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Meet Studio City Photographer: Kim Castaneda

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kim Castaneda .

Kim , please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I was born and raised in Palm Springs, California. I grew up out there photographing everything that I saw. Being that the desert was so restricted due to the harsh weather and small population I was constantly challenged on finding new material to shoot. I always found myself going out with friends to abandoned warehouses in the middle of nowhere or the Salton sea and having them model with me in these torn down habitats. I found that those places told a story and could be used to emphasize emotion on the models I would shoot.

As the years went on I found myself working more with photo manipulation, sharp studio lighting, and product photography for small projects for friends but I would always find myself shooting natural light again and again.

It was only a matter of time that I found myself out of the desert and in Los Angeles working my way as an intern for another photographer. That photographer had me doing all the administrative work with very little hands-on time with a camera and that would get me frustrated. The time I did get to spend shooting, it was based on their methods and it felt very forced on my end. Although I was very thankful for what I learned while working with that photographer I just wasn’t happy then.

It wasn’t until I met Fernando that I decided to attempt at creating Kim Joya Photography. I had always wanted to do my own work for a living, but I was never very good at anything other than shooting photos, like handling money or working with people, so I never had the courage to take the leap. He had this calm demeanor about him. He was always calm under pressure, quick with responses, and extremely good with numbers. He was everything I wasn’t and he made sure that all I had to worry about was doing what I do best…shoot my photos.

And that’s how it’s been. We are always together at all our job sites, I’ll work on shooting at the job and he’ll go out to the customers and let them know that their resources are well spent. Kim Joya Photography is a very unique idea because you have two people who are so technically different working together for a similar motive…to make sure that what we do is perfect down to the dot in everything we do.

Has it been a smooth road?
There are always struggles. Being in the art industry has always been looked down upon as a hobbyist endeavor as opposed to a real profession. People find it difficult to be able to put a price on something that seems as simple as pushing a button and taking a picture without realizing how much work actually goes into creating these images outside of the job site. We find ourselves a lot of the times having to bargain with customers over a job and trying to explain to them that a fancy camera doesn’t make a smooth photographer.

Although we always have new customers reaching us for projects, most of our clients are referred to us from previous jobs. This proves to be difficult at times because the customer already expects a certain level in quality of work and they are sometimes not the most photogenic people so we have to work with them and make them as comfort as possible even if it means making them take a shot of tequila from the bottle we keep stashed in the trunk of our car.

So, what should we be on the lookout for, what’s next in store for you?
As a small two person operation, sometimes it is hard to get a clear grasp on the future. Do you grow? not grow? and if you chose to grow, then with whom? Those are always a reoccurring question for us. We remember how hard it was for us to get our name out there when we were starting out and we would like to try to return that favor in the future by allowing prospecting photography students from neighboring art schools to work with us and get real time experience with what it is like to be a photographer in Los Angeles. It is always about giving back to the art community.

Let’s dig a little deeper into your story. What was the hardest time you’ve had?
As of now, the hardest time in my career actually occurred very early on. I was looking for a photographer to shadow after graduating college and I was realizing that I would not be allowed to express myself through my work if I took this path. So I had to decide if I should invest in myself and start my own company, or go with the cushioned choice and work for a photographer whom I would be nothing more than a shadow to. I decided that even if I did fail at the end, at least I would know what it was like to attempt at Kim Joya Photography. To this day I still feel very grateful for allowing myself to pursue my own path and will continue to do so as long as the world will have me.

What about “Wow-moments” – any moments that stick out? Any moments when you felt like you had made it?
I remember as a kid I would always photograph my friends and we would pretend that they were famous models and celebrities and I was their photographer. They would pose for me and I would make snarky remarks on how they should pose and look at the camera. Going a couple of years forward, I somehow found myself doing a job for Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, one of the players from the Los Angeles Lakers. It was an amazing experience because we tend to idolize these people that are shoved in front of a camera and he was just a really nice guy. Once I posted the picture on my website, my email and phone started to blow up with people asking if I could do a similar project for them. I was humbled by the experience because we never seemed to slow down after that. I get all kinds of projects coming in and I get to work on whatever I choose and is fun. At the end of the day, I think that when you can do something you really enjoy then that’s when you’ve really made it and I am grateful for that.


  • The Hollywood Basic Package- 3 Headshots, fully edited, digital copies — $150.00
  • Everything else varies depending the job assignment

Contact Info:

  • Website:
  • Phone: 562-546-5692
  • Email:
  • Instagram: @kimjoyaphotography
  • Facebook:


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