Raise your hand if you need help elevating your photography and aesthetic! SC has you covered because today we are sitting down and chatting with Arielle Levy, a professional photographer in the San Diego area, to chat about her fearless career change and how she got into photography, the camera she uses, iPhone photo hacks, photography do’s and don’t’s as a blogger, how to find a photographer in your area, and why a shot list is critical for success. Enjoy and let us know if you have any questions below!
Introduce yourself! Who are you, how long have you been a photographer, and how did you get into this profession?
Hi! My name is Arielle Levy, I’ve been a photographer for about 3 and a half years now and I work primarily with female bloggers and influencers. One day I was bored at work, at my old full-time job as VIP attendant in a high limit room in a Casino. I always thought about that phrase successful people always say “do what you love”. Photography was the only thing I enjoyed, even though I hadn’t touched a camera in 3 years- I just knew it was what I was meant to do. I started shooting families and friends from work, that expanded to people I met online through Instagram. About 10 months in, I started shooting for a local magazine for free and they set me up to shoot a feature on a blogger- it’s history from there.
What is your favorite part about your job?
My favorite part of my job is that I truly work with smart business women all day. Shooting bloggers calls for weekly photo shoots. I see my clients every week, sometimes multiple times a week, and my clients have also become my friends!
Tell us a funny BTS story from a photoshoot.
One of my clients, and also one of the lovely friends Lisa Allen, brought her daughter to our shoot. Her daughter was hangry, so naturally, I told her to bring a snack to the next shoot. Next shoot, she brought a full packed lunch and gave me a lunch box haul for instagram stories and fastened her lunch box, got up, and it flew everywhere on the ground. Maybe you had to be there! LOL!
What is your camera of choice?
I use the Canon 5d Mark iii camera, I learned on a Canon so I just went with it! I am not a camera or gear snob whatsoever!
What are your iPhone tips and tricks for winging it on the go?
Always clean your camera lens first! Second, make sure the phone is exposing correctly. To make brighter or darker, you can tap the screen when the sun symbol shows up and drag up or down for exposure! A low angle can give a professional camera look for iPhone photos. So much can be done with editing so I wouldn’t worry too much about taking the shot, but getting a great location/pose.
Favorite photo editing apps for your computer? Phone?
On the computer I always load my photos into Lightroom, select and base edit there and then take the photo into Photoshop to work on any details (dirt on the ground, lint, stray hair, blemish, ect.). On the phone, these are all the apps I use: Lightroom, Darkroom, VSCO, A Color Story, Snapped, Afterlight, Facetune, KD Pro, and Lomograph.
Your biggest pet peeve when it comes to photos.
I’m going to just say it- that heavy orange filter that bloggers are using and just turns everything orange! It’s easy to have your feed match perfect when everything is orange but doesn’t mean that it’s nice to look at. Brands are now putting in contracts that they want bloggers to submit “true to color” images.
Top 3 tips for bloggers who want to elevate their aesthetic with photography.
- Spend the extra 10 minutes to learn how to color correct and edit your photos. Something so simple as whitening a yellow ground can make your photo that much beautiful- take extra time and see where that leads!
- Mood boards and saving inspiration can help you stick to one aesthetic when you are drawing inspiration!
- Be yourself and don’t copy or recreate other’s images! You can only elevate when you’re being your authentic self- in my opinion!
How do your clients find you?
At this point, I think I would say it’s 95% Instagram and 5% word of mouth, which I feel like can be considered the same category at this point in the world!
How would you recommend that bloggers find photographers in their area to work with?
An easy way to find someone in your area is to search on hashtags! For example, if you live in San Diego you can search through: #sandiegophotographer, #sdphoto, #sandiegophoto, ect- you can substitute the city you live in. You can also use google, or ask your community online on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, ect. You can also search for bloggers in your city, and see which photographers they work with.
What is your process when working with bloggers for shoots?
Every blogger is different, they either have a team or are proudly running solo, and a different workflow. An example is: I will get a text or email from the blogger or their assistant requesting shoot, we schedule, and sometimes the day before I will get a shot list, depending on the client. The shot list is usually a list of campaigns, more so they can stay organized visually. The day of the shoot, we shoot and within 1-2 days I will send their proofs, they select which photos I edit based on how long we shot. Then I edit the photos within 3-7 days. Some clients let me pick which photos to edit- everyone is different!
How important is a shot list and why does someone need this?
Shot lists are very important, especially with new clients! I always ask which way the client prefers their photos shot as well (Horizontal or Vertical). With my regular clients, we don’t make specific shot lists, since I really know what they are looking for, but we will make campaign lists to make sure we get each one completed. I love to make a shot list with new clients to ensure I know what they are looking to get out of the shoot. It’s a great way to see what your client is looking for and that they receive what they want from the shoot.
Where can we find you?