Young People Doing Stuff | How to be a Freelance Photographer in LA

You see her all the time. Scrolling through Tumblr, or your favorite brand’s Instagram feed. Photos of hairy, bare chested men racking cocaine lines. Those photos where you ask yourself, “Damn, do I look that good lying on my bathroom floor?” Photos waiting to get reblogged because the composition rejects the usual ephemera.

Brooke Barone is the person taking those photos. And even sometimes behind the people taking those photos. Whether she’s shooting look books for small brands, snapping behind the scene photos for Vanity Fair, or making connections from her loft in Downtown LA, Brooke is on the move. Brooke shared with The Daily Twenties her grind as a freelance photographer, her style, and what she has planned next.

IMG_7111-EditAfter high school what did you end up doing?

After I graduated high school I had no freaking idea of what I was going to do but my parents were putting pressure on me to figure it out quick. So I started looking at schools with art and photography programs because it’s always something I’ve been interested in. I ended up at FIDM as a digital media major and two years later, ended up getting my AA there. Initially I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do but I learned about video editing, photography, other visual arts. The classes were pretty generic during that time, like how to use the various editing softwares and stuff, so I didn’t really know how to incorporate my inspiration with the things that I wanted to do. Once I started getting into my Bachelor of Science in Business Management, which is what I’m currently in at FIDM, I started getting more into photography and implementing the ideas that I’ve been inspired by and consistently creating my own work.

Yeah I don’t think FIDM teaches you how to create your own style of photography

Yeah that is something that definitely comes from within. A lot of the stuff that they teach in school has nothing to do with finding your own style and pace. It’s something that you have to pursue on your own and they make that clear that it’s part of your own discovery.

Where does your photo style come from and how would you describe it?

I like to go against the normal comforts and push the viewers boundaries in what they’re willing to accept. My style is a feeling that I get when I’m creating that’s wrapped up in this confrontation between my camera and the subject… Making the model feel as though they have the comfort to push their own boundaries, it creates a space for them to explore what they desire that meets an equivalence to what matches my vision. There’s rarely a time where this doesn’t work out for both of us.


And it shows. These women are not looking vulnerable at all. They are dominant subjects and actually the men look like the objects. A reversal of what one would usually see.

It’s not that I want to degrade anyone, I’m focused on the woman as the primary subject and so the men become an asset to the creation. There’s a space where masculine and feminine energy combine, and I’m exploring the grey area of that space.


So where does that idea come from within you?

Sexuality is just as important as eating food. Wouldn’t it feel terrible if our families made us feel shameful for having desires to eat certain foods? From my own experiences growing up I have learned that it is not in my nature to allow a lack of knowledge toward sexuality under any circumstances.

You have a bunch of different shoots and looks on here. Walk me through the process of coming up with a shoot.

I hit up most of the girls on Instagram, some will hit up me, and then I’ll just have them come over and we’ll shoot. Initially I used to send out concepts to models, but now I just freeform and it comes out pretty fucking well.


So it sounds like its just a natural flow of ideas and movements between the model and the camera?

Yeah and I think that’s where it’s always been at and what I had to realize. Like I wanted to have that sense of inspiration and have the models feel comfortable but I started to become comfortable within myself and my work and so I didn’t really need the conceptual stuff to rely on anymore and it was more spontaneous.

So I think I remember you telling me you worked with some brands. Tell me a little about that.

Well there wasn’t really a defining point where I was suddenly a brand photographer. It just kind of evolved. So initially I started to shoot for brands without their knowledge of who I was. It started with some girls that I knew who had a high following and I would shoot clothing that they had on that was more brand oriented.

At first the brand stuff I do has at one point been completely for free because it matches my vision. Now I am pretty firm in charging to shoot brands on models.

Other brands that I like shooting for is @omweekend, @y.r.u, @badwoodx, @mandalynnswim, @petalspeacocks, @memoricapparel and many others.

What’s on your gear list?

Sony A7, 25 film cameras and awesome lenses to go with them.


What advice do you have for small brands when hiring a photographer?

Trade is always a nice option if you can’t afford to pay someone.

So what do you want to eventually do?

As of now I’ve already made some great accomplishments that are outside of what I do. Most of the people that I’ve met in my professional career have been through Instagram, I’ve met some amazing people that have referred me to kickass jobs. I’ve worked for Milk Studios a couple times, I’m starting a job with YouTube tomorrow, like BTS stuff for them. And to just keep making awesome connections and collaborations where I get to continue to be creative.


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What are some of the drawbacks and pitfalls of what you’re doing?

There’s always hard moments, but the positive experiences outweigh the negatives and so as a whole, I see all as worth while.

If you had some advice for someone looking to get into this field, what would you say.

Stay humble – keep working.


You can follow Brooke on Instagram or Tumblr

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Do Not Send this Model Dick Picks…You Don’t Want To Know What She Does With Them

Madeleine Davis writing for Jezebel re-reported that famous Instagram personality and model, Emily Sears, has a nifty little way to discourage unwanted dick pics (which she gets all the time). Sears reports that she receives at least 1-2 dick pics per day. Fed up with the online abuse and unwanted advances from horny trolls, Emily and her friend DJ Laura Luxx have taken to reaching out to online trolls significant others to expose them as revenge.

