V Busy with Elle Mitchell and Arabela Espinoza of Weekend Creative
Weekend Creative sounds like the name of an indie band that art students listen to on vinyl, but as dreamy of an album cover duo they could be, co-owners Elle Mitchell and Arabella Espinoza take their job behind the camera very seriously. Yep, that’s right: these rockstars are the ones taking the pictures, and they bring it in every shot. Their bright colors and innovative images elevate photography to a new creative level, one just begging to go viral.
Pretty Thing: So, obviously you two are amazing photographers, but what exactly is Weekend Creative?
Weekend Creative: We are a creative agency specializing in clean, artful photography. Arabela has a background in advertising and photography, and Elle has a background in graphic design. [It] helps us approach projects with a unique perspective. We both are really passionate about creating content that is meaningful and inspiring. We think community is really important, and we do our best to pass on what we are learning. We recently opened a studio that doubles as our office and a creative space for other photographers to use.
Sharing a creative, co-working space is the dream. Imagine having someone on the same artistic wavelength as you in the same office! But obvs you don’t have to, because you’ve already made it happen. How did the two of you meet?
We met at San Jose State University in a photography class and quickly became partners. We ended up working at a magazine together and realized that we were both passionate about art, photography, and art direction. Starting a business was always in the back of our minds, and something we would joke about, but we felt that it was a long way off. Wanting to expand our portfolio outside of the magazine, we reached out to It’s-It Ice Cream to see if they would give us product to shoot in exchange for photos. Long story short, they ended up hiring us, and it gave us the push we needed to actually start a business.
That’s a cosmic example of that saying, “you don’t get what you don’t ask for.” More of us could use that kind of confidence. Being business owners, do you have specific goals, or aspirations for your community?
We want to continue to serve our community by offering a creative space for others to use and learn in. We are in the process of slowly making Weekend Creative a full-time career which will help us be more focused and invested in our work. We hope that our website and blog will be a point of reference for others who are wanting to start their own company or learn about photography.
Trust me when I say you are already inspiring. I could literally scroll through your images and blog all day. It’s more satisfying that a nice, cold frozen yogurt on a summer day, like ASMR without the sound. What do you feel is particular to your work that helps to set you apart?
Our focus is on editorial photography. We want our images to be unique and stand out while moving away from basic product shots and lifestyle images. We want to be the type of agency that works with our clients to create content that is really compelling. The more creative the better.
Being creative has its ups and downs. Do you have any advice for women who have businesses, or want to start a business like yours?
Well, we are going through our first tax season which is challenging as entrepreneurs. We definitely recommend hiring people to help with the areas that you are weaker in and spend your time focusing on your strengths.
Another challenge is client relationships and communication. We have learned so much from every single project which has helped us as we take on more work. It's so important to be really clear and upfront when booking a client and never ever work without a contract. We are always updating and adding to our contract as we learn more.
Money is definitely another challenge. We raised our prices and set a new minimum for our shoots in January and it has been really surprising and encouraging to see that it hasn't hindered our growth. It has helped us to have more consistent income. It is important to not sell yourself short and not be afraid to charge what you are worth.
We have been really lucky to have each other as partners and we work really well together, but there are challenges to having a partner as well. We recommend outlining your different responsibilities so you aren't stepping on each other's toes.
Having a partner to both inspire you and hold you accountable is probably my favorite part of the creative process. What do you think it’s like for other women in your field, especially ones who work solo? What is the atmosphere like right now for women in photography?
In general, we have been so lucky and being women has actually helped us because many of our clients wanted to work specifically with female photographers. However, one thing that can hinder women in our field is pay. Some women are afraid that their prices are too high or struggle to talk about money. We've had to learn how to price ourselves and not be afraid to turn down work that doesn't pay what our services are worth.
Yesss, that is the kind of energy we need in 2019. Women knowing their worth and cashing checks? Sign me tf up. Are there any women working that have inspired you with their boss business practices?
How can we choose? There are so many women doing incredible things right now. Jaclyn Johnson of Create & Cultivate, Emily Weiss of Glossier, Maria Svarboba, Bri Emory of Designlovefest, Suzanne Saroff, Michelle Maguire, Jesse Chamberlain Marble, and our friends, Claire Xue, and Diane Villadsen just to name a few.
That girl squad line-up could be the cast of a comic book. But your clients don’t need a bat signal to work with you! What are some of the services you can be contracted to do at Weekend Creative?
We are a full-service photo agency focusing on creative and conceptual editorial photography for social media and websites. With each project, we offer concept creation, prop sourcing, set building, and post-production. Potential clients can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or to schedule a phone call.
Of course, if a call isn’t enough and they want to see what you bring on set, you’re visiting us in LA for the Pretty Thing x Weekend Creative Photography Workshop!
We are so excited about our event with Pretty Thing!
The workshop on April 7th is perfect for anyone who would like to build their brand or learn more about visual product marketing. We will be going over how we style a shoot from start to finish including coming up with concepts, making a mood board, sourcing props and then styling the shoot. We will focus on how to style for a specific client's needs and how styling can communicate the brand's image.
We're excited to partner with likeminded women at Pretty Thing to offer the creative community the chance to learn more about content creation and branding. We are looking forward to getting creative, playing around with props, and most importantly, having fun.
Literally, we can’t wait— and neither should you! Get those tix, babe.