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Meet Eugene Lee of Eugeneshoots Photography

Today we’d like to introduce you to Eugene Lee.

Eugene, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
My work in the beverage industry started with a bar.

My business started alongside with the opening of my bar, Big Bar in Los Feliz. I was part of a new team that was bringing craft cocktails to the neighborhood. The subject inspired the craft in this case ~ because I was making things that were thoughtful and rich in history, I naturally felt compelled to take the same care in representing them in photographs.

Throughout the years, as my relationship within the vibrant and burgeoning LA cocktail community began to grow, so did my own desire to not only capture the product (cocktails) but the subject (bartenders). The industry was vibrant, it’s people as diverse as the cocktails they made ~ honestly, it was just a really fun community to be a part of it. Making a business in capturing this community over the course of nearly ten years (my years of shooting being measured in the length of my own bar being open) has been a joy and I feel fortunate to have grown as a person and as a photographer among such amazing talents.

Today, my photography has taken me beyond the beverage and hospitality space with a diverse array of clients and industries… but I still go back to my original passion, time and time again: the cocktail community. I hope now, I can continue to create better work and continue to grow as a shooter… but above all I hope to be a full-throated champion of this wonderful, cocktail community.

Has it been a smooth road?
Smooth? I think so. I mean, you’re bound to make mistakes along the way, hopeful it’s the kind you can laugh at and not the kind that haunt you! I’ve really enjoyed the variety of photo coverage I have done throughout the years, each vetting and honing my ability as a photographer in different ways. Shooting cocktails and food is one skill set. People/portraits another… events, another animal, weddings … another animal on steroids. I’ve shot burning buildings and store openings, babies and cars and food festivals and music festivals. The struggle just doesn’t seem to stand out as loudly as the reward. A great photo wipes away all the bullshit that lead up to it, be it production snafu or equipment failure or photographer failure.

My ongoing struggle would be on more technical stuff ~ I’d be the first to say I’m not a great technical photographer. The camera scholars are out there and they can break down the art into science and math better than I ever could. I kinda envy that… but hey, it gives me something to do in between shoots (because I’m certainly not spending time updating my website!)

We’d love to hear more about your business.
My company is eugeneshoots photography. Someone once asked me on a drunken elevator ride if I could nutshell what I do in a sentence. I remember saying I was a “small business engine”. I was kinda bullshitting but I think in retrospect, that’s quite apt. When I was coming up, as a photographer, I provided a service, mostly to businesses or individuals to create useful photos ~ useful in that they are photos with the purpose of sending a message, promoting a business or product or person. Yes, art is good, art is a signature and a voice… but it couldn’t overshadow the goal or purpose of the person who hired me. I think getting that down, cultivating those relationships is what makes the photos have meaning beyond just something nice I just shot.

What I’m proud of, again, is representing what I shoot the most: the cocktail community of Los Angeles and beyond. I feel honored to be one of many voices doing justice to a very specific, wonderful, and diverse group of people.

Is our city a good place to do what you do?
Yes, LA is the best. You can throw a rock and hit another photographer, videographer, artist, creative. More competition, sure, but I for one am inspired by all of it.

The profile pic I’m using here was taken by a really talented event photographer: Bella Marie Adams. Check out her IG (her name). One of my favorite cocktail/food photographers is Jakob Lyman. His handle is @MeetJakob

That said, there is also the appeal of, say, shooting in really remote or stark places. So if you are just picking up a camera and you live in a small town in West Virginia ~ guess what? You get to carry the torch of best representing your community through your photos. So I guess what I’m saying is that any place is a great place to be a photographer. But still… LA!

Contact Info:

  • Website: eugeneshoots.com
  • Email: eugene@eugeneshoots.com
  • Instagram: eugeneshoots

Image Credit:
Profile image by Bella Marie Adams

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