Creatives In Conversation: How LA-based photographer Baeth balances her client work with supporting other creatives.
To follow along for a day in the life of Los Angeles-based photographer Beth Saravo, donning a pair of your most trustworthy and comfortable sneakers comes highly recommended. Shooting under her nickname Baeth, an average day can look like anything from carting gear across state lines on tour with emerging and established artists alike, spending upwards of 14+ hours bouncing from stage to stage at a premiere music festival, exploring a hiking trail to catch a stunning view, working tirelessly to capture the perfect moment for a lookbook or immersing herself in a detail-oriented editing session from any of the scenarios above. For Baeth, who made the decision to dive headfirst into operating her own photography business after relocating to LA, the vibrancy and full potential of each new day not only inspires her to keep going, but can be reflected in her passion-driven photography.
As a full-time photographer and entrepreneur, Baeth has found success in being adaptive with her skillset, bringing the same hard-earned expertise into her work shooting live shows as she does her work in more traditional studio settings. In tandem with her mercurial energy and relentless work ethic, her portfolio spans across industries and intentions, capturing moments in time for an evolving client list that includes reputed companies such as Adidas, UMG, HGTV, RedBull, Rolling Loud, REVOLT TV, Complexcon, Rhymesayers Entertainment, Next Generation ESports, SXSW, Warped Tour, LiveNation and Alt Press, to name a few.
On the product photography side of things, Baeth has worked for a variety of celebrity clothing lines, including Golf Wang by Tyler the Creator, Odd Future (Taco & Jasper), 4Hunnid by YG, Lil Yachty's tour merchandise, and Kimoji by Kim Kardashian West. In addition to her mastery behind the camera, Baeth also extends her talents to the production side as well, lending a hand to ensure quality creative planning and direction, casting, location scouting and other facets of on-site production and media management.
While balancing her client work and managing her business is absolutely a demanding full-time job, Baeth still finds time to shoot her own passion projects and help other creatives thrive in their respective careers as well. The way she divides her time with intention is especially inspiring, serving as encouragement for other women and emerging creatives to keep moving. In the conversation below, Baeth expands on her mission to be a source of support for fellow photographers, as well as talks more about how she first got her start behind the lens.
What do you currently do for a living?
I'm a full-time photographer and most of my work is in the music space. I also do other things, such as fashion or automotive photography, but most of the time right now, my work focuses on hip-hop, alternative music, a little bit of weird pop acts. I do a lot of touring, a lot of promotional imagery, social management, that kind of stuff. I also help run a few media teams for festivals around the country, which is definitely a lot of fun.
Is there an early memory you’d like to share about when you first discovered some of your passions?
I remember one of my earliest memories was basically a career exploration class in middle school, which sounds crazy, but... [Laughs] They had us pick a career and Wikipedia it and find all of these facts to understand what it takes to get there, like if you go to college or if you go to a tech school, that kind of stuff. So, I was looking into directing and Steven Spielberg at the time was one of my biggest inspirations. He had directed Jaws at 27 which is a crazy age, and learning little things about him and his past was really inspiring.
I started diving into shooting video and then that turned into photo in late high school. I pursued it in college as well, not professionally but more so for fun, and then I realized you can make a living off it in some way. I changed my major from Communications to Art and pursued photography even more. I graduated college and moved to LA where I got a job in fashion pretty quickly. I was working on the creative team shooting all of the menswear, shooting all the product, helping with social and other marketing stuff. After a while, I felt like it was holding me back from what I really wanted to do because it was so 9-5. I quit that and I started working for myself. It's been a crazy ride, to say the least.
What type of environment or setting do you feel the most creative in?
I find myself feeling the most creative when there's pressure, if that makes sense. Let's say there's a huge festival going on, there's thousands of people and I know I have a couple of minutes to get this done. I like to game plan in my head how to approach someone or where I'm going to shoot from when I only have a 20-minute set. That's when I find myself being really creative. And then also, on the flip side, if I have a lot of time to plan something, and I can scout a location and figure out the nuances of the shoot, then I can just make my mood board and my dream come to life. It's funny. So, it's either high pressure or high planning situations, which are obviously opposites. They both really test me in different ways.
