Kristen Soileau Portraits » from Louisiana, traveling to you.

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  • Louisiana roots with a West Coast soul.

    Pure.
    I want black coffee paired with a dash of cinnamon. I love it natural. My knack for natural beauty in life goes hand in hand with my desire to capture your beauty as is. The way the day was in itself. How the sunlights streamed through your hair putting off a natural glow. The way you laugh with your eyes closed and grin spread wide. I want to highlight the beauty found in your scars and freckles. My job is to capture the essence of you and in that, I keep it simple and pure. You are enough.

    Passionate.
    I love what I do. Seriously. I get such an adrenaline rush from making sure timelines flow correctly. When there is an independent souled toddler running around without a care in the world. When the grandmother of the family gets herself out on the dance floor. Those moments..I love. They fuel my passion for my business as well as my relationship with my clients. I care more about you guys than I do about the perfect composition. I want to make sure you are cared for, loved, and relaxed before I begin my job photographing your day.

    Personal.
    I’m happy to say most of my clients are dear friends of mine. To share such an intimate time with someone, I can’t help but keep up with them. By the time the wedding day rolls around, we have enjoyed dinner or coffee together. We have laughed about favorite TV shows and nonsense happenings from day to day. I have cried with them during hard times and have held on to several when they have received the worst news. I take you with the joys and the utter lows of life. Above all, I care about you first.

In Memorium

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When given our Senior Thesis Project I had no idea where to begin. Not one clue. Our professor gave us the free will to do whatever interested us. My gears started rolling.

“I like postcards and awkward family photos.”

“I like collecting stranger’s family photos”

“I love diving into the memories within them.”

But then I started thinking…why haven’t I dived into my own family’s history? Was it from fear of learning secrets I didn’t want to know? I don’t think so… Was it that I didn’t think we were interesting enough? No..definitely not… Was I trying to make up memories in other people’s memories because I was too afraid to face my own? Maybe..

It can be scary facing the reality of your own situation. My grandpa passed away when I was in middle school. I always loved his soul. He was an angry man when my mom was growing up but as time passed and his body weakened he became more and more loving and gentle. His quirks almost had me laughing. I can remember one specifically, the way he chewed. He has a strong jaw, big lips, and no teeth. Poor pop had the funniest way of chewing. On his 90th birthday, I remember singing Happy Birthday to him with my family and watching him blow out the candles. He couldn’t get them all so he tried and tried again, each time spit was flying. I didn’t have cake that year, but I had a good laugh and now a special memory.

My grandma was always an active one. Always cooking, always gardening, always bringing me to the Dollar Store for a treat. She’s a religious one to say the least. Always poking criticisms at me for wearing shorts, cutting my hair, and being too dolled up. But I’ve always loved her. After Pop passed away, she slowed down. She slowly stopped cooking every Sunday, slowly began taking more naps, and stopped sleeping in her room. The happy memories I had were at a cease. She started repeating herself and began to loose track of who was who. One day I’m Madison, my cousin. The next day, I’m Lynette, my mom. It got hard to visit her. I felt like I had already lost her.

I chose to document my grandma’s dementia for my senior thesis because I knew that this could be the only documentation of her my family would own. I’m the only photographer in the family so I felt like I needed to do this for them. I met with my grandma a few days to video her interactions with specific images chosen from her family album, helping her temporarily piece together forgotten memories. I printed the final collages on clear plastic and strung them up to represent failing memories, almost like dreams. Below are the pieces I created to showcase at the exhibition:familycollage_1familycollage_3familycollage_4familycollage_5

 In addition to these pieces, I shot and edited a video that was projected within my display. View the video here: In Memorium. Here is an excerpt I wrote to verbalize my feelings throughout the process. This was spread throughout a book that was also on display: print-05

It was one of the most emotionally challenging, eye-opening projects I’ve ever done. It challenged me to face fears and realities I pushed aside. It’s not any easier but my love for her has grown more than I can imagine. My patience for her disease is blossoming as well. She is now in a nursing home being taken care of by wonderful nurses. It was too hard on my family to constantly watch over her. My heart breaks every time I think about her or see her, but she is family and you love family through everything.

