Getting to Know the Face behind the Camera
When Syracuse Woman Magazine launched in 2011, the work of local photographer Caitlyn Bom, of Bomshell Beauty + Boudoir Experience and Caitlyn Bom Fine Art, graced its pages. Now, years later, we’ve caught up with Caitlyn to chat about what drew her to photography, how she’s built her business and why — despite splitting her time between Syracuse and Florida — she’ll always consider this home.
SWM: What drew you to photography? Did you always know you wanted to be a photographer?
Caitlyn: As soon as I purchased my first camera and began playing, I fell in love. It became an extension of me.
It may have been because my father had been so passionate about it when he was in his early 20s, seeing the black-and-white art pieces in his office every time I visited.
I remember going with some friends to the Adirondacks to photograph some nature. It was at that brisk morning sunrise, sitting on the edge of a placid lake with my camera in hand, that I realized this was it. Photography became not only my passion, but the camera was a way to disconnect and reconnect with life, all at the same time.
SWM: How did you develop your business?
Caitlyn: In all honesty, when you are passionate about something, it starts to develop itself. My business has been very much like raising a child. There have been moments of intense frustration from things outside of my control, much like a toddler wandering off for a moment in the middle of the store. Once things settled down, there was so much relief and love when I realized my business was simply growing in its own way.
SWM: What’s the best advice you can offer to someone just starting out in photography?
Caitlyn: Every step of the way, my best decisions that have helped my business grow into what it is today were based on being open about all the options around me. To say yes, even when it meant venturing outside of my comfort zone. It’s the blurry things that are just out of focus that will honestly drive your passion further.
SWM: You offer a couple different types of photography. How does your approach to each differ?
Caitlyn: One is my excitement for women to get back in touch with themselves. To rediscover the love and connection within their own person which will drive them forward. I’ve always felt a woman is more confident when someone is able to pour into them, when she feels not only beautiful on the outside, but on the inside, as well. Families, loved ones, best friends, etc., finding the love and connection between each other and documenting that legacy for lifetimes. The psychological impact portraits have on us as humans, especially children — I have a psych degree, believe it or not! — is profound. Why do you think phones, texting and social media are all so popular? Imagine, though, to walk by a portrait of you and your family together every… single… day. That portrait will make a difference in how you feel about yourself and the tribe you are a part of.
SWM: What should people expect from a Bomshell photography session? And from a Fine Art session?
Caitlyn: For the Bomshell sessions, music playing and lots of laughter! Professional hair and makeup with a bit of pampering. We bring out the authentic personality to memorialize who she is from the inside out.
Our fine art sessions have a laid-back and home-style feel. We want to capture the moments that will be missed the most as time changes. To do this, we create a comfortable atmosphere for each family.
SWM: Your business focuses energy on giving back to the local nonprofit community in Syracuse. Talk about the importance of that.
Caitlyn: I have always felt that giving back to the community in some way, shape or form is a necessary part of business. We want to connect with other people, hear their stories. I was raised to treat people how I’d want to be treated — to give more than you take!
SWM: You split your time between Syracuse and Florida, where you also have a studio. What do you miss most about Syracuse when you’re out of town?
Caitlyn: The people and community. Syracuse is a really interesting city, especially compared to other places I’ve lived. It’s a city, with a small town feel. I will always consider ‘Cuse my home, as it’s where my family is, my father and my friends. I have created connections with amazing people here that will absolutely last a lifetime. I’ll always play a part in Syracuse, as Syracuse still plays a part in me.
SWM: Obviously, you do a lot of traveling. Do you have a No. 1 travel expert tip for us?
Caitlyn: Wear a cute bra. You never know when you may need to impress TSA!
SWM: Where do you source your creativity from? What inspires you?
Caitlyn: One of my largest resources has been my team — two very talented, amazing women who work at my side to elevate what we do. I am consistently continuing my education, in addition to how I can connect better with people around me. I’m passionate about the time I spend with others, learning about their stories and figuring out how I can translate that from a 3D person to a 2D artwork without flattening their legacy.
SWM: Anything else to add?
Caitlyn: Surround yourself with a strong team! Who you choose to surround yourself with and hire is integral to long-term success in any business or industry. I am lucky and blessed to have Kenna and Lacey with me and the three of us are ready to take over the world! SWM
For more information about Caitlyn Bom and her photography, visit caitlynbom.com or bomshellnewyork.com.
Interview was edited for length and clarity.