Artist of the Month – Melissa Rey
We are back to reveal our new Artist of the Month in September. It is the wonderful Melissa Rey from Montana, USA. She is a very active member in our LOOKSLIKEFILM Facebook group and you can be sure that every single time she posts in our group – her image will get that “Choo Choo”! You kind of feel stuck in a wedding photography routine and have got the feeling that you are running out of ideas? Well, you should take your time then and read the following interview with Melissa. Shooting weddings in a creative and unique way are her specialty.
How old are you and where are you from?
I am 27 year old and am from Grass Range, Montana but currently living in Los Angeles.
Tell us a little bit about your life at the moment?
I am a wife, mama to two under two and a full-time wedding photographer. On rare days I feel like super mom if I have gotten both kids to nap and 20 pictures edited from last weekends wedding. Finding that “balance” between life and work has been one of my hardest struggles this year but, I am always determined to make it work.
I don’t think there is such a thing as a perfectly balanced life when you are a business owner and a mama. You simply just do what you have to do and try to spend your time wisely. One other thing I love doing is meeting new photographers in this industry, mentoring on different editing techniques and not giving a damn about what others think in the process.
How did you end up being a photographer?
I remember when I was ten years old, the teacher asked us to draw a picture of who we wanted to be when we grew up and I drew a stick figure with a camera around my neck. I wanted to be a photographer. I would save my weekly allowances for the $5 disposable cameras and would get so excited to get the film developed. Along the way from there to college though, I was told I could never make a living off of being a photographer so, I went to school to become a Surgical Technologist.
I also did some modeling while in college and was always way more intrigued by what the photographer was doing and the process of composing an image over being in front of the camera. I remember one of the photographers showing me the back end of his Canon mark iii camera and it all looked like a foreign language but, was so magical. I had so many questions running through my mind. What the heck was f stop? What is shutter speed? I even remember not knowing what the mm numbers meant and thought I needed every single lens in the world to capture different images. More vividly, I also remember reaching out to anyone and everyone I knew that was a photographer asking for tips on how to get started and very rarely would anyone respond.
This is probably why I enjoy helping other photographers so much because I remember that feeling of confusion and not having help. I bought a journal and Youtube’d every single question and ran around taking pictures of cups on tables and random leaves on the ground just to gain knowledge and begin to understand the fundamentals of the camera. I just so badly wanted to become a successful photographer and that is why I put in so much work and time to get to where I am today as a photographer.
I owe my career to my babies though, if it wasn’t for me getting pregnant and having the ability to quit my job as a Labor and Delivery Tech to stay at home with them, I wouldn’t have ventured into seeing how this whole thing could actually be a thriving business.
Where do you see yourself in 20 years?
Hopefully sipping margaritas on a beach somewhere with all of my debt paid off and me still enjoying the art of composing images.
What gear are you currently using?
I have two Canon Mark IV camera bodies and for camera lenses I have the 85 mm, 24-70 mm, 45 mm tilt shift.
What advice would you give out to a new starting photographer?
To find a community of other supportive like-minded photographers. Since joining LLF and other pods I have found my support group and we all refer jobs to each other and are there for each other when we feel like we just want to give up.
Did the LLF community change the way you see or shoot weddings, couples etc.?
Heck yeah, I’m consistently inspired by what is posted in there. It also opened up doors to me meeting some of my closest friends in the industry as well.
What plans do you have for the rest of 2018?
My plan after this month is to enjoy my offseason and dive further into fine art photography and start selling prints!