“How women deal with these challenges is what sets them apart. If anything, it just gives me more fuel for my fire to be just as good as any guy (or better).”
Recently I was able to have an interview with Kate Frese, a professional photographer with a killer portfolio. When she isn’t shooting the Philadelphia Flyers, you can find her chilling in her Baltimore apartment. Truly one of the most interesting women I have had an opportunity to talk to and I am honored to have her be the first interview in my new #likeagirl series. The #likeagirl series playing off the twitter movement, is an opportunity to feature millennial women who are breaking boundaries and paving the way for the new generation.
Miss Millennia Magazine: Tell me a little about yourself and what got you into photography?
Kate Frese: I’d like to think of myself as an artist who primarily works in photography. I have a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography from Pa. College of Art
& Design. When I’m not shooting sports, I’m taking photos of bands, landscapes and architecture. I got into photography thanks to my mom. She was always taking photos of me and my family. I took a photography class in high school and dabbled in it here and there for a few years. I went back to college as a graphic design major, took a photo elective course, and was told by my professor that if I didn’t switch that I was an idiot. I somehow got through college and here I am a year later.
M3: What’s your favorite thing to photograph (professionally and for your own fun)?
KF: My two favorite subjects are bands and sports. I was photographing bands (live and promotional) for a few years before I got into shooting sports. I didn’t think that it would be possible for me to find a subject that I enjoy photographing
as much as musicians, but I found that in sports. Although musicians and athletes are two different kinds of people, I approach photographing them the same. It’s all about capturing a moment, be it high action or candid.
M3: How has been your experience as a woman, in particular a young woman, working in sports?
KF: I must be honest in saying that being a young woman in sports has been a difficult road. We are definitely a minority in the field. I’ve dealt with harassment and scrutiny in many forms. How women deal with these challenges is what sets them apart. If anything, it just gives me more fuel for my fire to be just as good as any guy (or better). I’ve had many people doubt me in my pursuit of being a professional sports photographer. It’s satisfying to reach certain goals and show people that yeah, a young girl can have an important role in sports media.
M3: What have been the hardships of working for yourself?
KF: Freelancing is awesome and awful at the same time. You have the ability to
accept or reject any work that you want. You’re your own boss. At the end of the day, you still have bills to pay just like anyone else. Some months you may make a lot of money, but one month you may make little to nothing at all. There is no way to predict what you’re income will be, because it isn’t a regular 9-5 job. I’m my own manager, accountant, payroll coordinator, etc. Even on my days off, I’m often gathering together my expense and income information for taxes, updating my website, looking for more work, or doing fun things like answering interview questions. I am extremely fortunate that I am able to keep freelancing like I do. I know photographers twice my age whom had to give up freelancing because it didn’t work out for them.
M3: Do you think that being a Millennial helps you or hurts you in your work?
KF: Being a Millennial is a double-edged sword in sports media for sure. Most of my peers are a good ten years older to twice my age. I often have to prove myself to older photographers. It can be exhausting not being taken seriously most of the
time, but it’s rewarding when you get a pat on the back from older peers. I may not have as much experience as most of them, but I do have my age on my side. A lot of these older photographers are nearing their retirement. I’m putting in my time and making myself known to hopefully take on some of their work once they retire.
M3: Do you think it is possible to make a living doing what you love in this day and age?
KF: For me it is! I am doing it now! But don’t get me wrong, it’s stressful and a lot of work. I believe that just about anyone with smarts and drive can make a living doing what they love.
M3: What’s your favorite part of photography?
KF: My favorite part of photography is capturing that one moment that make people stop, look, and reflect. I love getting asked “Oh, did you get a photo of ____?” and being able to send them the exact photo they have in mind.
M3: Favorite photo ever taken?
KF: This is constantly changing for me. I feel like I capture a favorite photo, then I take a new favorite the next game/show. There are a few that come to mind that will always be high on the list. I can tell you that one of them is of Wayne
Simmonds in between play smiling at a teammate. Him being my favorite current Flyer may have something to do with that, though.
M3: Any tips for beginners?
KF: I can never stress the importance of networking enough. Simply putting myself out there and getting to know people is how I’ve gotten all of my sports photography gigs. Doing unpaid work is often necessary in the beginning, but know when the line needs to be drawn for you to receive pay. Get your experience, build up your name, and only take opportunities that you feel match your level of work.
M3: Top advice for a millennial girl trying to make it on their own?
KF: Be confident, assertive, and don’t stop until you get what you want.