Today we’d like to introduce you to Dana Lynn Pleasant.
Dana Lynn, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I have been a professional photographer for the past 9 years. I attended a small photography school in Seattle called Photographic Center Northwest. I had always been interested in photography, but I never considered it as a career until my late 20’s. I was singing and dancing on cruise ships for a few years and this is actually when my love for photography started to grow. I was traveling to amazing places around the world and I taught myself how to use a manual camera. It was during these years that I started to think about photography as a career. When I had enough of the ship life, I moved to Seattle and attended school. I started my business right away and I was very fortunate that it took off. Within a year I was shooting full time. During this time I was shooting a lot of weddings and portraits. I also started shooting for some of the local music blogs and fell in love with shooting live music. Over the past couple of years, I have been trying to figure out what’s next. That is why I made the decision to begin transitioning to Los Angeles. There are so many more opportunities here to be involved in other projects. I have really fallen in love with shooting Stills and Behind the Scenes for film and television. I had the chance recently to shoot stills for a short film as well as shoot for Comedy Central for one of their online sketch comedy shows. I am really interested in pursuing this. I have also been shooting a bit of fashion and lifestyle photography as well. I feel like I’m in a great place in my career right now. I am dipping my toes into many new areas of photography and really enjoying all of it. I feel so fortunate that I have been able to fully support myself for the past 9 years doing something that I love!
Has it been a smooth road?
I think running a small business is always going to have it’s ups and downs. There have been years that have went smoother than others but overall I have been very fortunate to be able to support myself. Also, this past year has been interesting because I am trying to establish myself in a new city. There is tons of opportunity in Los Angeles, but a big part of it has been about connecting with people and networking.
What has been the proudest moment of your career so far?
I remember the day that I realized I had enough photography work booked to quit my part time job. That was definitely a proud moment to realize I could fully support myself through my own photography business. I try and remind myself of that moment when I’m feeling stressed from the work. I want to always remember to be grateful and not take it for granted! Not a lot of people get to make a living doing what they love.
Every story has ups and downs. What were some of the downs others might not be aware of?
When I first started, I was on Craigslist every day looking for photography jobs. It was a lot of work and time invested. And running your own business definitely, has it’s ups and downs. There are years where the work seems to come easily and then there are years when I’m stressed about getting enough jobs. Somehow it always works out in one way or another, though! Being new to LA is a struggle, as I am having to hustle and network to book jobs here. It’s a good struggle, though, I like a good challenge!
What’s your outlook for the industry in our city?
I think Los Angeles is the perfect place for me right now. There is just SO much going on and so much opportunity. I have been able to branch into new areas of photography and try new things. I want more experience on set shooting stills for television or film, so LA is the obvious place to be. I think it’s a great city for someone who is new and starting out. There are so many aspiring models and actors, student films, etc. There are always unpaid or low paying gigs where someone can gain the experience and skills they need to become a professional.
- Website: www.danalynnpleasant.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @danalynnphoto
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/danalynnpleasantphotography/