THE JOURNEY TO BEAUTY PHOTOGRAPHY
I always find it interesting to understand how photographers come to be in their current state – how they arrived to their niche market. The stories of their journeys are very diverse and I don’t think I’ve ever met one photographer who suddenly found himself or herself in one niche and that was it, end of story. The journey is an evolution that continues on and on. So here’s my story.
I used to be a child photographer. No really, that’s how I started out my career in photography! I wanted to photograph children and make some side money doing so. I was in the military full time and I needed a creative outlet. What better way to learn photography like other artists who inspired me, than to start photographing children? There were an abundance of little ones where I was as families surrounded me. It all seemed to make sense. Until I actually started – then, not so much.
I think I’ve done the typical growth of any photographer – I started by photographing my friends and their kids. I quickly learned that I just wasn’t in love with photographing children, especially the young ones. Intermittently, I would explore and find beautiful landscapes and sunrises or sunsets as I was in Hawaii at the time. It was amazing. I think I did a little of everything. In 2014, I progressed into photographing adult women and finding myself immersed in the Sue Bryce world of glamour photography. I photographed my friends who all thought it was lovely to have their photo taken, as most of my friends put such a task on the backburner. I started building my first website and then progressively getting more and more into social media and sharing my work. It was a great journey that taught me a lot about me, as an artist.
It wasn’t until moving to Washington State where I really began looking for collaboration with other artists interested in building their portfolios. At this point in my life, I actually wanted to photograph fashion as I felt that this was where I wanted to be and this was how I was going to make a name for myself. I had been following a lot of inspirational fashion photographers and I just “knew” that I wanted to be a fashion photographer. I did a few fashion shoots, got published in smaller magazines, and then my passion for fashion died off.
I’ve always been a great admirer of cosmetics and the beauty ads you see in magazines. Through social media, I started following certain photographers because of their amazing close up work. I wasn’t really interested in the clothing anymore, but absolutely interested in the makeup artistry. I loved the work of Julia Kuzmenko, Courtney Dailey, and Jenn Collins and stalked their websites and social media to learn how they did it. I was able to attend Courtney Dailey’s Wondergloss workshop down in Las Vegas in 2015 where I learned more about beauty photography and I immediately felt like this is something that really makes me want to shoot every weekend. I learned retouching through Pratik Naik’s CreativeLive course and I dove in headfirst! In 2016, I was able to conduct a one-on-one with Julia Kuzmenko, and from there, it’s been non-stop beauty photography.
I’ve claimed all genres of photographer and you know what, that’s ok. It’s ok to start out as a wedding photographer and transition to fashion, or, do both. It’s ok to call yourself a newborn photographer and still do product photography. No one has to be confined to his or her genre of photography. If you’re in the business of doing photography, we all know that we have to be able to satisfy the client’s needs and reach our paying market. But the journey of finding your passion is going to be a winding road.
My journey has led me to beauty photography and I’m happy to be here with you all to share my tips and lessons learned. It’s a challenging genre that relies on technique, relationships, artistry, and the collaborative wills of all participants. Stay tuned for the next article on what beauty photography is and what it is not.