Tell us about yourself
I am 18 years old, studying to get my Business Accounting Degree in community college.
Fun fact: I taught myself everything that I know about photography so far.
Tell us what is unique about your photography
I think it's the fact that I know how to take the average person and make them look like experienced models. 90% of the people I photography are friends with little or no prior modeling experience.
What or who inspired you to become a photographer?
My inspiration from photography stemmed out of fear. During my sophomore year of high school I traveled to West Africa to help build a school in a small village. One morning after I had already been there for a few days I found that it had become difficult for me to picture the faces of the people I loved back home and whenever I tried it seemed as though images of people would mix but I couldn't quite remember the face of any one person alone. So out of fear of forgetting people and experiences I decided to start taking portraits when I got back home.
How did you get started?
I started photography by taking pictures of architecture and landscapes in Normandy, France (a few months after being in West Africa) when I got the chance to travel there to learn about WW2. I was taking pictures to ensure that I would remember what I saw one day and while taking pictures I realized that it was really easy for me to become entranced by the subject of my photography and that it made me happy, so that fall I started taking pictures of pets, friends, and family.
What challenges have you faced in your career? How have you strategically approached those issues?
At this point I think the biggest challenge is figuring out how to get exposure in order to make money by doing something I enjoy and I've started working towards fixing that by posting on Instagram more often, using photography related hashtags, making my own website, and just making sure my content is good. I also started studying business accounting/marketing to learn how to sell my services in the future.
How do you prioritize your clients when working with a large number at once?
When working with a large group I take into consideration the reasoning for me being there, so if it's a wedding I prioritize the bride and groom, but if I'm taking pictures for a company website then I keep the group together to represent who they are while still mixing in individual shots of everyone.
What’s integral to your work as a photographer?
I think the necessary things that make my photography work would be fashion and passion. The most interesting part for me is picking out outfits for the shoots. A good outfit gets me excited to shoot and that fuels my love and passion for people and photography which is most important because if I don't love it anymore then I can't produce good content.
What has been your greatest accomplishment, and why is it your proudest moment?
My greatest accomplishment is seeing my best friend (and recurring model) grow as a model. This is my proudest moment because when I started portraiture I did it purely because I loved it, it was a selfish thing but then I was told that my photos helped people build their confidence and view themselves in a more positive light. Knowing that I can do something because I love it and still impact others positively makes the entire experience that much better.
How creative are you with your work?
I get fairly creative with my work, not so much in technique but more in the style of my shoots. I try to experiment with locations and equipment as much as possible without wasting any shoot time. I also like to have variety in my edits meaning one shoot might be bright and loud with color and the another might have a more serious and dreamy look. Most of my creativity is in the post-processing of photos.
How do you work with clients that may have a different sense of creativity than yours? How do you accommodate to ensure their creativity is captured, as well as yours?
Fashion plays a big role in varying creative styles so usually I try to represent the client's style through them, through their outfit, hair, makeup, the entire look. I also use locations to represent both styles evenly. And sometimes post-processing is where my style shows the most, the edits of the pictures.
How is each photo-shoot different? What elements or themes do you work with?
Each shoot differs mostly in theme and post-processing. Sometimes themes are based off of cartoons and old vintage photography or they're inspired by other photographers and modern day style photography.
Aside from photography, do you have other passions? Do you incorporate them in your work?
I have a passion for adventure and urban exploring so I try to incorporate that in my photography by scouting unlikely locations or risky locations. One day I might sneak into an abandoned church and the next day I'll be sneaking my way up to someone's roof for 5 minutes.
What goals do you aspire to accomplish in your career?
The end goal with my photography is to have my own portraiture company and also work in the fashion industry. Ultimately the goal is to earn money and respect as a photographer by doing what I love.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
The best piece of advice I've been given is to just keep doing what I'm doing because its paying off slowly but surely.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to be a photographer?
For someone that's thinking about going into photography I would say to just jump right in it and do what you want. Eventually you'll have learned the basics and you might even have your own style of shooting and editing without even realizing it.
Are there any brands, magazines, models, fashion talents, studios or agencies you’d like to collaborate with? If so, please identify which ones and why.
I would love to work with some many collaborators. One day I hope to work with Cosmopolitan Magazine, Forever 21, Charlotte Russe, and Vogue. I want to work with Emmy Rossum and Emily Ratajkowski as well as well as Ashley Graham and fashion photographer Jessica Kobeissi. I also want to bring diversity into my client demo. I want to work with different communities of people. I want to work with more men and women of color. But I think most importantly I want to continue to make ordinary people feel good and feel just as special as anyone else.