We had the good fortune of connecting with Debbie-jean Lemonte and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Debbie-jean, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
I honestly didn’t have a thorough process. I knew I didn’t work well working FOR others. I work better WITH others. I also wasn’t the type to enjoy a traditional 9-5 behind a desk. Seeing that I was making more doing what I loved (photography and social media) than my 9-5, it made sense to just make that jump.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I honestly ended up doing photography by mistake (haha!). It started with curiosity during a past relationship with an aspiring photographer. When it ended, I still had their camera and decided to keep photographing friends and family. Eventually, I had to give the camera back and my BFF (at the time) bought me my first camera… Canon T3i with kit lens and baby, I milked every opportunity to use it and expand my understanding of photography. As my work grew, so did my network, and my creativity.
I remember there were moments I had to choose between photography and paying my bills. Once, I sold my brand new camera back to the camera store so I could make rent and rented a camera for the next 6 months to keep photographing events and people. I remember doing Net-60/net-90 day corporate events and eating Ramen noodles for weeks waiting on checks. I was that committed to keep on going. I was committed to my craft even if no one understood. Of course, now you know better, you do better.
I love photography because of the ability to capture someone’s essence in a moment or to take a snapshot of a feeling and it still gives you chills 10 years later. I’ve learned that not every other creative is your enemy. There’s enough for all of us to eat. I’ve learned that each session is different and will require you to tap into different parts of yourself to bring to life an amazingly creative idea that evokes emotion and thought. I’ve learned that you can always see things differently if you take a step back or take a step to the side. I’ve learned to manage my finances and plan ahead. I’ve learn to think on feet while also being able to plan for the most unexpected circumstances.
If anything, my story simply shares keep being persistent while pushing your creative boundaries and circles by learning and expanding. Nothing is final, but every moment is important.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I am a foodie so you’d be eating a lot of good food. I don’t party much so my recommendations will be all food-related or explorative exceptions such as the local museum.
First stop: Fire and Oak – Jersey City, NJ
Second stop: Flex Mussels – New York City, NY
Third stop: Sunday in Brooklyn, New York City, NY
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I’d love to dedicate my shoutout to Amy Anaiz who’s my mentor, friend, and AKA Momma (as I call her). Being her assistant and her Associate has allowed me the opportunities and experiences to grow as a creative and human being. I’m forever grateful for that connection!
Credits to DAG IMAGES