WHAT STEPS DID YOU TAKE TO GET TO WHERE YOU ARE NOW?
I worked as a studio manager for a short time and as a digital media manager for a production company. This gave me the inside scoop on how to market and run a photography business day-to -day. It also raised my confidence, taught me how to handle clients professionally, and gave me the courage to work for myself. I began to email and then to meet with magazine editors; I was lucky to get replies right off the bat, but I think I also got my foot in on the cusp of the photo industry boom. Now I think emailing and cold calling is harder; it needs to be considerably more strategic and thoughtful.
FOR OTHER PEOPLE IN YOUR FIELD, WHAT DO THEY USUALLY LACK?
I think many people lack patience and don’t have the time it takes to develop their business. You really need to know yourself, your work, and the kind of clients you want. I got this advice in school, but at the time I didn’t know what I wanted or who I was as a photographer fully --- so didn’t target the right clients initially and was a little all over the place with my look. Now I feel my work does have a cohesive tone and an overall aesthetic. It also takes being a harsh critic of ones work. It’s important to be ruthless about editing, especially now that we see soooo many photos a day.
WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON RIGHT NOW?
Right now I’m wrapping up editing a project with a musician friend of mine. We shot it in studio and used a lot of props- something out of my comfort zone. I’m beginning to document my own personal world more. (Advice a wonderful teacher of mine, Paul Jasmine, always stressed.) Trying to capture the journey and beauty in the mundane, people who I’ve surrounded myself with, what they are doing, just snippets of life.
WHAT'S YOUR STYLE/PERSPECTIVE/TASTE? DO YOU HAVE A PROJECT THAT REPRESENTS THIS?
My perspective/style has always been raw and instinctive. Every portrait I make I want the subject to feel comfortable and uncontrolled. I try to cultivate an idea ahead of time, while still being flexible to what appears in front of the lens.
WE ARE ALL SLASHIES WITH MULTIPLE SKILLS, WHICH ONE DO YOU WISH YOU COULD DO MORE OFTEN?
I do dabble in writing and other forms of media such as film and drawing, which I would love to focus more on. Maybe even try collage/mixed media work, just for the hell of it.
WHAT IS FRUSTRATING YOU RIGHT NOW?
The photo industry is so saturated that it’s hard not to feel like I’m always one step behind. There are so many things to focus on when running your own business that you can forget to actually shoot! With social media, emailing, networking, updating your site, shooting for clients, my own personal work gets put on the bottom of the To Do list sometimes.
IF YOU COULD HIRE SOMEONE FOR $20/HR, WHAT WOULD YOU HAVE THEM DO TO MAKE YOUR DAY EASIER?
Draft emails, do research on editors; write very personal emails, with a newsletter format attached. This is work that takes a lot of time and consistency; and I struggle with that. Also resizing images for web, helping me with social media, and I would also love them to do a little bookkeeping as well.
LET'S BRING OUT THE TIME MACHINE. WHAT DO YOU WISH YOU COULD HAVE TOLD YOURSELF, WHEN, AND WHY?
I wish that I had been a little more mindful in my early 20s. I wasn’t always present with my work, and it shows. If I were to turn back the clock, I also would have focused harder on my growth as a woman in the industry. And I think I would have assisted other photographers more. I was always scared of getting trapped as an assistant and intimidated that it was a much more “male” dominated job, which is silly to think now.
IF YOU COULD TALK TO AN EXPERT TO GAIN MORE INSIGHT ON SOMETHING, WHAT WOULD IT BE ABOUT?
The industry has a huge pay gap, some photographers making $10k-$20k a day and others (the larger percent) making $500-$1,000 a day or less. It’s hard to ask for pay you feel you deserve from a magazine or client because there is so much competition out there. I’m curious what someone who has been a photographer for 20-30 years would say about the pay gap that exists now.
WHAT KIND OF OPPORTUNITIES/PROJECTS ARE YOU LOOKING FOR?
I’m looking for new collaborative projects, working with other photographers, artists, creative designers, stylists, etc. Working with a team or even just one other person can really take a shoot further. I also would love to work on more fly on the wall type shoots: Just be in a space purely for unaltered documentation.
DESCRIBE YOUR IDEAL JOB/CLIENT/COLLABORATION.
My dream/goal in the future has always been to work as a journalist/portrait/documentary photographer for companies like Nat Geo, NY Times, Time, Vice, and scientific organizations such as NASA. I’m interested in documenting human- interest stories, along with the musicians and celebrities.
I really enjoy working for the clients I have currently. They give so much creative freedom, which makes me feel like they trust my eye.
WHAT IS YOUR HOURLY RATE, RETAINER, OR SALARY RANGE?
I think hourly is hard. Usually I do a job rate. Ideally the jobs would pay from $500-$2,000 a day depending on the job and length of job. A portrait with natural light vs. a portrait with lighting would be slightly different. I don’t do a ton of retouching and therefore most of the work needs to be done in camera.
HOW SHOULD SOMEONE APPROACH YOU ABOUT WORKING TOGETHER?
I love sloths so a good sloth gif is always wonderful
HOW DO YOU STAY CREATIVE?
Absorbing as much as humanly possible and avoiding social media at the same time.
This member profile was originally published in March 2017.