From financial models to product models: combining career and creativity
With the chaos and demands that dominate our everyday lives, it can be hard to balance both a paycheck and the passions that drive us. One person who is breaking the mold by combining work and play is Braden Timm. Braden is a financial analyst at Amazon who is also making a name for himself as a rising social media brand photographer. Braden has gone from taking photos on his iPhone to becoming a go-to photographer for branded content in just eight years… All while maintaining his day job. So what’s his secret?
As a part of his job at Amazon, he was travelling to Tokyo on business. While there, he found the perfect opportunity to expand on his art. He put it out there that he dabbled in photography and volunteered to take a few shots that they could use. They took him up on it and were blown away with the results. Through the success of that project and social media, word of his work began to spread and he found himself getting offers from brands to take lifestyle and product photos for them. He didn’t consider himself a professional or anything and never imagined being able to work in photography. He had just picked it up naturally and it was a form of expression for him.
He remembers it starting in college. At nineteen, he was studying abroad in Ireland. It was while he was exploring Dublin that he first got a feel for taking photos with a digital camera, as opposed to just on his iPhone as he had always done before. He admits he was not very good at first, but the more time he spent there experimenting, the more he found his own style.
When he got back to America, he would go camping in his spare time and subconsciously found himself taking more photos. After a few trips, he realized the photos were getting better and better. That’s when he decided to make a personal goal: he would visit one to two countries a year- and that instead of random keychains or postcards, his photos would be his souvenirs.
It was then that he joined Instagram and started posting his photos from his many travels. To his surprise, people started reaching out. There were a lot of requests for wedding photography. By the time he booked his second wedding, he realized people liked his work enough that they were willing to pay him. The first brand to reach out to him was House Wine. They messaged him and sent him some samples for a shoot. When he sent the photos back, the company was so pleased with what they received that they gave him a monthly gig taking photos for their social media posts. From there, it snowballed and for the past two years, he has been getting a constant flow of requests and referrals from all kinds of brands that want to work with him.
That brings us back to his business trip to Tokyo. The simple act of seizing his moment and taking a chance set off the trajectory for where he is now. In that moment, he realized dreams do come true, as long as you’re willing to be bold and reach for them.
As far as what his day-to-day is like now, Braden is still doing it all — finance by day, photography by night and in his free time. Lately, he has been branching out and trying some portrait photography. Drawing inspirations from color and natural settings, he loves experimenting with how light can change the feel and tone of a photograph. Applying this concept, he likes to manipulate light on his subjects to create more emotion. He finds it’s a lot of trial and error right now, just like it was when he was starting out. While his daytime job is much more methodical, he says “photography is a lot of happy accidents,” and that’s one of the things he loves most about it.
To learn more about Braden and his photography, check out his Instagram: @bradentimm
By: Lorraine Romero