Kate Thornton is a LIFESTYLE, wedding and family photographer. KATE AND HER TEAM HAVE been photographing in Charleston, SC and beyond for over 15 years with ★★★★★ reviews


For business portraits, marketing, editorial assignments and interior design photography, please visit my lifestyle photography website.


Favorite Artist: Picasso

Celebrity Doppleganger: Jewel

Greatest Adventure: Thailand, Cuba, Eurorailing through western Europe on my own for three months

Favorite Podcast: The Goal Digger

Astrological Sign: Leo

Preferred Cuisine: Home Grown Summer Vegetables

Childhood Ambition: Fashion Designer

Spirit Animal: Sea Turtle

Favorite Photographer: Henri Cartier-Bresson

Sunday Mornings: I read the newspaper with coffee in hand. Fold laundry and watch the CBS Sunday Morning show. Then feel guilty for skipping church again.

My style of photography is photojournalistic and much more candid and “in the moment” than a traditional photographer.  My images appear regularly in the New York Times and the National Geographic Traveler as well as other national publications.  I prefer to stay in the background and not intrude on your day, capturing more intimate moments as they happen. 

I left my hometown of Richmond, Virginia to earn a Mass Communications degree at The College of Charleston.  As a member of the college sailing team, I grew to love the Lowcountry lifestyle and all that the area offers.  After college, I spent a year in the Virgin Islands photographing weddings and two years back in Richmond as a photojournalist for a daily newspaper.  In 2004 I moved back to Charleston and opened Captured by Kate Photography.  I have been photographing weddings and families and covering editorial assignments in the area and beyond for over 13 years. 

“Living and working the Charleston area since 1996, I am familiar with all of the local venues. “

I live on James Island with my husband Chris, our two girls, Claire and Mary, and our labradoodle, Brody.  I am an active member of The Charleston Junior League, the National Press Photographer’s Association, and the American Society of Media Photographers.

To see my latest images you can find me on Instagram #capturedbykatephoto



"Kate Thornton has a positive energy that immediately puts her subjects at ease. As a result, the images she captures are special, candid moments that will certainly become cherished memories."

Alexandra Macon



"Kate has a great eye for those moments that really capture our personalities on our wedding day as well as our engagement portraits. She's easy to work with and very good at what she does. Would definitely work with her in the future as we build our family, and will be recommending her to anyone who needs a photographer! Wish I could give her 10 stars!!"

Maura Lummus

Wingate Plantation 


"Kate is wonderful to work with and photographs the essence of the moment. She has worked with our family several times, and we love that she lets life happen. She always finds the perfect shot and captures memories that we will cherish for a lifetime. Thank you Kate!"

Lisa Young

Kiawah Island, SC

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"Kate was exceptional. She photographed our daughter's engagement pictures and wedding. She was a pleasure to work with during the portrait sessions before the ceremony and to tell you the truth, I hardly realized they were around during the ceremony and reception! And just last week when I got the pictures, I thought Wow, I never noticed them capturing all these wonderful moments!!! Thanks so much Kate! Well done."

Kathy Kristopik (MOB)

Boone Hall Plantation

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"Kate has photographed our family for the past three summers. As soon as my family decides on a week to vacation, Kate is our next call. Our home is filled with wonderful memories that Kate documents and she has become a family friend."

The Baker Family

Kiwaha Island, SC


Post Engagement Photos

"She is a DREAM. perfectly captures candid moments - you don't even realize she's there half the time. An amazing combo of being behind the scenes most of the time but also not afraid to tell you if your hair is messed up. Most importantly though, her work is STUNNING."

Post Wedding Photos

"Kate is A GEM. She is so, so talented - the photographs she takes are absolutely stunning. She also strikes an amazing balance between blending into the background so that you don't even know she is there and directing friends and families to positions when she needs to get certain shots. She does it all with a smile on her face and a confidence that makes everyone listen to exactly what she says. She will capture moments that you don't even know are happening. If you are looking for the best of the best - it's Kate."

Sarah Litt

Yeamans Hall

Frequently Asked Questions

What do your packages look like?


Please fill out my contact form for a complete list of prices. 

One of my popular wedding  packages is six hours of wedding day photography, two wedding day photographers, an online gallery for viewing and ordering, and the high-resolution images $3700.

Portrait prices start at $300

What is the best way to get in touch with you?


Initially, by phone. It's nice to get to know you personally and lend a hand if possible with your planning.  If I'm not photographing I am in my office from 8:00 am - 2:00 pm M-F. I’m happy to talk after hours just let me know when to look out for your call. You can also fill out my contact from.

How many hours of coverage do I need for my wedding?


If you’d like getting ready images through your exit, 10 hours will cover you! If one end of the day is more important to you than the other, 6 is plenty, and if you're having a small, family wedding or an elopement 4 hours will work out well.

Do i need a second photographer at my wedding?


If you are planning for more than 100 guests, I would highly recommend it. Your day will be more relaxing and you will get more comprehensive coverage. If you are planning for more than 300 guests, I would recommend two.

Who will be the second photographer?


I have an ongoing list of professional photographers that are usually just starting out and eager to build their portfolio and gain experience at a wedding. I will match your wedding with the second photographer that will best fit your personality and photo requests.

Can we meet with you before the wedding?


Yes, I would love to meet in person. Give me a call and we will schedule an appointment that is convenient for you. However, The best way to really get to know each other in advance is to book an engagement or bridal session. It is a great opportunity to warm up on camera!

Do you offer wedding albums?


Yes, to see a PDF with information on my albums click HERE.

What camera equipment do you use?


I'm a Canon photographer. I have three digital SLR camera bodies and eight different lenses I take to all photo assignments. I am fully prepared for any malfunction. Digital photography is the best way to candidly capture a fast paced event with constant lighting changes.

Do you edit my pictures?


Your images are culled, color corrected, cropped, and dodged and burned. What does this mean? Your photos will look crisp, professional and consistent. I also convert about 15% of your photos to black and white.

Can I use these images on my social media?


You’ll be able to share photos directly from your gallery to any social media site. Please credit Captured by Kate Photography when you post.

How do I print my images?


You can print the photos from the high-resolution digital files that are included in most of my photography packages. But I would prefer you order professional prints from your online gallery; the prints will be punchy, crisp and on archival paper.

What are your print prices?


4x6 Print $4, 5x7 Print $6, 8x10 Print $10, 11x14 Print $18 All professional quality prints can be ordered through your online gallery. Large prints are also available.


Do you travel?


I've had the opportunity to photograph weddings across the US, in the Bahamas, and the Virgin Islands. I love to travel!

What if you are sick or can't make it to our wedding?


(Knock on wood) In my 13+ years of photographing weddings it has never happened. I take my job very seriously. I have a long list of back up photographers that would gladly step in if something did happen and vice-versa.

Do you offer discounts?


No, in order to maintain the high quality of work I produce and give great customer service to all my clients I am not able to give a discount.

When is payment due?


To secure a wedding date I require a $1000 deposit. The remaining balance is due two weeks before the wedding.

For family portraits payment is due the at the portrait sitting cash, check, or venmo @capturedbykate is preferred. 



I would love to photograph an entire wedding in B&W. If that wedding happened to be a foreign country, I will have died and gone to heaven!



What will I learn?

- You’ll assist with wedding, portrait, and editorial photo shoots.
- Learn post-production workflow for digital images, prints and wedding albums.
- Social media marketing and public relations
- You will be responsible for completing a photo essay of your choice. I will help with contacts, editing the images, and coach you through telling the complete story. This will be a portfolio piece that can be used on your website or social media.