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Meet Bettina Niedermann of BN Photography

Today we’d like to introduce you to Bettina Niedermann.

Bettina, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
Ha. How much time do you have? Okay, I am originally from Austria. I majored in Tourism and Hotel management which I never enjoyed from the moment I started but being the daughter of restaurant owners it only seemed like a natural idea.

I later got a theater degree in New York where I lived for over a decade. Unfortunately, the artist scene started to change a lot during my time there and I decided that living as an artist was no longer possible so I thought to give Los Angeles try. Upon moving here, my goal was to be a working actor. Photography was never part of the plan.

Until… my boyfriend borrowed a camera so we could work on a small film project together and I had the opportunity to shoot with it. Though I had always been a photography lover, I never went to school and I was convinced that you need a degree in order to be a photographer. But I fell in love with the camera and decided to just practice non-stop, figure out what works and learn from my mistakes.

If you had told me 4 years ago that I would be a working full-time photographer and a working actor, my response would have been “You’re crazy!”

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Smooth? That would be a no. I think any artistic profession comes with an automatic attachment of struggle. For some, it might be emotional struggles, for others physical.

For me, it was always financial. I can’t count the times where I have asked myself: ‘How am I going to pay my bills this month?’ Since I was a complete photography newbie it took some time to built relationships and referrals and a somewhat steady stream of income.

Having both an acting and a photography career can be equally rewarding as well as extremely stressful. Especially since neither of my two jobs are ever a guarantee and require a lot of hustle. On top of that, so many factors involved in getting a gig are out of your control. So I try to stick to my motto: work hard and the eyeballs will come.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about BN Photography – what should we know?
I specialize in people photography. I have always had an appreciation for landscape, architectural or other types of photography but I am mostly drawn to people. I think we live in a world where human connection is fading so rapidly. My photography is my human connector. It allows me to communicate with people. Not only thru my photographs but also during my actual sessions.

You learn so much about the person who is sitting in front of your camera. I think I have a natural way of getting people to open up. So much of my photography is emotional. I don’t click unless I feel the shot. That principle applies to all the shoots I do. Doesn’t matter if I do a lifestyle editorial, a family portrait or an actors headshot. I can’t force it. It has to feel real and organic. That is when I think people look their best.

What I believe sets me apart from others is my style. The way I use color, my eye and the story. For me, it is not a complete photograph unless there is a story behind it. It doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, simple is better. But something has to be said and communicated.

I am incredibly inspired by Wes Anderson, Quentin Tarantino and Woody Allen. All of them have such unique use of coloring, framing and angles. I also admire their directing skills which I try to apply to my shoots.

Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
Hands down the person that deserves most credit is my partner in crime. Not only is he is my biggest fan and cheerleader he is also the one who introduced me to my camera. He is a business owner himself and I have learned so much from him. Besides all that, he is really just my biggest supporter and has picked me up when I was down more times than I can count.

Of course, my parents are big supporters and I love them for it. But they are biased and they think everything I do is great.

There are two female photographers who have helped me thru my growing pains. I have so much gratitude and respect for both of these incredibly talented women. I have learned so much from each one of them. I consider them my mentors. Monica Stevenson (monicastevenson.com) is an incredible NY commercial and fine art photographer. She brings inanimate objects to life like no other.

Brandin Shaeffer (brandinphotography.com) is one of the finest headshot photographers that LA has to offer. I have learned so much from her and I admire her use of natural and studio light. Both of them have endured silly questions like ‘how much do I charge?’ to copyright questions to ‘how do I do this??’. I am forever thankful.

And lastly, I want to thank youtube. I have watched a lifetime worth of photography tutorials.

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