Holly Wiles describes herself on her website as a “one woman show”, an accurate portrayal of this wife, mother and entrepreneur.
Wiles, who runs Holly Danielle Photography, has a love of photography that led her to work behind the scenes on the reality show “Toddlers and Tiaras” to start her own business, she says.
“I’ve always loved nature, and when I was a kid I had a disposable camera and would walk around my backyard taking pictures,” says Wiles.
Wiles says she grew up in Northwest Arkansas because she lived all over the area, she says. She spent a lot of time in her youth in Siloam Springs and then graduated from Siloam Springs High School with honors, she says.
Wiles and her mother shopped at various vendor stalls at the Dogwood Festival, she recalls. She was also visiting her aunt and uncle in Siloam Springs during Thanksgiving, she says.
“Siloam has always had a special place in my heart,” says Wiles.
She was a high school cheerleader and worked for the school newspaper, where she continued to nurture her love of photography, Wiles says. She also attended modeling school, where Wiles modeled, she says, and learned a lot from modeling school. She learned to pose and walk as well as to understand photography better, she says.
College, work and family
Wiles attended Northwest Arkansas Community College and then the University of Arkansas, where she graduated in 2011 with a bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism, she says.
Wiles started her family during her senior year in college and did so while working three jobs, she says. She took her first break from broadcast journalism while working for ESPN, where she started out as an unpaid intern, but eventually received payment for her time. She also worked for the Center for Business and Economic Research at the University of Arkansas, which led the Skyline report, Wiles said. The Skyline Report provides timely statistical analysis of the Northwest Arkansas real estate market, according to nwacouncil.org.
She got a job at Authentic Entertainment in 2011 as a production assistant and served as a cameraman and assistant.
“It was interesting,” Wiles says. “I was working over 16 hours a day. When they had the competitions, you got there early, and it was all the time.”
Wiles decided to put her career on hold and focus on her family after her son started having seizures soon after turning 2, she says. Wiles had a daughter in 2014 who was also born with special needs, she adds.
“It’s very traumatic to see your child on the verge of (die) or to know that any virus could send him to the hospital,” Wiles said.
She spent several years taking care of her family and helping her husband, Todd Wiles, grow his business, Best Tools Inc. She helped Todd set up an online store and manage Best Tools’ needs for social media and photography, she said.
Between parenthood, Wiles spent time reading articles and watching YouTube videos about photography and saving a lot of practice time, she says.
Start with the dream
Wiles bought her first camera in 2017 and took photos of nature, she says. These photos grew in popularity and she began to focus on photography and her children, Wiles says.
Her photos have been featured in 417 Magazine, Cityscapes, Finding NWA, and Only in Arkansas. She has also worked on various blogs and on television, Wiles says.
Wiles took lots of photos in City Lake Park and downtown, she said. The town of Siloam Springs occasionally purchased a record of these photos, she said.
“I had a lot of photos recognized and printed, but I never won anything in money or prizes,” she says.
Wiles is trying to create a site to sell his prints, she says. She currently sells her work on Fine Art America under the name Holly Wiles Art, Wiles says.
In the spring of 2017, Wiles launched Holly Danielle Photography, but didn’t start getting clients until late 2018, she says. She thanks Best Tools for their help.
“If my husband didn’t have his business,” she wouldn’t have his business, says Wiles.
Leisure and volunteering
Wiles also enjoys gardening, she says. She grows sunflowers, antiques, and ancient vegetables such as heirloom Cherokee tomatoes, red horned okra, and herbs like basil and sage.
Another passion is visiting state and national parks, she says. As a child, her father took her to various state parks in Arkansas, from the Crater of Diamonds in Murfreesboro to the Buffalo National River.
“His love for nature and gardening comes from being an active parent all the time and enjoying the outdoors,” says Wiles.
She volunteered for Healing Gardens of Northwest Arkansas in Rogers by offering free headshots at various events, she says. Wiles has worked with Beautiful Lives Boutique for the past year and a half taking photos for her Christmas and Halloween events, she says.
“I understand what it’s like to have very little and go through a tough time,” said Wiles.
His long-term goals are to become a mainstay in the photography industry, Wiles says. She is not worried about the competition.
“There have been several photographers who have opened studios,” says Wiles. “A lot of people think they’re going to make money. A year later, they don’t have any.”
The lookout and one of the springs gushing out of Twin Springs Park in Siloam Springs are captured in the fall in this photo taken by Holly Wiles. (Courtesy photo / Holly Wiles)