Currently my main photography gigs are headshot and shoots with adorable babies. As far as videography goes, I do a lot of social media promo videos for my friends business and my sketch show.
I am an Actress. Part of a Sketch comedy group called The Second Line Show. Aside from acting with the group I am the stage manager and production manager for the shows. I am also one of the creators of our promotional materials, whether it is promo photos or videos.
I have a podcast called TRILLIterate, where I am the co-creator & co-host. Our podcast focuses on pop culture, current events, and things that affect young black people and other marginalized communities. We laugh a lot, talk all, and give a lot of opinions. This is one of my favorite things to do because I plan to be a radio personality in the not too distant future.
I also call myself an Idea Woman, and what that means is I have so many ideas that I want to bring to life. A very new idea and new venture is a Web Series I created (a secret for now sssshhh!). Also I am in the process of using my ideas to venture into Creative Directing music videos, fashion videos, and photoshoots.
I also dable as a cupcake baker. I used to do this primarily 3 years ago, but I put it aside to focus on photography.
In terms of things that make me money, I work in the film industry in New Orleans as a director's assistant and a couple other jobs so I can pay bills! Ha!
WHAT STEPS DID YOU TAKE TO GET TO WHERE YOU ARE NOW?
To get where I am as a photographer I stopped baking, I started to shadow a few of my friends who I respect as photographers to learn more techniques/and get more practice. Youtube has become my teacher.
As far as acting, I saw some people doing something I knew I could be a part of and got into the group and have committed most of my time to it.
My podcast was brought to me by my co-host and I have made time for it as well. Basically I got where I am in all my side hustles, by making time for them and not sleeping.
FOR OTHER PEOPLE IN YOUR FIELD, WHAT DO THEY USUALLY LACK?
In the many things I do, I think most people lack a structure or a end goal. I realize that a lot of people do things because it seems cute, not with a goal to grow or get somewhere with the craft. I learned that I didn't have an end goal with my photography and I am on the track to make it. Guidance and structure is what a lot of people need, and as creatives we tend to forget it.
WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON RIGHT NOW?
I am working on a photography series with my beautiful lady friends and the way they express themselves with their hair. My sketch show and podcast. Developing a web series.
WHAT'S YOUR STYLE/PERSPECTIVE/TASTE? DO YOU HAVE A PROJECT THAT REPRESENTS THIS?
I am trying to develop my style. I haven't really found it yet because my photography has focused a lot on my clients needs and wants, not mine.
WE ARE ALL SLASHIES WITH MULTIPLE SKILLS, WHICH ONE DO YOU WISH YOU COULD DO MORE OFTEN?
I wish I could focus more on photography. I want to develop my skills more to be able to move into editorial/fashion photography. And doing storytelling photo series that combine my personal story and my obsession with weird movies.
WHAT IS FRUSTRATING YOU RIGHT NOW?
I don't have any money. Haha. But seriously, what frustrates me the most is not having any money to put towards the things I really want to do. I love all of the jobs that pay me, but the more I work for other people, the less time I can work for myself. My personal photo projects keep getting pushed to the bottom of the to do list, mostly because when I am not at work I am working on something for the sketch group and that is about 3-4 days out the week every month. I have so much responsibility in the group that I am always busy. Not enough hours in the day.
IF YOU COULD HIRE SOMEONE FOR $20/HOUR, WHAT WOULD YOU HAVE THEM DO TO MAKE YOUR DAY EASIER?
I would have them help me with all the editing and content creation that I do for the sketch group. As well as making sure I stick to a schedule to maximize my time so I can have time for my person projects.
LET'S BRING OUT THE TIME MACHINE. WHAT DO YOU WISH YOU COULD HAVE TOLD YOURSELF, WHEN, AND WHY?
I wish I would have told myself to budget better. When I was making more money working as a Casting Assistant 2 years ago, about 3x more than now, I should have saved up so I could invest in myself and invest in my talents. Whether that is buying a new camera, new lenses, taking classes, studio equipment or even renting a studio.
I would also tell myself to not be afraid to believe in my talents. This would have been great during my freshman year of college. I put down all of the things I loved to do because I felt insecure and intimated by other creatives around me. I mean I still do now, but I have grown to push through. I think if I would be told myself that then I would be much further along in my crafts and even in my business.
The last thing I would tell myself would be to not let other people dictate how i express myself in photography. I do not need to take everyone's picture, so what I want. and if I am gonna have clients, charge wayyyyy more. Just stop being scary Dawn, geez.
IF YOU COULD TALK TO AN EXPERT TO GAIN MORE INSIGHT ON SOMETHING, WHAT WOULD IT BE ABOUT?
I would ask for more insight on Creative Direction - this is a field that I don't really know about and how it works. I would love to know the ends and outs. How do I figure out my style? How do I portray it to clients? How do I get clients? What kind of clients do I want? How do I market myself? How much do I charge? What are the steps once you have a client?
WHAT KIND OF OPPORTUNITIES/PROJECTS ARE YOU LOOKING FOR?
I am looking for more an opportunity to work with musicians on music videos. More acting opportunities outside of my comedy show, like on screen roles. I am look for more projects that I can be in complete control of.
WHAT IS YOUR IDEAL CLIENT?
My ideal job, would be a job where I can make all of decisions. Like complete creative control. While I do love to collaborate, I sometimes have to do work where my visions don't get through or have to be compromised. I recently did this with a photoshoot of my amazing friends, Keya. I called her up and was like I want you to model for me. Meet me here and wear this. And I was in full control and the photos were exactly what I wanted. Now I just have to edit them.
WHAT IS YOUR RATE?
I don't really understand how to price myself. My usual photoshoots last 1-2 hours. So I charge $125 for 2 hours, with 3-4 set ups and they client gets to choose 3-5 photos from each set up. If It's an hour then half of that. For head shots I do hour long sessions for $70 and the client gets 5 photos. For videos I usually do the same pricing as the 2 hour photoshoots. Usually the editing is included in that price.
HOW SHOULD SOMEONE APPROACH YOU ABOUT WORKING TOGETHER?
I would possibly send an email, if it isn't someone I know. Very professional of course. If it is one of my friends, which it usually is, I send a text or call them. For instance for my Web Series the text message said, " YOLANDA! I got an idea for a show! You wanna write it?????!!! ::emoji looking eyes::" it was either that or "Do you want to be the Brad Falchuck to my Ryan Murphy." Which I might use when we decide on a production company name.
HOW DO YOU STAY CREATIVE?
You don't wannabe in a cubicle
This member profile was originally published in September 2016.