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Life and Work with Caroline Japal

Today we’d like to introduce you to Caroline Japal.

Caroline, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I’ve always been interested in art but I started out in painting. When I went to high school, I decided to apply to the art academy we had and I got in. In my portfolio, I included some photos since I had to have a mix of everything. The photography teacher at the time, Mr. Moncrief, said they were really good and I should consider taking photography, so I did. I started off in a manual 35mm film, then I moved to medium format and then digital photography. That is when I found my love for photography and I’ve been doing it ever since.

When I graduated high school, I decided I wanted to study photography in college too. An art college wasn’t really an option for me since it was so expensive, so I went to The University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa as a Studio Arts major. I’ve told this story many times and there are always a few key people who played major roles in where I am today. The first being Mr. Moncrief in high school who was really an amazing teacher and mentor, the next two being Ashleigh Hill and Katie Reese. I met both of them in college. Ashleigh in my digital art class and Katie on a set for a photo shoot. When I met Ashleigh, she was looking for a photographer for her monthly online editorial that she released, and there I was trying to find more ways to get into editorial photography. Through those editorials I was able to experience working on a set with many moving parts and what it was like to work with a team of creatives, from MUAs, stylists, production managers, videographers and models. Working with Ashleigh and Katie on these shoots was an invaluable experience that helped direct me to found my own arts magazine Art Concept Magazine. Art Concept Magazine has been a creative outlet for me since 2017 and has led me to meet so many talented creatives.

Since graduating with a Bachelors of Fine Arts in December of 2018, I have been working full time as a freelance photographer and creative director, while also running Art Concept Magazine and taking on other creative projects. Although I love the projects I get to work on now, my end goal is to be a production manager for a full-service creative agency. I’ve found out over time that more than anything my passion lies in the production and being able to bring together a team of creatives to execute a concept. The magic that happens behind the scenes, on a set, when you have passionate and hard-working individuals is just beautiful and that is where my heart is at at the moment. While I feel as though I’ve accomplished a lot in these short 23 years I’ve been on earth, I know I have so much more to do, so this really is just the beginning of my story.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Does a smooth road even exist?? I really feel like even the best experiences have their downsides. A huge struggle for me was always trying to figure out how I was going to produce the quality of content I wanted to with the equipment I had available or the location I was in. Another struggle that I deal with daily is self-doubt. I know for me, both of these are just small in the grand scheme of things. I have to move past my own limitations and create with what I have. I also believe that if you keep going and continue to learn something new every day, self-doubt shouldn’t be a hurdle. As long and you are doing everything you can to improve, then your journey will always pay off.

What do you do? What do you specialize in?
Most of what I do as a photographer and creative director is working with brands to create their content. This could be working on look books, editorials, social media content, product shots, ads, campaigns, and marketing materials. I’m mostly known for my editorial work that balance on the line of fashion and lifestyle.

I’m most proud of my editorial shoots I creative direct and produce for magazines and brands. These to me are the most rewarding. I am able to take a concept from ideation to fruition. That to me is so wonderful and just gets me excited to do it all over again for the next one.

I think what sets me apart is how I like to create natural and organic imagery that doesn’t look too overly produced. Also, being able to work with a team of creatives and letting your idea be fluid within the team is something else I believe sets me apart. I love the collaborative process and how ideas can evolve.

Do you think there are structural or other barriers impeding the emergence of more female leaders?
The lack of female leaders. Although there are tons of amazing women who are leading creative teams already, there can always be more. Personally, I’ve always purposefully looked for other female creatives to work with. I feel like we have a community that we need to build and foster so that women can walk on to a set fully confident in her craft and lead effectively. For me personally, I felt awkward the first time I lead a team of creatives myself, but now after building teams over and over who have brought good vibes with them to set, I’ve found my voice within my creative community. I didn’t need to ask permission to create, I needed to take initiative.

I think a huge part of having more female leadership is having female leaders who want that role in the first place and who feel lead to lead. Showing women that their ideas and opinions are valid and should be heard is huge in creating an industry where more women are in leadership roles. Another part is creating environments where women can lead and having those positions filled by women.


  • Photography Services Starting at $200
  • Creative Direction/Production Services Starting at $2000

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Caroline Japal

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