We had the good fortune of connecting with Brady Stuart and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Brady, what’s your definition for success?
Success means being happy. To me, that is working hard to create the time to do the things I love with the people I love and attempt to do everything in moderation.
Sure, having lots of money would be nice, but that’s not everything to me.
Having a lot of cool things sounds great, but if I don’t have the time or space to use all of them, what’s the point?
Going on trips across the country every weekend would be incredible, but when do I get to spend time with my family?
If I have enough money to pay my bills, put food on the table, take care of my health, spend some quality time with my friends, family, and girlfriend, and adventure to new places every once in a while (and of course take photos at every single stop on the way), I truly feel that’s all I need to be happy.
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.
Well, my name is Brady J Stuart and I am a photographer. However… that’s not what I do for my career.
I am currently an Assistant Equipment Manager for the Los Angeles Lakers. I’ve worked for them for 2 seasons now (just about to finish up the second). I do own a Lakers 2020 Championship ring – that’s pretty awesome.
I went to College at UC Davis (Go Ags baby!) and played on the football team as a placekicker. I had a pretty solid career there, but I knew deep down that I didn’t have it in me to go to the NFL – I wanted to start working and maybe take some photos along the way.
Come Summer 2020 during the pandemic, it was still a bit slower with the the Lakers and I had some time to put together my small, but growing portfolio. I did that in hopes to sell a few prints and maybe make more than 100 bucks by the end of the year on prints alone. It was something I had never really done before so I wanted to make a goal that was achievable.
November 1st, I released my website, www.bradyjstuart.com, and before Christmas I had sold over $150.00 of prints! I was pretty stoked about that and told myself to remember that feeling, to remember those first sales. It wasn’t a lot of money but it meant a lot to me.
My biggest challenge now is finding time to take photos because work has me pretty busy. I love my current situation, though. I have a great job, with great coworkers, in a great environment. Because of that, though, I have learned to take any opportunity I can get to grab some photos. If I keep waiting for more time to take photos, I will never take photos. It will never be the right moment if I keep waiting for the right moment.
Another struggle I have is finding my style and sticking with it. I find that I like to try new techniques in editing and new techniques in taking photos, which has helped me learn so much along the way, but I don’t feel like I’ve hit “my style” just yet. However, I do love to show photos of people doing things in a big open space to show how small we really are out here in the world. I love to show that just having a person in the photo can change the entire meaning of a photo that could have just been a landscape photo or a cool shot at the beach.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I am going to push it to a Three Day Weekend in LA because I feel like I’ve done that a lot and it’s been so fun every time.
Friday: Probably pick up from LAX. A little trick there is to pick up from Departures… way less traffic, so much less time getting honked at. I would immediately head to Fantastic Cafe for some breakfast burritos and then I would head Palos Verdes to surf for a couple hours and take photos in the water of my buddy surfing. After cleaning up there, showering, we’d head to the hermosa pier and have some drinks to finish off the day.
Saturday: Again, I would start the day off with another Breakfast Burrito. My pick would be @lowkey_burritos, a pop up burrito tent that covers their burrito in a crusted, cheesy tortilla. Then I would head back to El Segundo. I would take my friend to the local restaurants and breweries (shoutout to El Segundo Brewery).
Sunday: Of course, you guessed it – head to Phanny’s in Redondo Beach for another breakfast burrito.
I’d then take my buddy to the Venice Skate Park here in Venice, CA. Action sports are what I feel most aligned with when I am taking sports photos – I feel that they bring in a type of creativity and art into their sport. Spend the time near the skate park, then spend the day in Santa Monica taking photos of the people that walk through the area.
I feel between those three places + getting those photos + eating the breakfast burritos would give my buddy a pretty good idea of what we do for fun around here.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Wow – a lot to talk about here.
I have to give a lot of my credit to my family – I have four older brothers and an older sister, all different yet so similar in many ways.
My Mom and Dad are the backbone of this family. They’ve taught us to work hard, cheer on others when they succeed, and never quit.
>Taryn – “the oldest sibling” and “the only girl” and “our favorite sister”- has shown me to work my ass off and how significant a building connections with someone is. If you show someone you admire how hard you can work, and ask them genuine questions along the way, they will most likely help you along the way. Again, “that all starts with showing that you’re the hardest worker in the room.”
>Brandon – “the oldest brother” – introduced me to Aaron Draplin, who has said time and time again to keep creating more “things.” It doesn’t matter what it is – for your own good or for someone else, for work or for fun, for money or for free… just create more. Something you create will click and land with someone willing to pay for that and through that you will create more of what you love. What’s the worst that can happen? Oh darn, you created something new and awesome….
Brandon also told me “Don’t worry until it happens.” Something so simple yet so difficult. We all tend to worry about things that may not even happen… I try to remind myself of that quote often.
>Derek – “the middle child” – has showed me that making something incredible takes time and patience, it doesn’t happen overnight. He builds furniture out of wood and takes his time making the perfect piece. Not only does the physical building of the furniture take patience, that involves your customers as well.
In my work – I don’t just take the photos, edit, send over my work, and it’s all done. That’s just not how it is. The customer usually comes back with a few requests, even some things that they want changed that I spent a lot of time on. That’s OK! That’s where patience is something special.
>Blake – “the other middle child” – has showed me to bring more color in my life, try to help not just when you’re asked, but when you’re needed, and to never give up. In three years, Blake lost two of his best friends, went through a tough breakup, made a pretty big career change, and was rushed to move out of Culver City because of changes being done to the apartment building. Not once did I ever see or hear him talk about giving up and he’d always check in on us as if we were the ones experiencing what he was going through. I mention the color part because you’ll never seer this guy wearing just black and white – he always includes some sort of bright colors into his funny outfits.
>Shane – “the bottom middle child” – gave me a piece of advice in high school that has always stuck with me to keep things simple. I was going through a tough time at school and he asked me a simple question. “Put yourself in your best friend’s shoes who knows your current situation. What advice would you, as the best friend, be giving about this situation”
This could be said very many different ways but whenever I struggle with something, I put it simply – “What would my best friend tell me to do right now?”
I think the secret to us maintaining this bond is the lack of competition within each other. We are there for each other when we fail and we are there for each other when we succeed.
Also, thanks to my girlfriend Amanda, who continues to support me in every single thing I try to do. The amount of times I’ve walked into the room with a new idea that’s “going to change the world” and she has to act like she agrees….
I’d also like to thank Chris Orwig (@chrisorwig), a portrait photographer that I was able to connect with through one of the Adobe MAX 2020 sessions. He really pushed me to get in front of people and challenged me to ask those people to take portraits of them. It’s something I can’t seem to figure out, I am still so uncomfortable asking to take a portrait of someone, but Chris motivated me to give it a shot. I am 3 for 4 on portrait sessions just by asking to take some photos of the people. Like Chris said, “the worst that will happen is what you already think will happen…they will just say no.”
There are so many more people I would like to thank to get me to this point… my family is just a start.
All photos taken by Brady Stuart