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Meet Sharonda Brown of Operation Candids in Pomona

Today we’d like to introduce you to Sharonda Brown.

Sharonda, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
Photography has always been a part of me. Moreso, as a hobby, at a young age, inspired by my father who was a photographer/videographer. Of course, I needed my own camera to keep up with my father, so my mother bought me a digital camera for Christmas one year. Thereafter, I was snapping away at anything and everything. I also tinkered with photo editing – basic retouching to photo manipulation.

But photography was eventually put on the back burner while I carried on with life – work, school, motherhood, etc. It wasn’t until a co-worker asked me – “What is your passion? What do you enjoy doing?” I told him “Photography”. He responded, “Then, what are you doing here?”. From there on, the wheels were spinning. I quit my job and moved out of state, to take a job as an event photographer in Las Vegas.

After about two years, I bought my own DSLR camera, stepped out as a freelance photographer, and moved back to California. It took some time to gain clients, but receiving inquiries for event photography and portrait sessions is now an often occurrence.

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?
When I took the leap of becoming a photographer in Las Vegas, I had only captured photos with a point and shoot camera. I did not know about ISO, Aperture, Shutter Speed, etc. So, the challenge I faced was learning on the spot – tinkering with the settings and hoping I got it right.

Actually, I have two cases that stick in my mind to this day. I know I did my best with the knowledge I had at the time, but the quality of the images fell regrettably short. In both cases, I’m eternally grateful that they didn’t crush my spirit. They actually praised me for my effort, which encouraged me to work harder at getting it right for future shoots.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Operation Candids – what should we know?
I am the owner and photographer at Operation Candids. I specialize in portraiture photography, involving families, children, babies, engagements, pets, etc.

And, over the past few years, I have had the chance to understand what really makes my work unique. Photography is art, an expression of oneself – so I’ve learned that my style is playful, creative and vibrant. From clients, I have worked with, or peers I’ve worked alongside, I’m often told that I see things that others do not. While editing images, I like to add or manipulate elements that complement the subject. I may add falling leaves to an autumn scene, I may change the color of an object, I may change the entire background. I just let my creative mind go wild. But most importantly, I make sure the client is satisfied with the final results.

Overall, I am most proud of how Operation Candids has taken shape. I occasionally review old images – I take note of changes that could be made and I’m in awe of the growth in each image, over time. It gives me the confidence boost that success is inevitable, as long as I continue to express my vision in photography.

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
First, making sure the client is in awe, after viewing their images is a necessity. I want the client to be happy and excited to work with me, again and again.

Second, I’m consistently soaking up knowledge. So, I’m always checking out new photography or photo editing books. I’m learning from YouTube, Skillshare, Pinterest, etc. I’m always looking for visual inspiration and researching trends from galleries, magazines and social media.

Making sure I’m up-to-date and delivering great results are imperative to the success of Operation Candids.

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