Personal Brands We Love: Raven Varona, Hip Hop's Smile Capturer

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raven b varonaWhen you think of the artsy photographer on the hip hop scene, your mind might not naturally picture a curly-haired woman with an alluring personality. But Raven B Varona, has been leaving her mark on the industry with her shots of some of hip-hop's biggest names, from candids to tooth bearing grins. Learn more about how she's been able to live out her dream. Describe your personal brand in three words Thorough, Honest, Welcoming.

30 second elevator pitch, Go! I know your best side. Any photo I take of you, will seem as if I have known you for years. Think of your Ideal shoot, and I will recreate that to the best of my ability. Create with me.

Current position and your typical work day Besides photography, I do have a typical 9-5 day job, I work for a Property Management company. I typically wake up at 6:30am everyday. Mentally prepare myself for my 50 min commute. Nap while clutching my bag the whole time (i've perfected train naps). Order my BLT and I iced coffee off seamless as I walk into my office building. I then spend the next 8 hours doing misc. things around the office, Surfing the web for inspiration for upcoming shoots and tweeting. Most of the time, after work I'll an event or photo shoot. If I have shoot I'll get home around midnight, sometimes later and spend the next two hours editing because I believe in a quick turnover time. I'm normally asleep by 2am. If I happen to be free after work, I'm most likely having dinner with someone I love.

How have you developed your brand? Through building strong interpersonal relationships with other creators and always remaining true to myself and my vision.

Explain the role that your personal brand played in getting you to where you are today. In this day and age,with technology like iphone's, photography is super accessible. My personal brand has helped distinguish myself and my work from others. I think when people like who you are, aside from liking your work, it makes doing business together either. Having people trust you before they even see what you bring to the table, that's what it's about. that's how you progress

Personal brands attract opportunities. What has been the greatest opportunity you have gotten? As of recent, I had the the luxury of shooting Hot 97 Summer Jam. I had never done anything for Hot 97 before, and in the past years had try to just get a press pass. I took it upon myself to reach out and ask. My mother always taught me, it never hurts to ask. I luckily was connected with the right people who connected me with the head of digital media. I'm never scared to connect with people.

Who are some of your mentors and why? My mother is my number one mentor, but I always admire other young women doing remarkable things. Seeing women not much older than me making moves in different fields just really reiterates the fact that anything is attainable and possible.

What were the steps you took in college that impacted your professional success? I majored in communications and I think all of the core classes revolving around that really taught me how to understand people and the way they think.

What would you say to a young person who wants to work in your industry? If they want to be a photographer, I would tell them to go for it. Work hard and more importantly work smart. This is not an easy field. Make people comfortable and trust you eye. I'd also say never stop learning about the other skills you possess. I believe the most successful people are the ones who tend to be the most well rounded.

What can we expect from you in the near future? Lot of Photos. LOTS AND LOTS OF PHOTOS. more videos too.

Connect with Raven

Website: RavenBVarona.com | Twitter: @RavieB