We had the good fortune of connecting with Stacey Lamb and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Stacey, have there been any changes in how you think about work-life balance?
Work life balance is a tricky thing that took me a long time to understand. To be honest, I’m still learning but it has gotten easier as I’ve grown older. I now have a clearer understanding of my values and the things that matter to me. When I was young and at the beginning of my career, photography was my everything. I would shoot any free moment I had and said yes to every opportunity. I just can’t function like that any more. I still suffer from an occasional burn out, but I’m getting better at understanding how much time I need to put aside for self care and the things I love outside of my job. I also know which opportunities truly serve me. Just because I can do something, doesn’t mean I want to or that I should. Saying no is hard as a freelancer. We don’t always know when the next job will come, so it’s easy to have a scarcity mindset and just say yes without thinking. If I say yes to something I don’t really want to do, I can feel it in my gut –it doesn’t sit well and fills me with dread. I have to remind myself that I’m a human being, not just a machine that clicks a button. My time is valuable, especially that spent with myself or my loved ones. Taking time to pursue the things I love outside of my job allows me to show up to shoots with a more positive mindset. In the end, I produce better work when I am happier. The two really do go hand in hand. I’m an active person and I love the outdoors, so I’m trying to spend more time biking, surfing, hiking, etc. Even if all I can manage is a quick 30 minute bike ride to the beach for sunset, it’s always worth it. A healthy work life balance is something to strive for every single day.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I’m a fashion and portrait photographer based in Santa Monica, California. My work is soft and natural, with pops of color and lots of movement. I grew up on the island of Bermuda, which inspired me immensely and heavily influenced my decision to pursue a career in photography!
I think what sets me apart from others is my personality, my love of color and my eye for soft light. I’ve been told I make my models feel really comfortable, which is so nice to hear. I think getting into a groove where your models can let their walls down and you’re having fun is so important for producing amazing photos together.
It took me about 8 years to get to where I am today. I’ve lived in a multitude of places including NYC and Paris, but LA is definitely where my career really took off. Having grown up in Bermuda, I’ve always had an eye for photography and capturing the beauty around me. It wasn’t until college that I realized I could make an actual career out of it. I attended Florida State University, where I majored in Studio Art with a focus in Photography and minor in Communications. During the summer of my junior year, I landed my dream internship at the Free People home office in Philadelphia. It was the first time I worked in a studio and my boss was amazing, 10/10 experience! After I graduated, I wanted to learn more about studio lighting, so I went to an international photography school in Paris for a year. Once I’d spent all my money on vintage coats and croissants, I moved home to Florida to save enough money to move to Brooklyn. I lived in NYC for three years — it was there that I really started hustling/networking. Unfortunately, the cold was not for me so I moved to LA in 2018 and never looked back. Shortly after I moved to LA, I started working as the in-house photographer for a modeling agency and that whole world opened up to me. Now, I shoot for a lot of agencies and young models to build their books, as well as brands and small businesses to produce lookbooks, campaigns and social media content. It has definitely not been easy and still isn’t! I’m learning as I go.
Some important lessons I’ve learned along the way are that you should never feel like you have to say yes to something, you can’t take it personally when someone wants something for free or for cheap and you need to have a healthy work life balance in order to truly succeed.
My work isn’t too complicated. There’s no deep underlying message, I just love beautiful people, inspiring locations and stunning light. I want people to feel drawn to my work and connected. I want my models to feel beautiful. I want brands to feel seen. I want to create a fun colorful little world in the madness that is the present day.
I also want to encourage other aspiring photographers not to give up. Success may happen overnight for some, but not for most. I’ve been doing this for 8 years now and I still have so much I want to do and goals I hope to accomplish. This industry is really hard, there’s no tip-toeing around that. There will be some bad days but the good days always outweigh them and remind you why it’s all worth it.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I love living in LA — there is so much to do and see here and plenty of incredible places a short drive away. I particularly love living in Santa Monica. I’m a beach bum at heart so it’s the perfect place for me! Living a 12 minute bike ride from the beach is an absolute dream.
Some of my favorite activities include biking along the beach, surfing and/or swimming in Malibu, hiking Los Liones Trail, walking around the Getty Museum’s stunning gardens, watching the sunset on the beach and taking a day trip to Ojai to drink wine and sample fresh olive oil.
Some of my favorite places to eat & drink include Great White in Venice, Neptune’s Net or Broad Street Oyster Co. in Malibu, Pizzana in Brentwood, El Junior #1 Taco Truck in Mar Vista, the hot food bar at any Erewhon, Loqui in the Arts District, Baby Blues BBQ in Venice, Home State in Hollywood or Marina del Rey, Gracias Madre in West Hollywood and so much more. Can you tell I’m obsessed with food? 🙂
Life moves a lot slower here…in the best way possible. When I have friends in town I try not to do too much and just treat them like a local. That’s part of the beauty of LA, there are so many things to do and explore but at the end of the day you can simply relax and you’ll have the best time.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
It’s hard to pinpoint one person to give thanks to. Each person I’ve worked with has gotten me to where I am today. So thank you to all my former bosses, clients, makeup artists, stylists, models and fellow photographers for supporting me. A big thank you to my family, friends and my boyfriend for encouraging despite all the ups and downs I face as a photographer every day!