Today we’d like to introduce you to Caty Gainer.
Caty, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
My name is Caty and I’m a full-time photographer based in Salt Lake City. I grew up in Southwest Missouri, in a town of about 5,000 people.
In my mid-twenties, I packed as much as I could fit inside my car and drove to SLC, where I graduated from the University of Utah in cognitive psychology and met my husband, Connor. After living in London and lots of travel, we now live in Salt Lake City with our two cats, Jenga and Raven.
I’ve always kept a camera close, and in 2019, I quit my day job to become a 24/7 professional photographer. It’s one of the best leaps I’ve ever taken.
We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
It’s been an interesting road so far. Like anyone, I’ve had to experience both highs and lows in my life, personally and professionally. Self-doubt is my biggest foe, but I also love what I do so much that it usually gets me through any wavering hesitation.
I started small by shooting portraits of friends and being on set for local projects and short films. It has grown since then, and I hope it continues in that direction. There are so many people who have cheered me on and there are people who have tried to pull me back. I’ve learned that boundaries are vital and community is far better than competition.
As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
For work, I specialize in fashion, portraiture, and set photography for movies.
I am self-taught and started photography as a hobby when I was a young teenager. I loved documenting moments with family and friends. The emotion I like to capture is what drives me. I remember loving classical artists like Rembrandt and Degas as a kid, but painting never interested me. So I decided to use a camera instead.
Everything about the craft speaks to me on some level: the function of a camera, the process of development, the driving force of communicating through images. I love translating light into art, and most often my goal is to create photos that bring feeling, depth, or insight.
How do you think about luck?
I have always felt surrounded by love and good fortune, in my life and career. I have a very supportive family and group of friends, and they have always helped me get through bumps in the road when able.
Where work is concerned, opportunities through connections have been vital, but have always required a huge amount of hard work and focus. When you get a job through a friend, you have to prove yourself worthy of it.
Luck is a tough concept, because you have to make something from it. I try to use any good luck I get in the best way, hoping it leads to more possibilities.
- Standard one-person portraits start at $350
- Family portraiture starts at $400
- Set photography varies (starts at $350/day)
- Commercial photography starts at $1,000
Jenna Marie Ward
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