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Meet Joanne Garcia

Today we’d like to introduce you to Joanne Garcia.

Joanne, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I’ve always been the type of person to carry my camera with me everywhere I went. I loved capturing moments and documenting events in this way. I just never knew it would be something that could turn into a career.

My journey to become a commercial/lifestyle photographer is long and windy, but in short I did weddings on the side during grad school and eventually landed a job as the Finance Manager at a magazine. I was eventually let go from that job and moved back home where I tried to regroup and see if I could do the photography thing full time. It wasn’t until I moved to Los Angeles where I dropped the “wedding” part and just became a photographer.

I shot everything at first. Portraits. Headshots. Families. But it wasn’t until I met the marketing director for a kid’s clothing company where things changed. She asked me if I did product shots. I told her “yes” even though I only shot products for my Etsy store. I sent her samples which she sent to her boss. And then they hired me. And then they hired me again, but this time for a lookbook. And then they referred me to a fashion magazine. And then to another clothing line. From there referrals were just rolling.

Somehow I discovered this world of fashion and editorial as if a whole side of photography just now became known to me. And even though it’s night and day from weddings and family portraits, I threw myself into that world to try to understand the ins and outs of how it works. Everything from usage to licensing to release forms. Also the idea of being a creative director along with the photographer, that was exciting for me.

I threw myself in freelance work, taking on fashion clients and other magazines. I also took on the role as the Art Director at a boutique modeling agency. It was there that I learned how the casting side works and what buyers are looking for in photographers. I continued to build my book and shop it around at different portfolio reviews. At this point it’s all about marketing yourself and making connections.

And that’s where I am right now. Still creating new work. Still shooting for my existing clients. Hopping back on the marketing cycle to get my name out there. Trying to build connections and create art. Because that’s what it’s about, I just want to capture moments and make something beautiful.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
This road has been rocky and hard and I’ve tried my best to figure it out. But becoming a commercial photographer isn’t a straightforward task. There are no courses out there or a quick YouTube “how-to” video.

There’s the pricing side of things that is just a world of mess to dissect – usage, fees, licensing, etc. Let alone just trying to figure out day rates and creative fees.

And then there’s the creative director role – you need to know how to write up treatments, create mood boards, hire a crew and cast a vision, etc.

All the while you have to also do administrative things like contracts and billing along with marketing yourself and going to networking events.

It is tiring being a freelance creative. Especially an introverted one. But I sought out a mentor who helped me a lot in the beginning. And I researched and read up on everything I could. And I studied other commercial photographers that I really admired so that I could follow their footsteps.

But in a lot of ways it’s a mental, emotional road because it’s my art that people are judging and buying. And we’re tagging a price on that as well. So a lot fo my value can get wrapped up in that. I’m still learning on how to separate that and not take things so personally or to not get knocked down when work seems to slow down a bit.

But when I get to create something good, something that I don’t have to haggle over price or that the buyer equally loves as much as I do, then it’s worth the struggle.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Joanne Garcia Photography – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of and what sets you apart from others.
I like to tell people that I’m a commercial/lifestyle photographer but I’ve also taken on this art director role as of late.

I still love shooting fashion, portraits, and lifestyle work but I tend to do all things creative for many of my clients. Basically, I help businesses and entrepreneurs with planning, strategizing, and executing their visual branding.

I’ve shot image libraries, portraits, lookbooks, and ad campaigns. I’ve built websites, made email blasts, and designed print decks. I’ve created logos and brand identities.

I love doing all things creative, but my favorite thing is to shoot photography. And then help my clients find the best way to use those images. I think that’s what sets me apart from the others – I have my unique style and creative eye. But I also have the ability to bring ways for you to best use that to grow your business.

So, what’s next? Any big plans?
I want to embark on a new photo series that I’ve been dreaming up for the past year. This series involved a lot of travel and interviews with some people I haven’t talked to in 20 years. But it also involves a new area that I haven’t expanded onto yet – podcasting.

I’m hoping this will spark some inspiration and newness to my work and get me up and moving again. And then from there, I can market myself some more and hopeful incite some bigger jobs and exciting projects.

I’d also love to grow my team – something where I can hire a crew and grow this business beyond just me. It would be so amazing if I can actually do that.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Photographer: Joanne Garcia, Makeup: Lisa Chamberlain, Models: Tommy O’Brien, Mary Carr, Vanessa Jade, Angie Bellizia, Abby Armstrong, Becca Miller, Agencies: Nous Model Management, O Models

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