We had the good fortune of connecting with Iann Ivy and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Iann, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
Taking a risk is taking a bet on yourself.
After I finished my Master’s degree program in the UK, I came back to my hometown, pretty broke, and quickly was figuring out how to move back to San Francisco. Day after day I looked for jobs and this was in a time when startups were booming. I luckily found a job posted on a startup job board and drove to San Francisco (4 hour drive) for the interview. It was really nerve-wrecking but I figured if I didn’t try, I wouldn’t be able to move back to the city. With a little luck and preparation, I got the job offer but had no money or place to stay yet.
I took a leap of faith, and posted on Craigslist that I was looking for a room to stay for a month while I got my feet on the ground with my new job. When I look back at this time, this was super risky and would definitely recommend caution for your safety if you’re ever in this position, but I was headstrong that I could figure out how to make this work. Again, with a little luck, a property manager reached out to me and said they just had their roommate move out and I could have my own room and own bathroom in this luxury apartment building in downtown SF. They wanted to help out because they remember that they were given a chance at one time and wanted to offer me the same courtesy. This was one of the kindest gestures someone has given me and I’ll never forget it.
So I moved to San Francisco, with a few hundred dollars my sister gave me and the little that I owned to the room I was offered and started work that week. It was a weird feeling to be so reliant on others to help me out. I have always been very independent and it made me feel like I really didn’t have my life together.
After that month, I was able to pay rent on a room and over time upgraded my job. Year by year I kept growing and eventually met and moved in with my partner and they helped me get set up with new photography gear to level up my own business and get out of debt.
I’ve worked at some of the top companies in the world now and have a photography business that I’m so proud of that I built and have recently been booking destination photography jobs now to the most beautiful locations. Overall, taking those earlier risks and leaps of faith, helped me to where I am today. I now give back as much as I can each year either in donations, volunteering for nonprofits, or helping other people out in their journey. Those risks turn into a chain reaction and now it’s great to be part of those possibilities.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
The thing about my photography journey is that it started off as just a hobby in high school and I shot literally everything to find what I love to capture. While I was attending university, I would reach out to restaurants to shoot dishes and even photograph concerts and people at nightclubs. I did a lot of fashion type work for my classes and it’s interesting because becoming a wedding photographer was looked down on. The industry has evolved so much though and there are such talented fine art photographers and creatives in the industry to create the most gorgeous productions.
I really got into destination photography last year when I met Tyler Rye. His work is exquisite and really captures the locations and fleeting moments. I love travel and a bit of an introvert so I started doing elopements and smaller wedding work along with my fine art portraiture. I love photographing people but I believe capturing the more intimate weddings and portraits helps me form a bond and understanding of my clients better.
I moved a lot as a kid and attended 7 different schools from kindergarten to high school. I think that also contributed to me being flexible and empathetic toward people, learning quickly how to find common interests to form new connections. I’d like the world to know that I’m the type of photographer that has grit and passion for my art because it is bringing love stories and self love moments to life and that’s a journey worth working towards.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Since I grew up on the central coast I spent a lot of time between San Francisco and Los Angeles. I currently live in the bay area so if I gave a recommendation for up north I would probably do a mission district day date. Grab some pupusas at Panchita’s on 16th, a smoothie at Sidewalk Juice, then head over to Dolores Park and chill out for the day.
It’s been a hot minute since I’ve been to LA but one of my favorite places to visit is the Los Angeles Theater. It’s so beautiful and historic and they sometimes play vintage films.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My life partner and husband is my number one supporter and has done so much to help me learn and move forward in my endeavors and dreams. It might sound cheesy but it’s absolutely true and I cannot fathom how I could have accomplished as much as I have without his support.
My loved ones have also really been there for me. They gave me interview advice, back up living assistance, a shoulder to cry on, and constant reminders of my abilities when I couldn’t see it myself.
The mentors I have had in my life truly inspire me and have really taught me new perspectives and given me drive to be more creative and thoughtful in my process. Shout out to Photography Instructor John Vano from AAU, Adventure Elopement Photographer Tyler Rye, Fine Art Film Photographer Jen Huang Bogan, Wedding Photographer & Educator Chelsea Nicole, and many of my peers in the industry that are killing it!
A book that really helped me when I was still trying to figure things out for myself was You Are A Badass by Jen Sincero. I learned the power of manifestation through this book and honestly it works wonders when you start working with intention and being in the right mindset.
Image Credits: Jen Huang Bogan for the headline photo