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Meet Studio City Photographer: Justine Joy

Today we’d like to introduce you to Justine Joy.

Justine, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
As the daughter of a photographer/artist and a juggler/magician, I was fated to be creatively inclined (and pretty goofy too). In high school, I enjoyed drama, track, art, and being the Red Robin mascot. Though I grew up acting, modeling, and drawing in New Brighton, MN, I always dreamed of a more dazzling Los Angeles lifestyle. When I was 18, I moved out from Minnesota to Orange County, CA for college. I fell in love with California and moved up to Los Angeles and started perusing photography, acting, and TV producing. I bought my first camera in 2011 and started taking as many photos as I could of my friends. For a bit in college, I was both an art and a film major, so photography was the perfect blending of both for me. Nowadays, I have the pleasure of working with wonderful and inspiring clients and am working gigs that 15-year-old Justine would never have dreamed of. Recently, my photography was featured on the cover of the magazine AFLA which showcases Nigerian fashion, and also as the background for the Ankara Festivals downtown LA fashion runway show. I’ve worked with clients such as the Baldwin Brothers (Wisdom to Know the Difference), Senta Moses (Faking It), and Boxycharm Makeup. Photography for me is purely a creative passion where I can explore bold new color combinations and styles. Since I grew up modeling for my mom, I have lots of experience with posing models and love the challenge of creating dynamic portraits. I am happiest when I’m being creative and making people feel beautiful.

Has it been a smooth road?
The road has been ridiculously bumpy in my career. Just to get started with my first camera, I had to buy it on credit. It was a very scary, calculated gamble. Living in Los Angeles has also been a difficult adventure. I’ve moved about 7 times within California and have almost had to move back to Minnesota several times. It’s also been difficult to build a community and client base. One might say that some of the characters in LA are quite unsavory. Back in 2014, I was kicked by a stranger on a dance floor of a restaurant/bar and it tore my ACL in half. We never found out who kicked me but I ended up having reconstructive surgery that had a recovery time of about 10 months. This woefully set me back financially and the crutches made photography impossible. Fortunately, Fly On The Wall Productions, Prometheus, and other reality tv companies allowed me to work while I recovered and I didn’t have to say sayonara to California. My parents’ and boyfriend’s support during this time allowed me to keep a positive attitude.

Has there been people or an institution that has played a pivotal role in your career?
My journey would not have been possible without my parents, my insanely inspirational friends, and my boyfriend. My parents have helped me in this journey and supported me every step of the way. My dreams were never too big or odd for them. They also let me choose my own path, even though it was over 2,000 miles away from the little suburban town New Brighton, MN where I grew up. I firmly believe that who you surround yourself with is who you become. I have several friends that have always listened to my nonsense and have responded with incredibly wise and kind advice from both Los Angeles and Minnesota: Clinton, Naomi, Camille, Carol, Kelly, Kaylee, Rachel and many more incredible people who have lifted me up throughout the years. And lastly, but incredibly important, is my boyfriend Bryan. He excels and listening and making my problems seemingly melt away. He’s always incredibly excited whenever I book a shoot. I only hope that I can be as kind, loving and giving as my parents, my friends, and my boyfriend.

What kind of work do you look forward to most?
I adore meeting new people and personality types. So it may sound a little cheesy but my favorite kind of client is everyone. Sometimes our world can be pretty divided but learning about people and their lives can melt barriers. We all have important stories waiting to be told and captured through our eyes. So in essence, I’m looking forward to working on projects with fun, creative individuals of all types. The adventures are endless.

If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
If I had to start over, I would have tried to get a mentorship right out the gates. Though I really appreciate having learned everything from experience, it would have saved a lot of headaches early on by learning from a Los Angeles photographer. I think the hardest thing for any creative individual is learning to navigate the business side and promoting your project. Sometimes it’s difficult to determine your monetary worth in the beginning and you undersell yourself more than you should. I think a mentorship would have helped substantially.

Contact Info:


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Image Credit:
Burbank Film Festival (image 1), Boxycharm (image 2)

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