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Meet Northeast LA Photographer: Naheed Choudhry Caballero

Today we’d like to introduce you to Naheed Choudhry Caballero.

Naheed, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
Photography is my passion and for over a decade it has molded me every single day, through my interactions with my clients and during every photo session.

Being a great observer and storyteller and capturing the countless special, fleeting moments that often go unrecorded is my specialty. From across the room, I notice someone reach out their hand to hold another’s. I jump in the middle of a crowd with my camera held above my head to get the shot to tell the story and I know what to say to the shy person who hates having their photo taken.

My images have been featured in publications ranging from The Washington Post and USA Today to The Detroit Free Press, Time Out New York, The New York Sun and Daily Candy. My product and food photos line the shelves of retailers nationwide including Target and Costco.

I was recently awarded by The Knot in the Best of Weddings category for my wedding photojournalism. I was awarded WeddingWire Couples’ Choice Awards™ 2014. I am also a member of the prestigious Wedding Photo Journalist Association.

As a youngster, I flipped through the pages of National Geographic awed and inspired by the world’s varied cultures and landscapes. I was enriched by my experience as a first-generation American growing up in Detroit, Michigan. My eyes wide and a mind full of ideas I studied photojournalism and set out to show how though we are different, our experiences are interconnected.

Has it been a smooth road?
Do smooth roads exist in life? It is always a roller coaster when you have your own business, especially in the creative services. There are times when you don’t get a lot of work and then you feel like giving up but then you get a few calls from clients and you start thinking “I will keep at it, I will never give up my true calling.” You have to constantly reinvent yourself and what you offer, especially as new technologies arise and change.

I studied Journalism at university (Michigan State and Wayne State) and also took photography classes as electives, then decided to go into Photojournalism. I worked at a 1-hour photo lab the summer before college and throughout my college years. It was 2002 when I finished university and I was hired by The Detroit Free Press in their photo department as a retoucher, editor and also shot occasionally. The Internet just started becoming a source of news for many people and was newspapers were starting to become obsolete. I was laid off at The Detroit Free Press because of budget cuts. After working at the Detroit Free Press I moved to NYC for more opportunities and was a photo editor and photographer at The New York Sun. I saw the Internet slowly taking away newspaper jobs more and more and decided it was a good time to start anew. That is when I started my own photo studio and gave freelancing as a full-time photographer a try. That was in late 2006ish and I have been freelancing with my own business since.

What is the most difficult part of what you do?
The hardest part of my job is sometimes having to work with people who want a huge discount and don’t realize the true value of great photography. Sometimes I get clients who want to get the best package and want to pay a very low fee. I try to convince them otherwise and it can be tough and even demeaning at times.

What are you striving for, what criteria or markers have you set as indicators of success?
To me, success is being fulfilled and being able to do your best and feel good about it. I feel successful when I am able to go above and beyond what my clients expect and they refer me to people they know. When I please my clients I feel successful. On a personal note, I feel successful when my husband, daughter and I am happy too!

What are your plans for the future?
My plans for the future may include a storefront business which would be a photo studio and a place to get photo restoration and retouching plus photo related gifts and prints. I would also rent out the space for others to use for photo sessions and small events. I sew zipper pouch bags with my photos on them and would love to use my images on more merchandise like pillows and blankets. I sell the bags on Etsy right now but would love to sell them at a store in the future.

Contact Info:

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Image Credit:
Naheed Choudhry Caballero

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