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Meet Brooke Ziegler of Brooke Ziegler Photography in Kensington

Today we’d like to introduce you to Brooke Ziegler.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Brooke. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I am the daughter of an artist, and grew up in a very creative home where I was taught that I could achieve anything I put my mind to. My childhood was filled with building hot rods, painting with my grandma, and carrying around a sketchbook with me everywhere I went. I guess you could say that creativity is just a part of my genetic makeup.

I was an art major in college, and graduated with a degree in Painting and Printmaking from SDSU. During and after college, I worked as a graphic designer and Project manager for almost 10 years. Although I was in a creative field, I was never truly happy or fulfilled.

Photography was something that I fell in love with accidentally; I never expected to fall quite so hard! I met a husband and wife team based out of Arizona, and they took me under their wing, and let me intern under them for over a year. I shot every wedding I could with them, soaking in every ounce of knowledge they could give me. I often thank them for saving my life, because them supporting and teaching me in something I was so passionate about, awoke something in me.

The minute I replaced my paintbrush with a camera, something clicked. I get so much joy out of taking seemingly ordinary situations and surroundings, and creating something extraordinary.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
The road to being self-employed is ANYTHING but smooth! My parents are entrepreneurs, and I grew up watching them deal with the struggles that come with that way of life. I always swore that I would never do that to myself… that I would work a 9-5 job and be happy with that. Well, the joke is on me, because the minute I found photography, I knew I had no other option. Photography was my purpose.

When I told my friends and family that I wanted to quit my job and pursue being a photographer full time, most of them looked at me like I had just told them that I wanted to be the next Taylor Swift. There are HUNDREDS of successful photographers in San Diego! What made me think I could just be one of them?

I could, because I gave myself no other option. My only option was to succeed.

My dad always told me that when I found my passion, that nothing would keep me from it, not even sleep. And boy was he right. My first year in business, I worked my consistent full time job, and did photoshoots on nights and weekends. I stayed up until 2am most nights editing to keep up with work flow. I researched how to build a website, run a business, and do my own accounting, because I couldn’t afford to hire someone to do it for me.

I think one of the scariest parts of pursuing your dream, ESPECIALLY if that means being self-employed, is that there is no guarantee. No one handing you a paycheck to ensure that rent is paid or food is on the table. Just as this is true with almost anything in life, there are ups and downs. Some months, I felt like diving into a pool of the money I just made, and some months, I considered Top Ramen to be of the utmost in fancy cuisine. Learning to stash away money during the good times so that it’s there for you during the bumpier times, was something I watched my mom do my whole life, and has really been vital in my ability to succeed in my first 2 years in business.

I think another thing that so many people over look, is how scary the creative process can be. Whether it’s an oil painting, building a car, or photographing a wedding, there will always be road blocks and obstacles that seem insurmountable. So many people never learn to push past that feeling of defeat. If I threw away every painting that at some point felt unsalvageable, I would have nothing to show for my 4 years in art school. There is ALWAYS that moment where you think to yourself “well… I’m screwed. Its ruined”, but the trick is to push past it. PAINT past it.

PHOTOGRAPH past it. Take a seemingly impossible situation and fix it. Don’t have ideal lighting to work with? CREATE IT. One of my favorite examples of this was at a wedding I shot in Portland Oregon. The bride was set on shooting in this incredible sunflower field, but the lighting was TERRIBLE. Bright and harsh, and just not workable.

So I had two options: tell her no and crush her Instagram posting dreams, or create a solution. So I went to the middle of the field, got her down on her knees, and made my assistant take of his shirt and use it to create shade.

We made the perfect light, and got the shot. There is almost always a solution, you just have to be willing to get a little creative.

Brooke Ziegler Photography – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
Every time I get behind the lens, I look at it like a new challenge; a new way of creating a piece of art. My goal is to take a split second and breathe life into it, in an artistic and unexpected way.

I think what sets me apart from other photographers is my fine art background; I see everything just a little differently. Seemingly meaningless surroundings, or moments are quickly turned into something much more. I love capturing extraordinary beauty in seemingly ordinary situations.

When asked what kind of photography I specialize in, I often tell people that as long as there are people, and connections involved, I’m a happy camper. (I’m admittedly not a landscape artist) But really, my very favorite thing to capture is love. Whether that is through wedding and engagement photography, boudoir photography, or maternity photography, I love capturing all of the different aspects of love, and what that looks like for each individual or couple.

Capturing love, and unique beauty is something that brings me SO much joy. Something about bringing out a person’s inner beauty, and letting it shine through an image makes me literally the happiest person on this earth. I feel like it is such an honor to get to capture couples during one of the most important days of their life, women who are vulnerable and raw in a boudoir shoot, and glowing new mamas during maternity photoshoots. Each shoot brings with it a sort of magic that is only found with authentic emotion, and real connection.

When you hire me to take photos of you, or your family, you are not just hiring someone with a camera. I want more than to just take a picture. I want you to look at your photos and feel something. I want you to see your unique beauty. I want you to feel like the images you receive are not only artistic and creative, but also inextricably YOU.

What is “success” or “successful” for you?
Defining success is tricky. There are so many factors to consider. Obviously when you think of someone that is wildly successful, the first thing you think about is monetary success. I mean, money doesn’t make you happy, but it sure does alleviate stress! But when I look back at the last 3 years of my life, I have to smile and consider it a wild successful ride so far.

To me, success is multi-faceted. There is more to it than money. I think success in life means getting to wake up every day and have the ability to pursue what you love; what sets your soul on fire. It’s getting to do what makes you want to dance across the beach at sunset when you get that epic shot, or come home after a 10-hour wedding and start editing because you are just so excited.

Success is being able to use my talents to prove to other women just how uniquely beautiful they are.

It is being my own boss, and being 100% in charge of my destiny.

Success is being so passionate and happy, that it makes the struggle worth it.

And at the end of the day, if I am afforded the ability to pay my rent, and buy my groceries all just by doing something that makes me infinitely happy? Well, I’d consider it a success.

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1 Comment

  1. Diane Baldwin

    December 2, 2017 at 12:27 am

    Awesome!! I Love you!!

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