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Meet West Los Angeles Photographer and Talent Agent: Chyna

Today we’d like to introduce you to Chyna.

Chyna, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I started 7 years ago, before being a full-time photographer, I was a full-time talent agent, working for one of the top talent agency here in Los Angeles. I left after 17 years and ended up working for an underwear company that was based in Vancouver. After 5 months of working with them, they went bankrupt and I was left without a job. Not wanting to go back to the agency business and itching for some creative out, I started producing small little events here and there. It was fun, but not fulfilling.

Then a friend of my husband and I got engaged and asked if I would photograph his wedding. I said YES! Then I freaked out. I didn’t know how to operate my camera beyond P (Program). So I took a course at a community college and learned. Photographed the wedding and realized how much I enjoyed it, even though I shot over 5k images. CRAZY… I know… ! Since then, I joined workshops, followed different photographers online, read up on the different techniques and how one achieves it. Any opportunity I get to shoot, I would. Learned how to get it right the first time, instead of taking multiple shots to get the perfect image.

I was able to build up a portfolio online. After that, my work was spread through word of mouth. I’ve photographed corporate/family portraits, over a dozen weddings, endless events, concerts, and celebrity promo shots.

I went back to the agency business 3 years ago. But that didn’t stop me from photographing. I still work as a full-time photographer and talent agent.

I have an awesome 21-year-old son and been married 13 years to an amazing man.

I enjoy every moment of photographing. everyone is beautiful, and to be able to capture that in a snapshot, is exciting to me.

Has it been a smooth road?
I can’t say that the road has been smooth or there were hard struggles, I take every obstacle as a learning experience. We learn and we grow. trying to find one’s own identity I think may be the biggest struggle for anyone. It took awhile for me to learn that it was okay to be me. It is okay if someone doesn’t like what you do, it is okay to receive constructive criticism and it is also okay to receive praise. I love what I do, I love to create and to think outside the box. I think time is what is a challenge for me now. Balancing everything that I have on my plate is a little difficult at times, but it is okay. Taking a beat, setting up a shoot and creating makes everything better.

Any predictions for the industry over the next few years?
The industry is definitely changing and evolving. With new technology and everyone thinking they can be a photographer with their iPhones and other digital means, it is challenging for the professionals who have studied and made a living out of it. it is the same in the music industry, social media dictates how popular a recording artist is in the current marketplace. I think we just have to accept that the general public is going to take photos no matter what, but I think as professionals, we need to create our niche in what we are good at and what we are passionate about. You are as good as your last image, as you are as good as your last song. The industry is going to continue to be over saturated with creative people. As the next wave of our generation comes in, it is about the experience, the content, and the outcome.

Where is it going? it is going to go where society takes us. does it mean you have to incorporate social media in your work? yes! does it mean you have to develop new styles and techniques? yes! But keep in mind, photography is not new, almost everything has been done before, it is just a lot easier now. Do you have to build relationships with your clients? yes! you have to continue to learn and grow, if you don’t, the person next to you who is not a great photographer will, and end up getting more work, and getting their name out there.

Has there been a particular challenge that you’ve faced over the years?
I think one of my biggest challenges is finding time to do it all. I love being a photographer, and I love being a talent agent. Having two jobs is very challenging. I am also very passionate about both. In the past years, having a full-time job, I have had to refer my other photographer friends for jobs that I couldn’t take off to do. photography is like going to yoga. It is relaxing for me and makes me smile. Another challenge is when I have a creative block. I know I want to create something, but I can’t come up with an idea. but that is when I call my friends up, and pick their brains, and bring their ideas to life. Or I just surf the web, until the blockage is cleared and I start planning my next shoot.

When I am asked to photograph a family, couple, and/or an individual… I always like to know what their vision is, because it could be something that I have been wanting to create for a while. Everyone has different ideas. Everyone sees things in a different light than yours. Take the challenge!

What advice do you wish to give to those thinking about pursuing a path similar to yours?
My advice to the readers is to be you. If you really want it, go for it. You will be knocked down, but you know how to get up. Learn from your mistakes, and be okay with it. there is no secret to being a photographer, just know your craft! It is about the experience, I still have a lot to learn, and I am not afraid to tell you I don’t know. But what I do know is that you need to work at what you want. Listen to those that are willing to give you constructive criticism. It is a creative field, we can do anything! YOU can do anything!

Contact Info:

  • Website: www.chynaphotography.com
  • Phone: 310-251-6400
  • Email: chynaphotography@gmail.com
  • Instagram: chynafotos
  • Facebook: @chyna.photography.page
  • Other: Twitter – @chynaphotos

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Image Credit:
all photos taken by Chyna Photography

1 Comment

  1. Shirley Farrell

    November 20, 2016 at 00:16

    Chyna’s photography is true art. Very personal and well thought out. Pictures to treasure.

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