Today we’d like to introduce you to Barbie Andrews.
Barbie, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
My journey as a photographer and media producer began in 2009. My boyfriend (who is now my husband) hired me to manage his recording studio’s social media accounts. Over time, this job turned into me helping him with scheduling, billing, and bookkeeping for his company full-time. During my time as his assistant, I found that some of the artists he was recording didn’t know which steps to take next after they left the studio, so I began producing photo shoots for our clients. I hired stylists, photographers, designers, and more to help our bands/artists get their promotional material right for their upcoming album releases.
Unfortunately, I felt like other photographers couldn’t capture my vision, and how could I expect them to? It was also hard to find photographers who were passionate about working on my shoots, which consequently meant that I couldn’t rely on them to always show up. In 2014, I had a shoot scheduled with a band coming to Atlanta from St. Louis and my photographer bailed on me at the last minute. For years, my husband had told me, “We need to get YOU a camera!” and this seemed like the time to finally do it. So, I bought my first DSLR and the rest is history.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
All creative professionals have their struggles, but my path to doing this full time was a smooth transition. By the time I started, I had learned so much from running a business with my husband. I was able to take all the knowledge that he had to sometimes learn the hard way and run with it! Having the support of a partner who is also self-employed makes it easier because they understand the ups and downs, the weird hours, and the investment it takes to start a business.
Gaki Media – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
I’m primarily a photographer, but I wear a lot of different hats when it comes to creating and releasing digital media. The services I provide include but are not limited to photography, videography, branding, social media management, and digital distribution.
I attended Georgia Southern University where I studied Music Education and played percussion in various GSU bands. I’ve always been involved in music and art, I think that’s why I love what I do so much. Much like what my husband does in the music production realm, my job is to be an objective and creative asset to my clients by helping them put together images that reflect the music that they create. I’ve worked with recording artists like ConSio, DAYSHAWNx, and Von Grey to create media to help promote their releases. I also shoot actor headshots and produce media for companies like Whole Foods, Merrill lynch, DHL and more.
I can help recording artists in a number of ways, and I’ve guided many of my clients through the entire process of creating images, designing album artwork and filming promotional materials as well as facilitating world-wide digital distribution. What sets my work apart from that of another photographer is the fact that I’m not just a photographer; I’m a producer.
What is “success” or “successful” for you?
I know there will be more money (and maybe notoriety) to come in my career, but I already feel successful. I get to wake up every morning and work on projects that I truly care about. Sometimes that may be capturing a wedding or a conference. Other times it’s shooting an international tour or photographing a new grocery store. I love not knowing what comes next but being certain that I can tackle anything in front of me. The freedom to be who I am and to do what I want feels like success.