Today we’d like to introduce you to Max Baker.
Hi Max, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
I’ve always been an artist through and through – ever since I could pick up a pencil, I could draw, and over the years I got better and better at it. When I was in high school, I decided I wanted to go to art school and got into the Art Institute of Sacramento to pursue Media Arts. As soon as I graduated from HS in June, I started at Ai that July to get started on my degree. While attending school, I got introduced to the film kids because of my twin sister since she was in the film program, and because of that I started helping out on the film sets around campus, whether I was playing a background extra or helping with carrying equipment around from location to location, I just wanted to help out anyway possible. I really enjoyed working with people and being on set and wanted to learn as much as I could. Then one day I picked up a camera and started taking some BTS (Behind the Scenes) photos on a set, and really enjoyed doing it. So I ended up picking up a hobby in photography and messing around with it and learning as I went. Once I got some work on my Flickr page (because that’s where everyone would upload their portfolio work if they didn’t have a website) by asking friends if I could practice taking photos with them, I had gotten an email from an online music publication asking if I would be interested in getting experience in music photography, and me being an avid concert-goer, I was 1000% down to do it!
Because of the publication, I got to shoot some really cool artists and build my portfolio for music photography that way, shooting artists like Demi Lovato, The 1975, Hunter Hayes – I couldn’t believe how at the age of 20/21, I was blessed to be doing something like this. What started as a hobby became my job, and I’m grateful for all of the opportunities I’ve been able to do over the years since. I kept learning and growing and connecting with other photographers to learn and get some tips from, built relationships and friendships thanks to Instagram, and got involved with the photo community in Sacramento. Unfortunately, if I wanted to try making this a serious career path for myself, I had to leave my hometown and pursue life in Los Angeles and see what I could find there since I wanted to get involved with music, editorial, and industry-related photography vs family and wedding work. Fast forward six years later, I work full time as a photographer for a big fashion company, and still freelance and shoot with actors, models, musicians alike, have been published in several magazines, and continue to build my brand and practice my craft on a daily basis.
Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
Oh, absolutely not, sadly. The photography world, especially within the film or music industry, is interesting to say the least as I’m sure. A lot of other creatives understand. When I first started out, probably within the first three years of it, me being a young woman trying to be a photographer, I definitely had my experiences with sexists along the way. I remember my editor in chief for a publication I was shooting for and myself were emailing back in forth with an artist’s manager to try shooting a show, and he wasn’t taking us seriously even though we had the work to back it up to show that we’ve shot with some bigger artists and bands. He kept calling us ‘honey’. ‘sweetheart’, all those ‘endearing’ terms that are just not professional whatsoever – you don’t hear men having that same experience through email or text when trying to get a gig.
That’s another reason I go by ‘Max’ rather than ‘Maxine’ because people always think I’m a dude when I reach out for work or people try booking me for work. Why I know this is because people will call me ‘dude’ or ‘bro’ or whatever, which is so funny to me whenever I show up for a job and they’re like “You’re Max?” and I’m like “Yeah it’s short for Maxine”. It sucks that I have to somewhat present myself that way because I just want people to enjoy my work and book me for my work vs whether I’m a guy or not. I know some really talented female photographers that are 10x better than some big-time male photographers, and it’s disheartening to have to constantly have that battle on a daily basis. But that’s why I want to continue working and proving myself because I want to show people you don’t have to be a guy in order to be successful and be respected in the industry.
As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
I’m known for being an editorial and music photographer, photo editor and retoucher, and creative director. Within the last year or so, I’m known for my editing style and work with actors, musicians, and creatives in the LA area. I think what I’m most proud of and I think what sets me apart from others is being able to consistently book work with some really awesome clients and that people trust me with doing work they can use for their headshots, for publications, for merchandise, and everything in between. Whether you’re a big artist with a blue checkmark on your socials or a local dancer or model still in the beginnings of pursuing your dream, I’ve always connected with people and have been able to build trust and make clients feel comfortable and experiment with being creative on a shoot, and it’s truly an honor to work with some really cool humans. Another thing that gets me excited is that I’ve had opportunities to create relationships with some of my personal favorite photographers, which still blows my mind that I’ve had moments with them and they recognize me or my work, and it fills me with joy to be recognized by those I admire and get complimented from them whenever I see them in person at a show or over Instagram.
Can you talk to us a bit about happiness and what makes you happy?
Wow, great question. I think what makes me happy, in regards to my career, is being able to make a client’s vision a reality and seeing their reaction whenever I deliver the final edits to them. I also really love working with people and connecting with people and sometimes they go from clients to being friends in real life. As much as I love being around people, I’ve also grown to enjoy my time at home, whether it’s playing video games or editing photos, but I’ve become a major homebody and getting time to myself doing whatever it is to relax because I am always on the go with shoots and work, so being able to just chill for a second is what makes me happy and get a refresh on taking time to take care of myself. It’s so important to take time for yourself, especially in a world that’s so ‘on the grind’ or ‘hustle culture’ you know, just how people seem to present as if they’re working 24/7, which is honestly not healthy whatsoever. Just sitting down, watching tv, or meditating, or working out, basically just creating a window of time for you, is much needed in your daily life. And I gladly take any time I can to be able to do stuff I enjoy rather than constantly work and feel drained because of it.
- Portrait Sessions start at $500
- Event Pricing starts at $750
- Editorial pricing starts at $1000
- Couples packages start at $1000
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: www.maxbakerofficial.com
- Instagram: instagram.com/itsmaxbaker
- Facebook: facebook.com/itsmaxbaker
- Twitter: twitter.com/itsmaxbaker
All listed are people in frame of photos: 1. Jude Salazer 2. Kenny De la Cruz 3. Destinee Nicholson 4. Storm Acevedo 5. Carlos Dupouy 6. Paul Jason Klein of LANY 7. Nick Anderson of The Wrecks 8. from L-R Chris Bloom, Scotty Sire, and Bruce Wiegner