We had the good fortune of connecting with Tiffany Le and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Tiffany, have there been any changes in how you think about work-life balance?
Of course! I didn’t know the importance of work-life balance, until I found myself burnt out and struggling to find time for myself to breathe. There was a moment in my life that just felt like pure chaos because I didn’t prioritize my own happiness and balance properly. At the time, I was in my final year of college, studying Visual Arts Media at UCSD. Writing papers and studying for exams were simply the worst when I just wanted to create. I was dancing on a competitive dance team that was both physically and mentally demanding. My mother unexpectedly moved, and had left the family karate business for me to take over, which was a whole other venture to navigate. I tried my best to maintain healthy relationships with my friends and family because having a strong support system was important to me. To top it all off, I was working on building my portfolio for my photo and video business, Tiffany Le Visuals, which is my true passion. With all of these commitments, I felt like I was moving at 1000 miles per hour, and was just exhausted. I could imagine hearing the voices of every Shark Tank investor shouting at me to quit everything and focus 200% of my time into what I was passionate about. However, I thought I could do it all, and I was also in the “yes” phase of my life; saying yes to everyone, and not putting myself first. Soon enough, I realized that in order to remain happy and more importantly, sane, I had to prioritize what mattered to me most. I eventually graduated from college, and made the decision to stop dancing, and just eliminating those two commitments lightened my load tremendously. Having less on my plate was necessary. If you’re hard headed like me, sometimes you just have to go through the fire in order to realize what is important.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
You may have noticed that I don’t just do photography, nor just videography. I do both! I can see why a picture is worth a thousand words, but the real and raw emotion coming from a video is a whole other experience that people can relive. I love how both mediums can convey so much feeling, and I think that’s why I love capturing so many weddings. My art revolves around the spectrum of love — whether it be a wedding, dancing about heartbreak, or loving yourself. I feel like love is such a powerful emotion and in some way, everyone can relate to it. I spent many years passively shooting, but to get where I am currently am, I really had to treat my craft like a true business that it is. Youtube videos were for sure a big help, but nothing beats the physical practice of creating and talking with people to learn. I think the challenging part is always going to be staying true to your own work and being happy with what you create. I, myself, have struggled with being satisfied with my own work, because at times, you can be your own worst critic. When that happens, I just have to reassure myself that growing and improving is all part of the process. I’ve learned a lot of lessons along the way, but what seems to be the biggest lesson is that everything is temporary and saying “no” to certain opportunities is often times essential. It’s always so new and exciting in the beginning, and with the fear of not having enough money to pay the bills, you may slip into the habit of being the “yes” person. Sometimes, it’s just best to not bite off more than you can chew. All in all, being a good person is always the right way to go.
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.
One of my favorite things about SD is that there are so many amazing food options! I would take my best friend to the following places (you’re welcome in advance!!) For my french fry lovers – Ice Box in National City. The Bulgogi Shrimp fries will disappear in seconds! For my whiskey lovers – Seven Grand in North Park for a solid old fashion or a tokyo high ball. For my ramen lovers – Tajima Ramen House in Convoy. The Curry Ramen is one of my favorites. For my sushi lovers – Yoshino Japanese Deli or Hooked on Poke in Carlsbad. For my chicken lovers – Cross Street Chicken in Convoy. For the best Sunday Fundays – Hillcrest Area. For my cookie lovers – Uncle Biff’s. For my boba lovers – Ootea inside 99 ranch in Convoy.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
There are tons of names that must be said, but I can’t include a novel! I owe a ‘thank you’ to every person, place, and thing I have come across, for everything has contributed to my creativity. For instance, my cousin Kimmy taught me how to draw Pokemon characters when I was in elementary school, and that sparked the creative magic that soon took on photography and videography. But of course, I would to dedicate to a handful of people — I would like to dedicate to my parents; they raised me and play an integral role in who I am today. I would like to thank my Sensei Rabago for instilling self discipline and self respect that has allowed me to know my worth, may he rest in peace. I would like to thank my friends and the Batayola family for their endless love and encouragement in whatever endeavor I pursue. A big thank you is also due to Sarah Zimmerman, whom has pushed me to become a better photographer and challenges my creative abilities. Last but not least, my biggest of all thank you’s goes to my coworker/girlfriend Ashley Kaye (AK) Solis, whom has been by my side through the good and the bad, has inspired and encouraged me to create and become a better videographer, and makes creating fun. A simple ‘thank you’ is not enough, but it’ll do for now! Until I buy each and every one of you a car! I’m just kidding….please don’t hold me to that.
Headshot by Sarah Zimmerman Photo