Kayla Yestal: All the essentials for a dreamy destination wedding

Fine art/wedding photographer Kayla Yestal lets us peek into her (absolutely beautiful) creative toolkit.

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I have never been to a single wedding that has gone exactly as planned.

  1. Canadian passport
  2. iPhone 6
  3. Rifle Paper Co case
  4. The Mrs. Box
  5. Pentax 645N
  6. Fresh Sugar perfume
  7. Froufrou Chic ribbon
  8. Matte gold ring dish
  9. Portra 400
  10. Fuji 400
  11. Silk and Willow fabrics
  12. Gold geometric candle holder from miscellaneous store Reykjavik

Who are you and what do you make?

I’m Kayla Yestal, a 23 year old fine art wedding photographer based in Toronto. I’m lucky enough to split my time between local weddings and destinations all over the globe—which is a more glamorous way of saying that I basically live at the airport. This upcoming month I’ll actually be in New York, Ireland, and England, but when I’m back home you can find me spending most of my time napping, watching Netflix with my better half, or finding the best dog parks with our border collie Gus!

A lot of the pressure surrounding weddings (as both the bride and the photographer) comes from making sure you have everything ready for the big day. How do you prepare for it?

So much of my job has actually become styling, especially now that documenting every aspect of the day includes small details like invitations and jewelry. To make the morning go a lot smoother, I’ve actually started bringing a personal styling kit with things like small pieces of fabrics that can act as a neutral background. This has really helped to streamline the whole process, and give me a solid backup plan so that I won’t be stuck photographing beautiful heirlooms against hilariously patterned hotel furniture.

Packing is my own personal nightmare and that’s not even a hyperbole. I still haven’t gotten the hang of fitting all of my gear into a carry on piece luggage that doesn’t make me a nightmare with airport security. Recently though, I started using a check list with the iOS app Clear that at least helps me make sure I’m not forgetting anything important!


What’s the best advice for handling a wedding with unexpected curveballs?

Start each day prepared for the worst and you will always be pleasantly surprised. I have never been to a single wedding that has gone exactly as planned; things run behind schedule, the weather works against you, and sometimes relatives decide to completely vanish just when you need them for family portraits. Prepare your clients to make extra time in the schedule, bring backup camera gear just in case something decides to fail, and think on your feet!

Describe your perfect work relationship.

It would have to involve a lot of trust. My absolute favorite thing is finding clients who are able to put a lot of their faith in me and really allow me to have creative control.

Last but not least—what does your own dream wedding look like?

I think the most important part, for me, is that the day doesn’t just celebrate us but also everyone who supported us and got us to that point. Stephen and I have actually talked about what our wedding is going to look like and we know that we want something really small and intimate that takes place somewhere meaningful to us. Right now the plan is to go to our favorite beach in Prince Edward Island, spend the day hiking with our closest friends and family, then end everything with fish and chips around a bonfire. Afterwards, of course, we would throw a wild party in Toronto for all of our more extended relatives and friends! I’m not sure if any of that would change if we had an unlimited budget, but Cut Copy would probably play our reception!


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