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Meet Marie Tobias

Today we’d like to introduce you to Marie Tobias.

Marie, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
If I had to describe myself in a few words I’d say I’m a collector of random knowledge, classic movie-musical buff, and self-taught ukulele player.

As an only child, I found ways to entertain myself. Filling up a roll of film of my dog dressed like a tennis star, princess, bride, spy, whatever she was willing to wear, led to photography classes in high school. I was never spectacular, but I maintained my hobby. I continued to take photos for fun while at Chapman University until I volunteered to take photos for a non-profit event. When I saw the quality difference between my work and the other photography volunteers, I asked myself, “Why are we shooting the same thing and getting different results?” Several hundred—or thousand—Youtube videos later, and I finally began to see my work improve. I maintain this drive of curiosity in my work today.

Has it been a smooth road?
The gender gap in certain types of photography is real. Advertising, real estate, commercial, and boudoir draw a certain person versus weddings, family, and portrait. Which is not to say there aren’t all kinds of people in all kinds of photography, but I’ve observed a slight split. For instance, the wedding industry appears saturated with female photographers while boudoir appears saturated with male photographers. And that can be an obstacle if you feel uncomfortable or unwelcome in ANY atmosphere.

But my largest challenges have been self-inflicted. I have always needed to be the best at what I pursued, but this is no way to live, endlessly comparing yourself to others. So I eventually had to accept that I may not be the most original, artistic, technically proficient, or knowledgeable photographer out there, but my journey is my own.

Alright – so let’s talk business. What else should we know about you and your career so far?
As a freelance portrait & commercial photographer based in Orange County, the largest swath of experience I currently have is in food and restaurants! I’m known for capturing vibrant branding and lasting moments. And my motto is if we’re not having fun on an assignment, we’re doing something wrong. But I don’t specialize in just one subject area, like weddings or cars, because I believe my greatest strength is my versatility and adaptability. As a largely self-taught photographer, that will always be my strength.

How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
The field of photography is becoming more and more saturated. Our value is hinged on our ability to market ourselves, maintain connections, be reliable, and offer unusual or extra skills like gif making, videography, etc. Phones have gifted many people the chance to enter into photography or content creation themselves at a low cost, widening the market of potential players. Of course, eventually equipment upgrades are necessary to shoot in raw, in low light situations, or capture extended detail. But photography is a constant hustle because you’re basically an entrepreneur. If I’m being 100% transparent, I plan to continue in this field for a few years and then maintain it as a side hustle. I will eventually apply my undergraduate degrees in Advertising and Communication towards a more stable career in market research, public policy, or marketing, but I will never EVER stop photographing.

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Image Credit:

Marie Tobias Photography

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