This past May, I came across a job opportunity at Portland Leather Goods as an in-house studio product photographer. It was the only photographer job I've ever found that was not 1) LifeTouch, 2) grade-school yearbook photography, 3) a wedding company underpaying their employees, or 4) companies like LifeTouch (aka the cheesy 90's-style glam studios).
Essentially, you'd be working in the warehouse where all the creativity and production happens, and you'd photograph all of the products for the website using natural light and smiling people. They weren't looking for the moody, hipster photography. It was the first time I could even see myself applying for a professional photography job -- job, not gig (big difference).
Long story short: I went in person to give my resume, was surprised to have had interviews on the spot, got put through 3 trials, and got hired! It was a full month process and I'm thankful to have been hired out of hundreds who applied. There are so many talented people out there, but I'm thankful that despite my age and inexperience, the team took me in because they enjoyed working with me and my personality and saw a lot of potential during my trials.
So, here I am one month into working at Portland Leather Goods.
So far, I've seen HUGE progress between my working trial vs. my work now. I'm learning the vision and learning more and more every day how to work with each product, each leather, each angle. Starting, I was extremely slow at Lightroom, but I'm about 10x faster than I was. I'm also learning more about business and marketing, and how to analyze it all to see what's best to focus on or improve on -- basically, everything I'm learning are practical things that will help me in the long run of my career as a freelance photographer.
That's another great thing: the team is extremely understanding of being a freelancer. My schedule is flexible -- if I need to do a wedding, taking a day off or switching days is extremely easy. I can also come in any time I want and leave any time I want, any day, which is a step up from having a strict coffeeshop schedule.
The best part, though, is that the giant daylight studio in the space, starting August, is available for me to use whenever I want for personal shoots. Amazing. There's a huge world of possibility that opened with that perk; it's a space I can invite other artists and visuals and makers to create with me! I can't wait to see what will come from all of that.
Either way, I'm really excited and thankful to have this job. It truly is a blessing to have been able to step into a career in photography so fast -- especially into a job that will fuel my freelancing as a wedding photographer.
Cheers to this new season!