An interview with Mariaelissa of MAYA Photography

ShineOn Mag Issue 614There are many different components involved when it comes to a person being classified as a professional photographer. Necessities such as education and photography experience play a major role however, things such personality and creativity are equally as important. Anyone can hold a camera, but the true magic of it all lies behind the eyes and inside the mind of the photographer. A photo is such an amazing thing, it’s an opportunity to capture a moment in time; to freeze an image and hold it as a memory for generations to come. Life, joy, love, sadness, beauty, poverty and more; photos capture it all. They give us reasons to smile and reflect. Some photos may even give us motivation or reason to change. Those among us who have chosen to commit to such a beautiful craft may not even realize the impact their artistry makes upon the next person. They give us an insight into others’ worlds and lives as they see it and many times they even give us an opportunity to see ourselves in a new light as well.

Of course just as in any profession there are many differences amongst photographers. They come from all over the globe ranging in age, nationality, religion and more. By any other means those types of differences are considered drastic, but in photography they become quite irrelevant in reference to quality and creativity. The real question is: What about gender differences? More often than not we hear or know of more male professional photographers than we do female. Why is that? Certainly there are thousands of female photographers across the globe, but only few are acknowledged as highly esteemed professionals. Why is it that women do not dominate in a field that is based on capturing and influencing emotion when emotion stands at the very core of a woman’s being?

We’ve had an opportunity to talk a bit with the founder of MAYA Photography, who happens to be a female photographer; Ms. Mariaelissa. Having been a student of photography and now a professional, she has offered us a bit of insight into the world of photography.

ShineOn: Tell us about how you got started in photography?
M.: Well honestly I started out taking pictures of my kids; people started to see them and liked what they saw. It just sort of grew from there. I got into shooting fashion which I did for a while and later branched into hair and make-up as well. I love all three and have created my company MAYA Photography to serve as a “one-stop shop,” for hair, make-up and photos.

ShineOn: Why the name MAYA in particular?
M.: Well MAYA stands for my kids; their names are Mayson, Alyxandrea, Ysabella, and Anthonne. Everything I do is really for them.

ShineOn: Ok, let’s talk about challenges. Everyone has them, but what are some that you have had personally?
M.: What I tend to hear most from models or women is that they just aren’t as comfortable being “sexy” in front of a female photographer as they are with a male. I’m not really sure why that is. I would think that women would be more relaxed around other women. I think it may be because we as women feel as though we are going to be judged by other women. We might feel as though she will be focusing on our flaws rather than our assets. Having been a model myself, I personally feel more comfortable with a female photographer. I would encourage people to experiment and really just find a photographer that’s right for them regardless of gender.

ShineOn: What about the business side? Challenges there?
M.: Definitely! To me I feel as though some female photographers just aren’t taken seriously by clients or other photographers. After the Art Institute I tried to find mentors and others to learn from, but it’s like just hitting this invisible wall. Usually male photographers don’t want to discuss the business and techniques with you; they just want to hang out. They save the real conversation for their buddies. You’ve really got to be your own mentor as woman; just go out there to get the information for yourself. I’m not one for confrontation, but in a business sense you’ve got to be tough and somewhat aggressive if you want to accomplish anything. As women in this field especially, we’ve got to fight twice as hard to prove our capabilities.

ShineOn: That being said, what would you say to other women aspiring to be photographers?

M.: Educate yourself. Don’t take no for an answer and most certainly do not give up. We are just as talented, creative, and efficient as our male counterparts. We can attain great levels of success. Also as women we have the special capability to shoot not only from a technical asset, but from an emotional one as well. It gives us an advantage. Use it.

ShineOn: Anything you’d like to say to potential clients or those curious about having photos taken?
M.: Certainly. If you’re building a portfolio, go to different photographers. Each of us are unique in our own way. We all offer something different. Experiment and find out what you like and what makes you comfortable.

ShineOn: What can we expect from Mariaelissa and MAYA Photography in the near future?
M.: MAYA Photography will expand in team growth. I look forward to taking on more clients and offering them a unique all around experience. Our brand will continue to develop. As for me personally being a model and a mother; I will continue to set an example for my children and other girls/women. You don’t have to be a size 0-2 to be a successful model. I want to encourage others to really go after and pursue their dreams.

With an exquisite taste for fashion, Mariaelissa was formally a buyer for Curvaceous Boutiques and is now the lead model. Her insight from the modeling and fashion world has greatly developed her skill for advertising and photography. Don’t miss her webinar series entitled: How to get the best out of your fashion and beauty career! All aspiring MUA’s and photographers should sign up to compete in this year’s Glitz and Glam MUA competition! Don’t miss your shot at chance to win a trip on board Dare2Dream’s “U Can Do It” cruise. You will be surrounded by artists, musicians, filmmakers, photographers, etc! It’s a place where dreams become a reality! You will also have a chance to meet Mariaelissa of MAYA Photography and famed photographer Saddi Khali. It’s the opportunity of a lifetime!

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