We had the good fortune of connecting with Alex Austin and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Alex, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
I picked up a camera when I was around 11 or 12 years old because I was fascinated with Photoshop. I loved to re-create the old school Apple iPod ads where the person was in a dance pose, cut out against a vibrant-colored background. I also loved to clone myself and others in photos through Photoshop. As I entered jr. high and high school, I was drawn to portraits. I would take photos of my friends and set up photoshoots after school and on the weekends. The portraits continued throughout college, and I found myself creating very personal and meaningful work that reflected the season of life and growth I was going through during that time. Then the desire for capturing weddings started to grow, which was interesting, because I had never really been one that was fascinated with weddings or wedding photography. To be honest, I did not really understand the reason for marriage, yet the desire to learn more and photograph weddings grew. As a woman of faith, I started to seek God about His heart behind marriage. The appreciation and admiration for the union continue to grow. There is no perfect union here, but I believe that is what makes the commitment even more admirable. The messy, difficult, unexpected, surprising, maturing, beautiful union. I wanted to capture and tell those unique stories through photography.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
From the beginning of my photography process, I had picked up a camera to create, and the process of creating meaningful work is an ongoing journey. I love to photograph visual representations of internal growth, the changing and maturing of character, the concerns of the heart and mind. I have had fun incorporating those aspects in portraits that clients have wanted captured of themselves as well. I am so thankful for the friends and clients who have trusted me in taking their photographs as I seek to serve my clients well. One of the biggest challenges within the first year of owning my own business was choosing not to quit. They say the first year is the hardest and that is true, but the endurance gained through the first year and the years afterward have been worth every challenge thus far. Over the years, there have been mistakes, but not only have those mistakes taught improvement in my professional work, mistakes also taught and continue to teach me patience and grace not only toward others but toward myself as well. For anyone wanting to start their own photography business, I would encourage them to practice, practice, practice, get to know your camera well, and if you work or have worked in customer service, don’t take your experience there for granted. Despite the challenges, it is a gift to grow in customer-service and those social skills are invaluable when owning your own business.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
If my best friend came into town, I would take her to the beach, probably Leo Carrillo or El Matador beach, and we would enjoy some delicious tacos, do a little shopping, maybe go for a bike ride. We would then relax back at home for a bit and then head out again to downtown Los Angeles and listen to some smooth jazz. I love smooth jazz and during the summers, I would go downtown to take in the beautiful, relaxing music outdoors. I am pretty laid-back so my friend and I would have a relaxing day.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I would love to shine the spotlight on someone I consider a mentor and a friend, Anna Clark. Anna and I interned together at a magazine company in Los Angeles, and she graciously allowed me to join her in capturing weddings as a second photographer / assistant over the years. I have learned so much from her organization, confidence, and communication with her clients and on the job. I am inspired by her wisdom, creativity, and humility.
All images have been taken by me except the image taken of me in the red dress. My sister, Arielle Austin, took the photo. She is an artist/painter.