How would you explain the DropLabs experience to your friends?
I'd say it's something that's hard to understand through a description but when you actually wear them and feel it for yourself, that's when you really get the full use out of it, if that makes sense. Because someone can tell you, 'Oh yeah, this is how it's going to feel,' but when you're listening to the actual music, and feeling it through different senses that have never really been engaged, then it's something special.
Music is one of my biggest passions and DropLabs brings this next level to listening to music all the time. Whether I'm editing or on a plane or in an Uber, I'm always pretty locked into my phone and checking out new music or watching a music video or on Instagram. I think it definitely brings that next level to understanding that sensory side of music. I didn't think of the meditation aspect until they showed me but I think if I was alone in my room, or had just finished working out, and I put them on and did an active stretch with some sort of really deep calming music, I think it would be very sensory overload in a good way.
Do you have any important mantra that you live by or words of advice you'd like to pass on to someone just starting out in your field?
I have one that can relate to different parts of your life. If a music photographer who hasn't shot a lot of shows asked me that question, I would tell them, literally, "Keep moving." And what that means to them is when you're shooting in the pit, or shooting at a show, to keep moving, keep getting new angles. You want to make sure you don't get stuck in one spot, that kind of thing. When it comes to life in general, you don't want to get stuck in one spot in the same way. Keep moving. Keep pushing. It works both ways.
What is one of your favorite accomplishments or a project that you're really proud of?
There are so many things I'm thankful for. I tend to get a lot of attention from other photographers where they like my work, or other females will say, 'Wow, you're so great' and I think that is a huge accomplishment. I've had press where they'll say things like I'm breaking the glass ceiling for women in this industry and that kind of acknowledgement has been really special to me.
As far as a more tangible thing, I'd say at the Revolt Summit I had photos that were 20 feet tall plastered against the wall and it was right in the main lobby where everyone comes in. No one really stops and says, 'Oh, who took that?' but everyone was taking photos with it and seeing it. It was that kind of thing where my work is good enough to be this background noise that makes sense at such an event. I'll also see myself getting recommended for different jobs on Instagram and that’s always a huge moment for me. I feel like it means I have to be doing something right.
What’s your favorite way to spend a day off?
Days off for me are usually nature-focused so whether that's being outside for a hike or taking myself to the beach or anything that gets me outside whether it's calm or hiking/moving. It definitely helps center me. Taking time away from your phone and enjoying how beautiful the world is. Even on tour, if we have a day off, I'll try to find a hill or a park or something cool near us and just go and see it.
What do you hope people walk away with when it comes to your art or message?
For me, it's like, people have said when they see one of my images, they know it's mine. That can be said about a lot of the great painters of the world or even photographers like Sally Mann. You see some film from her of her children and you know that she took it. My goal is to have a style where you can tell it's mine. I also want there to be some comfortability, like when I'm shooting, that the subject feels at ease and comfortable with me so that the image is a bit more candid than if it were posed.
What are some of your goals or plans for 2020?
2020 is the land of bigger things for me so I want bigger tours and bigger clients. I'm actually planning to dive back into fashion as well. I didn't necessarily abandon it but I let go of shooting it that frequently about two years ago and now I'm getting back into it. I have some stuff in the books for lookbooks and bigger projects with companies that I really admire. Stuff that isn't in the music space but is running parallel to it that I think will help me be a better creative outside of music.
As innovators by design, the team behind DropLabs Technology™ is dedicated to supporting and elevating members of the creative community. Together, we aim to serve as a platform highlighting different creators as they work towards achieving visionary excellence and inspiring others along their path. To nominate a creative leader you’d like to see highlighted on our website, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.