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Lens This Beauty: Guide to Being An Entrepreneur


We caught up with multi-hyphenate, entrepreneur extraordinaire, graphic designer, and photographer Lens This Beauty. With her many years of experience in front of and behind the camera, Maia shares her lens on managing life as an entrepreneur, the power of self-belief and a few posing tips for all us selfie lovers ;)



LTB:

I am originally from Minnesota. I was born and raised here in America and my parents are immigrants that came from Thailand and Laos. I moved to Atlanta, Georgia, in 2020, so I've been here for almost two years. A little bit about me, I am a photographer and graphic designer, I also do a little bit of hip hop on the side I am a dancer


M SOUND:

So being a multi-hyphenate, is there any other avenues that you could think of doing?


LTB:

Yeah, I think I want to get more into videography and I know that it's a whole other beast. I would dabble into it but I've never actually pursued it because I feel like, I need to focus on my craft.


M SOUND:

Would you want to work on films or would you just prefer short form content?


LTB:

I probably would just do short films and music videos, just because I grew up as a dancer.





"If you're afraid just do it or you're never going to really do it. It's easy for fear to hold us back."



M SOUND:

Being a photographer and a graphic designer, do you have any advice for those who are too afraid to start on that creative project?


LTB:

What if no one ever saw your work and you never got anything out there? If you're afraid, just do it or you're never going to really do it. It's so easy for fear to hold us back. I just feel like it weakens our time because we're just so afraid of the world judging us and criticizing us but I always have to remind myself what is at stake in my future and if you never take the risks, you might lose opportunities


M SOUND:

So true and I think creatives especially, tend to overthink so much. It's just getting it out and getting it done. I love that advice. At the start of your journey, was there anything that you found particularly challenging?


LTB:

Yeah, absolutely. I think the hardest thing for me was knowing the business. As creatives, it is just not our natural talent. So we actually have to go and educate ourselves. Once I learned the business part, I realized that I also had to teach people how to pose. I was like. Oh, my God. I didn't know all of this went into it. Once I found out, I was like, okay, I got it and I highly recommend studying and researching your industry.


M SOUND:

Totally curious. Can you give me three posing tips?


LTB:

So a lot of us tend not to breathe when we're taking photos because we think we always have to freeze. We have to remember we're on camera, so we have to learn how to let go of our shoulders. What I tell my clients to do is, raise it up, and you just drop it, take a deep breath and relax everything. Another thing, too, is a lot of people don't like our necks showing in photos :D so a way to eliminate that is actually to kind of move forward. It seems a little weird, but it actually works. Also, just knowing your angles. For example: With my eyes being a little bit smaller on one side, I have to turn a little bit more, just to have the camera lens zoom in on it a little bit more


M SOUND:

Oh my goodness, doing that for our next shoot! So being a graphic designer, are there any tips that you would give for people who are trying to find their brand or their aesthetic on social media?


LTB:

just teaching people, what you want to do? Meaning, who are you? Yes, there's the creative side of you but who are you? Who are you behind the camera? This is why people get more following on Instagram because it's what they are doing behind the scenes. Granted not everyone is going to like it but you're not catering to them, you're catering to your fans.



"We have to remember that WE are beautiful and that WE are strong."


M SOUND:

Yeah, I totally agree with that. Some people feel like branding is inauthentic, and some people feel like branding is something that helps propel their careers. Where do you stand on the idea of branding on social media?


LTB:

I love the idea of branding! I think it identifies who you are. I think people get misconstrued that it's all business but branding is actually who you are as a person. People are interested in what you're doing and who you are. So branding can be utilized for you as a person or it can be utilized as a product but really, it's just the core of who you are because your personality comes off in your brand, even in business. This is why you have friends because they connect with you in the same way. It's just that it's with a greater audience.


M SOUND:

Exactly. I think it's it's the idea of storytelling, as you said, it's what your story is. You have a platform called "Lens This Beauty" can you talk to us a bit more about that and how it all started?


LTB:

It started with me wanting people to see what's inside of my head and because I can't show people what's inside of my head, I had to start making my own photos and incorporate graphic design into them. Me just being from a spiritual background also really helped with that creativity and as a kid you're always imagining, you're always dreaming. Instead of like keeping it inside my head, I brought it to life and I can't draw :D but that really helped remind me to capture those beautiful moments, to inspire other people who go through what I went through or just need inspiration. I think everyone needs inspiration no matter how good they are in their field. I also just want to remind people of their beauty and my own because for the longest time I struggled with my own beauty and I would get compliments like "Oh, you're so beautiful" but I didn't see that. It took a lot of effort in my journey to see that there is beauty inside of me and I have to keep reminding myself. We all have moments in our lives where we forget that there is beauty in the world because we're going through a hard time. We lost someone or we went through a breakup. We have to remember that WE are beautiful and that WE are strong.



