Today we’d like to introduce you to Imari Gabrielle.
Imari, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
When I was in middle school, I got my first digital camera, I was obsessed with taking pretty portraits of my baby sister. I always got super excited when the portrait came out just right, naturally beautiful, background had the perfect amount of blur, no excess light and barely any need for editing. Fast forward ten years and no more digital camera later… at the end of my senior year of college, I decided to buy my first professional camera and I chose a Nikon. I had absolutely no clue in how to use the camera, but I hit the ground running. My organization sisters at Tennessee State University started booking and referring me to people for senior portraits within the first two months of owning my Nikon. In hindsight, the photos were horrible, but that’s what growth is about. I’ve been learning the art of photography through trial and error. I practiced with real estate photography, portraiture, editorial, and headshots. Today, I am focused more on editorial, portraiture & lifestyle photography and now I am incorporating my newest business, Black Millennial Vegan, and diving into food photography. Since becoming plant-based, I have started a new brand that focuses on recipes, tips, and tricks for those who are plant-based or who just want to eat some healthier recipes without sacrificing flavor in some of our favorite dishes.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
I’ve definitely encountered many struggles along this 3-year long journey in the photography business. One huge lesson I’ve learned is how to go about photographing my friends. When you are friends with someone, professionalism has to be really strong because it’s easy to be too relaxed when it comes to your friends.
Communication is super important because they could assume you know exactly what they want but then they end up disappointed in the end because certain details weren’t discussed thus causing problems within your personal relationship. Additionally, it’s hard to expect your friends to be your first and most loyal clients and that goes for any business. I am blessed to have friends who have been my clients and who have referred me to people they know. However, I do believe in separating business and friendship for the protection of the relationship. Finding your tribe is super important. I’ve also had struggles with always wanting things to be perfect, feeling like I couldn’t take on certain clients due to lack of equipment. Photography is not a cheap profession but with creativity, you don’t always need the fanciest equipment, so I’ve learned to just do it and make it work with what I’ve been blessed with.
Black Millennial Vegan has shown a few struggles but it’s still early. The main ones include coming to terms with the fact that you won’t be able to make your whole family adopt a plant-based lifestyle (even if that means their life could be saved). Also, being patient while growing a brand new venture. Sometimes, it’s overwhelming when you are the sole creator, you’re cooking the food, taking the photos, recording the videos, editing the videos, writing the copy, growing the following, all while still working, breathing and making sure you eat as well. It can be a lot sometimes. But I am 100% faithful in the process and know that it is just that… a process.
Imari Gabrielle Photography & Black Millennial Vegan – what should we know? What do you do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
Imari Gabrielle Photography specializes in capturing naturally beautiful photos. What sets me apart from others is my attention to detail, I’m not just going to do the bare minimum of what the client wants. I like to exceed the expectations of the client. Aside from photography, I have been assistant fashion styling in the entertainment industry for A list celebrity projects for two years, so I understand how important clothing is in order to get the perfect shot. I also pride myself in a fast turn around time and a simple and easy booking process.
As it relates to Black Millennial Vegan, though it’s a baby company, I am known for making transitioning to a plant-based diet look easy. Anyone can do it, even if you don’t like cooking or don’t know how to. I started BMV once I noticed the rate of engagement on my personal Instagram when I would post what I was eating. People were tuned in and I find so much joy in trying new recipes and learning about natural foods — so I decided to share it to the world.
What is “success” or “successful” for you?
I define success by the level of inspiration people get from my achievements. Though I know I still have so much more to do in my career, it truly warms my heart that through the grind of it all… someone is watching my journey and slowly shedding the cloak of fear off of their minds. I also define success by how much financial freedom I gain through my business. There’s a difference between self-employment and being a business owner, once your business is running whether you are present or not… that’s how you know you’ve really made it. (Not to disregard those who like to be extremely hands-on.)
- Photography day rate = $500
- 1 look = $200
- 2 looks = $300
- 3 looks = $400
- Website: http://imarigabrielle.com
- Phone: 3233251018
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: http://instagram.com/imarigabriellephotography & http://instagram.com/blackmillennialvegan
Photos by Feneco