A beautiful part of growing up in a world with internet is getting to learn from and connect with others in your industry. While the old way of seeing friendly competitors as just that—competition—the new way of seeing them is as colleagues, allies, and even mentors.
I recently had the pleasure and honor of doing a photo swap with the lovely Raya Al-Hashmi of Raya on Assignment. Just for fun, we took each other’s portraits and answered a few of the same questions about working as brand photographers in the tight-knit community of Portsmouth, NH. Whether you’ve worked with one of us or both of us or neither (yet!), I think you’ll enjoy hearing the different ways we see our beloved town, the faces in it, and the creative marketplace.
What’s your official job title?
ROA: Personal + business brand photographer!
ATG: Web designer and photographer for creative professionals!
How long have you been doing what you do?
ROA: My whole life I have been preparing for this. Officially committing to it full time in 2016.
ATG: I’ve been trying to tell stories through photos and other creative media my whole life, but I didn’t get serious about learning professional photography and shooting documentary-style until I was 24 or so. So 7 or 8 years on the photography side. The web design side I only went deep into over the last 4 or 5 years.
Whom do you serve?
ROA: I provide visual branding serving people, brands, and companies who are looking to level up and commit to what it is they are meant to be doing.
ATG: I work with creatives, wellness brands, and independent restaurants. More specifically, positive, world-shaking creatives; holistic wellness brands that focus on long-term transformation; and independent restaurants where the team cares more about the food and the experience of gathering around the table than about moving fast or making a quick buck.
“People have described my photography style as ______.”
ROA: “She was able to capture the essence of who I am, while bringing my work to LIFE through her lens. She is not only lovely & professional, but extremely heart centered in her work.”
ATG: Happy, full of light, warm. I’ve had several clients say that they usually don’t like photos of themselves but feel that I capture them in a way they love, the way they see themselves when they see themselves at their best. That’s one of the highest praises I can receive.
What types of projects light you up the most?
ROA: People who play in the wellness + creative world.
ATG: I love a big creative challenge—I like being the one assigned to come up with a new way to portray something people have been seeing the same way over and over for years. I also love when I sit down with someone who has a big vision, and I can see it, too. It makes me want to be a part of it, really excited to get in on the ground floor.
What’s something you’re trying to learn, or a skill you’re working to refine?
ROA: My (non existing) e-mail newsletter list. Hahaha!
ATG: In my business, systems! In my photography, I’m always trying to hone even further in on my style. I really love the styles of Greta Rybus and of New Darlings, and I’d love to find the place in the middle that’s my own. I don’t just want to be able to take decent pictures; I want my pictures to stand out.
What’s something you appreciate about Alexis’s work?
ROA: I appreciate that Alexis is able to do many things to help launch and share what it is you do. To find someone who is brilliant at creating website and developing the images to go in them is frickin’ awesome!
What’s something you appreciate about Raya’s work?
ATG: Raya seems to get right in there and work with whatever resources are available, whether they are many or few, and she looks for ways to expand them. From what I can tell, she doesn’t put too much stock in doing everything perfectly or “her way.” She genuinely wants the photographic experience to be joyful for her subjects, which is a very important quality in a business and brand photographer. We need more people who want to take some of the pressure off and remind us we’re all human, and at the end of the day, stressing over every little thing won’t add any more time or joy to our lives.