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Rising Stars: Meet Matthew Payne

Today we’d like to introduce you to Matthew Payne.

Hi Matthew, thanks for joining us today. We’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
I am a 29 years old self-taught photographer from PG County, Maryland. I was gifted a camera kit Christmas 2015. I had no idea what I was going to do with it. I thought I’d just take pictures of any and everything, mainly when I go on vacation. Living right outside of Washington DC, I would go downtown all the time and take walks and just learn more and more about the camera. Youtube and Skillshare were my best friends. I would watch videos then go out and try what I learned. I started getting better and better and then started reaching out to friends and next thing you know, I was in clubs taking pictures. Started with my friend Reggie Promo once a week, turned into six days a week for multiple promoters. Nightlife then turned into more and more events, then working with GOODProjects (a friend’s nonprofit in the DC area). We went to Los Angeles, where I fell in love with everything. Two weeks after that trip, I purchased a one way flight and did not look back. Summer 2019, I moved to LA and hit the ground running. Shooting red carpets, celebrity events, celebrity magazine shoots right away for a quick period of time until COVID-19. While covid was a tough time, I used that time to get back on YouTube and teach myself more about Studio photoshoots since there were no events happening.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
It has never been smooth. From the beginning even when I thought I was ready to shoot, finding models who were willing to shoot with me in DC was hard. Moving to LA with the networking I already had been doing it was smooth until COVID-19 locked everything down six months into my California living. I was forced to move into studio photoshoots, more one on one shoots, literally no events. I started going to Miami where I could shoot events, but money-wise it was becoming a struggle.

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
I am a photographer. When people ask what do I take photos of my response is always “everything”. I love going on walks taking pictures of buildings, I love taking photos at events where my photos stand out because it’s not just another club or party picture. My event photos have a vibe to them. Because I enjoy taking photos of everything, I take my camera EVERYWHERE. It is very, very rare you’d see me without it around my shoulder. So I changed my social media handles all to MyCameraReady. There have been so many times where I’d be out and meet someone and I need to capture that moment. There have been times where I would be at my restaurant job and someone needs photos at a party as soon as I get off. I love to be ready so I can be there. Being at the right place and the right time and having your camera ready is me.

I am most proud of really moving to LA and making a name for myself out here. Networking hard, going out and getting opportunities and trying to become someone everybody will know as an amazing photographer.

What do you like best about our city? What do you like least?
I love how just about every day is a great day to go outside and take photos.

I honestly don’t know what, if there is anything I like least about LA. I love living here.

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Latto (latto777) National Museum of African American History and Culture (nmaahc) n/a Kaaya (kaayatalia) Future (future) Robert Ri’chard (therobertrichard) Jeleisa (jeleisa) Pap (aye_pap)

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