about them. It’s important as an artist to always strive to get better and learn and continue to master your craft. But it’s also important to look back and what you have created, analyze its strengths and weaknesses and move forward.

For you photographers – These photos were taken with a Canon 6D mark ii, Sigma 35 1.4 and a few with the Canon 50 1.4.

Let’s do this!

Morgan and Shane
The breakdown: This photo was taken at Morgan and Shane’s own property. It was a partially cloudy day and the sun was peaking through the clouds randomly as it moved across the sky and began to set. The light was positioned just behind their heads blocking out most of the light that would make this shot difficult considering I shot straight into the sun if their heads were not in the way. And I remember… this was a super hot sweaty day which added some awesome glow to their skin even though they may have wished it were cooler.
This was one of my earlier sessions in my career and I’m super proud of it.
The magic of this photo is the relaxed emotional feeling that these two have in this moment and the pose is expressing. When I prompted for them to put their heads together this would not have been the exact pose they would have naturally done. I asked them to touch their heads to create a deeper, more sincere connection. And I did what you may not usually think of doing but is one thing I do very often. I asked them to close their eyes. It reminds me of when they would go in for an embrace and naturally close their eyes to feel that moment. I echoed it here. The sun flare behind them that touches them adds romance and beauty to the shot.
Kayla and Charlotte – a self portrait
The breakdown: This photo was taken in my living room. Yes! IN MY living room. I moved ALL the furniture in my living room and set up my huge solid white paper backdrop and my camera on a tripod. I used a remote control to click the shutter for me. I set my aperture a little narrower so that I could get more of the photo in focus.
I choose to dress my little on in just a diaper and a cover because she is only little once, and she will only have this cuddly snuggly baby chub for a short time and I wanted to capture that. I know from seeing one million photos on the daily that I wanted a self-portrait that oozed the love I have for her and how she brings me joy. I choose to close my eyes. This is just a natural human movement that happens when we go in to embrace or kiss or give affection and for me when I close my eyes and smile, I think of my family.
I choose this shirt actually because I wanted to show that I am a typical mom. I wear collared denim shirts to look like I have it together sometimes.
I chose to make most of these photos in this setting black and white because it stripes away the distraction of color and amplifies the moment that is happening. Post editing I tried to clean up everything around me and make it as simple as possible so that the only thing about this photo that you could see was the moment.
A perfect moment – Fresh 48
The breakdown: This photo was taken around mid-day at the hospital during this little guys Fresh 48 session. This room only had one window that was near the corner of the room rather than centered. This whole session was photographed in about a 5×5 foot space. I am leaning back against the window ledge and using the light behind me to light up most of their faces.
The magic of this photo: This photo is magical because of the connection these two having. They are expressing a once in a lifetime feeling – WE DID THIS. I can just see the joy they have to be in this moment and to have their little one finally here and that they can celebrate and begin their life as a family of three. Mom is deeply connected to dad BUT this photo comes full circle with how she is holding her new baby boy’s hand. All three of them are making a ring of love and they are oozing in joy.
Baby glory
The breakdown: This photo was taken during that magical golden hour. My favorite light to photograph in. It’s a hot end of summer evening.
The magic of this photo: This photo is magical because mom is fully expressing her joy that her first born has brought her. I love the way both arms are wrapped all the way around him to say I am your protector and you are my lovey bouncing baby boy who I adore. I love the way he is sprawled out in a natural baby pose, arms wide ready to learn and grow. The secret to his gaze is dad making him laugh and getting his attention just behind my shoulder. I just love the way this photo makes me know this little guy is so adored and loved by such a beautiful momma.
Sunset smooch
The breakdown: Oh this couple. I am so grateful to be apart of their story. I loved getting to know these two and following along and try and support them through their journey into parenthood. I just loved working with them. This photo was taken near the end of the session, during golden hour. So important if you want to get the sun near your subjects heads, you have to do the session during the last hour of the day when the sun is low enough that you can capture an sweet connection like this with the sun right on their level.
The magic of this photo: This photo is magical because it shows you the love these two have for each other and that they will continue to grow with their new baby coming. The sky was epic that day. It was thick storm clouds but it wasn’t raining. The sun dips low enough on the horizon that it can be visible underneath the clouds and still above the tree line. Thats a moment you can’t edit into. You have to wait for it. The best sun images, are usually always the very last of the session.
My brothers and me
The breakdown: This was a special family session done at an open field park. This was the family’s first session since the loss of their first born twins, Simon and Morris.
The magic of this photo: 
This photo has a big heartfelt story behind it and if you look at it for longer than two seconds you probably start to wonder what IS the story? There is a baby, there are two tiny tiny hats that mom is holding, her nails are painted black. Why? Because mom is in mourning, and maybe she didn’t even paint her nails black to symbolize that and it was just a natural thing for her to do. I think it was part of the story. The hats are little articles of clothing from her first born twins who passed away. She will always always be mourning them but she was strong and she decided she was ready to try again to grow her family with her husband and that’s how they got baby number three. If you want to read her story, I wrote all about it here. This photo is magical because of the symbolism and story that’s underneath it.

To read more of the story behind the image above – read here

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