Amber Asaly’s summer was better than yours. Unless you also spent the past three months chilling on a $22 million dollar yacht, taking dreamy photos of Kylie Jenner in vintage Dior while Kris Jenner flounced about in a tunic. ’Cause yeah, that’s what Amber was up to while the rest of us drowned our emotions in White Claw and argued over whether or not Camila and Shawn’s relationship is a PR stunt. (Amber thinks it is, which, fair).
Although this summer was dominated by press-hungry celebrities doing the absolute most, Kylie, notably, opted to get out of L.A., escaping on several luxurious vacations with her post–Jordyn Woods social circle. At this point, you’ve probably scrolled through your fair share of Instagram pics featuring Kylie posing with Sofia Richie, Stassie Karanikolaou, Yris Palmer, and Victoria Villarroel—all of which have one thing in common. Actually, two things: 1) your VSCO filter could never, and 2) they were taken by 26-year-old photographer Amber Asaly.
Amber stays behind the camera, which is why you’re probably like “wait, whomst????” but if you open up the ’gram again, you’ll notice an @amberasaly tag on every single one of Kylie’s recent vacay pics. The Kylie Skin trip to Turks and Caicos? Amber was there. The birthday jaunt to Italy? Also there. That recent Vegas getaway? Yup, invited on that private jet too. She’s the person singularly responsible for Kylie’s gorgeous summer Instagram aesthetic.
But to be clear: Amber doesn’t work for Kylie. Yes, she’s a professional photographer, but she’s invited on these excursions as a friend. An extremely talented, extremely good friend. “This summer has been fucking amazing,” Amber tells Cosmopolitan. “Kylie invited me on her Kylie Skin trip as a friend but also to catch the vibes and get cute pictures. And when I’m in a beautiful location with beautiful people and I happen to have dope cameras. I’m gonna do my thing no matter what. And they want dope pictures too, so it kinda just works hand-in-hand.”
Amber and Kylie have been friends for a couple of years now. I found Getty evidence of them hanging out in West Hollywood during a simpler time: Last August, at the launch of Jordyn Woods’ activewear label SECNDNTURE. To put their relationship in L.A. terms, they’ve been running in the same circles for a minute.
But their Turks and Caicos vacation in mid-July was when yours truly first noticed Amber’s elevated style begin to take over Kylie’s grid. Her photos went from rather unremarkable (no shade, Kylie, lol) to…well, gorgeous. “Turks and Caicos were amazing. It was so, so beautiful, and everything was just photo-shoot ready, so it made everything really easy—gorgeous natural light, gorgeous location, the house that we stayed in was just insane, or mansion, I can’t even call it a house,” Amber remembers.
“It was right on the beach. We did some fun water activities. We went out. We just had such a great time. All of Kylie’s amazing outfits, all of Sofia’s amazing outfits—all the girls had just beautiful clothes. Their makeup was done, their hair was done, so everything kinda just turned into a photo shoot. It would just be us hanging out and me being like, ‘Okay, we gotta go to the beach right now, the sun is setting, we gotta shoot this.’”
Flash-forward a couple of weeks, and the cosmetics queen hit up Amber again to request that she lock in dates for “something special,” aka Kylie’s #BirthdayTour, as she dubbed it on Instagram. Amber ended up spending 11 days in August on a giant yacht in Italy with Sofia Richie, Scott Disick, Travis Scott, Stormi, and most importantly, Kris “This Is a Case for the FBI” Jenner, who apparently spent her time being iconic and buying everyone hats.
“She’s just such a queen,” Amber says of momager Kris. “She’d been to Italy so many times, so she was taking us everywhere…Everything she touched was like, ‘Wow, thank god Kris Jenner’s here.’ Because if she wasn’t, we would just probably stay on the boat the whole time. Like, we wouldn’t know what to do. She really took us around, she was our tour guide—she bought us all hats one day. She’s just a queen.”
Amber’s photos from the Italy trip are next-level—like, there’s no way you didn’t double-tap the pic of Kylie in a Dior bikini. “Those photos just looked insane, Kylie’s body looked insane, her face was perfect, the light was amazing. We shot it in 15 minutes and they’re our favourite photos ever,” says Amber. But dealing with paparazzi was a battle.