By SnapSquad - May 14, 2018

Rebecca Patton (Photo Above), the founder of BECKLEY & Co., is a Dallas based photographer specializing in bloggers, events, lifestyle portraits, and branding photography. Not only has she built up quit the reputation with her remarkable imagery and distinct style, but she also offers photography and editing tips along with consulting. 

The Interview:

First of all, I'm a BIG fan, and have big watching your photography career excel over the years. I learned that your background wasn't always photography. How did you make the switch from what you studied in University to being a full time photographer?
My background is in science - ever since I was little I planned on and studied to be a physical therapist. I have always loved photography and built up a small photography business in college just to pay for little extra things. That developed into BECKLEY & Co. that I labeled a “hobby” until I was applying to graduate school for physical therapy and my husband (then fiancé) asked, “Why don’t you just be a photographer?” And I honestly didn’t know I was allowed to do that. But it made so much sense. I quit all three jobs I was working at the time and never looked back. I think I was meant to do this.

Darling Magazine x Lou & Grey Dinner at Americano

How do most of your clients find you? Do you think social media channels like Instagram plays a big role?
Instagram is huge, but so is living in a city like Dallas where people are eager to help others succeed. I think it’s half social media and half just being out and about and talking to strangers, making connections much more quickly than waiting around for emails to come through. 

You have a very consistent editing style that people truly admire. How long did it take you to narrow down what appeals to you as well as worked for your clients? Was it years of trial and error? 
I used to be a little more free with how I edited, but BECKLEY is a business and it’s not a place for me to be self-indulgent. It has its own personality and brand, and I’ve always had a clear vision of what that is. It took me about two years to hit a good stride in my editing, but it will always be an ongoing process. Because I work with a lot of bloggers who have their own brands and personalties, I edit a little differently for each client, but I try to keep it clean, clear, and match the mood of whatever scene I am capturing. 

Lauren Johnson @discodaydream

How do you challenge yourself as a photographer? What do you find the most difficult to photograph? 
I challenge myself to take a step back and try envisioning photos a few different ways rather than just diving in. I enjoy following a handful of photographers that I admire - usually people who don’t photograph exactly what I do, but people who exemplify elements I can work on. I love following Jordan Voth and A Sea of Love because I think they way they pose “candids” is nothing short of magical. I love following Melody Joy Co because she has such a moody, clean, consistent editing style that is so specific to her brand. I find product photos particularly difficult if I’ve had no time to prepare or brainstorm because… I honestly don’t find it very interesting if I have no connection to the brand or have any scene or story behind what I’m shooting. 

What are some of the perks you find in working as a freelance photographer? Downfalls? 
Perks: I love meeting and connecting with people, and I love what I do. Sometimes I get to travel for work and that’s pretty special too. I think my whole job is a perk.
Downfalls: I love what I do and I’m not that great at setting boundaries, so when I’m overbooked, exhausted, and stressed, that’s on me. But I still love it so I just drink an extra coffee or five and get it done. 

Lauren Johnson @discodaydream

As a freelance photographer, many people don't know how much work goes into the back end business side of things. Do you use a good software that helps you with financing, invoices, etc.?
There’s a website called 17Hats that my brother showed me when I was just starting out. Life saver. It’s connected to my billing, calendar, emails, time tracking, etc. If you’re running your own business, check it out. 

If you had the option, what would you like to shoot more of?
I’d love to shoot more lifestyle moments. Real, curated moments of people getting together for an al fresco dinner or cute homemade brunch. That’s what I’m truly passionate about - capturing moments that are intentionally beautiful, but are genuine and real. An intersection of food and events and happy people. 

Amy Jackson @fashion_jackson

A lot of times it is difficult to explain to non-photographers why the prices are what they are. How do you validate your prices to clients? 
Luckily most of my clients are people I have worked with for some time, so we’ve built a relationship and they know how hard I work for them. 

What camera equipment can you not live without? What editing software is your all time favorite? 
I shoot with a Canon 5D Mark III, so obviously I cannot live without my camera, but my 50mm lens has a truly special place in my heart. We go everywhere together, it’s how I see the world, and it’s what I shoot with probably 80% of the time. A 50mm lens is pretty close to how our eyes see the world with little distortion, so sometimes I am talking to someone and realize that I’ve been cropping them in my mind as I would shoot them with my 50mm - that’s how tight we are. 
My favorite editing software is Lightroom on my desktop, but never underestimate the power of the apps Snapseed and VSCO.

Do you have any advice for someone starting out in the industry? 
Go talk to people. Be genuine and know what you want and don’t be afraid to ask for it or for help getting there. Don’t pay attention to what other people are doing. Read books and magazines because you can have a genuine reaction to an article or photograph without being swayed by the seventy-six comments that came before yours. Be true to yourself, you can’t please everyone, and don’t be afraid to hustle hard. And make friends with baristas and bar tenders because they know everyone and they’re usually amazingly interesting individuals. 

Amy Jackson @fashion_jackson

Interviewed by: Caitlin Collins

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