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Meet DTLA Photographer & Photo Editor: Tiffany James

Today we’d like to introduce you to Tiffany James.

Tiffany, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I received my first polaroid camera in sixth grade. It was a way for my parents to soften the blow of moving to a town with a population of more buffalo than people. The idea of being able to capture a moment of time left me completely enamored. At first, I wanted to be a model, thanks to Tyra Banks. America’s Next Top Model made me realize you had to be a tall bombshell, which was a category my 5’2 fun-size self didn’t fit into. Plus, those opportunities were never available in a very small town in North Dakota. I loved art and fashion all my life. I decided becoming a writer was the best way to express that love. One of my many dreams was to work for a fashion magazine. I started off writing for my high school paper, I thought I was such a skilled writer, but my English teacher said I was the worse with grammar. She instead gave me the responsibility of photographing events and sports. I continued taking photos into college as a journalism major, but I was quickly becoming bored with it and sick of getting my papers back in all red scribbles. So I switched to studio arts since I always enjoyed art class. I soon saved enough money to buy my first film camera off eBay and was scammed, of course, some of the buttons didn’t work and half of the pictures I took would never develop right. Once again I saved money and bought a simple Fuji point and shoot camera from Walmart and shot everything I could. Eventually, I got a heavy canon 10d and I replaced that with a beginner DSLR canon rebel t3i which is my go to camera today. I got an internship working at my college newspaper as head photographer and photo editor. I would schedule fashion shoots with my friends here and there but it was very hard to try to find people who wanted to model in my town. So it was challenging to put a portfolio together. It mostly consisted of sports shots and landscapes. I very much enjoy shooting anything but my calling is fashion. I am a self-taught photographer because my college did not offer that as a major and since I was into fashion photography it only furthered my need to leave and move on to bigger and better things after graduating. So I hustled and worked 4 jobs in college to save to move to Los Angeles. Since I’ve been in LA I have shot my roommates, a couple models from a Canada agency, and I shoot an LA fashion blogger here and there. I am a full-time photo editor and I have worked on e-commerce sites like Juicy Couture, Joe’s Jeans, and many more. I am slowly but surely building my portfolio and reaching out to models on Instagram or model mayhem. I am determined to create the photography career I have always wanted and will continue to strive to be better.

Has it been a smooth road?
It definitely has not been smooth and it’s still a rocky road. The first time I scheduled a photo shoot out here in LA one of the models did not show up and would not answer my calls or texts. I was freaking out because that was the first time I was working with an agency signed model, who was at the shoot already in makeup! I felt embarrassed in a way to tell the model that the other one skipped out. I just didn’t want to seem like I was not organized even though it was not my fault. So I apologized for having to change some planned shots as we were losing the sun but at the end of the day, the photos came out great! It just taught me that sometimes you have to think quick on your feet and go with the flow.

So, what’s next? Any big plans?
My future plan is to hopefully get signed with a photography agency so I can make this dream a full-time job, but for short term, I am looking forward to doing more shoots with models to help build a more solid portfolio. And in the next couple of years, I hope to put together a couple of photography books, so that’s very exciting.

Let’s explore some of the challenges you’ve faced along the way. What was the most difficult part of your career so far?
I have had a lot of difficult times in my life. I would say I struggled a bit trying to save money to move out to LA working four jobs in college while being an athlete. I gave up a normal sleeping schedule, my grades slipped and I didn’t have much of a social life. The only thing I could do was to tell myself I’m moving on to better things and to just keep pushing. Eventually, your hard work pays off, or at least that’s what I try to tell myself. As for right now I feel like I’m going through the same thing but with the stress of paying off my student loans. The struggle may be there for right now but I always have that drive to be successful so I’m hoping everything will work out!

What about “Wow-moments” – any moments that stick out? Any moments when you felt like you had made it?
I haven’t had too big of a moment yet, but I have had some little experiences here and there that make me think my career is starting to take off. One has been a modeling agency getting in contact with me via Instagram to shoot new faces for the company. Another is my Instagram followers, some comment and tell me that I have a good eye or they love my feed and portfolio. It really lifts me up and reminds me why I do it. I want to provide images to people that appreciate the art and to inspire others. And of course, I can’t forget about Voyage and wanting to feature me in an article with other great LA artists. I thought that would never happen to me so I am very appreciative to everyone at Voyage.

Contact Info:

  • Website: www.tiffany-james.com
  • Email: tiffanyjamesphoto@gmail.com
  • Instagram: blondebombie
  • Facebook: tiffany james photography

 

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