Today we’d like to introduce you to Aimee Uchida.
Hi Aimee, we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today?
I am a Japanese American born in Torrance, CA. Growing up, I have always had a creative outlook on life. I would carry a sketchbook everywhere I went, danced, played guitar, took art classes, and loved to make anything where I used my hands. It wasn’t until 6th grade when my dad gave me my first iPhone 4. I began taking pictures everywhere and everything, from my friends to the landscape. Fortunately, since my family travels frequently, I was able to see the world, which grew my love for taking photos. When I got into high school, I became obsessed with street photography. I become intrigued by how the style was focused on taking photos in the “moment” and not staged. I think since I practice golf every day, that had influenced the way I take my photos. I was never into portrait photography until only about a year ago. I have always thought males were the ones who shot portrait photography because that is all I saw on the internet. I have not seen many women photographers growing up, which made me stick to street photography back then. When my photographer friend was taking photos of me and my friends, she let me take photos of her in her home-built studio. It was an absolute experience and a change in scenery to capture photos of a model. After that, I started taking photos of my friends, and I discovered that this was something that I wish to do as a career. I recognized when I am taking portraits of my friends or clients, I love to draw them joy and confidence in themselves. Seeing that there are other women photographers out there and are becoming successful really motivated and inspired me to push myself to grow into the photographer I wished to be.
We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
It has not been the smoothest ride on this journey of becoming a photographer. When becoming a photographer, you tend to compare yourself to other creators and do not have trust in your work. You begin to doubt yourself because you see many of the younger generations become better than you. Many of the creators on the social media platforms are always striving to get better and are putting themselves out there. I have only begun my journey as a portrait photographer during the pandemic, which has been difficult to build my craft since I cannot meet up with people. Also, since I am a D1 golfer and I am on the 3+1 MBA program, it has been a struggle to find time to go on photoshoots. Despite all of that, I have been learning everyone goes at their own pace, and comparing yourself to others will only bring you down. I definitely would not have been where I am today without the support of my friends and family.
Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
Throughout my entire life, I have always been into taking photos of nature. Previously, my friends knew me more from my golf than my photography because I have played golf all of my life. However, when my friends ask me to collaborate or work together, it is usually through my photography. At this moment, I am doing more couple shoots with mutual friends. I have been living in a city where I am regularly surrounded by creators, which has definitely made me push myself. For the past few years, I have been taking street photography because I love how it is more of a spur-in-the-moment shot. I would say that since I have always been traveling and playing golf, my portrait photography has grown more into candid and outdoor shots. I prefer to use natural lighting and outside resources to enhance my photos. Personally, I love taking photos on my film camera because I have to focus on every aspect of the photo to make it look perfect. Recently, I was fortunate enough to take pictures of my friends (who are dating), and I was able to bring out the best of their relationship. I noticed how capturing the moments when they are laughing or talking to each other shows how their relationship is like. I am still finding my niche, but I am excited to see how I will grow in the future.
Any advice for finding a mentor or networking in general?
I have not found myself a mentor; however, using all social media platforms to the network is extremely beneficial. I have always been afraid of reaching out because I will not be getting a response. But I have noticed that it is better to do something than nothing. For me, I have been reaching out and “dming” to photographers that I personally love, and I try to connect with them. Being the first one to reach out and attempt to meet up leaves a massive impact on people. I would also try to reach out to smaller models because they are constantly searching for someone to shoot with!
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: aimeeu.photos
Model credits in order of appearance: Siwa, Karly & Brandon, Kiersten