Photographer Tiffany King on Taking Initiative and Staying Motivated in the Fasted-Paced World of Fashion
“My advice is if your dream job doesn't exist, go out there and create it.
Doing what you love without knowing exactly how you’re going to be rewarded for your time and effort is a sacrifice that many are not always willing to make. But Tiffany, she’s a different story.
As a photographer, she wasn’t quite sure how to intertwine her love for photography and fashion. But, she didn’t let that stop her from trying. Tiffany created the opportunities for herself that allows her to work on both of her passions today.
In an inspiring interview with Tiffany, find out how her work landed on the cover of two magazines, how she always had a knack for business and art, and what advice she has for other creatives looking to create their own path.
What is your mission as a photographer?
Overall, I'd like for people to see more than just an image when they see my work. I don't want my work to be about me or my talent, I want God's work in me to be seen. For God's glory, favor, grace, guidance in my life to shine forth. With that said, I hope to inspire, evoke emotion and create art. My goal is to capture a flawless image that best celebrates whoever or whatever I'm capturing.
When you look back on your childhood, what experiences profoundly impacted who you are today?
When I look back, I just remember always being on the creative side. I used to paint, draw, sew and create all kinds of things when I was younger. I also started my own tutoring business and babysitting business when I was in middle school.
I didn't realize it then, but I was both art and business oriented at a young age. I didn't star dabbling with photography until I was in high school. In fact, if you told me I would be a photographer, I would tell you no, I'm going to be a fashion designer. I was naturally drawn to putting my outfits together, coming up with different ways to style stuff. I was very turned off by what was on trend and would do my own thing.
Those experiences have impacted who I am not only as a person but also as a photographer. I have opinion and vision on the styling used for the editorials I put together and when I edit photos—I'm like Picasso, if he also happened to be a makeup artist in the 1800's—whilst retouching the images and airbrushing the makeup.
In the past year, you've worked on a number of creative fashion editorials. How did you find these opportunities, and what advice do you have for other women who may be interested in doing the same thing?
I have always loved fashion. In fact, I'm happiest when I get to shoot fashion. But for whatever reason, I wasn't getting hired for those kinds of gigs. I figured I'd have to build my portfolio first. So I connected with models, hairstylists, makeup artists and stylists to start putting my own fashion editorial shoots together. I enjoy putting these shoots together because I get to decide the concepts of the shoots, which doesn't happen when a client hires me. I have to shoot what my clients want.
I would do these editorial shoots wholeheartedly and passionately (even though I wasn't getting paid) with no inclination that my work was worth being published until another photographer advised me to submit for magazine publication. I took a leap and submitted. I thought, the worst they can say is no. The first shoot I ever submitted was published by two different magazines, which is so crazy! Since then, I've been shooting editorials not only for myself but for other designers and brands.
My advice is if your dream job doesn't exist, go out there and create it. If you're not being presented with the opportunities you'd like, create those opportunities or create a door for those opportunities to come through. Start putting together your own shoots and connecting with other creatives, set goals and achieve them!
Lastly, figure out your why. Why do you want to do this? Be in it and do it for the right reasons. Don't just look out for you or how it's going to benefit you. For me, the best part of doing fashion editorials is opening doors and opportunities for the people I create with. When my work is published, their work is also published.
When my photo snags a cover, the models I booked are blessed with an unforgettable staple in their career by being on the cover. Your vibe, integrity, intent and reputation are huge things in this industry; people and opportunities will eventually flock to you because people genuinely want to be a part of what you're doing because of who you are as a person and your why.
On your worst day, who or what helps you remain motivated?
As an artist/creative, these days come more often than you like. I personally like to take a step back and remember why I am doing what I'm doing and also look at how far I've come. I try not to focus too much on where I haven't gone yet; there's no need. I'm not in control. I just need to have faith that it will happen eventually, and how it happens is none of my business. My business is just to trust God, believe in myself and keep working hard.
Secondly, what also helps is not comparing myself. I can personally tell you that comparison is the absolute thief of joy! Always keep in mind that the only person you're competing with is the person you were yesterday. Everyone has a different path and a different story, so comparing yourself is wasted brain power.
Thirdly, know your worth! I can't tell you how many counteroffers I get that are less than what I believe I'm worth. But I have come to the realization that there's always going to be someone who doesn't believe in your worth. Don't ever let that someone be you. I'm not going to elaborate on that because that statement is so powerful. I live it, breathe it, and have it plastered to my computer as a daily reminder.
Lastly, I have a circle of people who I rely on spiritually and mentally. Having that circle keeps me humble and hopeful because knowing that these people support me and believe in me is more than enough to keep me going. A great support system goes a long way, it’s vital to surround yourself with positive people who are either in the same boat or have achieved goals that you'd like to someday achieve.
What are you most looking forward to in 2017?
I am most looking forward to the exciting opportunities that await in 2017. I believe that my best years are still ahead of me. I look forward to gaining more experience, growing as a person, perfecting my craft and expanding my business. I just feel like 2017 is going to be awesome because I serve an awesome God!
To see more of Tiffany’s work, follow her on Instagram, @TiffanyCouture_.