Today we’d like to introduce you to Matthew Herter.
Hi Matthew, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself
I work as a photographer/videographer under the brand name Thirty Three Wolves. When it comes to my art its been a long journey to say the least. I have always loved photography ever since I picked up an old Pentax K1000 and started shooting for a class my freshman year in highschool. I was immediately drawn to the ability to capture a visual moment and hold it in your hands. I still have multiple photos of my childhood best friends sitting in the school parking lot printed in the darkroom in black and white. I event went as far as to get that camera tattooed on my forearm but due to the way my life went after that moment I never actually pursued photographer and even ended up getting the tattoo covered up because I felt it was a reminder of something I never thought id end up doing. I continued to default back to working in hospitality and never utilizing my knowledge I learned in school because it was safe and paid the bills but that drive to create never left it. Flash forward over 10 years and everything has come full circle, In the beginning of the COVID lockdown I started riding my motorcycles around and really exploring LA, while I was doing so I started taking photos again and that rekindled that one thing that inspired me from the beginning, that ability to capture a moment. I was documenting my rides and setting up shots that eventually caught the eye of multiple companies through my instagram. From there I started to work with companies promoting their products and creating more and more content. This really gave me the push I needed to make the choice and throw myself entirely into what I had always wanted to do from the first time I picked up a camera. I always struggled with the idea of pursuing art as a real career and was always afraid it never was going to work out but it wasn’t until I really did it that I realized its all possible as long as you work for it, its not going to be easy but make the effort to put yourself out there and grow and you can make it happen. Currently I am very lucky to work with a wide array of different companies including motorcycle gear, coffee subscriptions, mens and womens clothing companies and even movie sets and marketing.
I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
As I mentioned prior it definitely has been a long journey to get to where I am today. It took a lot for me to really decide to throw myself 100% into an art career and I constantly second guessed myself. Throw some PTSD, anxiety and depression on top of all of that and to say it was an uphill battle would be quite the understatement. I think a lot of people struggle with chasing their dreams, some end up finally doing it and others never decide to take the leap. Everyones journey is their own but for me I finally hit a point in my life where I just need there was more for me out there than just working in restaurants anymore. I think my biggest struggles were definitely focused on self doubt and if id be able to really live the life I wanted to. Ultimately I decided that if I didnt try I would be regretting it for the rest of my life so I am definitely glad I did.
Other struggles I ran into include things like trying to network in the beginning and trying to get businesses to give me a chance. Trying to ask other artist friends their advice on things and getting no answers back because they view you as competition, obviously finances play a role in all of this. I wouldnt say my struggles are uncommon by any means I just think we all fight the same battles just sometimes we dont talk about it as much as I think we should.
Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
I am a photographer/videographer based here in Santa Monica. I work with various companies and individuals looking to create content for their products or business. When I am not shooting product work I really love editorial and portrait work. I think thats definitely what I am best known for mainly because thats what I post (haha) but more so because I just really love when I get to do that stuff. Theres something so special about being able to capture emotion in someones eyes when you’re shooting their portraits. What I am most proud of is the connections that I have made through my work and the ability to collaborate with some really wonderful businesses and individuals. If my client leaves that day feeling just as accomplished as I do then thats a win for me. Id like to believe what sets me apart comes from my own visions. I love getting creative with my work and bouncing ideas off of the people I work with to come up with something more unique. I will always go out of my way to make my model or client as comfortable as they can be with the work we are creating so that everyone knows our final product will be exactly what we all want!
Do you have any advice for those looking to network or find a mentor?
I feel very lucky that I came from such a strong hospitality background. I have worked every position in restaurants and had worked my way up to director of operations before I decided to chase the dream of what I do now. Restaurants really helped me be able to talk to anyone and be hospitable with my approaches. I had met many people while working in hospitality so when I was first starting off as a photographer I called on multiple people from along the way. I was hired to shoot at different restaurants I worked at prior so that I had a larger portfolio of product photography, I shot for different people that used to be regulars in the places I worked and I would even just go sit in different bars and pitch myself to other people who would be sitting around me. Something that I always tell people is to talk to everyone. Dont be afraid of them never calling you or even just telling you they arent interested. Get some cards, pitch yourself to everyone, be confident in your skills and have fun doing so. Being respectful and friendly goes a long way when chatting with potential new clients. At the same time there is a fine line between being annoying and being professional with your approach. Know when to leave the conversation before it crosses that line. Make your mark, give them a way to reach you and bow out before you ruin their night.
- for pricing please contact me on either my instagram or website.
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: www.33wolves.com
- Instagram: @matt_herter