We had the good fortune of connecting with Ty Chen and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ty, do you have a budget? how do you think about personal finances?
Right now I’m still in the experimental phase of my business, seeing what works in terms of getting new clients. I have my set bills to pay, and with whatever money I have left over, I play with certain services that can open my reach to people who may be looking for photographers. I try to cut spending costs as much as possible, so I’ve invested in equipment that will help me save money in the long run. For example, I scan my own film at home, which helps reduce costs for my photoshoots.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I started acting and modeling at the age of 17, so what sets me apart from other photographers is I have experience both in front of and behind the camera. Constantly being on set has helped me develop my personal style and aesthetic, and I cater a lot of my photography to what I’ve personally found has worked best in my career. I would definitely say the hardest part about my photography career so far has just been growing my business and managing my finances so that I can maximize my profit margin. I’m constantly looking for ways to get my name out there and reach as many people as possible. What I’ve learned most along the way is to know who you are, but not be so stubborn that you’re not open to change and new possibilities.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I love going out to West Hollywood and walking down Santa Monica Boulevard because it brings so many fond memories from my past. Being an out gay man, West Hollywood has been where many of my key life events have taken place. Whether it’s getting Mega Margs at Fiesta Cantina or hanging out at The Abbey, it’s always a good time. It also may be a bit basic for me to say, but I love Runyon Canyon. It’s an easy hike and very relaxing for me. I’ve also been dedicating a lot of my time to working out at Brick LA. I love the sense of community there and everyone motivates me to work hard and do my best.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I want to give a special thanks to my friend Melynda Choothesa of Couture Zen and Quirk LA who has really pushed me with my photography. She’s a super seasoned stylist whom I met years ago and she has been constantly giving me advice, and we often work together on fashion projects. Melynda often encourages me to step outside of my comfort zone and has really pushed me to pursue photography as not only a hobby but a profitable business.
All images property of Ty Chen Photography.