During adolescent years, we’re much less concerned with channeling the things we love to do into actual careers than simply fulfilling our passions. A dating expert would probably theorize the same about our first relationships and how when we’re young, self-image comes secondary to spending time with someone we think is cool to be around.
While Annika Alexandra is no dating expert, she does help tons of metropolitan singles shake the post-adolescent fears associated with the activity. Annika is a Los Angeles based photographer and one of the few lucky people who managed to channel her passion as a youth into an invigorating career. One of her many focal points is working with clients from LA based matchmaking services and shooting their profile headshots. Consumer-Rankings staff recently managed to catch up with Annika for some Q&A focusing on her unique perspective into the online dating industry and how she views the role of photography in building relationships for modern singles.
Thank you on behalf of Consumer-Rankings for taking out the time to chat with us. As a photographer, I would imagine that being based in LA is a sort of ideal landscape for harvesting your creativity. Tell us a little about our background and how you discovered your niche.
I’ve had the love of photography since I was a teenager. Once I moved out to LA, I had a few successful years in the acting industry but my heart wasn’t there. It was when I was shooting new headshots, etc. I realized I was on the wrong side of the camera and my true passion was photography. Throughout the years I’ve learned the art of photography through photographers I’ve shot with as well as classes and true life experience. I love the creativity it entails as well as the long lasting relationships I have with my clients.
I read on your website that you originally moved to Los Angeles to pursue an acting career, but eventually found out that your “heart wasn’t there.” Now, as someone behind the camera, would you say that you have more control over who you are and how you view things?
I definitely feel you get to have more of your own creative say as well as creating your own vision being behind the camera. Being in front of the camera, it is more of the directors/photographers “vision” though you would sometimes get to have some input.
How important is this type of authenticity when it comes to establishing relationships with people in the glossy streets of LA?
In LA, authenticity is very important, you want to create those relationships and keep them. Satisfied clients and referrals are the key to your business’s success.
Before we get into the work you’ve done with matchmaking services in the area, would you mind giving us some detail on your own efforts to find/keep that special someone while balancing what I would imagine is a pretty hectic schedule as a full-time photographer?
The secret to a successful relationship is balance. Both of our schedules are hectice. However, we both do what we love career wise. A lot of times it’s just about the little things, picking up a bagel for the other person for breakfast or buying them their favorite snacks at the grocery store, of course we do have date nights as well.
Tell us about the work you do with LA based matchmaking services.
I started off a few years ago working at a high end matchmaking service in Beverly Hills as a matchmaker. There is no job like it, I would get to be cupid all dayJ I would match our clients based on their profile of what they were looking for and personal knowledge of their personalities. While working there, I noticed a lot of the clients didn’t have current/updated photos, therefore, the company began a search for qualified photographers to shoot the clients. At that time, I thought “That would be an amazing job too! I would be able to combine my love of photography and matchmaking!” A few years later as I started my photography business, I knew what my niche market would be. I contacted a few matchmaking agencies in the area and sent them my website/social media. Currently I shoot the clients of a few different matchmaking services/sites and I love following my dream.
I noticed from the headshot gallery that you like to photograph people in very natural environments. Is this something that you are conscious of when taking people’s pictures for online dating websites? If so, why?
A lot of the time this shoot is their first photo shoot and you want them to be comfortable and have fun. I tend to find my clients seem to relax and show their true personalities in an outdoor environment as well.
Without breaching any confidentiality you have with your clients, what are some other strategies you use to make sure that each client walks away with the best possible results?
Making them comfortable, creating a relationship with them early on, most importantly making sure they have fun.
In your view, why is having a good profile picture on a dating website or for any matchmaking service important? From the perspective of both a photographer and a woman of taste.
The biggest complaints I heard from my friends and from my old clients were “He/She looked ten years older in person” “why are all their photos selfies?” “Who is that man/woman with them in the photo?” “Why is the photo so blurry?” Yes, you may get replies with these but a lot of potential matches will pass. It’s important to show a clear, recent photo of just you in clothes that you feel comfortable in (ie if you dress casually most of the time don’t wear a suit).
What are some of the key differences you’ve noticed when taking a guy’s photo for these types of services and taking a woman’s?
One of the key differences I find is that women tend to be natural when they pose. Men need a little more guidance but they are quick to catch on!
Do you have any personal experience with dating services that inform your decision on what makes for a successful profile image? In other words, how is a picture “worth a thousand words?”
It is important to have a photo of just yourself, that is clear, recent, smiling and in clothing that you feel comfortable in.
Where do you see your relationship with the dating industry moving in the future?
I enjoy what I do now, taking photos of the clients and hearing their stories and what they hope to get out of the services. Working at the matchmaking service as a matchmaker I had my share of success stories so Im eager to hear how their path to finding love goes.
Give us a snapshot (pun intended) of what to expect from Annika Alexandra Photography in the future.
I love how my business has been going so far, I feel into my dream early on. I was scared to launch this business in the beginning, failure is always an option. Luckily, I jumped right in and ignored my fear. I would love for it to just continuously grow and I look forward to meeting many more clients who are looking for loveJ