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"Do what makes you happy, not what you think others' expectations of happiness would be." - @jeffmindell

Jeff Mindell (@jeffmindell), photographer based in Los Angeles, is not afraid to embrace a pop of color. We had the opportunity to learn about his approach to life, and how his personal and professional worlds collectively contribute to an overarching narrative of creativity.

How and why did you get into content creation?

I totally and completely fell into it and I still have no idea how this all happened. Photography was always a hobby for me and when I started taking my social media footprint more seriously back in 2010, the two kind of melded and the rest is history!

Where do you find your inspiration?

Honestly, I really try and keep my head down when it comes to following other people who are doing similar things as me. I love to pull inspo from places that can otherwise be unexpected or photographers doing things so far from my own aesthetic. My eyes are always open for interesting composition, colors, etc. and I love nothing more than traveling or exploring new places as I never know what I'm going to see or experience. Those are always the best moments.

How do you decide what to share and what to keep private?

I/we share much of our lives with the world. I make it a point to be very transparent with my audience, which really does lend itself to a heightened sense of connectivity with them (which I love!). The things that we really don't share publicly would be much about my son's adoption and his birth family as that's simply not my story to tell.

What is the best kept secret in Los Angeles?

Cactus Taqueria on Vine. I literally dream about their carne asada.

Any tips and tricks you'd like to share with other creators?

Develop your own voice, your own look, your own vibe from the beginning. Authenticity goes such a long way!

What camera and editing software do you use?

I mostly use my Canon 5D Mark lll professionally. When I'm out and about, I just have the iPhone 8 Plus which I love. I'm really all about sharing moments throughout my day on social so I love how easy the iPhone camera makes it!

How would you describe your aesthetics?

First and foremost: happy. That's the number one request I get from clients when they are reaching out to work with me. My brand is sunny, colorful, bright, and family-friendly (with oftentimes dry, sarcastic undertones if we're specifically talking about my own social presence). When the work I put out there makes people smile or want to jump in my image from a rainy or cloudy reality somewhere else in the world, that is the best feeling ever!

Tell us something no one knows about you.

When I was in high school, there was one year I snuck into the ABC upfronts presentation at Lincoln Center and took a terrible photo with most of the stars of their fall lineup that season. At one point, I handed Victor Garber my camera and asked him to take my photo with Michael Vartan, Matthew Fox told me he was intoxicated, and I called Calista Flockhart by the name "Felicity" to her face. Not my proudest moment.

What's been your favorite piece of work to date?

This is so hard. If I'm picking the most ARE YOU KIDDING ME pinch me moment, it would be when I got to shoot the Sinatra Estate for Palm Springs Style Magazine. I'm such an architecture freak and a huge fan of mid-century design, history, Sinatra—all of it! I was so humbled when I got that project and then to see it in print was just so incredible. I have a copy of that issue on our coffee table at home! Most fun project would probably be when we got to create all the social content for Grease: Live on FOX back in 2016. That contract came together suuuper last minute (we are talking days beforehand) and we showed up to the lot during dress rehearsal to work with the whole cast on creating these fun animated GIFS out of my photos where they transformed from themselves into their on-screen characters. The whole thing was such a whirlwind and then seeing these huge celebs share my work when promoting their show was again, just insane.

The best thing about being a creator?

That I get to wake up every day and flex my creative muscles with companies I used to only dream about working with! It's so, so crazy to think about the opportunities I've been fortunate enough to be apart of, working on content that feels so rewarding. The fact that I can work as hard as I do on things that I love is such a great feeling.

Favorite people to follow on Instagram?

@tekwani, @petesouza, @orlandosoria & @maryellenmatthewsnyc

If you could give one piece of advice to your younger self, what would it be?

Do what makes you happy, not what you think others' expectations of happiness would be.

What word sums up your job title?

Coffee drinker.

Follow Jeff here.