BuzzFeed News quoted Laura saying, “I think the first time I decided to contact a girlfriend was probably close to two years ago when I opened my Instagram inbox to yet another dick pic with an explicit caption about wanting to fuck me from some random guy I’d never spoken to.”

“I wrote back, telling him that his behavior was terrible, and he replied with a string of sexual slurs and abuse, and kept calling me a slut.”

When Laura clicked on the profile of the man to block him, she noticed almost every photo he had posted was with his girlfriend, and was described in captions by his girlfriend as “the best boyfriend ever!”

“I guess I felt really sad for her,” Laura said. “So I sent her a message with a screenshot of our conversation telling her that I was really sorry, but I thought she deserved to know how her boyfriend was behaving towards other women. “I know if the roles were reversed and it was my boyfriend sending that shit out, I would want to know.”
The move was so effective, Emily has adopted it as her default policy for dealing with one-eyed monsters sliding in to her DMs.

“We send the photos as a reminder for them to have respect for women,” Sears originally  tells Buzzfeed News. “I think it provides an accountability that people seem to lose online; being behind a screen gives people a false sense of anonymity.”

This should be a good reminder to guys out there that sending unrequested pictures of your “super magnum extra big time” dong to girls is a bad idea.

Check the original post at Buzzfeed after the jump

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Started From the Gram Now We Here

“So how did you two meet?” he asked.

We smiled self-consciously, unsure of how to answer his simple question. I’ve become quite familiar with this awkward moment, but I still didn’t know how to answer.

“Social media,” I blurted out. 
He gave me a puzzled look and I tried to explain how Marissa and I technically “met” on social media over 6 months ago, but had only been dating for 3 months once we’d actually y’know met met… like in person.

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Marissa and I met on Instagram to be exact, but I don’t think Lon has an IG. In fact, Lon definitely doesn’t have an IG and he may only have the vaguest idea of what Tinder is.

We were visiting he and Doug, close family friends of mine, at their house on the cliffs of Mendocino, CA, and here I was trying to explain the logistics of dating and social media to a man born long before the internet was a thing.

The funny part is, I don’t even know how to explain dating someone you “met” on Instagram, and yet it’s what happened to me.

Come, follow me down the social-media rabbit hole of our relationship and see if you can explain it:

We connected on IG, but I first came across Marissa on Tinder. I was up in Tahoe at a friend’s quiet lake house, and we were Tindering for shits and gigs, as one does. I thought Marissa, 19 was cute so I swiped right. But before I did, I peeped her IG—which she included in her Tinder profile. I even took it a step further and decided to leave a comment on one of her photos on Instagram. It was incredibly dull, something along the lines of “swipe right when u see me – Jasper.” I know, smooth… And I went back to Tindering without giving it much thought.

Long story short she followed me, I followed back, and we went about our business occasionally liking one another’s photos for a few months without exchanging a word or a text.

Literally, we did not know each other, we had mildly piqued one another’s interest for a few brief moments on 5-inch screens, and we continued scrolling through the void…

Then, one day, I posted a selfie – one I got a good amount of grief for from coworkers and homies, but I thought it was a good photo so why not? Apparently Marissa agreed. She liked it and commented on it as well—some of the only cues we can read into on smartphones, so I took it as a good sign.

“Her,” I thought. “What’s her deal, again?…”flirting animated GIF

I didn’t know. In fact, I had no clue who she was.

I DM’ed her with the unfiltered version of the selfie I posted—Y’know, to be sure she liked the real me.

We chatted for a bit, exchanged numbers, and texted for a bit longer. This is when I got to know Marissa, or at least felt like I did. I still had never laid eyes on her, but we played a catfish-type game for a few weeks, texting and flirting, and there may have been some phone sex thrown in there too.

Then one day I found myself driving up to Sacramento to meet her.

“Nice jeans,” I said.
“Thanks,” she replied.

We’d joke beforehand about who would make the first move now that we’d taken our relationship from DMs to texting to an actual date. So I went for it.

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Fast forward 3 months and here we are in Lon’s kitchen overlooking the rolling pacific. Our first mini-vacation as a couple – a few nights camping in the tall California trees and days spent doing couple-things like going to farmer’s markets and kayaking with the seals along the coast. And we really like each other. A lot.

General studies from the last few years suggest more than one-third of US relationships start online. I assume it’s considerably more than 30%, and a significant number of those start on social media. I don’t have the exact figures on how many of those relationships begin on Facebook, Instagram, Tinder, Bumble, Happn, etc, but I would expect these numbers are higher the younger the demographic.

Marissa and I, though unique, are not uncommon. We are not the first to find each other on Instagram. In fact, it’s apparently a common occurrence amongst Celebs, Athletes, Models etc., at least according to the tabloids.

Think about it, if you have a big presence on social media (ample followers, frequent posting, multiple platforms), you’re going to attract a lot of attention. There are people who are literally Instagram famous. The attention they receive, both negative and positive, can be engaged with or not.

We’re a lot further down the food-chain of the social media masses compared to those whose IG relationships are actually considered news items. However, our story is pertinent and must ring a bell for many our age.. even if not everyone Started From The Gram like us.


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Anybody else have some insight?