On Being a Female Photographer in a Male-Dominated Industry
Happy Feminist Wednesday! This week we chatted with Chelsea Lauren about being a powerhouse photographer on the red carpet, how she got interested in photography, her favorite self-care practice to keep her refreshed and in love with her career and much more!
Introduce yourself, tell us who you are and what you do!
My name is Chelsea Lauren and I’m a staff photographer at Shutterstock. I’ve covered hundreds of events throughout my career including New York Fashion Week, Sundance, Toronto Film Festival, The Grammys, The Emmy’s, The Oscars and more.
Tell us how you got interested in photography?
I began my photography career in early 2008, mostly on accident.
I covered a few small gigs including a little “fashion show” that I found online where I ended up meeting someone who led me to a few more gigs.
After about 8 months or so of shooting, I applied to a big editorial agency where I spent 7 years and began to gain trust with talent, resulting in the capturing of some very special moments.
Two years ago, I joined Shutterstock to develop the new editorial division. I fell in love with the company and haven’t looked back since.
How does feminism play a role in your work?
I’ve always been a minority in my line of work, but in recent years, I’ve seen the tide begin to change. Feminism is important to help us achieve the equality we deserve.
There is a fresh new buzz around empowerment within the entertainment industry right now. New conversations have opened up that previously would have been taboo.
There’s a new energy for positive change and revolution and I love that people are freely speaking their mind and more men are speaking up to support women.
What do you do to avoid feminist burnout? What’s your favorite self-care practice?
This hasn’t yet been an issue for me because I haven’t approach burnout quite yet. I am happy that feminism is having a moment and I don’t think it should end until we reach true equality.
That being said, things in this industry can get crazy and I try to take every opportunity to unplug that I can.
Besides the gym and yoga, I love taking long baths.
I also try to plan fun weekend trips in new places I’ve never been. It's great to get a fresh breath of air someplace new for a healthy dose of rest, relaxation and inspiration.
Do you have any advice for anyone starting out in your field?
My first piece of advice for anyone starting out in entertainment is to be kind to everyone around you.
The industry is driven by relationships and good will. If you’re kind, people return kindness to you. I can get into events and prime positions at them because people know me and trust me.
I’ve also developed some of the best friendships of my life through work. I meet so many inspirational human beings on a daily basis, not just photographers, but also publicists, agents, musicians and actors. There’s creative, inspirational and amazing people everywhere and if you’re a jerk no one will give you the time.
My second piece of advice is to work harder than everyone around you because opportunities come to people who put themselves out there. Take every job you get offered because you never know which one could be the one that takes you to the next level. I work 6 days a week, sometimes 7.
I attend whatever parties or openings are required of me. I work long, and strange, hours but I’m passionate about what I do. There’s nothing else I’d rather be doing.
I also love when people underestimate me, especially being a female in a male-dominated industry, because it makes it makes all my successes that much more enjoyable!