As artists, or even just creative people, we all dream of the day where we can make a living off of our passions. But what happens when your creative energy and passion are the only thing you do to make a living? Does your ability to produce your art take a hit? Well, we sat down with someone who knows a lot about just that.
Natalie Allen is a full-time freelance travel and editorial photographer and writer. She has been full-time for a while now but has continued to love what she does and produce incredible work time and time again.
(Click here to listen to the full episode! To learn even MORE about our guest, just keep reading!)
“Over time when you’re more experienced, your work starts to dramatically develop,” said Natalie. “You start to find your voice. And again, when you start sharing your personal-loved photos on the internet, people also take notice.”
Her personal love for photography and documentation stems all the way back to high school, and back then phone cameras weren’t what they are now. If you wanted good photos, you had to get a good camera.
“I just saved up for you know, a canon t3i, and it just forever changed my life,” said Natalie. “I really wanted a little extra something to just have those good memories, because I loved journaling - I loved photo albums and scrapbooks and all that other crap. I’m a sucker for that shit, so like I really just wanted to ultimately document my friends and my time in high quality.”
She posted her photos of her friends on social media, and people started to see how talented she was. When it came time for her senior year, she was on the council for her school’s theatre department as the historian, i.e. the photographer.
“People just started to take notice, and then I thought, well shoot, this is a pretty good business to run,” she said. “It just turned into something so much bigger, and I am just totally running with the wind with it now.”
She works in more than just photography now. In fact, Natalie is a licensed yoga instructor, a contributor for Fieldmag, an ambassador for United by Blue, a field scout for Hipcamp, and a freelance writer for many different blogs for companies. When she’s working on so many projects at once, one might ask how she balances her work and personal life.
“What really helps me is the film vs digital work,” she said. “So like film is my personal sort of hobby with photography that I’m kind of toying with and playing with and having some good old times with. And then the digital aspect of photography is still definitely there, and I can use that as sort of my career point. I don’t know. Finding that balance is definitely hard.”
A couple of years ago, Natalie was feeling bogged down and uninspired by her work. So she asked herself what she wanted to try. What was drawing her away? That’s when she found her love for film photography.
“It’s just something that speaks to me more,” she said. “It’s more raw, more honest. And there’s just something about getting film back.”
I think that losing your voice in your art is something that we all can relate to at one point or another (or maybe multiple points) but, like Natalie, it’s all about balance and finding what you love and chasing it.
“You know I would say last year was a really good year for me,” she said. “I had a lot of travel opportunities, whether they were entirely personal or for jobs, and I just feel like I really found my voice finally after years of doing this.”
When your art becomes your job, there are steps you can take to keep yourself sane. Just remember, people take notice when you love what you do. Or, remind yourself of what you are doing, just like Natalie does.
“Even on my travels when I shoot I try to just take as many photos as I possibly can while simultaneously living in the moment and just taking in all of the environments and sights and smells and sounds and the other senses that do come with photography that help create that image,” Natalie said.
Still want to hear more about Natalie and freelancing? Click here to listen to the full episode!
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