March 17, 2019
Here’s the real way I became a photographer. When asked, I usually say I’ve been a story teller and photographer my whole life, which is true, but there is sooo much more to it.
Growing up, I always dreamed about becoming an actor. I begged and begged my mom to let me audition for All That (who remembers that show?!?). I was obsessed with making up characters to make my family + friends laugh. I wanted to be just like Amanda Bynes (I mean thank God I didn’t follow in her footsteps, ammiright?). While I did lots of musical theatre productions when I was younger, my parents told me I had to wait until I was 18 to pursue it professionally because the entertainment industry is suuuuper cut throat and they wanted me to have a normal childhood (I can now say thanks mom and dad, serrriously cannot thank you enough… eh hem we all saw what happened to Amanda Bynes.).
In addition to musical theatre, I started ballet. I was in love with performing. I loved being on stage and telling stories. Even though there aren’t words, ballet tells such beautiful and emotional stories through body language and expressions, just like photography does. Ballet taught me dedication and determination. I even wrote my college admission essay about how ballet shaped me.
Anyhoo, I got accepted into a really great arts college in New York City, Marymount Manhattan College. I was acting in school as well as in a conservatory outside of school. I ended up becoming a photography major (just because it was something I really enjoyed and had been in AP Photo in high school!). Studying acting and booking work in NYC was so great for me. I was in lots of commercials and had a 7 episode arch in the acclaimed College Humor webseries Jake and Amir: Girlfriend episodes. You can see the first episode I was in HERE. If you must watch more, I am in the next 5 episodes (pt. 2, pt.3 etc.) and then in an episode a year later called Jake and Amir: Graveyard. (DO NOT watch that one first, maaajor spoiler alert in the recap lol).
I decided to move back to LA, because my heart was in TV and Film. Also my family is in LA and I was homesick. Also NYC is waaay to cold for my LA-born-and-bred-bones.
Flash forward 4 years and my heart seemed to be falling out of pursuing acting. I still love acting and performing but I don’t think I was cut out for the hustle and grind of the pursuit. I decided to one last photoshoot to get new photos done and see if that would inspire me to get back out there. I worked with the amazing Valorie Darling and after chatting with her about what her life is like as a photographer, something clicked and I KNEW that my calling was for photography.
I immediately went home and upgraded my camera (I was still shooting on my DSLR from high school since I did film in college). From there, I asked ALL of my friends if I could photograph them. My friends Adam and Marlyse had recently got engaged and they asked me to take their engagement photos and holy crap I was hooked on couples. I actually started editing weddings for Val and that reassured me even more that I HAD to be a wedding photographer. I then started second shooting for the late Michael Brannigan of David Michael Photography. He was such an amazing person and photographer and the industry took a serious hit when he passed unexpectedly. I feel truly lucky to have learned from him.
From there, I started booking a lot of my work through referrals and instagram—I still do!! I seriously couldn’t imagine my life without photography and I count my lucky stars every day that I get to do what I love so so much.
Let me know if you have ANY questions for me about my journey or how to get into photography– I am an open book!