Intro: My Journey to Full-Time Photography and What's to Come

Hi everyone!

Before heading to St. Lucia for the week, I wanted to get started on writing my first ever blog post. So I’m not a writer by any means but I’ve always enjoyed it and my goal is to be as transparent as possible with you all. Photography is a passion of mine but is also my full-time job and main source of income. It’s surreal and such a pinch me moment to be living out my dream. The goal of writing these blogs post is to share what I’ve learned being a freelance photographer in NYC so far and to share insight. I should note that I’m not an expert on everything photography and I’m not claiming to be but I do hope my insight will be valuable to you. Some ideas I have going on right now for future blog posts include: what a typical shoot looks like, my editing process, what’s in my camera bag, the challenges of work life balance (and the sacrifices I’ve had to make), thoughts on collaborations and even the best places to shoot in NYC. Before I dive deeper into these topics, let’s start with the basics. Yes, let’s start with who I am and how I got to where I am today. It’s been a journey to say the least.

When I first started writing this article, I was going into every single detail of my background and it was getting a bit long. I want to keep these light and fun so here’s a recap of key moments in my life from college to now:

  • I attended Marist College, majoring in Advertising and minoring in Photography

  • My first job out of college was at a photography syndication agency based in Manhattan (after interning there the summer before my senior year!). I was the Advertising Assistant and after over a year, the department was shut down.

  • My second job was at another photography syndication agency and after over 2 years working there, I was let go in July 2018.

  • Moved to Astoria in March 2017

  • Started photography in high school since it was always a passion for me but didn’t really pursue it (and ask for payment) until I moved to Astoria since I had a lot more free time from not commuting from Long Island

  • Started working with bloggers/influencers in February 2018. Before I was shooting engagements, families and casually with my friends.

So you might read this and ask, when did she start full-time freelance photography? Well there’s not really a specific date but after losing my job in July 2018, I had a lot more free time to schedule shoots during the week. It happened over time when my energy and focus shifted. The momentum of my business started to grow and I was shooting almost every day. This was a period of when I was trying to figure out what to do with my life. It was really tough and I found myself feeling a bit lost. Of course I wanted to pursue photography full-time but it didn’t feel like a reality financially. As my photography started to grow steadily, I was still applying to other full-time office jobs since I couldn’t shake the idea that I needed to have that conventional 9-6pm schedule with the security of a weekly paycheck and the health benefits that come along with it. The turning point for me is when I had a two-hour interview scheduled and finally went my gut and cancelled it the day before. My gut was telling me that I would always wonder “what if” and that I wouldn’t be dedicated to any job 100% until I went after my photography business full-time. What a difference a year can make... lesson learned: always listen to your gut.

Another turning point for my business was investing in the Canon 5D Mark IV. Before November 2019, I was using the Canon T3i Rebel, which is a standard entry level DSLR camera. The focus and quality on the new body made all the difference. I was renting the Canon 5D Mark IV for big shoots and when I finally took the plunge (yes it was $$$), it was a complete game changer. It’s the best investment I’ve made to date for my business. I could start charging what I charge and have the quality of work to match. Also big shout out to the most supportive boyfriend Ron, who actually purchased the camera body for me when I was “unemployed” and didn’t have enough money to do so. Happy to say he’s been officially paid back for some time now.

From Jan 2019 on, I have put all my focus into my business and I’m excited to share even more about my life as a freelance photographer in NYC. The hustle and bustle is worth it. Moving forward, I’m going to be talking about ALL the amazing parts of freelance photography, the behind the scenes, insight into my equipment and workflow but also the challenges and the reality of burning out (and how to prevent it). It hasn’t been an easy journey but it’s brought me to where I am today and I wouldn’t change a thing.

Now it’s time for a beach vacation in St. Lucia and I couldn’t be more excited! While I’m away, I would love to hear what you’re interested in learning more about. Any and all ideas are appreciated so DM, email, comment to let me know.

Let the brainstorming commence!

xx Victoria