I first met Brianna Young in the summer of 2010 when I did some work for her design and media company. She was a pleasure to work with and we continued to do so until recently, when she made the switch to photography. I decided to ask her a few questions about the transition and what it was that led to this decision.
Tell us a little bit about yourself: where you’re from, what you do.
I’m from Tulsa, born and raised, though I’ve traveled the U.S. quite a bit. I have a passion for graphic design, science and photography, and I specialize in macro insect photography. I have a children’s book about insects in the works.
How did you get your start in the creative industry?
I’ve been working online since 2006, when my oldest daughter was on the way. I wanted to find a way to stay home with her and still work, so I started working as a virtual assistant to a graphic designer in Seattle. I still work for her to this day. As time went on, I realized graphic design was my passion, so I took college courses and began learning the software and techniques needed to be a good designer. I discovered WordPress and began specializing in customizing themes for clients who wanted WordPress sites. I began to dabble in photography when my daughter was born. For the past two years I have honed my macro photography skills.
What made you decide to make the switch from design to photography?
Photography is where I believe my talent truly lies. Having a background in design and photo editing is helpful for a photographer, and I try to channel that expertise into my new photography venture. The freedom to be as creative as I please behind the camera is my favorite part of the work I do. I also really wanted to work in an industry that allows me to be physically active and spend time outdoors. Photography does this for me.
What has been the easiest part of this transition for you? The hardest?
The whole process has been difficult and I still have fully made the transition. It’s difficult to start a new business and build a clientele, and it’s even more difficult to write a book. The most difficult part has been informing my clients that I’m no longer accepting new design work.
What do you do to market yourself as a photographer?
I sell my prints and paper products on Etsy, and I stay active in photography forums. I haven’t focused much on marketing at the moment because I am working on the photo collection for my book.
What tips can you offer folks who are trying to get into photography as more than just a hobby?
I suggest good equipment…as in a step up from entry-level DSLR cameras and cheap lenses. The right equipment is often expensive, so good financial planning is key. Also, make sure you take a Photoshop or Photoshop Elements course. A polished final product is important for success. Learn all you can, and don’t expect perfection overnight. It’s taken me four years to get a professional quality photo from my camera. Find your own style and work with clients that like your style. Also, don’t work for free. Charge something, because that will make sure you don’t have cancelled appointments and people who aren’t serious about having their photos taken.
Thanks for all the great tips, Brianna! You can find out more about her new career path at http://lumaphotography.net/