Teen photographer Alexa Pence is going places, camera in hand. She delights in seeing life through a lens and her images of the Kentucky Derby, to senior portraits for her own business, to fashion shots for the magazine she works for are dazzling. And as a teen photographer, she's staying busier than most adults we know. One look at her photos will explain why. Meet Alexa!
Age: 16 Always has: Two SD cards, my camera, and red lipstick. Proudest of: My career achievements. Is thankful for: My mom, my brothers, and discovering my passion at a young age. Wants to: Shoot for Glamour, W, or Elle someday. I want my work on magazine stands! Is afraid of: Boys our age....what doofs. Believes everyone should: Snag an internship as soon as they can. Is embarrassed by: My tiny camera at the Kentucky Derby. My style is: Vintage. Pet peeve: Neat freaks. When did you start taking pictures? did you use your parents' cameras? I've taken pictures with my Dad's point and shoot since probably sixth grade...oh god... embarrassing self portraits. I started shooting with my dSLR T2i last summer in July, so it is almost mine and photography's first year anniversary!
How old were you when you got your first camera? My first SLR, 15.
What do you enjoy most / least about photography? Most- The people I meet shooting and just being able to create something beautiful. Least- The criticism I put on my own work. I feel like I still need to find my style as a photographer.
Who taught you photography? Seth Fischer is a Senior at my high school who showed me the ropes and how to use my camera to its best ability. Michael Loccisano however, is a photographer from Getty Images in New York who I met at a Derby event this year, and since, we have kept in touch. He constantly reminds me to be confident as a photographer, and to be assertive.
Who is your all-time favorite photographer? Favorite photograph? Who wouldn't love Patrick Demarchelier's work? He shoots for every major magazine and his work is always gorgeous, high contrasting, and he uses a lot of black and white. My favorite photo has got to be Alfred Eisenstaedt's 1940's The Kiss. So romantic!
Do you get inspiration from your photos from somewhere? My ideas usually come to me on nights when I can't sleep. I like conceptual photographs, so for my high school publications I like to really get creative with that. I also steal quite a few poses from the cute couples on Facebook!
Do you want to be a professional photographer when you're older? Absolutely. Right now, I am trying to find a fall back career and I just can't. I am very determined to make it in the photography industry.
What's your dream job? It is my dream to work as a staff photographer for Glamour Magazine. Glamour was my first love, so it's special to me.
How did you decide to start your own business? Well, my father had his own packaging business for a few years and it was his love. He named it SANZ which stood for our family: Sharon, Alexa, Nik, Zach. My father, Allen passed away when I was 15, and quickly after that I took up photography and when I decided to make a business, I couldn't imagine using a different name. Now the "A" in SANZ stands for Allen. I shoot for NFocus Magazine for the most part, but SANZ is the side work I do and it mainly consists of runway shows, senior portraits, and a bit of fashion.
What college do you want to attend? I would like to attend SUNY New Paltz, which is a state school in New York.
Do you have any tips for someone seeking a photography internship? Go for it! Don't hold back and be prepared all of the time. This will be a time of quick learning through trial and error for you, but getting it done at this age, will help you exponentially. Go into your interview confident (a cute outfit might do the trick!) and be prepared for anything. I went into my interview at NFocus Magazine with a potfolio and resume in my hand with contacts of my teachers and other adults in my life. Fumbling over my own words half of the time, I miraculously managed to get the editorial internship and they sent me home that morning with an assignment. I had to write an entire "NLove" column about a wedding that I hadn't gone to. I highly doubted I would even get the position, much more, a byline credit in the first issue I helped with. Lesson for you? Be prepared for anything.
Do you give photography lessons? I do not currently, but I would love to! Contact me on Facebook at SANZ by Alexa Photography if you are interested!
What's your favorite thing to photograph? I love photographing the reactions of people. You can get such an insight into a person's emotions by the way they express themselves.
You photograph a lot of people - do you think some people make natural models? If so, any tips about being a good model? Hmm... you know, you don't have to be gorgeous to be a good model, you have to have the theatrical skills to portray whatever idea the photographer has. I have shot with two professional models in my life, but the rest of my photos are taken of friends. So yes, some people do know how to be in complete control of their bodies and face to be great models. A quick tip would be to always extend your neck when modeling.
What is your dream subject to photograph? I would love to capture a monumental moment in history. Whether it is national devastation, or national celebration.
Thanks, Alexa! If you are interested in contacting Alexa for quotes for a photo shoot, please send her a message on her Facebook page, SANZ by Alexa Photography (and don't forget to like it to see more great photos by her!)