Today we’d like to introduce you to Mackenzie Breeden.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Mackenzie. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
To be honest, I feel completely under-qualified to be asked to be interviewed as a “photographer,” as if I know what I am doing. Every time I am on set, I jokingly laugh about how I don’t know what I am doing. Because technically speaking, I don’t. I was never trained professionally or went to film school. But I think my lack of training has actually given me the freedom to fall so fiercely in love with taking portraits of people. Because there is no pressure, I feel there is no right way of doing it, so I truly just keep taking photos until I love them.
But to me it’s not always about the final image, it’s the way I get to make people feel — beautiful, confident, seen.
I have always been creative, I am too right-brained for my own good. So while I feel technically suffer from severe imposter syndrome, let me tell why I do think I am qualified. Capturing an image to me is capturing the essence of a person or an unfiltered moment in time. It is a second that is fleeting and I have the honor to grab it and make it beautiful.
I started photography only two years ago when I bought a Canon 60D off of eBay. I started shooting, I saved and bought a vintage Russian Helios lens, I kept shooting. Eventually, things feel into my lap that I felt like an imposter for accepting. Shooting celebrities like Viola Davis and Mariska Hargitay, and Emma Watson’s brother. I am still perplexed, how little ol’ me gets gigs sometimes. I still can’t even afford my own camera, my friend lends me her Mark 3 Canon 5D.
But here I am. Truly creating for the sake of loving it. Am I the best? No. But am I done apologizing for not being the best? Yes. I love knowing that I am constantly getting better and better. With each shoot I do, I am affirmed by my client’s words like, “I have never felt more beautiful,” or “I feel powerful, confident and absolutely empowered in my own skin.” To me, this is photography. Not only is it an image, it is a feeling. It is the feeling you get when you look back at your middle school headshot in your yearbook, or a photo of your dad who passed, or the photos taken at your wedding.
So while I have no long list of impressive clients, I do have an irreplaceable gift to bring joy to people and capture their truest essence. And this is why I do what I do.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
I quit my restaurant job in 2019 because I hate not being the boss. (Whoops!) I decided I was going to freelance (even though I had NO idea what that looked like). I wanted to be my own boss. So needless to say, this has NOT been easy. Creating your own schedule, never knowing if you are gonna be able to make rent, and truly having no days off. Freelancing has it highs and it has its lows. This past month, it was such a slow month, I was short $300 for rent. So I ran a special and did three shoots in one day in order to pay rent on time. So, to answer the question, it has not been a smooth road, but I would rather be on this road than any other road. I like a little thrill.
Please tell us more about your work, what you are currently focused on and most proud of.
I consider myself a portrait photographer. But I also shoot events and my personal favorite – Behind The Scene images for films/TV/music videos. Most of my work is portrait shoots for actors, models, and musicians in the Los Angeles area. I try to make each shoot fully express and embody the person I am shooting. No session looks the same because everyone I meet is so different and wonderful! I try to make everyone’s experience unique and most importantly fun!
I am most proud of getting to shoot a BTS interview of Viola Davis and Mariska Hargitay. I remember I was one of the only women on set and I was so nervous because I had just gotten into photography. I felt like I did not belong there. I thought the images I took were awful and I was so nervous. But then I sent them to the director and he praised me and encouraged me. I was so overwhelmed and thankful. That moment really shaped me as a photographer and made me think, “maybe I can do this?”
If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
I would stop apologizing for my work and not feeling good enough. I still feel that way in moments to be honest. Also, I would charge for my work. At the beginning, I was doing so much work for free because I didn’t feel good enough to shoot for money. But then I was like, “waittttttt…..” I was pouring so much of my heart and soul into my work and it was so time-consuming. I wish I knew my worth earlier on. As an artist, we deserve to get paid for our work, it isn’t our “hobby” it’s our livelihood.
- $300 for Portrait Sessions
- $400 for a Styled Portrait Sessions
- Website: www.mackbreeden.com
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: @macksfilms