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Meet Glendale, California Fashion Photographer: Isabelle (SeoYeon) Lee

Today we’d like to introduce you to Isabelle (SeoYeon) Lee.

Isabelle (SeoYeon), please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I was born and raised in South Korea until I moved to L.A. almost two years ago. I first moved to L.A. with the dreams of being a filmmaker. However, after evaluation, I realized my love for the visual storytelling aspect of filmmaking outweighed any other elements. This lead me to realize photography is where my heart was, as it is a fully visual platform. I slowly put together a portfolio of fashion photography, and today I shoot for agencies, actor headshots, engagement shoots, and more.

Has it been a smooth road?
Struggles like models not showing up, team members being late, or unexpected weather changes happen to all photographers. The biggest struggle that shaped me was dealing with rejection. There were many events from un-replied e-mails from agencies to shoot with a major brand falling through. However, after time I learned that there are always going to be other chances that come along, so I shouldn’t be devastated with this one rejection.

So, what’s next? Any big plans?
The biggest dream I set for myself right now is branching out to new cities. I love LA and I would still be shooting the majority of my photos here, however, I do hope to shoot in new locations like New York where things are more focused on high-fashion. Maybe I will even be invited to shoot in my home country in Seoul, South Korea.

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 left high school when I was 15 (a sophomore) due to mental health issues. I was diagnosed with bipolar, but before I was I had frantic moments of energy, inspiration, and optimism followed by sharp falls of depression, being unmotivated and confusion on why this is happening. I mention this because, during those burst of manic episodes, I would never stop working to improve myself. My skills grew quickly and I was rewarded with great achievements. However, at a cost. Afterwards, I would have weeks of laying on the bed missing school and no desire to achieve, accomplish or learn. During this time I also had a hard time considering others’ wellness as I could not even do so for myself. Thinking about how I hurt the people around me still gives me pain to this day. During the process of being hurt, I failed to realize I was hurting others myself. After I left school I had no structure to follow, no path laid out for me to walk on. I had to figure things out on my own, I realized no one is going to hand things to me, if I want something, I need to work for it myself. After the proper amount of rest and medication, I started doing so. I graduated high school through taking the GEDs, moved to America and started taking photos. Now I have many clients asking to work with me and shoot for agencies. The hardest times of my life beat me down. The worst part of it is that I hurt very special people around me. I can’t take those times back, all I can do is learn from it. Today I learned to make sure my pain is not affecting others. I learned to build a road to walk on if there is not one already. Although there are still days I feel unmotivated, if not depressed, I learned to always remember that this is temporary. Soon enough there will be a day where everything is right again.

Do you ever feel like “Wow, I’ve arrived” or “I’ve made it” or do you feel like the bulk of the story is still unwritten?
Well being asked to be written in an article by this magazine is one. There were times major modeling agencies agreed to shoot with me where I had to check the email twice. It’s also exciting when outstanding models write to me and say how they love my photos and would like to shoot.

Contact Info:

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