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Kathryn | Bridals | St. Francisville, LA

Kathryn is the type of woman who fills the room with joy. Just listen to her laugh and you know she has a deep well of joy within her. I loved being able to capture her bridals. The classiness of her dress went perfectly with Greenwood Plantation in St. Francisville. I was able to see a vulnerable side of her without Garett by her side and it was beautiful. Here are just a few favorites for her day!

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Ali & Alex | Engagements | New Orleans, LA

When  I say “nothing can rain on their parade” I mean it quite literally. These two drove to New Orleans for a summer engagement session. As soon as they arrived, the sky was black and there was lighting all around. As I talking to them, I was fighting against thunder. But yet, it never rained. Not one drop until we finished with the last location. These two are amazing. We had so much fun together and I can’t wait to document their day in January!

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Hunter & Kristen | Wedding | New Orleans, LA

What a sweet couple. From the very first meeting, it felt like me and Kristen were the best of friends. You are probably thinking “she says that for everyone”, but let me just tell you how rare it is to immediately hit it off with a bride from the very first hello. Kristen is the type of soul that is so overly joyful and thankful that it’s convicting. I mean seriously. Even on her wedding day she gave the sweet limo driver a big hug and kiss on the cheek. I have countless images of her hugging the hired vendors. That my friends is NOT common on a wedding day. Hunter is so lucky to have found such a sincere, beautiful young woman to call his wife. Take a look at what Kristen had to say about her day

“Kristen is insanely amazing. I am beyond thankful to have had such a wonderful and talented photographer for engagements, bridals, and day of pictures! When I first met Kristen, I felt like I had already known her for way longer than just a few minutes. She is such a kind and sweet person, it’s easy to warm up to her in seconds. Her & I talked about what I wanted out of the photographs and she discussed with me how we could accomplish that. At each of the shoots, she had either a second shooter or assistant.Each one of them was also just as delightful and helpful as Kristen. With our engagement session, she brought my husband (then fiance) out of his shell and was able to make him feel so comfortable and we were able to get great pictures. We had also brought our dog for the engagement session, and Kristen and her assistant worked great with him and got some amazing shots of his wild self too. For bridals, Kristen made me feel so gorgeous and special. I have absolutely no modeling skills and laugh when I’m trying to be serious, but Kristen worked with me to get some really terrific shots. On the day of, when Kristen arrived, I was so happy to have her with me and all my bridesmaids. We had a blast taking pictures before the ceremony! At the reception, the person who was in charge of keeping things on time was seriously lacking, but Kristen stepped in and helped keep the night in order. If that’s not going above and beyond, I don’t know what is. A few short days after the big day, we had our photos, and WOW. Kristen captured every moment so perfectly and I am forever thankful to have them to cherish forever.

I can’t reccommend Kristen enough for any moment in your life that you want to capture.

Thanks a million Kristen for all that you did for Hunter and I.”

It doesn’t get better than that people!

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Special thanks to:

Hanna Smith, my beautiful intern

Kaylynn Marie for being a fabulous second shooter

Jakes on the Avenue (florals)

The Columns Hotel (venue)

Allure Bridal (dress)

The Anteeks (band)

Swiss Confectionary (cake)

Just Face It Beauty (hair and makeup)

 

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Grace, Chase, & Emma | Family | Lake Charles, LA

What a sweet little family.

My favorite shoots are sometimes the simplest ones. We met at a park on a summer afternoon and just had fun. I always joke with my families that they are so easy to impress. But in all honesty…it is. They have a little baby that they unbiasedly think is the cutest thing in the world. I mean I can’t disagree  just look at little Emma! So when I provide portraits to these smitten parents they just love them all! It’s a great confidence booster that’s for sure:)

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