We had the good fortune of connecting with Bethany Reed and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Bethany, have there been any changes in how you think about work-life balance?
Having an even work-life balance is something that only recently became important to me. In school and when I landed my first full time photography job, setting up shoots was all I could think about. I was working 5 days a week and shooting personal projects every weekend. Working like this quickly burnt me out, and that is when I started taking more time for myself. When you’re just starting out that ‘hustle’ mentality is sooo strong, and as you progress and start defining your style and your goals, I think what ‘the hustle’ looks like changes for every person. Now for me, I’m still working full time, and I’ll do personal projects maybe once or twice a month. I put more care and substance into planning shoots, and only start personal projects that really mean something to me! I used to jump at any test shoot that came my way, and now I’m way more comfortable saying no.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I’ve dedicated my entire life to photography. That sounds so insane to say, but now that I can reflect back on how I got here, it’s true. Sustaining yourself as a working artist is incredibly difficult… being a woman – being a black woman – made it harder over the years for sure. Photography has always been a field dominated by white men, and even now as a full time working photographer in Los Angeles, I still don’t feel that I’m taken as seriously as my white male counterpart, even if I’m more qualified. For me, I don’t remember there being a defining moment when I overcame something in particular, it’s about celebrating the little victories along the way. Moving to CA, finishing school EVEN WHEN my college shut down while I was attending, traveling and shooting overseas, landing my first big job – all such huge victories! I would say just CONTINUING is the best thing you can do for yourself and your career. When it’s hard, when no one cares about the work you’re doing, you have to just get up the next day and do it again.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My number one all time biggest supporter is my mom! There are countless teachers and friends I have to thank for getting me to where I am, but none of that would matter without constant encouragement and support from my mom. She’s never once made me doubt my decisions to pursue photography full time, and she’s done everything she could and more to make sure I had the best supplies, the best education… the best of everything I could to set me up for success.