We had the good fortune of connecting with Danielle Spires and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Danielle, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
As a fairly risk-adverse person, I’ve had to pick and choose what types of risks I’m willing to take. It was important to me to weigh what I’m willing to give up against potential outcome. I grew up with a considerable amount of health complications, so my priority in life has been to keep my insurance intact, and have a guaranteed income. When I started my freelance photography business, I knew I’d eventually have to decide if I wanted to keep my day job (also the pandemic decided that for me). I chose to keep it until I felt very comfortable, and could afford really great insurance on my own. I’m definitely still juggling a day job as a photo editor and producer that provides me with insurance and working nights and weekends as a freelance photographer. The biggest risk I’ve taken so far is to rent a photo studio. My overhead is high, so I know every month I need to book a certain amount of people to offset this overhead. It lights a fire under my ass to promote and market, reach out to people and form connections with brands.
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.
It has definitely been a challenging path to get where I am today. When I was younger and dealing with fairly serious health issues, I had to juggle school, work and continuous hospitalizations. I was constantly having to quit school and jobs to recover from surgeries, and this set me back years compared to my peers. But even when I was recovering, I found ways to work or shoot photos. What I learned is that life is not fair, and I can’t be angry about it, I just need to find a way to make it work for me, and to find some happiness along the way. So I did. It was hard, and continues to be hard work, but I found a way to carve a path for myself as an artist against all odds.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I love Los Angeles so much and I get really excited to take people to my favorite places here. I live close to the Griffith Park Observatory, so of course we’d go there! I always have a list of restaurants to visit depending on their tastes. I’ll list of my favorites: Petit Trois, Leo’s Tacos, Musso and Franks, Din Tai Fung, Dan Sung Sa, Kazu Nori, Milpa Grille, Guisados and Daikokuya just to name a few. Maybe we’d stop into Button Mash to play some arcade games and eat some Dan Dan noodles or go to Little Tokyo for ramen at Shin Sen Gumi. If we wanted to get out of town for two days, I’d drive to Idyllwild and rent a cabin. The highlight of Idyllwild is meeting Mayor Max (he’s a dog). There’s also a ton of beautiful hikes in Los Angeles, and even a walk through DTLA can be interesting. There’s so many great places within driving distance, we may decide to go to Palm Springs or Joshua Tree for a day or two. The rest of the time I’d be spending getting drinks at the near endless amount of great bars here.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I’m lucky to have an incredibly encouraging partner and friend group. Most of my friends have hired me for work or recommended me for jobs and that’s made all the difference in my career path. I’m also indebted to my friends at Sony who consistently recommend me for work. I want to name them all, but I’m afraid I’d leave some people out. Thank you to all my friends, you all have pushed me to attain my dreams!