Career Over Coffee: Fashion Photographer Helen Berkun

Being a celebrity fashion photographer is every girl’s dream and this week we chatted with Helen Berkun and found out just how she made her dream a reality.

Q: Briefly describe your background.

At 18 years old, I started photographing professional models. At 19, I landed my first editorial lookbook client from NYC and everything else followed after. I always did my own PR, I always pushed myself and was ready and willing to try different things as an entrepreneur.

In 2008, the economy crashed and I found myself as a single mom. I knew it was time to reinvent myself so I started styling. I would charge a very low rate and have clients book me to style and shoot.

Today I’m a fashion photographer, creative director, stylist, editor, and blogger. It seems like a lot but they’re all very related and each one helps me do the other that much better.

Q: Is there anything someone should never say in an interview?

I think you should always be yourself, which is a really good way to determine if you are the right fit for the job. Every company and candidate is different. You’ll mesh with some and not with others. Part of landing a job in the fashion industry is talent, while the other part is personality.

Q: What role has networking played in your own career growth?

Networking has been EVERYTHING in my career. I started out by knocking on doors and asking boutique owners to shoot their books, campaigns, and whatever they needed. It was all about gaining the experience for me.

After networking for quite some time, I was recommended by different boutiques to their buyers then I was meeting designers and shooting their lookbooks in LA and NYC and going to NYFW. All of this happened because of networking.

In NYC I met a ton of people. It was all sort of a ripple effect of being in the right place at the right time and always being kind. In this industry so many people feel like they have to be arrogant to be taken seriously. I rather show my talent and kindness!

Q: What advice do you have for someone who is looking to break into fashion, photography, or digital design?

Always believe in yourself. This is one of the most lucrative and hardest industries to be in and if you don’t believe in you, no one will!

Q: Do you have a mentor? Do you think having a mentor is important to career growth?

I never had a mentor. I think having a mentor is amazing. I’ve been a mentor to quite a few talented stylists and photographers in my life. It just wasn’t my personal path when I started out.

Do you want to be a fashion photographer? Browse our relevant job openings and apply today!