We had the good fortune of connecting with Joy Portinga and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Joy, is your business focused on helping the community? If so, how?
I believe that my photography deeply impacts every single person, couple, and family through documenting their story. Every single person has lived a rich life, and I want to tell regular everyday people’s stories because I believe these stories deserve to be told and listened to the most. We often only hear a select few stories as promoted by mass media, for example stories of celebrities, sensationalized news, social media algorithms. However, what about the stories and loves that don’t have as large of a platform? Documenting a wedding day captures irreplaceable memories of one of the most important days of people’s lives, and preserves it for generations.

My passion lies within telling stories of diverse communities — especially queer, people of color, religious and cultural stories. Through capturing each couple’s story, I have the privilege of sharing their love with the world. Representation matters so much to me as a queer, Taiwanese-American, follower of Christ. I want to be able to hold space for people to live authentically and be themselves. I want the world to look at each couple’s love, and be able to see themselves in it.

Client relationships are really important to me. I want to be able to be close enough for people to fully be themselves in my presence. Looking back on their wedding day, I hope the couples I work with are able to relive every laugh, hug and tear. I believe in soaking up every moment, and letting people live in the present. I think about the impact of my work every single day. I’m preserving their present so my couples can relive their past.

What should our readers know about your business?
I’m a wedding, elopement, couples and portrait photographer. This is my first year photographing full time (2021). It took me about four years of building a client base through graduation portraits at UC San Diego, pivoting into couples and weddings, building relationships with other wedding industry professionals, and working with Amari Productions to reach where I am today. One of my greatest lessons has been affirming my worth as a professional outside of my age. I turned 22 this year, and I often feel as if I have to hide my age in order to appear more experienced or professional. However, I’ve reframed this perspective to appreciate the enthusiasm and fresh eyes I bring to every project because of my youth. Beyond this, sharing my insecurities with my colleagues has helped me learn that professionalism and quality of work is not tied to age.

My greatest challenge has been battling the internal comparison game. Sometimes I get wrapped up in seeing other amazing photographers’ work, and wish that I were like them. I can look at my images, see everything that I want to change, and become mentally paralyzed. It’s difficult to admit, but sometimes I will hate every single picture that I take. I often have to pause, remind myself of the unique angle and value that I bring, and affirm my own work. This can be especially challenging because of social media and the public nature of sharing my photographs. It feels as if I am sharing myself to be judged by the world. However, recognizing how I feel and seeing how it affects my self-worth continues to challenge me to become a better photographer and even more importantly be kinder to myself. I know that my work has value.

I share my inner-critic in this interview because I hope my vulnerability will help other creative business owners feel more seen and likewise know the value in their work.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Here’s a quick list of some of my favorite San Diego based activities! (A lot of these also double as some of my favorite photoshoot locations)

I’m a sunset fanatic – watch the sunset over Torrey Pines Gliderport.

Take a mini road trip out to Julian for some pie and hiking.

Hike to Los Penasquitos Waterfall.

Grab coffee at the Forum and Communal Coffee.

Grab drinks at Raised by Wolves and a rooftop bar in Gaslamp.

Boba at Camilla Road on Convoy and visit Spicy City for dinner.

People and seal watch at La Jolla Cove while eating Bobboi gelato.

Check out the views at Mt. Soledad and Coronado Centennial Park.

Paddle board and/or Kayak in La Jolla.

Visit Cabrillo National Monument.

Sunset Yoga at Pacific Beach on Thursday with Averi (the best yoga instructor).

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I’d like to dedicate my Shoutout to Megan Guerrero, my mentor, who has helped me grow beyond my wildest dreams over the past year.

Website: https://www.joyportingaphotography.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/joy_portinga/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/joyportingaphotography

Image Credits
Portrait of me by the wonderful Wendy G Photography. All other images are personal portfolio pieces.

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutSocal is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.