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Meet Yvette Roman of Yvette Roman Photography

Today we’d like to introduce you to Yvette Roman.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
My family was in the music business, and I grew up with artists and musicians all around me, but it wasn’t until taking art classes in high school that I realized that I wanted to be a photographer. I was dead set on going to Art Center College of Design in Pasadena to study, and I was extraordinarily lucky that I did. Its programs are rigorous and demanding, and I learned foundations and skills that I still rely on every single day in my work.

After graduation, I started out assisting, and then became the studio manager for an advertising photographer. It was during that time that two of my friends approached me, and we started a production company. We worked with pretty much every major car company on the planet to facilitate the advertising and promotion of their vehicle lines.

Eventually, though it was time to start shooting for myself, but I firmly believe that every minute of work I had done to facilitate the work of others has contributed to the integrity of what is now my own photography business. It was essential for learning.

Has it been a smooth road?
Being a freelancer is always a challenge. You have to be extremely motivated, fierce, savvy, self-reliant, curious, humble, brutally honest, sensitive, empathetic, vulnerable, and willing to take risks all at the same time. You constantly have to look for work, even (and especially) when the work is flowing.

You also have to pay very close attention to the career trajectory your work takes on its own. Sometimes steering the ship is imperative, and other times, it’s best to sit back a little and see where it’s going organically. I started out shooting rock bands and ended up shooting weddings for years and years. I was very lucky with the timing of all of this – just when the music industry started to contract, the wedding industry started to get very interesting, and the photography got really beautiful.

I landed in weddings at the beginning of that, when it was just starting to switch from the old style, flash-filled, stiff, really quite horrible work, to the loose, flowing editorial moments that wedding photography is now. It was really painful to put the brakes on my music work to make room to embrace this other kind of photography that came on like a freight train, but I did, and I never looked back, and it has led to all sorts of commercial work and connections that I never thought possible.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
The intention of my work is to discover the story of the storyteller. Whether it is any of the hundreds of weddings I have photographed throughout the globe or a commercial campaign, a food editorial, a home, a portrait of an executive, an artist, a film director, a family, a chef, or a farmer, finding hidden beauty is always the objective.

The shoots we do are experiential. Everything and everyone has a story, and I love collaborating with clients to discover what lies beneath, and the narrative that carries the subject forward into the light, or into the deep, abiding beauty of shadows. Even if I am simply photographing an object on a seamless, I want to know how it is made, and what makes it special before it goes onto the set. Seeking to know the whys, the hows, and the whos is what makes my work exciting after all of these years.

It is my ambition to discover both the soul-infused into an object by its maker, and in so doing, the soul of the maker itself. There are close to two billion images uploaded onto social media every single day. My aim is to create imagery that gives people room to pause.

Is our city a good place to do what you do?
I love Los Angeles. I love its grit and its promise. It is truly the city of dreams. I grew up here, and am actually third-generation LA – something that is exceedingly rare. The density can be alarming but it also forces a social contract that is unique and powerful. It is a city of opposites brushing up against each other. Los Angeles is, at this very moment, in the midst of existential crises, while simultaneously enjoying one of its greatest moments. There is a renaissance of extraordinary art and exceptional food, culture, and opportunity, butting up right against tent cities and abject poverty. It’s not for the faint of heart.

I don’t know what it would be like to move here and try to navigate the breathtaking sprawl of it to find my place, as I have always been here, but I think it’s a most worthy, gorgeous, progressive city to be in. Regarding improvement, I can only say that the out-of-control luxury housing development craze has led to shocking unaffordability here. It is my hope that we switch course and aspire to build proportionate middle and low-income housing. I think that it will make all the difference.

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