What is it like being a young photographer in the industry today?
Photography has changed a lot, everyone with an iPhone and an Instagram can consider themselves a photographer. What makes people stand out is their creativity and knowledge of composition and lighting, I learned photography in high school through film photography and was taught about apertures and f stops. Those principles really shaped how I look at photography. Anyone can take a photo with a nice camera, but not everyone can make you feel something when you look at the photo. Those qualities in a photographer make them stand out from everyone else. One thing that I hate about the industry right now is the decline of film photography. There is something so special about taking a photo and relying on your knowledge of lighting and shutter speed, and waiting to see if it came out right. I still shoot film and hopefully the industry will realize how valuable it is.
What advice would you give to young adults trying to break into the industry?
Share your work! Get your photos out there, social media is so powerful right now and we should all be taking advantage of it. Some people might be scared about sharing their work and worrying about what everyone will think, but that is the worst thing you could do. I know it can be hard to put yourself and your work out there, but having that exposure is a game changer. Also, reaching out to people is really important, if there is a brand or a person you want to shoot, ask them! You never know who will surprise you and respond.
What sets you apart from other photographers in LA?
I really love working with natural light, I do shoot in studios but there is nothing like working with natural light. Your skills really shine through when you can’t control the light and must work around it. I love that challenge and it fuels my creativity. I also don’t like to do a ton of retouching. I will edit the lighting or maybe things around the subject but I would never want a client to look at an edited photo of themselves and think, “wow that doesn’t even look like me.”
Who inspires you?
Women entrepreneurs always really inspire me. Ever since I was in high school I knew that I wanted to work for myself. A 9 to 5 job was just never going to be for me and I knew that working for someone else wasn’t going to make me happy. I listen to a podcast called “Being Boss” where every week they interview women who run their own businesses and I also get so inspired after listening to it. Sophia Amoroso also inspires me; her start from having nothing and ending up running a multimillion dollar business is something that has amazed me and made me want to work harder.
What has been a setback that you’ve had and how did you overcome it?
A setback in photography that I have overcome is not having an “proper education” in photography. I am self-taught and have learned a lot from interning with photographers and magazines. I thought that I was going to get a degree in photography, however I asked some other photographers if I should and they all advised not to do so. Since photography has become very digital and new technology is always popping up, the schools don’t have enough money to keep with the latest trends, so getting a degree in photography no longer made sense for me. Because of not being in school for photography I had to do a lot of research online about cameras and lenses, how to retouch, and how to run a photography business. I watched a lot of YouTube videos and read blogs, interning also really helped me because I was learning photography in the real world without having to pay for it.
With social media playing such a big part in photography now, how do you deal with the negativity that comes with it?
I really don’t pay attention to any hate, if anything it motivates me to prove the “haters” wrong. With social media, everyone has something to say about anything you do. But the people that say negative things are just projecting their own insecurity onto others. That is something I always think about when I read mean comments or harsh feedback and I never let it get to me. Sometimes it’s hard to not take things personally but it will run your life if you let it and that’s not how I want to live!