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Meet Meilani Cottrell of Radman Photography in Seal Beach

Today we’d like to introduce you to Meilani Cottrell.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Meilani. So, let’s start at the beginning, and we can move on from there.
When I graduated high school (in 2007), my parents gifted me a Canon Rebel SLR, and I just started shooting anything and everything. I was never one to journal, but I wanted to document what was happening daily; I considered it my visual diary. Mind you, this was before the first iPhone came out, so… I like to think I was onto something. From this point forward, I knew I wanted to study photography and began taking courses at OCC.

It’s funny because I was actually there to study baking and pastry but very quickly discovered that it wasn’t for me. I was working in a small restaurant at the time, and the level of stress that came with it just wasn’t how I wanted to spend my day. My take on it is that you eat with your eyes, so I wanted to study something that let me artistically and creatively showcase my art form in a less demanding way.

After a few years, I transferred to Cal State Long Beach and got my BA in Studio Art. I didn’t focus on photography while I was there, rather graphic design. I knew I had a passion for photography, so I opted to learn more about art and design and see where it would take me. I graduated in 2014, and literally had an internship and a job two weeks later.

I interned for Cleobella while working for a small boutique web and marketing agency in Costa Mesa, as a graphic designer. A few months later, the internship turned into a position; I was shooting and editing their products for the web. I worked for Cleobella for a little over a year, and the boutique agency closer to three. After that, I freelanced for a bit before working for digital creative agency in Newport Beach.

Here, I really learned what it meant to work in a fast-paced digital lifestyle environment. It wasn’t a typically 9-5 job, I was working 12+ hours a day as a social media strategist, managing about ten clients. It was definitely overwhelming at times but really fortified my career in the industry.

Fast forward to today, I now work solely for myself; managing five social media accounts as well consulting for a few others. I create original content for my clients through the medium of photography and graphic design. I absolutely love my job and the clients I work with. Everyday is something new, and I’m always up for the challenge.

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?
Would it be awful if I said it hasn’t been terribly hard? Haha. The road here definitely had its ups and downs, but overall every experience has taught me something along the way.

Radman Photography – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
I feel like I do everything! So much so, I don’t even know what my title is per se, haha! In this era of social media, I kind of created a job for myself. It’s a combination of Social Media and Marketing Strategist, Content Creator, Photographer, and Graphic Designer. I definitely wear many hats when it comes down to it.

As far as specialities in photography, I am really into product photography and shooting interiors. I love the challenge of staging products and props to tell a story. I also have a client that’s an Interior Designer, so I love when she has a new project that I get to shoot.

When it comes to specialties in graphic design, I really love creating brand identities. There is nothing more satisfying than bringing a client’s vision to life through good design.

When I’m not working with brands and small businesses, I also shoot weddings and family portraits sessions.

What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
Everything about this past year has been a proud pinch-me moment. I can’t encapsulate the exact feeling into words, but I’m really proud of the choices I’ve made and the clients I’ve chosen to work with. Their success is my success, and if they’re happy, that means I’m doing something right.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Meilani Cottrell

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