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Meet Grace Lee of Shots by Grace J in Central LA/Koreatown

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

Grace, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
My journey to become a Lifestyle and Travel Photographer began with a love for storytelling. My storytelling roots grew in a quaint Real Estate office. My loving Korean mother was raising three young children on her own so I spent my childhood summers with her at work. It couldn’t have been a better time for YouTube to come out. I grew fascinated with the world of YouTubers. With a click of a button, I could transport out of her office and live a thousand different lives. I wanted so deeply to share stories like these creators. I couldn’t imagine myself doing anything else than storytelling; this became my driving purpose.

Four years ago, I made the investment in my first digital single-lens reflex camera (DSLR). Camera in hand, I realised there were about a hundred settings that were foreign to me. YouTube came back as a photography teacher this time; in addition, it helped me brush up on prior Photoshop skills I learned from my Marketing jobs. I began photographing friends who were business owners/aspiring models and I was OBSESSED. Using poses, outfits, and post-processing to communicate my client’s personality was my way of storytelling! Through word of mouth, I began to book more sessions. Today, I have had the pleasure of telling such colourful stories from various business owners, models, families, and couples.

Last year, I decided to search for a new chapter in my photography. I wanted to go back to where my origin story began, Asia. I had no plans, just a timeline. I would travel alone for four months and document moments that told a story. I had the chance to visit sacred places including: Bali and Borneo. In these places, I was able to document such magical wildlife such as the venomous Viper snake and the rare Rafflesia flower (world’s biggest flower that blooms once a year). My most memorable story was found during the monsoon season in the rainforests of Borneo, the third-largest island in the world. After having crossed the South China Sea in a flooded boat, my chances that I would encounter any wildlife looked slim. With a little luck, a flock of Proboscis Monkeys crossed my path. It was a majestic yet bittersweet moment seeing these long-nosed monkeys. Due to deforestation, they and much of the wildlife in Borneo are on track to be extinct for the next generation. At that moment, I knew I wanted to be a voice for those who cannot speak for themselves. Although a new chapter, I am excited to continue educating about animal conservation through my photography.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
As a small business owner, I encountered new challenges such as financing, building clientele, or growing brand awareness but these are all amazing opportunities to learn. I found it incredibly helpful to use my resources. If I didn’t know something, I would try to search for the information. If I still couldn’t figure it out, I would reach out to someone in my network that might be able to help. I’m thankful for these challenges because they taught me to be more of a problem solver and collaborate with like-minded people.

Shots by Grace J – what should we know? What do you do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
I own Shots by Grace J. My photography specialties include Glamour, Brand-Building, Real Estate, Travel, and Wildlife photography. Every session is unique and I always get to know my clients first, asking them their vision and story. I tailor every session to portray their personalities authentically. My mission every time is to make sure my clients are 100% happy with their photos. The detail-oriented person in me will keep fine-tuning until that is the case. I know my photos speak for themselves because I’m still in contact and proud to say, now friends with many of my clients today. I’m looking to build relationships and not have one-and-done sessions. Every photograph is unique, and I want to ensure I do what is best for each photo. Details matter, I will even draw in individual eyelashes and eyebrow hairs to make my clients happy! I absolutely love what I do and put my whole self into it.

What quality or characteristic do you feel is most important to your success?
I attribute my success to practice and problem-solving. There isn’t a day that I’m not editing photos. Even if I don’t have sessions, I still practice and learn skills daily. I constantly want to improve my photography and branch out to other types of photography and photo manipulation. If I want to do a new type of photography, I take the time to learn and even do voluntary sessions to improve my skills. I wouldn’t be here today if I wasn’t willing to practice consistently. Problem-solving is also so important. At times, the weather or lighting was unfavorable but experimenting in these situations actually made my portrait session moodier or led me to find even better locations. Whenever I face problems, I try to redirect it as an advantage if possible making my clients feel much more comfortable; at the end of the day, it’s all about making your clients feel good and having a positive session.

Pricing:

  • Portrait Sessions starting at $150
  • Real Estate Photography starting at $300

Contact Info:

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