I am so excited to share this interview with girlboss and photographer Debbie-Jean Lamonte from DAG Image Photography. Debbie-Jean first caught my eye with her awesome project called “We are Queens” (which you have got to see). Her work in photography is inspiring to someone like me who also loves to point and shoot. Not only is she a photographer, but I was stunned to find out she also freelances with some other work and is a brand ambassador with her personal blog too. She’s killing it and it gives me great pleasure to have her as a guest on the blog today. Enjoy
Thanks so much for agreeing to this interview! I am a fan of your photography as I am a practicing side hustling-photographer myself. What got you started as a photographer and how long have you been doing that?
I started photography randomly. Haha! I mean like seriously random. My ex-boyfriend was a budding photographer and I volunteered to be his “assistant”. In doing so, I’ve watched first hand what it took to be a photographer and sometimes would assist in the vision he was going for. He would allow me to use his camera and practice. The more I practiced, the better I got. After we broke up, I couldn’t shake photography. That’s where my BFF comes in. She bought me my first camera, a T3i, and offered to be my muse. 4 years later, she’s still my muse and I got better. =)
The models in your photography are killing it, but I know you do family photography too. What do you enjoy doing more?
I’m torn between the two. I love the creativity working with agency models, makeup, hair and wardrobe stylists with an amazing vision. Yet, I also love the experience working with a family, producing memories that’ll last a lifetime.
Where does your inspiration your work come from?
My inspiration comes from my own personal experiences. For example: The “We Are Queens” project, I came up with this idea because of a phase of low self-esteem I went through concerning my sexuality and my personality. Women are taught to “be” a certain way. We were taught to carry ourselves and look a certain way and I felt like I didn’t fit that image. After a while, I had to teach myself how to love myself, my flaws, my issues, everything. So I created this project to take women and inspire them to love and appreciate themselves.
I’m sure it keeps you busy but I hear you also manage social media for other bloggers too – So, I’m curious. How long have you been blogging and how did you get started with social media management?
I recently started a personal blog that covers lifestyle, inspiration and a little fashion here or there because to be honest, I LOVE MAKEUP & HEELS. I’m addicted and I wanted to write about my experience as a QWOC in the industry. The blog is only a few months old. I started social media management with my BFF (she’s my partner in crime with EVERYTHING HAHA!). Of course, as a freelancer, I need a steady stream of income to stay afloat in the crazy city called NYC. So we had a friend, who’s also an entrepreneur, and she wanted to build her social media presence. At first, when she brought it up, I didn’t think she was going to pay. But she did and since then, referred others to us. So like photography, I randomly fell into another aspect of customer service as because she loved our we managed my BFF’s Instagram over the last 1.5 years and built a solid engagement from 0 to 38K followers.
What keeps you busiest during an average day?
Weekdays? Emails + Research. I’m always looking for ways to expand my business and network. On weekends: planning my clients’ social media timelines for the next week, editing images and reviewing my week.
For people who are just starting out with their first online blog or online business, what has been your biggest road block you would like to advise people to avoid?
Don’t become too lazy. If your business is online, you have to be your biggest promoter and supporter. Don’t prograstinate. Plan your weeks, so you’ll have the time to enjoy life.
A lot of what you do is service oriented online, which is a great way to create success and income with a blog. Do you monetize or will you monetize your blogs in any other way?
There are many ways to monetize your blog. I’ve only been blogging for 4 months and have already done paid sponsorships with brands, ambassadorships and giveaways. Sometimes, I am doing product reviews or pick up a random client on UpWork. You have to sit down, know what your skills are and market yourself where you’re able to benefit from those skillsets.
Inquiring new bloggers want to know! What are some of your favorite tools, resources, or tips you have used to grow your audience and following?
Some of my favorite tools for growing my social media:
Connect with others in your niche. Socialize with your followers. Create a cohesive brand that’s recognizable. Encourage your followers to take action like sharing something engaging or funny. Post during optimal times. Oh! Don’t forget hashtags! You really need hashtags and keywords. You can do giveaways or contests with brands and other bloggers.
Can you tell us something that people might not know about you but that you don’t mind sharing?
I plan my day the night before. Right before I close my eyes, every night, I sit with a notepad and write everything down I need to do the next day. I have to do it. It’s something I have to do or I can’t sleep at night.
What does the future hold for you?
I have no idea but I’m open to any and everything!
Last question: What is your favorite blog or business to follow and why?
Jasmine Star- She’s a photographer & blogger and her work captivates everything that I am going for concerning my own business.