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Meet Rebecca Aranda of Rebecca y Las Otras

Today we’d like to introduce you to Rebecca Aranda.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I am a documentary wedding photographer. I had never even thought about weddings before I got married several years ago. Suddenly, I was plunged into wedding planning, and a world of white dresses and expensive jewelry and an overwhelming deluge of wedding vendors, and I disliked most of it.

I was never the kind of person who daydreamed about weddings, and soon everyone was asking me so many questions about my wedding, I had a Pinterest board and a long list of bookmarks. We ended up doing a DIY backyard wedding, and when everything came together, it was really magical. But not because I bought into any of the traditional Wedding Industry stuff — what made it special was that my husband and I poured our own personalities into it.

Our wedding was low-key, funny, cozy, tender, and had lots and lots of spontaneous dancing across the backyard.At the time I got married, I was doing a little bit of everything — filmmaking, writing, concert photography, headshot photography — but I had such a great connection to my wedding photographer, and the way my wedding unfolded, that I started to wonder if I could get into shooting weddings.

It couldn’t just be your usual wedding photography, though. I wanted to shoot like-minded couples, who were quirky and diverse, and flaunt all the conventions of what the Wedding Industry considers to be “ideal couples.”

Most of all, I found that I had a passion for capturing weddings in the documentary style: authentic, candid, no super-posed glamor shots. As a filmmaker, I was drawn to people like John Cassavetes and Agnes Varda, artists who captured real emotion and odd little details of human life. I discovered that I could make images with that same kind of humanity with my wedding photography.

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?
Building this business has been exhausting, I’m not gonna lie! I’m lucky to have an incredible business partner who has helped me with all the technical and professional challenges along the way, like taxes, insurance, crafting emails and website copy… and while their contributions have been crucial, even formative for me, I’ve still had to shoulder a lot of the weight of actively running the business and crafting a new brand.

Social media is a huge struggle for me, like figuring out how to post and hashtag and all that nonsense. I’m pretty smart about my personal social media usage, but for some reason, posting as a Brand and a Business feels much more difficult. So here’s my plan… now I have the Later app, which is great for scheduling posts. And I’ve got a planner and sticky notes, and I’ve got little challenges I’ve set for myself. So I’m feeling confident about tackling this particular hurdle this year. Which, y’know, you kind of have to, in order to have a successful small business in 2019.

Building a presence on social media is all about standing out, making your brand and attracting clients. I hate to admit it, but that’s important. Quite frankly, there are a LOT of photographers out there these days. It can be a little dispiriting when I see someone ask about wedding photographers, I throw my hat in the ring, then see 100s of other comments from other wedding photographers.

Ultimately, I’m feeling good about my work and my chances of success in this field, because I believe I’m offering a unique eye and a set of values that just aren’t common in an industry that is dominated by (let’s face it) wealthy white heteronormative aesthetics. I know that it’s difficult to find “alternative” vendors if you just want to have a nice fun wedding without all the bullshit. I know this because that’s the struggle I faced when I was planning my wedding!

As well as from hearing all the stories from my friends who are intimidated by the industry. All I can do is shine my light and hope that those unique couples will find me.

Please tell us about Rebecca y Las Otras.
Rebecca y Las Otras is a documentary wedding photography team. I’m the lead photographer, and I have a fantastic roster of associate shooters I like to work with.

Our team is entirely comprised of women of color. That’s pretty unique in itself. I think you can see that perspective in the craft of image-making when the person behind the lens comes from a place of empathy with the person in front of the lens.

I have done work with The Authority Collective, which is a photography collective made BY and FOR women of color in the photography industry. Most of the photographers with The Authority Collective shoot documentary and editorial work, so I like that I (and one of my associates, Hannah) are representing the new vanguard of wedding photography with them.

One of my values is equity. I have a different pay structure than any other photographer I know. My associate shooters get paid higher rates because I have that much faith in their skills. And, since I prefer to work with diverse brides and grooms from different kinds of backgrounds, I have a flexible pay structure for my clients, too.

This is all to say: I think you can see the results of our principles in our photos. My images capture joy, love, tenderness; the genuine stuff, not just something re-created and re-sold back to you.

Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
My favorite childhood memory is making up musicals with my little brother. One of my dad’s many gigs is doing musical directing for local schools and community theaters.

We didn’t grow up listening to the radio; instead, we would pop cast recordings of Sondheim and Rodgers and Hammerstein into our huge CD player. I would often hear a musical hundreds of times before I ever saw it.

Maybe this gave me a great imagination! Or maybe it just made my brain go totally haywire! Who knows!

Pricing:

  • Wedding photography rates are $450 per hour for two photographers.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Oriana Koren

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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