AN INTERVIEW WITH NATHALIE RODRIGUEZ
“Your life will not be defined by those who have not lived it, So live.” – Miles Carter
BTCF: How long have you been a photographer and what inspired you to become one?
NATHALIE: I have been a photographer for a little over a year. I received my first camera in the 5th grade and have always desired to express my creativity through photography. Now that I’m 18 and in college, being able to show someone their natural beauty, and watch their confidence grow during sessions has inspired me to keep this journey of photography flowing.
BTCF: Do you have other aspirations with your photography and if so, what are two of them?
NATHALIE: I aspire to take my photography around the world. To learn of different cultures and meet a variety of different people. Every photoshoot is like getting to know someone, as the session begins you learn what it is that suits them, you teach confidence and watch it grow by the end of it. With that being said, I want to do that for so many people around the world. Another aspiration I have is to one day open my own studio and expand my business in photography.
BTCF: Your photographs are wonderful moments in people’s lives. Do your clients come to you with their ideas or is it something you and they come up with together?
NATHALIE: The idea of a shoot depends on the objective. Is it a family shoot? Fashion shoot? Couples shoot? Senior portraits? Whichever one my client comes to me with, I ask for a description on how they’d love their photos to look like, and I research locations, outfits, and even the time the photoshoot will take place. Sometimes I’ll have a client who doesn’t know the exact look they’re going for, so I simply suggest a variety of ideas that I believe they would enjoy.
BTCF: You have many other skills like shooting videos and editing. Is that something you would like to get into more and what things would you like to film?
NATHALIE: I definitely love photography more than anything. Videography is fun and allows to show the world clips through your perspective. I mostly use videography, to show the behind the scenes of photoshoots. Specifically, when it comes to posing, locations, equipment, etc. Potential clients love to see how you work, and this is my way of creatively showing them.
BTCF: We were fortunate to have you use your creative skills with some fun editing for our upcoming interactive online video/workbook program, “How To Love Yourselfie” with Jillian Rose Reed (our Celebrity Spokesperson/Board Member) What drew you to the program?
NATHALIE: Initially as soon as I heard about the program I quickly wanted to help as much as I could. Social Media today influences our society of all ages. “How to love Yourselfie” highlights the impacts that many of us are unconscious of. It’s beautiful to see the efforts of this program and the way it can positively influence people to implement self-care in their life and normalize natural beauty. Social media has created a false narrative through highlight reels, that people praise.
BTCF: What were some of your favorite moments on the HTLYS videos and why?
NATHALIE: I loved the message. As I was editing, I was learning. Every video had a message of its own, backed up by statistics and real-life testimonies that everyone can relate to. I loved that it breaks the stigma of pretending that imperfections aren’t real.
BTCF: BTCF uses all forms of art as a process to unmask the stigma of individuals affected by eating disorders, disordered eating and negative body image. Personal story is one way of doing this. Do you have a personal story that inspires you and how you use it through your photography?
NATALIE: I believe through photography my self-love grew. At the beginning of this creative field, I had to learn how to create a comfortable environment for my clients. Sometimes I work with someone who may deal with insecurity or a lack of self-love. Because of this, I’ve learned in order to break through those barriers I have to show them. I become very silly and act out poses, or state random phrases to get a smile out my client. This results in pictures where they feel beautiful or handsome, where those negative thoughts about themselves simply disappear. However, in order for me to learn how to do this I decided to take on self-portraits. It wasn’t long after that I realized being behind a camera is way easier than being in front of one. As I watch my self-confidence grow through my portraits, I can truly say photography has had a huge impact on my self-love.
BTCF: When you are shooting photos for people, what would you say to a person that you think may be insecure about their body?
NATHALIE: A photographer is more than just clicking a button on a camera. You are responsible for the energy you bring into the session. Before a photoshoot, I always prepare poses and physically show the client how they can be implemented. I state scenarios to capture laughs and smiles. I make sure to show the client how the photos are coming out and as soon as I show them, I love seeing their face bright up and state comments like “Oh my gosh, I didn’t know I can look like that.” Usually after this they open up and nothing brings me more joy than to see their confidence grow.
BTCF: What are three things that are important to you that you share with the people you photograph to help them feel at ease?
NATHALIE: Creating a comfortable, nonjudgmental relationship between the photographer and the client is key. It’s important to me that my clients understand that there are no beauty standards or expectations they need to live up to. They are more than enough already. Additionally, it’s important for my clients to also understand that beauty comes in different shapes and forms, true beauty is being yourself, and expressing yourself despite what anyone has to say. And lastly, its essential for my clients to trust my creative instinct that results in desirable galleries intended to create smiles.
BTCF: What is one thing each that you think social media creates in a positive way and in a negative way?
NATHALIE: Social media can positively affect society through the means of, spreading awareness on a movement or subject, marketing your business, sharing your art, and connecting with family around the world. However, in reality social media has brought negative impacts and has pervaded our world with unrealistic body standards and egotistical morals. People start to worry more about followers, likes, and comments, rather than self-love, or the caring for the people who are truly in their life.
BTCF: You are presently attending college as well as doing your photography. How do you find balance?
NATHALIE: My number way to manage my time with academics and photography is to begin my week filling out my agenda. I specifically prioritize assignments due the soonest and schedule my shoots on the days I don’t have school. Having an agenda allows me to schedule my week and manage my how I use my time.
BTCF: What are your three favorite ways to take care of yourself?
NATHALIE: Understanding when enough is enough. I tend to take on big projects all at once despite how much time I have, so making sure I set different checkpoints for myself is the way to prioritize my mental space. As I mentioned before, utilizing an agenda has provided me with balance in my daily life. Allowing myself to take control over my time, permits me to create time to myself. For example, time to spend with friends or family, or simply sitting down and writing in my journal. Another way I take care of myself is playing piano, it helps me feel grounded and distracts me from any stress.
BTCF: How important is it to you to have support in what you do and can you share one thing that keeps you grounded?
NATHALIE: In all entirety, choosing to continue working in photography was an independent decision. Photography has provided purpose and self-fulfillment. However, receiving support on my photos surely motivates me to continue creating. It’s important to not find your validation through others, instead realize the worth of your own work. One thing that keeps grounded, is to understand that we are all at different points of our lives and comparing ourselves won’t do us any good.