Aminda Villa, independent photographer, traveler, and tattooed badass, first got into photography in 2010 when her younger sister needed graduation portraits. “The images we created were absolutely terrible, but that’s when I realized I wanted to be a photographer.” Early on, she continued to shoot while still working a day job. She worked at a computer consulting firm from 9-5, watched YouTube Videos on how to use Photoshop 5-9, and shot portraits and assisted established wedding photographers on the weekends. “I never slept!” Eventually she started booking more gigs than she had time for, “It’s not as glamorous as it sounds - yes, I was getting better at my craft but I was only booking more because I was charging, like, $50 per shoot.”
“I never got to the point where I felt ‘ready’ to quit my day job… honestly, I just reached this point where I was so, so, SO obsessed with photography that I had lost all interest in fixing computers - so much so that I couldn’t concentrate at work. I couldn’t take it anymore, so I put in my notice. Two weeks later I was on a flight to London to photograph for any modeling agencies that would give me a chance.” That was over five years ago, and since then she’s turned her enthusiasm, creativity, and passion into a thriving independent business, and learned some vital lessons along the way.
1. Don’t be jealous of your peers
At the very beginning, I was extremely jealous of other photographers. BIG mistake. This was so crippling and just straight up a side effect of being insecure in my own work. I had friends who were new to the photog game as well, and while we all wanted to support each other by doing things like sharing tips and tricks, sending excess work to each other, we hesitated. I felt stings of fear/jealousy every time I saw a colleague have success, because I thought their success meant one less job for me. This is the literal opposite of the way it should be and I am happy to say this phase didn’t last long. I now have a solid group of BFF photogs and we support each other (all the way down to literally texting each other links to photography competitions that we can all enter, essentially competing against each other!). I 100% would not be here today without them. You need a supportive community.