Today we’d like to introduce you to Julie Hopkins.
Julie, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
As a child my interests were channeled to the ballet world, inspired by my family’s theater going, my mother’s love for dance (at 87 years old she is still dancing), and my father’s facility for sports. By the time I was eleven years old, I got “serious” and decided that the ballet was a career for me and auditioned for a ballet school in Boonton, New Jersey, where they were training young dancers for American Ballet Theater school scholarship auditions. The following year I did the ABT school audition and procured a scholarship which propelled me into a thirteen-year passionate international ballet career.
From New York, Baltimore, Seattle, Los Angeles, Zurich, Kaiserslautern, to Monte Carlo, I lived, worked and danced my heart out on many a stage. While living abroad I had the chance to learn French, be exposed to different cultures and their ways of thinking, see stunning cities while touring, and fall in love with travel and history of the countries I visited.
The life of a professional dancer is short, as a large aspect of dance is physically demanding. So, by thirty-one years old I hung up my pointe shoes to study art history at Loyola Marymount University. By 1997 I graduated with honors, with a BA degree in Art History and a minor in French. After several years of administrative and a bit of curatorial work, in some of LA’s finest art galleries, I began to delve into photography. I loved painting and wanted to be able to use the SLR camera to “help my memory” when not in contact with the model or landscape, that I was painting. I enrolled in the Santa Monica College photography program, a place to learn from the best in the photography world. Classes were offered in the evenings and once I began the coursework I was hooked.
While I was studying at SMC I harbored a secret desire to become a professional photographer and live a passion once again. So, finally, by 2005 with a bank loan, encouragement from my family, and a lot of my own courage I embarked on a professional career as a photographer. Starting from my large apartment in Hollywood I began photographing copy art for art galleries, weddings, dance events, and portraits. By 2011 I opened a photography studio on S. San Vicente Blvd. just south of the Beverly Center. Sharing the space with another photographer, Diana Brown, we put our hearts into painting and creating a warm and art-filled space often bringing our dogs to the studio.
Now I continue to greet families, expectant mothers, newborns, pets, business professionals and dancers at my studio to create their portraits. The studio space is a great place for people to come and escape from the hustle and bustle of the city for a short while with a pampering make-up session before the actual photography session and then careful guidance and conversation during the photo session.
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?
The art of photography is something that one is constantly seeking to improve. So, I continue to learn from those who I admire and take part in professional photography and business organizations. The process of photography education has always been a pleasure. Maintaining the studio, and bringing home the bacon has been a challenge.
Even though I thought I was prepared to meet the challenges of the business world I was surprised at how demanding it was to find the clients and then keep them coming back for more. So, throughout the years I continuously read business books, go to weekly Business International Networking meetings, visit the chamber of commerce and seek out other professionals to help me hone my marketing and sales skills. I am still in the ever-evolving process of developing a great sales method and understand that being creative in business is as important as being a creative!
Please tell us about Camera Creations.
As a portrait artist, I am passionate about what I do and take pride in providing folks with great customer service and final artwork, for portrait sessions, in the form of print and albums. The photography experience at Camera Creations starts with a consultation to find out the clients information and why they are getting the photographs taken. This first step in the photography process is crucial for making the session and the final artwork in the client’s best interest. I photograph portrait sessions with the final goal in mind, so I want to know what the client’s home is like, their tastes, and vision for displaying the artwork prints, or albums, in their home.
By the time the portrait session is completed, the clients need only come to the design session where they simply select the images for the artwork that has been previously discussed during the consultation. My background as a dancer lends itself to understanding the body and what looks good in front of the camera. Dancers love my photography because I know dance choreographic timing and dance steps to be able to capture the dancer at the height of the movement. So, I photograph dancers both at the studio and during performance.
With my developed eye and understanding of the body, I take the time to pose my clients and loosen them up, whether it be a headshot session, family portrait or a pet session. As an animal lover, I not only photograph pets, I also often incorporate them in family sessions. Newborns and babies are another passion of mine and we have special props, a heated studio, and methods for handling these precious newborn creatures.
Outside of the studio, I go on location for business headshots, events and family portraits. With such lovely weather in Los Angeles, many people opt for having their portraits done in their backyard or their home. I basically cater to what my clients want and make it work. Customer service and artwork for the home is our hallmark of success!
Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
Holding my father’s hand while walking on our way to the World’s Fair in New York when I was an about 4 years old. Funny how such simple moments can be so lasting and endearing.
- Portrait Session Fee at Studio: $395
- Headshot Session Fee at the studio: $295
- Event Photography Fee Starting at $200 per hour
- Baby’s First Year Portraits: $595 at the studio; $895 at your home
- Address: 490 S. San Vicente Blvd., # 7, Los Angeles, CA 90048
- Website: cameracreations.net
- Phone: 323-466-3909
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @julie_hopkins_camera_creations
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cameracreationsphotography
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/CameraCreations
- Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/biz/camera-creations-llc-los-angeles
- Other: https://www.pinterest.com/cameracreations/