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Meet Brandon Vogts

Today we’d like to introduce you to Brandon Vogts.

Brandon, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I was born and raised in a quiet Kansas City suburb. My parents noticed my creative interests early on and actively encouraged my explorations in music and technology, priming me for the otherwise ordinary day in high school when I first picked up a professional camera. As soon as I got my first roll of film back from the lab, I knew this would become more than just a hobby.

I photographed on a part-time basis for about ten years, hoping to one day realize my dream. Then, in 2013, through a series of once-in-a-lifetime, chance events, I had the opportunity to intern with a renowned fashion-celebrity photographer in LA. I immediately gave notice at work, and two weeks later, crammed everything I could fit into my two-seater car and drove to LA. Originally, my plan was to return to the Midwest at the conclusion of the three-month internship, but I loved it here and decided to stay. That sounds cliché, doesn’t it? Haha.

Once the internship concluded, I struggled to figure out what to do next. As if on cue, a friend, who happened to be a prominent real estate agent, reached out to tell me his real estate photographer had just moved back to New York and he needed someone right away! Taking a chance on me, he said, “I know you take photos, but… could you take photos of houses?” That phone call changed the direction of my career and my life in a way I would never have thought possible.

My friend introduced me to other agents in his office, and as I built my client base, I discovered that stagers, interior designers, builders, architects, appliance manufacturers, restaurants, hotels, and endless other businesses and professionals need the kind of photography that I provide. I’d found career nirvana.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Building a photography business from scratch has certainly not been easy. Many people underestimate what’s necessary to become a professional photographer. There’s the financial commitment of multiple cameras, lenses, and computers (including backups in case of equipment failure), software, and education, as well as insurance for liability, equipment, and disability, self-directed retirement savings, and additional tax obligations.

Weekends spent researching, testing, and configuring equipment and software. Late nights poring over tutorials and honing post-production skills. Rush jobs that cancel plans with friends. To excel in this industry, a standard “nine to five” is not really an option, but neither is becoming creatively bankrupt from burnout. It’s a delicate balance of work and personal time.

As with any entrepreneurial venture, I would compare it to one of those old water pumps people used to have in rural areas. As you prime the pump, you undertake a great deal of effort, but the pump remains dry. You press on and start to see droplets of water emerge. Eventually, the water gushes from the faucet with nominal effort. But the water never flows on its own—it depends on the constant energy and attention you give it.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
I create high-quality photographs of residential and commercial interiors, architecture, and luxury real estate. Over the years, I’ve had the pleasure of working with a diverse clientele of interior designers, furniture manufacturers, architects, real estate professionals, med-spas, attorneys’ offices, hotels, and more. My work has been featured in Dering Hall, Elle Decor, Architectural Digest, and other domestic and international publications.

My work is best known for its consistent technical excellence and artistic insight often described as “clean, vibrant, and true-to-life.” Each image is individually crafted utilizing a variety of field techniques, professional lighting, and an advanced post-production process. Nothing is “typical” about my work. Every shoot gets my best, and I treat every image as though my name will appear next to it in bold print!

Just as importantly, I’m known for delivering a low-stress, fun experience that’s unique throughout the process, from booking to delivery of the final images. I have a sophisticated digital setup that allows me to work efficiently and review images with clients as they are captured, and I am highly flexible and able to solve problems on set as they arise. My clients hire me with the confidence that I have the necessary skills, experience, and attitude to get it done right the first time.

What were you like growing up?
As a small child, I demonstrated an early and clear interest in the arts and a desire to be creative myself. My parents would play cassettes of both classical and pop music, and I would stand in front of the speakers, conducting an imaginary orchestra. Sometimes I’d disassemble my toys, especially the electronic ones. Even when I couldn’t put them back together, Mom and Dad never yelled at me. Instead, they bought a computer and taught me the basics of how to use it. That was without a doubt the most significant advantage they could have given me. Over the next few years, I explored interests in computer programming, electronic music, videography, and creative writing.

Embracing technology at a young age, combined with being an only child, allowed my naturally introspective and introverted personality to flourish and explore my creative interests unfettered. While I had friends throughout childhood and played outdoors as well, I remember more than one occasion where I set up my dad’s laptop by our backyard pool and ran a 50-foot phone cord out the door so I could use the Internet (this was before WiFi—I’m really dating myself here). I was a nerd before being a nerd was cool!

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Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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