Since I could remember, I was “artsy” and crafty. I remember always having to draw on something. So much so, every Christmas I was getting some sort of art easel or set of paints/pencils/pastels. I remember the Art Institutes coming to my house when i was about 9 or so, and the woman being impressed on how well my skills were at such a young age.
As I grew up, sketching and painting weren’t my “thing” anymore. I would doodle on an entire sheet of lined, school paper but it wasn’t exactly the same. I remember one year going to my Aunt’s house in Mexico for Christmas and opened up what would eventually steer me closer to my calling… I got a Polaroid camera from my mom and dad.
I went through the cartridge of film by the next day. I really wanted something that would give me a better opportunity to capture what I saw better. I ended up taking my parents digital camera (it was a big deal at the time as disposable cameras were still purchased and used among my friends) and just taking pictures of everything and everyone I saw. I would have mini photo shoots in between classes with my friends; usually during the our sport’s off season. Mom eventually bought me my first big girl camera… the Canon Rebel XT.
I would go through magazines of Vogue and InStyle, and think “I want to take those pictures.” Eventually I would graduate high school, and I applied to the Brooks Institute for Photography. I got accepted, but at the last minute decided that maybe it wasn’t for me. That Rebel XT still followed me everywhere though.
I would have friends who would ask me to take their pictures for them by this point. Head shots. Pregnancy shoots. Family pictures. My mom would drive me to every single shoot, and would wait there for hours until I finished. I would make anywhere from $30-40 for these shoots and now that I think about it, probably only covered the cost of gas. Sorry mom.
Fast forward a few years, and there I was; Out of mom and dad’s house, on my own in the real world. I was starting to take photography a little more seriously and people were actually calling me more often for Christmas pictures, graduation, you name it. I opened a Model Mayhem account and showcased everything I had done. At the time, my portfolio was rather small and still showed that I was an amateur. A more experienced photographer by the name of Joseph Umbro contacted me and made a deal with me: If i modeled for one or two of his shoots, he would mentor me. I, 19 at the time, out of the house and stupid, decided to meet up with some random man I never had met in person before. He ended up being one of my best life experiences.
One, I was lucky that he wasn’t a serial killer. Two, Joe taught me more about photography than any course I took at my local CC. He taught me lighting, my camera functions, even let me use his lenses on some special occasions! He’s still an amazing fashion photographer and has done amazing work since I last saw him.
I took what Joe taught me to every shoot I did from then on. I started doing more boudoir shoots and fashion shoots. I would eventually be asked if I knew anyone who would do makeup and found a makeup artist I was able to partner up with. One day, my makeup artist flaked and I had to find someone last minute. I was so upset, I thought that there had to have been an easier way to get this done. So, I sat in my room one day and watched all the YouTube makeup tutorials my eyes could watch.
I found it to be fairly similar to painting. There was color theory, brush blending, color coordinating, mixing… everything I did and learned when I would paint all those years ago. I would do my own makeup as a trial and error. TRUST ME when I say trial and error. I was NOT good at my makeup right off the bat. It took me about 2 years before I finally felt confident enough to apply makeup on other people.
So finally, I decided it was time to invest in my own makeup kit. It definitely wasn’t at all what it is today and seriously wasn’t practical. I would bug my sister all the time. Makeup and photo shoots happened weekly with her until I felt I got it right. That was when I finally got asked to do someone’s makeup for a wedding. My friend Geyzza and her family were my very first bridal party, and I am forever grateful that she chose me for that moment. She is still one of my biggest supporters to this day!
So if you made it this far, thank you for taking the opportunity to get to know me. My success wasn’t easy and it didn’t happen all at once. I am STILL to this day a work in progress and I’m learning everyday. “Don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle” is what I was told, and it’s 100% true. I started from knowing nothing to being invited to Vancouver Fashion Week, getting countless bride’s ready for their special day, and being asked to photograph clothing for websites… It’s all been so surreal. If you decide to hire me for any of the services I offer, I thank you ahead of time as you’ll be part of my story.