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Rising Stars: Meet Nikayla Bautista

Today we’d like to introduce you to Nikayla Bautista.

Nikayla, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
All my life, I have had pen or paper, paint or ink, camera or notebook attached to me. I enjoy all forms of art and grew up with a life saturated with creativity. At 14, I received my first camera & was hooked ever since! Beginning with self-portraits and adventures with friends, my excitement over what I could make with a camera turned into a passion. This passion led me to go to school for photography and ultimately choose it as my career. In 2017, I received my Bachelor of Fine Arts from Minnesota State University Moorhead, MN. My emphasis is on photography, and I have loved implementing what I learned from school into my work. In November of that same year, I got married to the love of my life, whom I met a few years earlier when I was a missionary with NET Ministries. Getting married helped me to realize the importance of wedding photography even more than I could’ve imagined. On Halloween of 2019, we expanded our little family with a sweet little girl, followed by her baby sister in February of 2022. I went full time in photography in early 2018, and since then have grown in my career and my business. I now have associate photographers that work for me and travel all over the country to shoot weddings and couples. I’m living in my career dreams!

I’ve shot well over 100 weddings, and am currently based in Las Vegas. I love what I do, and my clients are ultimately the most important thing in my work! Making art is a close second. I am also a geek about printing photos and putting them into albums. My style incorporates all sorts of things, but tends to be joyful, raw, romantic, & bold. I love a deep splash of color in a palette of neutrals, and natural light is my favorite thing to experiment with. I also specialize in Catholic weddings, architecturally unique and grandiose church weddings, and large-family weddings. One of my favorite parts of my job is getting to know a couple, and feeling overwhelming joy as I photograph them, knowing that they’ll get to look back at the photos and love them later. Then I get to go home and look through the day, just smiling til my cheeks hurt as I see the magic I was privileged to experience with them.
What can I say – I just love capturing people’s love and then showing people how beautiful they are in it.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
As much as I wish I could say that my journey into my work has been smooth, it really hasn’t. In the beginning, I worked a lot of odd jobs photographing under other people and second shooting until I got on my own two feet. There have also been a handful of wonderful people that have mentored me and helped me to find my direction. By far my biggest career challenge was the entire year of 2020, when everything for a lot of small business owners fell apart. Not only did I have weddings canceled and postponed, but fewer people than ever were booking because of the fear of having their weddings be canceled on them. This year was one of deep prayer, really looking inward, and trusting that “this too shall pass”. My husband was my biggest supporter, and constantly encouraged me to dive head first into anything that I could in my free time that would make me better. I redid my entire brand and website during that time, and worked on projects that I got to do just for me, which kept me motivated to keep picking up my camera. 2021 and 2022 were a massive boom of weddings and honestly a whole bunch of couples who were absolutely ideal for me. I couldn’t be more thankful!

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
My tag line is “Striving to interpret the mystery of eternal love by capturing the glimpses of it within human love.” I think it completely sums up what I choose to work for. I love love, but not just the giddy, cute pieces of it that come through in the honeymoon phase. Love is honesty, steadfastness, and hard work. Love is about a commitment beyond human understanding that truly only succeeds when the two people in that union give themselves entirely to one another. I believe that love is sacred, emotional, and beautiful. I know a wedding is just the party that celebrates the first day of that marriage, but it is also the day that it is sealed, consecrated, and solidified, and that’s the foundation underneath all of the flowers, pretty decor, and celebrations that follow.

As I mentioned, I am known for church weddings, many of which are Catholic. I love Rome, and Italy, and all of the beautiful Renaissance themed churches and estates and buildings that exist because of that time period. Any majestic place is worth photographing, especially those churches that elevate the mind and heart into the feelings of heaven. Every bit of my being gets excited photographing in places like these! I am also equally known for weddings between couples who are Catholic (whether or not their church is anything magnificent) or Christian and who are looking for someone who levels with them on the importance of making their vows and that sacrament and can understand all the church lingo and traditions.

Another quote that breathes life into Nikayla & Co is: “Every genuine artistic intuition goes beyond what the senses perceive and, reaching beneath reality’s surface, strives to interpret its hidden mystery.” – St. JPII

We love surprises, fun facts and unexpected stories. Is there something you can share that might surprise us?
I am a fairly open book, so I wouldn’t say that anything is majorly surprising. It also depends on how long people have known me! The first fact about me (only a select group of people know) is that I also sing and play piano professionally for events, retreats, and weddings on occasion because I just straight up love to do it! The second fact is that I am one of those “art geeks” that got a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree because, alongside photography, I loved and wanted to move into mastering other art forms, such as painting, drawing, pottery, printmaking, and bookmaking.


  • Average wedding investment: $3400
  • Average elopement investment: $2000

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