GSMNP North District Supervisory Ranger
My soon-to-be husband
& part of my inspiration for creating KLY Smoky Mountain Portrait Sessions
I was living in Kansas City, MO and Dexter was working at Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site. There were still restrictions in place at the time due to the pandemic, so we couldn’t plan out the typical dates people have during the “getting to know you” and early dating stage.
As a result, many of our outings were in nature – picnics, playing card games in the park, watching sunsets at the lake, taking peaceful walks and chatting along the way. He eventually introduced me to camping and I was immediately obsessed! (See the links below to view our videos and photos from our experiences.)
When I left my eight year career in the foster care field to focus solely on my photography business in April 2022, I decided to take an even bigger leap by moving across the country with Dex.
I’ve created so many incredible memories since moving to Tennessee and he has been there with me every step of the way. Both the triumphs like completing my first mountain top hike and the random moments we stop to eat snacks while watching sunsets at mountain overlooks have been so precious to us.
I flip through all the images and videos we’ve captured while exploring the Smokies often and one day a thought came to me:
What if there was a way I could capture these same types of memories for my clients?
Within weeks I submitted an application to become a permitted Smoky Mountain Photographer and started brainstorming how to create special experiences through KLY Smoky Mountain Sessions.
Fun fact – each of the locations for Smoky Mountain Sessions is inspired by my favorite moments with Dexter
is inspired by our hikes in the mountains. Prior to meeting Dexter, I had never experienced nature in this way. Now it’s one of our favorite ways to explore new sites in the Smokies!
is inspired by all the times we’ve spontaneously stopped at pull-offs and over looks to watch the sunset, eat snacks, take selfies like tourists and listen to music while chatting.
is inspired by our first camping trip in the mountains together and our fun memories while driving the loop. Dexter loves telling the story of my first bear encounter that happened here in 2021! 😅
These sessions are near and dear to my heart because they have naturally created another bonding experience for Dexter and I. While I focus on the creativity, planning and overall vision for the session, he’s able to add to use his experience and expertise in the field to suggest locations, express precautions that should be taken based on the client and even provides updates on road conditions/closures.
Kandace is a permitted Smoky Mountain Photographer based in the East TN area. She has also specialized in wedding, branding and lifestyle portrait photography for nearly a decade.