Jackie Lovato possesses an abundance of creativity and raw passion that she funnels into her career as a photographer and content creator. Between shooting for clients, teaching at Cypress college, maintaining creative content for the popular Portola Coffee Roasters, and pursuing her master's degree in psychology - you can't help but be in awe of this creative powerhouse.
Name: Jackie Lovato
Occupation: Photographer/Content Creator
What made you decide to pursue a career in photography? I don't know that it was ever a conscious decision. I was hungry to grow and photography immediately satiated that hunger. Running a photography business is a big mix of visual creation, people skills, and business development/management with creativity and problem solving woven into every layer. Simply put - I was after the pursuit of knowledge and self-sufficiency as opposed to focusing on any one specific career path.
Despite 12 years of experience in the industry, are there still any challenges as a photographer? There are constant challenges in both photography, and running a business - but I love that! It keeps me on my toes. Lately, it's been a challenge to keep the business operations/admin stuff managed well. For example I've been shooting most of the day, and consequently won't have enough time in the office. Balance in general can always be a challenge in all aspects of life - but as long as you stay aware and focused on bringing things back to center, it's possible to get there. It's the challenges that make us better, right?
Speaking of balance then, how do you manage such a jam-packed schedule? Lately, I've been wondering the same thing myself. Between teaching photography, working on my master's degree, and Lovato Images, I've been pretty spread thin. I make sure to give my clients manageable deadlines, and set realistic expectations. This helps carve out some time for myself between all the hustle. It's important to make sure to take time for yourself and the things you love.
With so much to do, what do you like to do on days off? Does cleaning the house count? I really just love to be home. I'm such a people person and away for work so much - it makes me cherish being at home with my favorite two (my boyfriend Adam and Chloe my poodle). Wine or beer tasting on the couch? Good tapas spread or a creatively cooked dinner? Best ever.
And how about a typical day in your life? It starts with me waking up and thanking God for my two loves - Chloe and Adam. Ideally I'll get a couple hours of work in before I have to go anywhere such as shoots, meetings, or errands. I always take my computer with me so I can work wherever in between. I also get a 20-30 minute workout on days with less bookings, because if I take care of my body, it takes care of me! I try to be home by six to have dinner with my two loves. But being a photographer and business owner means there really isn't a routine. I have different shoots and projects that require different times so my schedule is never set.
Do you have a favorite beer when you're unwinding? I love all beer! It depends on what mood I'm in, though I love a good rosé from Cotes de Provence as well. I drink mostly wine, really. And whiskey. Neat.
You've also spent much of your youth moving between California and other states, but eventually settled in Orange. Any recommendations for anyone who would like to visit? Walk around, look, breathe, and love! I love Orange - been here ten years and I love all the quaint and quiet mixed with hustle and hard work. It's a hidden gem and charming town that feels like it belongs somewhere else. Try shooting on any sidewalk late in the day, have a coffee or beer at Provisions, or lunch at the Filling Station.
Back to photography, a favorite place to shoot? Anywhere the light is lovely.
In that case, do you have a dream subject to work with? My dream subject is anyone that's willing to open up to me. Being in front of a camera isn't always the easiest thing, and when my clients let go and give me a piece of themselves - something honest and real - that's when I get the most excited. When people open up to one another, the things we create are just magic.
Between your passions and career, what's your motivation? My biggest motivation is the ability to take care of myself. I've always been independent, and I want to build a life for myself that I can sustain and support. I also get motivated by the idea that I can always improve. But mostly, I just want to stand on my own two feet and be the best me I can be.
Do you have any advice for other women looking to enter your field? Be ready to work hard. Running a business isn't easy, and if that's the path you want to take, go for it and go all the way. You are capable. But you've got to keep at it and put your best in. You can't expect a career to just happen to you, you've got to go out and make something of yourself. There are plenty of avenues within photography that don't require one to run a business, so if doing your own thing isn't for you, don't worry. There is a place for everyone, just work hard and you'll get to it.