Mikayla Christiansen: Hardworking Creative

I’ve been following Mikayla on social media for a while, and I love her work. I’m excited for you to hear all the advice she has to share today!

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Tell us in one sentence what you do and why you do it.

As a branding and portrait photographer, I create galleries that put a name to creatives’ passions, because I love cheering on other creatives.

When, how, and why did you start taking photos?

I honestly fell into photography. After I stopped modeling, I realized that I really did enjoy that scene. I enjoyed the creative juices happening and seeing a photographer light up when they got the shot they were looking for. That is something I wanted to do.

What was something that surprised you when you began your photography business—something you didn’t expect, whether good or bad?

I was quite surprised with the different people I have met along the way. I have been able to meet and chat with the coolest people. I would have to say it is the coolest thing to experience.

What advice do you have for young creatives who want to do something with their work but just can’t seem to get off the ground?

Pursue it anyway. I am a young photographer. I am 18 and have worked with magazines, books, models, bloggers, brands, shops, and so many other people. Do not let your age create a barrier. Create experience for yourself and knock down one roadblock at a time. Sure, people will doubt you. It is up to you to take control of that and still exude confidence. People are not going to hire someone who is unsure of themselves. Even if you are unsure, fake it until you make it. If you get a no, that is okay. Keep going. Create content that you love and that you are proud of.

What are your long-term and short-term goals with your work (and with life in general)?

My long terms goals are to never compromise, finish school, pursue my passions, and try new things (even if they are scary). My short term goals are to get organized.

What’s the most effective way that you have advertised yourself?

In person! I have gone to get my hair done and at the end of my appointment I had two new clients. I have gotten my nails done and just spoken about my business and handed out multiple business cards. Yes, social media is important. Yes, it is amazing for your business. Word of mouth is just as important!

What does a typical day in your life look like? How do you balance school and your career?

I am an early riser and huge planner lover. The night before my day I usually list out a running list of things for the following day. I get up around 7 (stay in bed until 7:30, truth). Drink my lemon water! Lemon water is gold! I will put on a podcast and just get ready for my day.

I take online classes, so I am very lucky to when it comes to that. I will do some homework first thing in the morning and then check my emails. If I have a session that day, I will just prepare my gear and make sure everything is good to go. At some point of the day, I will stop into a coffee shop and get my daily coffee fix. Some days I will stay for hours to do some work, some days, I will just quickly stop by. All my days are drastically different, but that is just a general timeline.

What’s your number one secret to productivity?

Keep yourself accountable! Make a running list of things you need to do, things for the future, and ideas! I have a huge list of photo ideas that I can pull from anytime I feel a rut. There is something about checking off something on your list that fuels the fire.

What camera equipment do you use?

I use the Nikon d3200 (soon the d750), and I usually use my 50 mm 1.8 lens.

What does it mean to you to be a hardworking creative?

To me, a hardworking creative is taking initiative of your own success. As a creative, I think it is important to be the best you can be by putting out your best. Always find ways to improve and learn. I don’t think there is ever a point in your career where you know it all.

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Hey fellow hardworking creatives, what’s one thing you learned from Mikayla to help you in your journey? What aspects of her career do you relate to? Any other photographers out there?

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