With her increasingly popular “Starving Artist Sundays”, and a knack for capturing the inner beauty of her clientele, Julie DeMarre is quickly becoming one of the cities most sought after portrait photographers.
Jacob Paul: What I find amazing is that photography started out as a hobby for you.
Julie DeMarre: Yes, it was… I realized a long time ago when I was in school that I really enjoyed photography; it was something that I was passionate about and I just really loved taking pictures. The way I perceived a job when I was younger was, that you work to live, you don’t live to work and you just do something that can pay the bills and afterwards you can go and live your life. I never realized that you could connect passion and love with work because I grew up seeing people who were stuck in jobs they really didn’t like and I just always expected that out of life. I honestly never thought of photography as a potential career for me, and because of the fact it was just something I loved doing I didn’t want to be forced into taking classes or I guess be molded into what someone else’s idea of photography was. I just wanted to learn the basics, develop the necessary skills and discover my voice for myself.
JP: New York is great for that.
JD: That’s exactly what this city has allowed me to do! I feel as if I’d gotten two master’s degrees and a doctorate in one year because… I doing it. I’m running a business at twenty three years old, it’s insane! I never thought I’d be here. It just comes to show that everything happens for a reason. I mean, thank God I didn’t take photojournalism because I really wouldn’t be here; I’m a portrait photographer and it’s really what I love doing.
JP: What brought you to New York in the first place?
JD: I initially moved to New York City because I got a sales job.
JP: I had no idea about that!
JD: Yeah! I graduated in May, I got hired June 15, 2009 and moved out here the following month with the idea in my head that that was what I needed to do. I thought I needed to get that well-paying corporate job with benefits so my boyfriend and I packed everything up and drove all the way across the country in my dad’s Scion.
JP: So you got to New York and what?
JD: Well, it was nice to get that job because I was able to sign my lease, prove that I had a salary, get myself to New York and… well, I had my job for a week and a half (giggles). I quite halfway through Wednesday; I was like “Umm… yeah I am not doing this job anymore. Thanks for getting me to New York, but I am out!” I got my check for my week and a half and bolted out the door.
JP: Well that takes guts.
JD: It does take guts (pauses) and a savings account!
JP: Was it scary ?
JD: Definitely; I applied for so many different jobs after that. I was doing freelance here and there, even some television projects working as a production assistant, I worked on a TV pilot, and even taking head shots for “So You Think You Can Dance” contestants.
JP: So your own photography business started how then?
JD: Well, while I was doing all this… Suzanne (Vinnik) found out I had a camera
JP: Of course she did!
JD: Haha! Well she saw some picture of some random shot I took in Central Park and suggested we do a photo shoot together and… well have you ever seen the photo of her on her old roof? (Referring to a fall 2009 fashion portrait of rising soprano Suzanne Vinnik.)
JP: Yes I have! I love that portrait of her!
JD: That was my very first New York photo shoot… it took me maybe fifteen minutes to do that and after she posted the pictures on Facebook, my whole business sort of blossomed because all her friends continually asked her for my information; I really have Suzanne Vinnik to thank for helping me start my business.
JP: From that to “Starving Artist Sundays”! Can you tell me more about that?
JD: Sure! What I love about working with young artists in the city is the pure drive that everyone seems to have when they’re just starting, but one thing that all these wonderful people seem to share is the lack of economic resources to go out and spend $1,500 on a quality head shot, and why should a quality photograph cost that much anyway when it’s supposed to be a tool to get you the job in the first place? I just thought it was ridiculous, and unfortunate for people who are just starting out. So I came up with a way to offer my services to those people who are just starting out, somewhat in the way that I am as well.
JP: What I love about your work is that I really feel that you capture your clients’ personalities; when I look at a portrait you’ve taken of Suzanne Vinnik or Amanda Workman, I really see who they are, and not some crazy alternate version of how they might look more makeup or bigger cheekbones.
JD: I think that’s the most important thing about headshot photography, and I really feel a lot of people forget that you need to look like yourself in your head shot, and you need to have some sort of personality showing as well. I mean, I want to see who you are; I don’t want to just see that you can put on makeup and just stand there. Because the second you walk in to a casting, these people are going to see who you really are and when you walk away you’ve left this little piece of paper that should sort of speak for itself and say “Oh, by the way, I’m awesome… don’t forget.” And also, if you don’t look like yourself in your portrait, they’re going to say “wait who was this!?” And that’s what I try and get the best version of you when I take your portrait.
JP: I met you just over a year ago when I assisted a photo shoot of yours for a Starving Artist Sunday, and what I loved is that everyone who came in just had the absolute best time shooting with you; from the music you had your clients select to trying different “smile tricks” the laughter continued all day!
JD: You have to sex it! If I can leave one piece of advice for your readers, it’s to sex before taking your pictures. I do it for every DMV portrait! As juvenile as it may seem… I just find that if a person looks down at the ground and whispers “sex” before taking a picture, they tend to giggle and therefore, give the best, most natural smile possible. It’s just something that’s so silly that, it works.
JP: (pulling out my driver’s license) I did it the last time I renewed my license!
JD: Oh let me see (she grabs my id). See! You look great!
Starving Artist Sundays are a semi-weekly event held by Julie DeMarre Photography. With a flat rate of $150, you get…
*full makeup application
*one hour with Julie
*as many looks as you and her team can manage within that time
*one fully re-touched image with unlimited edits
*a high quality file for you to print out your shots at your leisure and convenience (this is actually unheard of guys… you’d usually have to pay your photographer for additional re-prints)
John Arthur Green