We had the good fortune of connecting with Brittany Redding and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Brittany, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
I think risk is a necessary part of life and definitely necessary if you want to start your own business. When I was younger I wasn’t afraid of taking risks, but I did follow what was expected of me. I took film photography classes in high school and when I told my photography teacher that I wanted to study photography in college, she told me she didn’t see me doing that. My young, naive brain was like ok, my photo teacher doesn’t think I should study that so I’ll do what other people see me doing. I don’t know if she thought my photography was complete crap in high school or if she thought a career as a photographer was hard to attain. I don’t know, but I listened. She said she saw me becoming a teacher for little kids. I loved kids, but never really thought about teaching. I went to school to study elementary education with a minor in studio art. My last semester student teaching I enjoyed being in a classroom working with kids, but I knew that it wasn’t what I really wanted to do. At that point, I didn’t really know. I thought I wanted to be a photographer but my teacher didn’t see me doing that, so it felt off the table for me. I’ve done many things between then and now trying to decide what it is that I want to do. I worked as a server in restaurants for years, I was a nanny, I went to grad school and got a degree in clinical counseling, I was a youth treatment counselor, a suicide crisis clinician. I found purpose in all of those things, but after doing them, I realized it’s not really what I want to do. Throughout all of that I continued to take pictures with my phone mostly. Almost every gift I gave had to do with photography. For families I nannied for I would take pictures of their kids and create a photo album each year. I continued to get compliments on my photography even though I was just taking pictures with my phone. I have a lot of friends who are in the art world and a few who are photographers. I had let go of that being a career for me, but as I watched those around me become successful in that field, I thought why the hell am I not doing that. I feel passionate about photography. Why am I not doing that? The why am I not doing that became the, I am going to do that. Then to I am doing that. You have to take the jump. I’m nowhere near where I want to be in my photography career but my business has grown a lot in just a little over two years. Starting anything new is a risk. I think there is also risk in getting into a comfortable career that you think will always be there for you. I think this past year has shown that what you thought was comfort, isn’t. You can lose your job to a pandemic, you can experience risk from true joy by not doing what you love and are passionate about. I think we are all taking risks, but I guess it comes down to what risk you are willing to take. Will you take the ones that lead you down a path to your passion and what truly drives you, or do you want to risk your happiness doing something that pays the bills, but doesn’t add to your happiness? For me, it had to be what I was passionate about.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I’m excited about where my work is going. I see a lot of my pictures from when I first started my career as a photographer and I can see the growth from those images and the images I am putting out today. I know that looking back in a couple of years from now, I will probably be saying the same thing. It wasn’t the easiest trying to figure out how to do this. I did a lot of things for free, I questioned if my work was any good. I was worried about charging people in the fear that they didn’t like their photos. I think you have to be willing to suck at something in the beginning. I had to make mistakes to be able to learn from them to improve my work and improve my business. An issue I had starting out is that I wanted to see growth immediately. I wanted to be booking a lot of clients quickly. When I didn’t see that right away, it was discouraging. Is that some people’s path? Yes, some people have an image go viral on social media and their business sky rockets, but that is rare. It’s very easy to get stuck in the comparison game. Thinking other people’s work is better than yours, their business is growing quicker than yours. That can be really hard to not get stuck in that rut. I still struggle with that. Watching those around me kill it in their artistic careers and feeling like I am so far behind them. I have to check myself when I do that. That thought process and comparing isn’t what is going to help me grow my business. My work ethic and my patience to build this career in my own time is what is helping me grow. I think what I would want the world to know about my photography is that it is inclusive. That is extremely important to me. As someone who identifies as a lesbian, it’s important for my company to be inclusive and to work for brands that are inclusive. One question I’ve had to ask wedding venues for my own wedding planning is, “are you open to LGBTQIA+ weddings?” It’s hard asking that question sometimes. I don’t want people to feel like they even have to ask that. I want them to see it in my photos, in what I post, in what I support, that I love all types of people. I want to work with all types of people. I want to shoot products for companies who support equal rights across all identities and spectrums. Whether it’s the color of someone’s skin, who they love, their gender identity, their faith. I want people to know that I accept them for who they are and the my company supports love and will stand up against discrimination.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Friends from out of town visiting I would want to show them the best of both worlds, mountain and city life. Most days would be spent hiking and checking out cool trails, kayaking in the mountains. I love a good cocktail and food so I’d want to take them to places that make amazing food and drinks. It’s been a while since I have gone out because of the pandemic but some places that I loved going to over a year ago are the Green Russell for some nice cocktails. I also love Death & Co., Cooper Lounge in Union Station. They all make a nice drink. I’d want to go to the patio at El Five for the view and drinks and appetizers. I love Indian food so the Spice Room is definitely a spot I would take my friends to. We would probably go to the Museum of Modern Art to check out the art exhibits and have a drink on the roof.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I have had a lot of support from my fiancé, Lauren. I know it can be hard at times to take the jump when you have other people depending on you. It was scary for her at first knowing that I was going to start another career, but she has had my back through the ups and downs of it all. I want to think the businesses who have trusted me shooting their brands, the couples that have trusted me to shoot their weddings, the families who have supported my business and booked me as their photographer. I also want to think my friends. To those who were practice subjects for me to shoot, to those who are photographers and artists that have answered my questions along the way. I appreciate you all.
Instagram: @western_pine & @whiskey_and_woods