10 Questions with Rylee Prenatt
-written by Nat Richmond
When were you introduced to the Art of photography?
When I was 14, I was diagnosed with anorexia nervosa and body dysphoria, which completely destroyed any body-confidence I had. I spent two years in recovery, but regardless of how much healthier I looked on the outside, I still struggled tremendously with the mental battle toll it had on me in the inside. Throughout this time, I had saved up enough money to purchase my first camera, to create YouTube content. However, I wanted to create something more. I wanted to share with people how it felt to deal with an eating disorder, and so I created my first photo gallery, using myself as the model. It was during that photoshoot that I instantly found a passion for photography. I then started learning and creating art by taking self-portraits, and I never looked back. Now, I am in the transition from portrait photographer to boudoir photographer, because this is where I have the most impact on my clients, and they have the most impact on me.
Name a photographer who has inspired you the most?
A photographer that inspires me the most? Molly Ashlie. She happened to be one of the first photographers I had ever seen that was not only all inclusive, but also specialized in boudoir. It was so inspirational seeing someone do exactly what I wanted to do even when it was nothing more than a dream.
What's one word you would use to describe your photography?
The one word I would use to describe my photography would be, passionate. I hope that my work shows not only the passion I hold.
How do you inspire your creativity to try new things?
I inspire my creativity by surrounding myself with other likeminded communities like in Radius - A co-working space for entrepreneurs, where you can find me throughout the day working on the business side of things! Here, I am constantly being uplifted and encouraged to get out of my comfort zone and try new things.
Can you name one song that encapsulates the energy of your shots?
While there are plenty of different songs that encapsulate the energy of my shots, I start every boudoir photoshoot with "I am Woman" because it is the anthem of what I do. I want my clients to feel the strength, confidence, and power that they've always had, and this song really speaks for me.
How do you overcome creative fears or doubts?
Creative fear and doubt are real. Especially when you are pursuing a creative career, it seems like everyone is questioning you which can easily install fear into what you are passionate about. But over time, I've used the doubt to fuel me. Whenever I start to question myself and my work, I remind myself how far I've come. Instead of letting it control me, I remind myself that without fear, life would be so boring, and so I welcome it. Then it kind of dissolves, and I'm back at being the badass that I am!
How would you like to evolve over the coming years?
Within the coming years, I would like to evolve Boudoir with Rylee by expanding the walls of my studio and traveling wherever my clients may take me!
How would you like to see your artistic contributions impact Erie?
I hope that bringing boudoir into Erie brings more inclusivity, self-love, and kindness. I hope that I can have an impact on Erie the way, my clients have impacted me.
Any advice for upcoming photographers?
Only you know your worth. Only you know how many hours you spent last week editing alone, how much your camera equipment cost, or how much energy you spent on location scouting or answering emails. Don't burn yourself out, because then you won't want to pursue it at all. You are worth raising your prices. You are worth your time. You are worth it.
Any final thoughts?
Doing the thing that scared me the most, and was beyond worth it. Two and a half years ago, I decided to quit my job and become a full-time photographer. That was the best decision of my life, so far. So do the thing that you've been wanting too forever. The only person that is stopping you, is you!