there’s not much Karolyn Briley can’t — or doesn’t — do. she’s a photographer. an at-home mother. a prolific cook. a fitness enthusiast. an advocate for self-care. and she does it all with this contagious charm, a sort of brightness you feel whether looking at her pictures, scrolling her Instagram or reading her words. here’s how she does it.
“how does that saying go? the days are long, but the years are short. since March, i’ve basically put all my professional bookings aside to be fully dedicated to being home with my almost-5 year old and 20 month old. very active ages in their own respective ways. always keeping me on my toes, and i’m ready to crash by 8pm. i very much look forward to quiet time / nap time and evenings with my husband.
“i work as a photographer, shooting portraits, lifestyles and, sometimes, weddings. i love to capture those candids, caught-off guard expressions and in-the-moment feels. photos that make you smile laugh and cry all at once when you look at them later.”
“the short story: photography has been a long journey for me, but i found my calling and i couldn't be happier. the longer story: i intended on a photography degree when i first began college, but ended up with a bachelor’s in apparel design and merchandising. i’ve always been enthralled with fashion and construction of clothing, and i’ve always been driven to learn and create something with my hands. but photography came back full circle after i had my first daughter and i was constantly taking photos. from there, it just snowballed into creating a small business for myself to pour my heart into.”
“fake it til you make it. when i first started officially booking clients, there was a sense of nervousness that clients were entrusting me with my skill and ability to deliver. so i kinda had to give myself a boost and keep my cool when i first started out. i’ve grown into my skill a bit more since those beginning days, and know my worth and quality. so if you’re starting out in any field and have this mindset of not being good enough, know that you ARE good enough, you WILL grow in your skillset and that there’s nothing wrong with a little fake it til you make it!”
“getting up early and working out. i am a 5am workout kinda lady, whether it be weight training, yoga or even HIIT. i’ve been in the ritual of early workouts since 2017. COVID-19 has definitely given me a run for my money, but i’ve slowly been finding my way back to it and dedicating space, time, and, well, sanity for myself each day.”
“i’m a big fan of the Expanded Podcast with Lacy Phillips. and i just finished The 1619 Project, a look at the legacy of slavery from the New York Times, which i think everyone needs to listen to.”
“i gravitate to an athleisure type wardrobe these days, something easy to throw on and chase after kids. a lot of bike shorts. the one crop top. the orion leggings. the organic cotton mock neck. and my favorite pair of ribcage Levi’s (that fit right now!) and pair with any kind of top.”
“i love a good crock pot meal, it has saved my life a time or two since quarantine started. one of our favorites is spicy chicken tortilla soup. I am a multitasker all around — any time I can do multiple things at once and save time is a win for me. even something as small as putting creamer in my coffee as its being brewed into my cup.”
“find a moment of pause every single day for yourself. release any kind of (mom)guilt, unworthiness or stuck-in-a-rut feeling and allow yourself grace and space. and do something you love as much as you can, to reconnect with yourself. you do a whole lot, and you deserve the best. never ever forget it.”
“summer fun activities are great for snapping candid moments of the kids: turn on that sprinkler and let them play or give them a popsicle treat and capture them enjoying it. i like to step out of the scene as much as i can so they don’t feel a camera hovering over them.”
anything dark chocolate. add red wine.
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