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Inspiring Conversations with Rebecca Grant

Today we’d like to introduce you to Rebecca Grant.

Hi Rebecca, it’s an honor to have you on the platform. Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us – to start maybe you can share some of your backstory with our readers?
My affinity for faces started early. Beginning around 7th grade, I was granted the right to take NYC public transportation…. by myself. It is kind of like a New Yorker’s right of passage. Most kids that age are getting permits and cars, I got a metro card and a flip phone. I spent my teen years as a people watcher on the subways of NYC. People inspired me and man was I in the right city for that. Every face you pass has a different shape, color, age, expression and profile, all beautiful and captivating in their own ways.

I was constantly surrounded by culture, music, art, photography; whether it was just walking through the streets of Brooklyn or through one of my various internships at Lincoln Center or The International Center of Photography. I also started photographing the faces of my family, friends, acquaintances, strangers and models. NYC helped me see all the possibilities life had to offer and pushed me to dream big, so I did. I furthered my education in photography at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), where I graduated with a BFA in 2011.

Since college, my career in photography has taken on many forms. I’ve done everything from assisting the photo editor at Seventeen magazine to working the equipment room at MILK studios to being an assistant and retoucher for a variety of photographers in & around NYC. When I wasn’t working you could find me at my studio in Brooklyn where I started testing with modeling agencies and honing my skills. This is where my love for beauty began. There was so much more to be said with a face than I ever imagined – skincare, makeup, hair, eyes, lips, accessories, movement, mood and expression, to name a few.

My career has been and continues to be a learning experience. I look at every photoshoot as an opportunity to challenge myself with new techniques and ideas and am constantly refining my style. I spent years building my beauty portfolio- concepting, producing, shooting, retouching, networking, and researching. In the last few years, I’ve been lucky enough to have shot for numerous different companies and publications. Some of my work includes global beauty campaigns for Glo Skin Beauty and advertising campaigns for Overtone Haircare, all while continuously planning beauty test shoots in my free time.

Moving to Los Angeles in spring of 2021 has been my latest and greatest adventure. I have some exciting projects in the works, so keep an eye on my social media over the next few months. I look forward to seeing where my career takes me in this colorful and creative new city!

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
To be honest, I don’t think any road is really a smooth road. Every job you take, you face challenges and decisions that will help you learn and grow as an individual, as a freelance photographer, and as a businesswoman.

I think my biggest struggle has been learning how to run a business. Being a freelance photographer is so much more than being a photographer and having a good eye, it’s about marketing yourself, defining your brand, putting yourself out there as uncomfortable as it may be and learning your worth. You have to learn how to be your own best advocate because if you are not putting your work out there, no one else will do it for you. You shouldn’t hide from the challenges, embrace them and learn from them.

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about Rebecca Grant Studios?
I am a beauty photographer and director, known mostly for studio work. I run my business between NYC, where I am originally from and Los Angeles, where I currently live. Someone recently used the word “crisp” when describing my work which was a huge compliment because I always strive for that crisp, clean, fresh aesthetic which I accomplish through my lighting and retouching techniques. Lighting has always been an integral part of my creative process and by shaping light, I can create whatever mood I am trying to accomplish for any given shoot.

My creative process evolved during the pandemic. Even though we were challenged in more ways than we could have ever expected, it gave me the time to learn the skills needed to be able to shoot, direct and edit my own motion work so that I can now offer that to my clients! Motion has become such a huge part of the commercial and advertising world and was something that I had on my to-do list for years. I found that while having a good eye helps in the production of good video, it does require a new set of skills, a completely different mindset and new techniques when directing models. Every time I shoot and edit new video work, I learn something I never knew and it helps to inform my future work. The best way to learn is by doing, so I will continue to be a doer!

What quality or characteristic do you feel is most important to your success?
I’ve found that one of the most important qualities needed to be successful at photographing people and owning a small business is to be a people person. As a founder of a small business, you need to be able to network with others and work well with clients. If you are personable and communicative, clients will be much more motivated to work with you and inclined to hire you again.

As a photographer, you need to be able to read the room and have control over the set by speaking to people so that the results you get are exactly what you intended.

I think one of the things I pride myself on most is my ability to make models feel very comfortable in front of my lens. There is really no more rewarding part of my job than knowing the person I am photographing feels comfortable opening up to me and being a more vulnerable version of themselves. And when the models feel comfortable and beautiful in front of my lens that is then reflected in my work.

Contact Info:

Image Credits:

3 girls – For Glo Skin Beauty, Makeup: Janeena Billera, Hair: Nyla Nasser, Models: Brittany Ball, Tia Marie Hemphill, Elizabeth Courville Face w/ red lipstick- Model: Ione Noel King, Makeup: Katelyn Simkins, Hair: Meredith Boles Twins – Models: Lexy & Lainey from Next Models LA, Makeup: Maddie North, Hair: Jordan Alex, Styling: Daisy Stackpole Eye- Model: Taylor Kramer Blonde natural portrait – Model: Kyrsten Sinclair, Makeup: Mutsumi Shibahara, Hair: Kisha Marie Short Blonde Hair- Model: Piper Kittersong, Makeup: Marisol Model smiling with headband- Model: Kerry Kalu, Makeup: Nina Marie Diaz, Hair: Taylor Houser Model with hand to head- Model: Jasmine Rutledge, Makeup: Joi Offutt, Hair: A. Renea Dyson BTS photos by Tori Dickson and Steven Markowitz

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