We had the good fortune of connecting with Ella Sophie and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Ella, how has your perspective on work-life balance evolved over time?
As a freelance artist there is this little voice in my head that tells me to hustle nonstop. But I’ve learned over the years to tell that internal voice not to be afraid. I have to remind myself that there is a constant ebb and flow to the workload. Some months are booked solid – overbooked if I let that voice get the best of me. And some months are slow. Being able to create an existence with work life balance is a privilege that I wish more freelancers would embrace. Of course we have bills to pay, but if you burn yourself out you won’t be able to do anything well.

For years I pushed myself as hard as I could. I took any gig I could get my hands on. For months my schedule was getting up at 6am, squeezing in a workout and answering emails from the treadmill. Taking college classes and photographing events at night, not getting home until 2 or 3 in the morning. On days that I didn’t have a full class schedule I took headshots, product photography gigs, and a fair amount of projects for exposure (insert eye roll here). After college I took a part time job at Trunk Archive in NYC and continued the hustle of freelance. Even when my client list grew enough that I could be freelance full time I still felt that fear of failing. So I continued to push myself nonstop. Eventually my physical and mental health started to suffer and I had to take a break.

After a lot of deep soul searching I started my freelance photography career over. I moved to California from NYC and stuck to my plan. I decided to focus my work on the things I was most motivated by and best at. For me that means creating images that empower women; through advertising and portrait work. Because of my tendency to be a workaholic I scheduled in work life balance. Deciding not to work on weekends seemed revolutionary to me. Sometimes I saw someone else shooting a project on a weekend that little voice in my head would tell me I was missing opportunities. But I told that voice to shut up and chill. Taking weekends as me time is so important for both my physical and mental health. And despite what hustle culture tells us it hasn’t affected my bottom line negatively. I’ve also learned to work in breaks during the day. Thanks to my rescue dog I get out and walk daily.

The most important thing that I’ve come to learn about work life balance is that having a healthy balance will make your work more successful and enjoyable. By taking time off to recharge I am able to give my clients my best self. Taking time to smell the flowers (literally) gives my brain the serotonin boost I need to be creative. I think as a freelancer you have to learn to ride the waves of work. Sometimes it’s hectic and full and you can throw yourself into it fully knowing that in a couple weeks you will have a few days to focus on self care. Just don’t get caught up in a rip currant that tells you to never stop. Because rest is what makes the work days fun.

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.
I am a full time freelance photographer. My work focuses on creating images that empower women. I do that through commercial advertising photography – including product photography, stop motion, and portraits. I have a background in fine art and work from a mission based center. Always getting back to my why as a creator. Working with organizations and brands that want to highlight the beauty, diversity and strength of women is so invigorating to me. Sometimes I have to pinch myself that I actually get to do this work.

In the early days of my career I wasn’t in a position to be selective about my client base. I just had to earn enough to make rent. I hustled like crazy. Taking any gig I could get my hands on. Anytime I hated a gig I would make sure to learn as much from it as possible. And whenever I created work that I was proud of I made sure to put that front and center – on my website and social media. It took years of hard work and persistence to get to the place I’m in today. Looking back I’m really proud of how I pushed through the unknown.

Without any guidance everything felt like an experiment. But each experience expanded my knowledge and understanding of the world. I do wish I had done a little more assisting in my early days. I think that might have helped me skip some of the hard lessons I had to learn on the fly. But there is really no one right path to follow in the creative industry.

So here I am, creating photographs to inspire the world around me to be confident. To embrace beauty, strength and resilience. As a photographer I bring so much more to the table than photography alone. My experiences in advertising, fashion, graphic design, painting and even gardening all play into the work I create. That is what I love about working as a photographer.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I’ve love to shoutout Focus on Women, their weekly conversations, podcast and community have been so valuable to me. And APA, which has been such an important organization for me.

https://www.focusonwomen.org/
https://apanational.org/

Website: https://ellasophiephoto.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ellasophiephotographer/

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ellasophie/

Other: https://www.behance.net/ellasophie

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutLA is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.