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Meet Tyler Vess of Vess Photography in Van Nuys

Today we’d like to introduce you to Tyler Vess.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Tyler. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I grew up in San Diego and I have always been a creative person. Since I was young, I always messed around with a camera and made short little videos with my friends. These were mostly similar to the movie The Matrix, which was one of my favorite movies at the time, lol. It took me a little while to find my feet because I wanted to get into the film industry but felt that maybe I should go a more practical route. Finally, at age 25, I decided to make the move to LA to pursue my dreams as an actor. My first couple of years here, I went to AMDA in Hollywood to get my bachelors degree in acting. For our senior year, we had to do a short film. Something urged me to buy a DSLR camera so I could hopefully start a YouTube channel or film stuff in general with friends when we graduated. My first camera was the Canon Rebel sl1.

Anyway, during the filming of our short film for class, I started taking still images of the scenes. That was when I realized how much I loved photography. I started wanting to take pictures of everything. I started asking friends if they wanted photoshoots so that I could build a portfolio. I realized it actually helped me get a better eye for cinematography as well. So, I just kind of continued in that direction. I think it helped me find my love for being behind the camera even more. I mean, I still want to act, but I have decided for my side hustle that I should start doing headshots and demo reels for actors that are trying to break into the industry as well. I also feel that knowing your way around a camera, as well as lighting, totally makes you a smarter actor.

Has it been a smooth road?
Eh, it’s been okay. I feel it’s very difficult to want to do so many different things out here and keep focused on just one. I find myself really getting into photography, but then at times getting very discouraged and taking a break from it, but it always sits in the back of my mind. I feel it’s been very difficult to find clients because most of the people I know are actors and we are all living that starving actor life lol. For a while there I was pretty consistent on “clients”, but it was always TFP (Trade for prints) which isn’t necessarily sustainable when I have to work a lot of other jobs in order to pay my bills. I am definitely keeping strong and trying to push forward and I know that’s all I can do. Eventually, everything will work out.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Vess Photography story. Tell us more about the business.
On the photography side, I do lifestyle shoots, headshots, family photos, behind the scenes photos and pictures of pets. I also touch up photos. On the film side, I direct, coach/teach, shoot demo reels, DP, camera op and edit. I think that what I am most proud of as a company is that I have never had anyone complain or be disappointed with what they have gotten from me. I feel that’s one of the things that sets me apart from others. I always want to make sure people get the best possible quality they can. The biggest bang for their buck.

I want to make sure that they are comfortable with what they got and don’t feel like they have wasted their time or money. This is true in both the film and photography side. I feel that in the past, when I have gotten headshots or what not, I feel rushed. I feel like it’s all about the money, at least in my experience. For example, I have seen some of my headshots, from multiple photographers, that just allow my hair to be wacky because I didn’t pay for the hair package or whatever. When I do photos or film, someone, I want to make sure they look the best they can. I feel that it represents me just as much as it represents them. So, if they look amazing, then we both win.

How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
I would hope to see my business boom and have people recognize my work. I feel as I said in a previous statement, that it is very difficult to break out in this industry. Literally anything in entertainment. There are SO many photographers and SO many people shooting demo reels or whatever else and it’s difficult to stand out. Maybe less “stand out”, but be found. Just like anything, when you first start out, people are a little hesitant to go with you. They want to go with someone with more followers, more stars, more clients, etc… I also just realized that this question was more focused towards the industry, but I like what I said so I am gonna keep that as well lol. But, with all of that being said, I feel that things are only gonna grow industry wise. There are SO many people trying to break into this industry. Whether as an actor, photographer, DP, director, etc… I also feel that just in general with social media on an ever climbing rise, photographers are more and more needed for people to have a “pretty Instagram”.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:

Alison Sieke – @alisonsieke, Javier Martin – @javi_blayze, Sarah Paust – @sweetvirginiasarah, Justin Key – @justinkey101, Danny Dipeso – @dannydipeso, Behind the scenes for “The Donor Film”. -#TheDonorFilm, My dog Thor – @thor_buddy, Behind the scenes for “Flicker”. A horror short written by Kyle Tague – @kyletague

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