• Janet Garcia Trujillo

Why I Became a Quinceañera Photographer

Did you ever used one of those film cameras? Remember when you had to roll the film before you had take another picture? Do you know what I'm talking about?


I remember going to Walgreens or the nearest gas station to buy film rolls every time we went on a road trip, family and I. And we had to be careful when we take to take that roll out of the camera. My parents will collect five rolls before getting the film develop.


When digital cameras came out, my dad got a small Sony camera. It took a while for us to figure out how to take pictures with it, but we figured it out. And around the same time, he also got a small Sony tape recorder. Okay, I might not remember very well which camera we got first, but I do remember using both at the same time. One thing I do remember is that I was the only one how knew how to export the photos and how used to connect the tape recorder to the tv.


The First Time I Filmed a Quinceañera

I was thirteen years old when found out how good I was with a camera. And I knew when I filmed a quinceañera. It wasn't through photography but through videography.


My cousin was celebrating her quince and I took both cameras with me to the ceremony. I spend the entire party following my cousin with my little handheld camera. I was literally right behind the photographers and videographer the entire time! I captured my cousin taking pictures with all of our family, I filmed the reception and the guest, I capture her dancing her valz and baile sorpresa, and little of el baile. Was it the best? No, it's a bit shaky and it's not high quality.


However, during el recalentado, I plugged the camera to my tia's TV and we all watched it - my parents, my tia's, and cousins. I was biting my nails and crinching while we were all watching it, but at the same time I was excited to watch how I did. I did zoom in a lot and I was moving the camera a lot! When we were done watching the video, one of my tia's said I did a great job! She liked how I focused on each chambelan during el valz and baile sopresa and how I showed every guest, including focusing on my cousin, the quinceañera.


And after my cousin got her video from the professional videographer, she and my tia told me that I did a better job. Me! I was thirteen! Crazy, huh?!


Learning How To Use a Camera

After everyone in my family telling me that I did a great job filming my cousin's quinceañera, I search for careers that involved using a camera. (It was my mom's idea.) I went from photo-journalist, wildlife photographer, fashion photographer, magazine photographer (national geographic), to film still photographer, which lead to cinematographer. Basically, I looked into every photography and videography careers. But if I wanted to follow any of those careers, I need to learn how to use a DSLR camera.


So, in high school I join the film program. That is where I learn the math that's behind photography, how to take pictures and how to change a lens. High school is where I learned the basics. Then, I went to film school. Film school is where I learn about videography.


Can I let you in a little secret? Don't tell anyone, but I learned more about photography and videography AFTER film school. A year after I graduated with my Bachelor's, I bought an online course where I learned (and still learning) how to be a filmmaker. That's where I learn everything about equipment, how to purchase the right equipment, and how to use it. This program even covers how to become a fulltime filmmaker. I wished I knew about this program before I went to film school.


What to know the trick on how to use a camera - PRACTICE! Creating content and practicing photography/video. (Thinking of doing a photography challenge soon)


Turning My Photography Hobby Into a Business


So, why did I become a quinceañera photographer. Well, during college, my mom told me to start photographing quinceañeras. It's of my culture, it's a tradition I know, and a tradition I love! When my mom told me this, I had already photograph another cousin's quinceañera. And I loved doing it. So, since 2016, I had this little hobby. And I call it a hobby because that how I treated it. I didn't talk about my photography and I wasn't showcasing any of my work.


It wasn't until last year, 2018, that I wanted to become my life - a source of revenue. "Do what you love and you'll never work a day in you life." Well, you skill have to do the work. A LOT OF WORK. After spending two years of wasting and spending money in the wrong places, I started to ask the right questions.


Questions like:

1. How to market myself?

2. How to invest in a business?

3. How to use YouTube to built a business?

4. What's a niche?

5. How to use social media for photography?


These were the first set of basic questions I had when I made the decision to treat my photography like a business. From those questions, I found mentors, programs and more questions. So, this photography business I'm doing is just starting. I'm learning how to crawl right now.


I'm learning how to market on sociall media, how to invest in myself, and how to sell.


Can't wait to see where I take this photography business to. Don't really have a clear idea where I want to end up, but it does include photography and video.


What's Next?

As I'm finding my place and voice in this creative community, I'm going to document it right here. This blog is going to be the place where I'm going to share my experience, my photography work and, very soon, my videography work. Plus, I'll be sharing most it with you on Instagram and Facebook.


Make sure you become a member of my blog - you'll be the first to read every blog post, view my latest photography/video work and get bonuses that might come in the future, like FREE photo-shoots.


Love, Janet!


Personal Note from the Author: When I started this business, I didn't have the patience, no clue where to start or where to focus. But the one thing I did have was my family's support. In the beginning, I got client by word of mouth, thanks to my parents and tios. They are always asking how my photography business is going and when my next quinceañera/photo-session is. I might not have a quinceañera every month or a session very weekend, but I'm getting there. That's the goal.


I can tell you that my family's support means everything for me. And when I say family, that include all of my cousins and tios. I wouldn't be where I am without them.

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