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Meet Christine Chang of Christine Chang Photography in West Los Angeles

Today we’d like to introduce you to Christine Chang.

Christine, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
In 2007, I had moved back to California after spending just over a year in New York. It was my birthday and my mom generously gifted me a SLR camera. I COULD NOT PUT THAT THING DOWN. I photographed anything and everything! My photographer friend Conway showed me the basics of how to use it, and then I took photography classes at Santa Monica College.

One day Conway told me his friend was getting married. It was a small 40-person wedding. He told me it was a casual celebration and that they weren’t hiring a professional photographer. He asked, “No pressure, would you like to come and take pictures with me for fun?.” I said yes.

After that day I knew I wanted to pursue Wedding Photography. The moments felt intuitive for me to capture and the entire experience lit me up. I was drawn to friends and family coming together, and to this day it is my favorite thing to photograph.

I worked at a restaurant part time to help pay bills while building my photography business. Although I was pursuing weddings specifically, I took any opportunity to do photography work. A lot of my co-workers at the restaurant at were actors and models. I did a few of their headshots for free and word quickly spread. People started paying me to do their headshots.

Eventually I was making enough in photography to quit the restaurant. Although grateful to have that job as a safety net, I knew I needed to quit in order to go where I was heading. I was clear on my dream, and it didn’t involve working for a restaurant.

That year I had a rough financial summer but said YES to opportunity and put myself out there as much as possible. Slowly, the networking, blogging, and word-of-mouth referrals started to snowball, and today I am very proud of my business.

Has it been a smooth road?
No! Haha. I don’t think any successful business has a smooth road. Struggles along the way included making mistakes, disappointing clients, and continuing to work despite feeling uninspired. One big mistake I made was posting photos from a celebrity shoot on what I thought was a private unsearchable link. Somehow the photos leaked and they were furious. Many of my clients request privacy now, so I’m extra careful about where the photos can be accessed.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Christine Chang Photography story. Tell us more about the business.
I’m a wedding and lifestyle photographer. I like to tell stories. I capture love and connection between people. My pictures have been described as authentic, genuine, and touching.

I’m proud of staying authentic to myself and sharing that with others. I’m also proud of my self-expression because as a kid I was wicked shy and did a lot of personal growth to come out of my shell.

It feels good to share with the world what I’m feeling and not have it be “safe.” Everyone wants to show what is pretty or glamorous on social media, while everyone knows life isn’t like that! What helps people connect is when you also share your opinions and the imperfect parts of you. Not everyone is going to like it, but being self-expressed and true to myself – I would choose that any day over trying to please everyone.

With that, my brand is clear and attracts a specific kind of clientele – one that I love because we have similar values!

How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
In the next 5-10 years the Wedding Photography Industry will become even more saturated. I read somewhere that currently in Los Angeles there is an average of 60 photographers (full & part time) per square mile. Haha!

The big shift I see is the pricing is going to become more bifurcated. The mid-range photographer will lose out and the photographers who will get hired are either really cheap or high-end luxury.

I do business coaching for Creative Entrepreneurs and many of them have concerns about this. I tell them not to worry. If you are willing to work hard, you will make it. Many people just don’t have a good work ethic – they start something and as soon as it becomes challenging they give up. Have a clear vision. Keep going. Work when no one else wants to.

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