We had the good fortune of connecting with Melanie Riccardi and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Melanie, how has your perspective on work-life balance evolved over time?
Work life balance is something that has always been important to me, but I didn’t do a great job of it at first. When I started my business, I was married with no kids and life looked much different. I had a lot more time to work and my schedule was much more flexible. I would work whenever my clients needed me, without even thinking about it. Once I became a mom I had to rethink everything when it came to finding that balance. I knew that I was supposed to continue working, but that I also wanted to be home with Luna. I quickly made the decision to create a set schedule, which at first seemed impossible. I was so used to being available whenever my clients needed me. I think as a freelancer it’s easy to feel like we need to work around everyone else’s schedule, to keep work and our clients. Being constantly available for everyone, means you’re no longer available to yourself or your family. I discovered that both my current and new clients were perfectly fine working within my set schedule. It took me a while to finally realize that I owned my business, not anyone else, and that gave me the freedom to make my own rules. I decided I would work 2 days a week, so I could be a mom the rest of the week. This allowed me to take on only the jobs that I wanted (and/or fit within my schedule), and charge what I needed to be able to take care of myself and pay for childcare. My time felt so much more precious now that I was a mom, and I wanted to make sure that Luna got as much of it as she could. Of course, now with Covid-19, I’ve had to yet again re-evaluate what work and life look like. The way I work hasn’t changed much, since I mostly shoot out of my home studio, but as for the amount of time I have, that’s definitely changed. Luna’s daycare has been closed since March due to the pandemic, so the balance is way more life than work. But I can’t complain, because this time has been so precious, being able to focus on each other without so many of life’s distractions. And when I am able to work, sometimes I involve the whole family. Luna’s a great assistant.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
My work mainly consists of product and still life photography, with the occasional portrait splashed in. My work is constantly evolving as my style and tastes change. I really like figuring out the best way to showcase my clients products, whether that be super minimal with natural light, or a complex setup with bold colors and studio lighting. My job is to elevate the product in whatever way necessary. I’m really excited about some work I’ve been doing with a puzzle company. They hired me to create a couple of still life images for some new puzzle designs. It feels like so much of photography these days is seen for mere seconds before it’s swiped or scrolled away. The idea of someone truly viewing the details of my art up close and personal, piece by piece, as they put together a puzzle is kind of crazy to think about. It definitely puts the pressure on me to make sure even the smallest of details are considered. I can’t wait to do the puzzles myself.
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’m all about showing out of town friends what it’s like to be a local in LA, so I’d take them to all the places I go on any normal day. Morning — We would head to my favorite coffee shop Sachi.la. I love this spot because the coffee is delicious, and the vibe is so chill. It’s locally owned by 2 sisters on the west side of LA, who are both so friendly and make you feel like family. Mid — Then we’d grab lunch to go from Pepe’s Tacos, and ride bikes out to Playa Del Rey for a beach day. This beach is a hidden gem in LA. It’s mostly locals and is never crowded. Evening — For dinner we’d order takeout Thai food from Taste Kitchen and watch a movie at home, while drinking hard Kombucha.
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’d love to give a shout out to my husband Charles. He is the whole reason I started doing photography. He bought me my first camera and encouraged me to pursue photography as a career. He also supported me when I was making the transition from my full time job into the freelance world. If it wasn’t for him believing in me and trusting in my ability, I would have never gotten my first gig, which really helped launch my career as a photographer.
voyage_la_01 — Photography Melanie Riccardi; Styling by Genevieve Bandrowski voyage_la_02 — Photography Melanie Riccardi; Styling by Genevieve Bandrowski voyage_la_03 — Photography Melanie Riccardi; Styling by Hannah Garvin voyage_la_04 — Photography Melanie Riccardi voyage_la_05 — Photography Melanie Riccardi voyage_la_06 — Photography Melanie Riccardi; Styling by Hannah Garvin voyage_la_07 — Photography Melanie Riccardi voyage_la_08 — Photography Melanie Riccardi