"I would just start sooner because I forgot about it. I guess I forgot that photography was a thing for me and so instead of losing my first love, which was dancing, I incorporated them both."


M SOUND:

Yes! Preach! If you could time travel to Maia at the beginning of her creative journey, what would you tell her?


LTB:

To start sooner and stop doubting yourself. I grew up as a dancer I thought that was my journey and when I met my boyfriend in 2014 (we've been together 7 and a half years!) So when I met him, he was in the studio all the time because he was in college getting a degree in Audio Engineering and I loved being in the studio with him because, you know, you're stuck in there for hours and I didn't mind it. I loved it and I just started snapping photos of him, I was just finding my way back to photography. He was posting on social media and was like "Okay, who's taking your photos? It's actually getting better." He looked at me and said, "Honey, you should consider really starting to do this because you have a natural talent, you have the eye, you know your angles, you should consider it." So then I started to dig deeper and I didn't know all that went into photography. Making people feel comfortable, being an extrovert (which I am, so it worked out!) When that started happening, it really sparked my interest. That's when I really dove more into photography and I loved it. I would just start sooner because I forgot about it. I totally forgot that photography was a thing for me and so instead of losing my first love, which was dancing, I incorporated them both. Meaning I actually dance on set!


M SOUND:

Exactly. Keeping the vibes, I'd love to do a set with you. That sounds like so much fun. What three things should an artist or a musician bring to a photo shoot?


LTB:

Definitely props, your work ethic, and hydration. You need water and you need snacks, it's going to be a long day!


M SOUND:

You're an entrepreneur, what advice would you give to upcoming entrepreneurs who are just starting or perhaps even pivoting from a different career path?


LTB:

Be dedicated, and get comfortable knowing that you're not working at an office desk, you're working 24/7 it's going to be non-stop but it's just understanding that this is a marathon, it's going to take you maybe 5 to 10 years to reach where you really want to be. That goes back to starting sooner and not giving up on yourself because if you stay dedicated to your craft that means you stay dedicated to yourself. You owe that to yourself because you're building something for the future. How many times have you thought to yourself, I need a hero. Be that hero! So I would just say never give up. Don't quit on yourself and just understand that this is for the long haul. How bad do you want it?


" I don't know exactly what it is, that is keeping them at bay or having that locked up but we should be able to create with other creatives"

M SOUND:

Who is a must-have on your playlist right now?


LTB:

Oh, gosh, definitely Kanye. I love Kanye. He's so brilliant. He has a very polarizing personality but he's himself! He's a genius. I like him because he's bold and he's authentically himself because not only is he so good at his music but if you are an artist or a creative like us, you can definitely hear exactly what he's doing. Also having a background and being with people in the entertainment industry. I have that ear, so I know what he's doing. I know what he's creating. It's a little wild, but he's definitely a mastermind.


M SOUND:

He set himself apart from everybody else, just sonically, musically, like everything. What would you say is your favorite Kanye West song or album?


LTB:

Oh, my God. Honestly, my favorite album from him is "Dark Fantasy"


M SOUND:

If you could change one aspect of the music industry, what would that be?


LTB:

That would be getting better access for creators to work with big artists and brands on their projects. I think it's just such a struggle for creatives like us, who want to be in the music industry to get inside of that. I don't know exactly what it is, that is keeping them at bay or having that locked up but we should be able to create with other creatives, just like artisans collab with other artisans. I feel that we need to get better access to that and I hope that I can change that future.


M SOUND:

No doubt that you will! What is your next project? What are you working on right now? Tell us everything.


LTB:

Yeah. So right now, I'm working on a personal, surrealism photo of myself and the people that I've taken pictures of. I just love seeing brands win and knowing about their brand and how true and fair they are, it really helps me want to work with them and really excel in their brand as well.


"Don't worry about other people."

M SOUND:

What artist would you love to work with... apart from Kanye West?


LTB:

Nicki Minaj! Oh, yeah. I love her because she just changed the rap world for women. She paved the way, Nicki really made a difference, she was like "you don't always have to rap about the thug life." She changed the game and I love her personalites in her rap, it's showing her in different aspects, which is kind of similar to me. So I would definitely love to work with her. I just feel like we would vibe but also being able to capture a legend.


M SOUND:

What is a quote or song lyric that you sort of living your life by?


LTB:

Focus on yourself because when you focus on you and you change yourself and your environment, people and things will be more attracted to you. Don't worry about other people. Granted, sometimes other people's feedback that is legit, who are in that field, should help you improve, but it shouldn't bring you down. It should change you and make you become better.



You can catch up with Lens This Beauty on:


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