We had the good fortune of connecting with Los Angeles newborn photographer Ariel Cannon, and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ariel , how has your pespective on work-life balance evolved over time?
Every time I hear the words “work life balance” I want to run and hide behind something. I don’t think I’ve actually achieved a work life balance. I’m definitely not one of those women who get up at 5 am to exercise and respond to emails, then get the kids ready for school and then move on to some genius schedule that reduces distraction and increases productivity. I tried bullet journaling once… it didn’t work out. Don’t get me wrong, I’m plenty organized…. but I still tend to work on a triage system. Whatever is most pressing is what I do first. Sometimes that’s calling a client and sometimes it’s grocery shopping, and (rarely) it’s going to the gym. While I may not ever have achieved a consistent-looking work life balance I do think my attitude towards it has evolved. I used to feel guilty no matter what I was doing. If I was working, I felt guilty for neglecting my kids. if I was with my kids, I felt guilty for neglecting my business. In the last couple of years (as I’ve been able to look back farther and farther on my business) I’ve accepted the way it is. Whatever or whoever needs me most gets me. It may not be the most efficient way of doing things, but it’s the way that works for me right now. As a side note, I’ve been particularly glad of this approach during the Covid quarantine. My business has naturally taken a back seat for now (I can’t photograph newborns at the moment) and my kids have needed me more than usual. My work life ratio looks completely different than it did a few weeks ago, but my triage system is working out pretty well!
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I’ve been a photographer since college and have been working as a full-time professional since 2013. It’s definitely been a long journey. I think the longest stretch was before I actually started my business; it took many years for me to be okay with the idea of making money doing something I love. Since I actually started the business it’s truly been a labor of love. Making portraits that I’m proud of has been the easy part and learning to develop and run my own business has been the steeper curve. But I’ve been surprised with how much I’ve enjoyed the business side of things. I think the thing that has helped me the most in developing a strong business and a healthy client base has been to find my niche. They say the more specific your offering the more successful you’ll be and I’ve definitely found that to be true. In the past few years I’ve moved way from family portraits (though I still do them!) and focused much more on my maternity and newborn work. My newborn work is different from a lot of what’s out there. I don’t use any props or cutesy outfits and my posing is very natural. I describe my work as minimalist, simple and timeless. It’s not at all what most people would picture when they hear the words “newborn photography”. I didn’t start out trying to be different or buck the trend. I simply started making newborn photographs in the style that I, as a mother, would want. Luckily for me, it turns out there a lot of like-minded women out there!
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
This is a tough one! I think one of the best things about Los Angeles is how different one part can feel from another. My list is a little eclectic, but so is LA! These are the places that have made an impression on me… mostly places I’ve visited with out of town friends or when we first arrived here 20 years ago… They are all places I want to go back to!
Time Travel Mart (826LA is an incredible organization and this is such a fun place to visit with kids): https://timetravelmart.com/
Galco’s (for some obscure soda and a good jumping off point for exploring Highland Park.): https://www.google.com/search?q=Galco%27s&oq=Galco%27s+&aqs=chrome..69i57j0l7.1225j0j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8
The LA Arboretum to see the peacocks (and all the gorgeous trees and flowers too) and then a meal at Lucious Dumplings, which is waaaaaaaaaay better than Din Tai Fung, atlhough Din Tai Fung is delish! https://www.arboretum.org/ https://www.lusciousdumplings.com/
If I have active friends in town my favorite thing to do is explore LA’s hidden staircases. Really fun to hunt for and great way to tone your gluts! https://www.discoverlosangeles.com/things-to-do/discover-the-hidden-stairs-of-los-angeles
If you have kids… Bob Baker Marionette’s: http://www.bobbakermarionettetheater.com/
Definitely take the train to Little Tokyo. My fave places there: https://www.daikoku-ten.com/ https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g32655-d819587-Reviews-Sushi_Go_55-Los_Angeles_California.html https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mikawaya
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Absolutely! All of our accomplishments are built on the backs of others! I have been particularly inspired by Click Pro, which is a wonderful group of female professional photographers. Click Pro is an incredible network of talented, ambitious women who are pushing the boundaries of artistic growth and business development.
My headshot: Erica Montgomery Photography All other photographs: Ariel Cannon Photography