We had the good fortune of connecting with Shayla Bradford & Melissa Braden and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Shayla Bradford & Melissa Braden, what is the most important factor behind your success?
The most important factor behind our success and the success of our brand is pretty simple! It is the sole fact that we really love what we do. We genuinely enjoy the art of photography. We love interacting with our couples and getting to know new and different people in the photo taking process. Taking photos for each of us is one of our biggest passions – photography is something we would still be doing, whether we made an income off of it or not. Capturing real life moments and experiencing adventure in beautiful places is something that we live our everyday lives by, and bringing that idea into our business has definitely proved to be successful.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Creating art in beautiful places is our passion. Capturing peoples true essence, especially love stories brings us so much joy, especially if we’re out in the fresh air! We are both Colorado natives who cannot ever get enough of being in mountains. We are all about keeping a positive and authentic environment that’s always full of laughter, no matter what the circumstance. When taking portraits, we like to play a lot of games and set up fun situations instead of just having them pose and smile at the camera. Something that sets us and our brand apart is that we are a team. We have both had a lot of individual experience before we ever came together. Combined, we have about twenty year’s worth of experience in professional photography. We actually met in graphic design school and always bonded over our love of taking photos. We started second shooting for each other, and then we decided to create a business together, and now we’re best friends and business partners! We got to where we are today by practicing. We have always had our hands on different kinds of cameras and projects. Our best advice would be to never stop trying! Our pictures and especially our films are significantly better with all of the work, time and experience. A lesson that we have learned along the way is to continue dedicate ourselves to improvement, because the world and technology is always changing. We have learned to embrace change, to keep evolving and elevating our skills. We want the world to know that we are passionate about living life to the fullest, always continuing to learn more, and don’t ever forget to love intentionally and live adventurously.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
If a best friend was coming to town, we would make sure to hit all of the different beautiful outdoor spots. Definitely a drive through Garden of the Gods, Manitou Springs, up through the mountains into Cripple Creek and Victor and explore the abandoned mines. On our way down, we would definitely stop at McGinty’s in Divide. We would definitely take a day to go up to Saint Catherine’s Chapel on the Rock, which is the cutest little chapel surrounded by the most beautiful mountains, a little past Boulder, Colorado. Some of our other “must haves” would be the bruschetta at Postino LoHi in Denver, and bomb pops with street tacos at T-Birds in the Springs. We also would have to get lavender lemonade and take pictures with the paper cranes at Shuga’s in downtown Colorado Springs. We would also go out with our old film cameras all loaded up and have a big film photoshoot and then develop the film together. Then while the film is developing, we would eat all the popcorn and drink some Truly’s! During all of this, we would vlog the entire trip and have countless photoshoots during the entire experience!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
We both could say that we owe a lot of credit to each other. From Melissa: Shayla has definitely kept me young in this entire process, and has given me a new energy and enthusiasm for adventure and finding joy and fun in shooting. From Shayla: Melissa keeps me organized in so many different ways which allows me to get the most out of my creativity. She motivates me to learn more and pour more into growing my knowledge in film and photography. We have both learned way more than we ever would have on our own, because we both inspire each other and we ultimately want the best for each other. Our business is never about competition or comparison, but about friendship and celebrating one another and each other’s accomplishments.
Leather & Lace Wedding Photography