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Rising Stars: Meet Dominique Curtis

Today we’d like to introduce you to Dominique Curtis.

Hi Dominique, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
I’ve never been a stranger to taking photos or just casually documenting my life. We had so many bags of photos and photo albums in my home growing up and I always loved looking through them. It made me feel like I was being transported to a different time or getting to know people like distant or deceased relatives. Or even just finding old photos of my parents and seeing them in a different light. I always had some type of disposable camera and as I got older point and shoots. I love being able to look back and see how I’ve changed. I got my first DSLR camera in 2014 and decided that I wanted to pick up photography as a hobby and it did not take long for me to get hooked. I’m largely self-taught. Meaning that everything I’ve learned about shooting with professional gear has come from Youtube, Lynda.com, or experimenting. Whenever I could, I would sign up for workshops so that I could get feedback or ask questions. I started taking small gigs as a second shooter and assisting while taking portrait clients on the side. As I saw my work grow, my confidence also grew. The pandemic pushed me to take the leap of faith to pursue photography full-time because my life was already in major transition. I’m still learning and figuring things out on the business side but I have no regrets about my decision.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
The road has not been smooth at all. It’s been more like something from a Dr. Seus book with spirals and turns and you really can’t anticipate what is ahead. As much as I tried to prepare I feel like most of my lessons come from trial and error. Whether that’s with relating to clients, marketing, time management, or even just executing my ideas. My biggest struggle when I started taking clients was being firm on pricing. I had to really come to terms with the fact that it’s okay to not be a starving artist. It’s also okay to okay for all the work I put in in order to make a shoot successful. And most importantly, it’s okay if everyone is not my ideal client. The more I stood firm, the easier it became to price accurately and the more satisfied my clients and I are at the end of a project. It just makes for better relationships overall.

Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
I am a portrait photographer. I love capturing people in their element whether it’s on location doing what they love or in the studio where they let their inner light shine. My favorite moments when working with clients is when they come to set shy but then as they warm up they start posing and emoting with confidence. I’m most proud of the respect I’ve gained for staying consistent and committed to getting better. It’s a great feeling to have friends, peers, and clients acknowledge the progress they have seen me make.

The thing that sets me apart from others is the fact that I’m in this profession to prove that you can take a nontraditional path to success while bringing others up. I really try my best to share resources and to help other people navigate because that was something I missed when I was trying to learn.

Networking and finding a mentor can have such a positive impact on one’s life and career. Any advice?
For me, networking comes natural because I extend a certain level of kindness and respect to everyone I meet. I think the main thing is being true to yourself and where you are and vocal about what you need. It can be hard to find a mentor because of scheduling and because people don’t want to waste time or energy if you aren’t serious. I would recommend shadowing or assisting a photographer you have a relationship with and asking questions as you go along. That way you are helping them while you get to learn. Assisting is a great avenue for making money, getting set experience, and on every gig you meet new people that you will spend hours with. Also, each of those people may have their own personal projects that they may need help on. So keep your eyes open and be willing to contribute as much as you wish to take.

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Main Photo – Anthony Minter Additional Images – Dominique Curtis

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