Irida Mete

Irida Mete Photography Freelance Founders

Irida Mete is an Albanian photographer, raised in Michigan, based in Los Angeles. She is a fashion photographer specializing in editorial and portrait. Irida’s work is inspired by everyday life, including the effects of love, hidden beauty and the human condition.

Do you consider yourself a freelancer or a founder?

I consider myself a freelancer at the moment. I would though, like to be a founder of something special one day.

Can you tell us a little bit about your career path?

My very first love was drawing. In high school, I had a career prep class that was an art/graphic design class and it ended up changing my life. That class helped me gain confidence in being an artist and opened the world up to me of photography and design. After high school, I decided to pursue graphic design thinking it'd be an easier route and more "realistic." I continued to shoot throughout my college years and once I finished my degree I realized I was still really passionate about photography and decided to go after it professionally. Fast forward a few years later, I decided to leave my family and move to LA in 2016 and have been here ever since.

How do you secure and maintain clients?

I always start out by reaching out to brands I want to work with and am passionate about that have the same aesthetic as my work. After that, it's just a lot of following up and maybe meetings to talk further about ideas. Lately, a lot of my jobs have come from word of mouth and past clients. I always try to do my best work no matter what it is I'm working on, and try to help the client along the way. I've gone as far as helping create guidelines for specific brands that help them stay cohesive and on-brand no matter what they shoot. Helping my clients out and staying easy to work has been really important for me.

Since going off on your own, what has been your biggest challenge to date?

Freelance is great but... it's a lot of work, dedication, and sometimes a lot of unpredictability. When you're booked and actively working, it's great, but when you have weeks without work, it can get pretty stressful. What's most challenging for me right now is COVID-19. Like everyone else, I am concerned about work from here on out since most of my work has to do with working alongside others.

"Do it because you love it and worry about the business second." – Irida Mete

How do you manage the business side of freelancing?

I've learned a lot through my own mistakes early on. I think what's been most helpful for me are podcasts and talking to other people in the industry. I'm also really lucky to have a boyfriend who's been freelancing almost all of his life. He's been a lot of help along the way.

What do you consider the best part of being your own boss?

The best part is just having my own schedule, following my own rules, and going after the jobs that are meaningful to me.

Do you have any advice for aspiring freelance photographers?

The best advice I can give based on my experience is to do it because you love it and worry about the business second. Doing that will eliminate any stress of making money and allows you to focus on creating the work that is meaningful to you. Experiment as much as you can in the meantime, learn what's resonating for you, and follow that. Try to work with people that are as passionate as you and keep them close — relationships in the industry are the most important. Stay off of Instagram and shoot.

Can you share any tips for shooting better photos on an iPhone?

I would have to say natural light is KEY and avoid backlit situations for better quality photos. More importantly, I think practice and figuring out your style of photo taking is just as important.

What are your favorite tools for staying organized while maintaining different clients, projects, and schedules?

I like to use Microsoft To-Do for my to-do lists, Google Spreadsheets for tracking my clients and the next steps, my calendar, InDesign for my moodboards and call sheets, and finally Dropbox to have all of the files synced and with me everywhere I go.

How do you keep yourself from burning out or taking on too much at a time?

I love to explore different parts of Cali with my boyfriend, go out with friends, and meditate. Hot yoga and breathwork have been really helpful in being present and having more clarity.

"Don't forget to have fun and enjoy the process." – Irida Mete