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Conversations with Tatiana Marie

Today we’d like to introduce you to Tatiana Marie.

Hi Tatiana, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
I’ve always been a rule follower. When my parents told me to get good grades, I graduated at the top of my class. When my teachers said I should go to college, I received a merit-based scholarship. When my advisors told me to get a job in STEM, I got a job at Microsoft. From the outside looking in, I seemed to be doing well and those closest to me seemed so proud, but I was MISERABLE.

My whole life I had been doing what I was told was “the right thing to do” to the point that I ignored my actual interests. Eventually, I burned out and started over. It was during this time that I revisited my childhood hobbies: drawing, photography, music, and fashion, and began diving deep into my personal transformation.

This gave me the confidence to shatter the starving artist stereotype and go after a career as a creative. I learned that, with the help of the internet, there were now hundreds if not thousands of ways to make money in a creative field. I started sharing my journey online to encourage other college students to choose a major that was truly in alignment with them.

Through these efforts, I began building an online community, and an understanding of digital marketing. As a result, I was hired as a marketing coordinator at a luxury travel agency to help promote their hospitality partners. This experience made me fall in love with travel all over again, but instead of being cooped up in an office, I wanted to be out in the field taking photos for other marketing specialists to use in their promotional material. So I set out to do just that.

I sought mentorship from other luxury travel content creators and began photographing and filming my stays at some unbelievable properties and destinations (beginning in Colorado). This content started to get reposted on larger travel accounts and used in their marketing material. And that’s how I began working with luxury hotels and tourism boards.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall, and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
No journey is complete without some bumps in the road. While this whole endeavor has been one big risk, I’m glad I took it. The biggest hurdle has been imposter syndrome, it always gets to you.

I don’t have a formal background in photography or marketing so why would anyone hire me? I don’t have an overly expressive, dramatic personality so why would anyone find me entertaining? I don’t come from a wealthy background, so how could I ever break into the luxury space? But yet, every one of these thoughts has proven to be futile.

Someone once said that you shouldn’t be the one to reject yourself. Let the other party be the one to decide whether you are or are not a good fit, but don’t eliminate yourself before even trying. I’ve followed this principle from the beginning and I choose to believe that I am capable of succeeding in these areas. Of course, I put in the work as well: courses, mentors, practice, but the point is, if you believe it, then you can achieve it. Because at the end of the day, it’s just you against you.

The beginning is always the hardest too when you’re unsure if something is going to take off or not. You’ll hear a lot of no’s before you ever get a yes. So for some time, I moved back home with my parents to help save money. I took on part-time jobs to finance my business. I cut back on a lot of my expenses.

And it takes a toll on your mental health, especially when your friends are all moving out with their big corporate jobs, getting married, and starting families. But at the same time, it’s all about the long-term vision. While I still have a lot of work to do and areas to improve on, I’m grateful for all the opportunities I’ve already been given.

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
I primarily partner with luxury hotels, resorts, villas, and tourism boards to create digital assets for them to use in their marketing materials. This can include deliverables like high-quality photos, short-form videos, long-form videos, drone footage, social media postings, and itineraries. They can then license these assets to use on their website, on their social accounts, and more to help them promote their property or destination.

I often share these experiences on my Instagram and TikTok as well to help the community discover new destinations they would have never considered otherwise. This way, they can get a closer look at the property before booking. Because the properties and destinations I am lucky enough to shoot are often so picturesque, a lot of this content gets re-shared by larger accounts, bringing the partnered brand even greater exposure.

One of my favorite things to do though is highlighting local businesses. Wherever I am, I like to find a few awesome places and make short-form videos to showcase the great experiences they provide. Not only does this bring them more clients, but it’s also a really fun way to help my followers come up with activities to do in the city!

But really, the main reason I do all of this is that I want to show others who may be suppressing their artistic inclinations, that there are ways to be successful following an unconventional path. I mean who would have thought you could make a living photographing hotels around the world? It still blows my mind!

What were you like growing up?
Growing up, I was an introverted child who loved the arts. I learned to draw and paint at an early age and became interested in music and dance. I have a feeling that I gravitated towards these activities because they could be done alone, which my introverted self appreciated. But I was also a good student and prioritized my academics over everything else. Why? Probably because everyone told me it was the right thing to do and the only way to be successful.

It’s not their fault though, the school system does a poor job of exposing us to nontraditional career paths. So it wasn’t until I got to college that I began to explore who I was and what I enjoyed (not when it came to my major though, I still was headstrong on job security).

That’s when I started traveling abroad for the first time. I studied abroad in Madrid for a spring semester and traveled to more countries than my parents had in their lifetime. It made me realize how lucky I truly was and how much beauty there was to be seen.

I got my first DSLR camera that winter and began documenting all my trips. I quickly realized it was something I enjoyed, but I mentally couldn’t justify switching my major to it. So I pushed through and graduated with a degree in Computer Science. But the joke was on me because I ended up becoming a photographer anyway.

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