Featured Photographer: Karla Melgarejo



"I would say my parents are my biggest inspiration, they have taught me to fight for what I believe in but most importantly they believe in me."

Model Citizen App is the platform where we recognise fashion models, photographers, designers, makeup artists, hair stylists, creative directors, bloggers, stylists, and labels around the world. Every day, we feature an individual on Model Citizen Interviews. People get to know each of them - their hopes, challenges, aspirations and inspirations in life.

How did you get to where you are now in your career?

Becoming part of the fashion industry is not easy and it is harder when you try to make it in a country that is not yours. I moved from Bolivia to the US as my husband was pursuing his MBA. I had already introduced myself into the world of photography and had a list of clients back home, however, now it was time for a new opportunity and I was ready for a new challenge. I had to build my way from ground up, network, knock on every door and knew that with persistence and determination I was going to get there. I spent weeks going from studios, to agencies to local designer stores and introducing myself, showing my work and offering specials. I knew I had to get myself out there, make people get to know my work, my ideas and style so I began to focus on marketing myself and began to focus and feed my social media accounts. Slowly I began to get some calls, began to get noticed and even contacted through these platforms. One of my first and biggest opportunities was an invitation to be one of the exclusive photographers for Portland’s Fashion Week and slowly opportunities were knocking on my door. I have gotten opportunities to shoot with amazing models, agencies and clients as well as represent different brands through my social media platforms. But it didn’t all just happen, it took commitment, determination and sometimes even a bit of frustration but above everything gratitude for the amazing opportunities I have been having so far. I am still working everyday to become a better photographer than the one I was yesterday, I haven’t reached the top just yet and I know I have a long way to go, but I am ready!

What is your opinion on modeling education?

Modeling education plays a very important and essential role in my work everyday. Working with different models of different levels of experience is very interesting and sometimes it could also be challenging. Making them feel comfortable in front of the camera to be able to get the shot you are looking for but also to create a positive environment while shooting is the key to a good photograph. This is why I find it very important to have a modeling background as a photographer it helps you direct, set a mood and connect with the person on the other side of the camera.

What person has been your inspiration in life? Who is your hero?

I would say my parents are my biggest inspiration, they have taught me to fight for what I believe in but most importantly they believe in me. It is very hard for some families to accept the fact you want to pursue art and I am lucky enough to say my parents were the exception. They have always supported, believed and stood by my side even with the smallest and most insignificant accomplishments; they are always there to celebrate them with me. Having their support but most of all seeing how hard both of them work, and how every opportunity big or small they always take it with such gratitude and always giving their best at everything they do is truly something I admire. And as a women, seeing my mom work for a bit more than 35 years has lighten up that entrepreneurial side of me, I want that same example for my daughter, I want her to see that her mom can make things happen and so will she!

Do you feel like you've met your goals?

I do think I have met most of my goals, but I won’t ever think I reached it all or learned it all I know I am still growing and have a long way to go but so far I am thankful for the opportunities life has given me specially to be able to pursue a dream that I always thought impossible.

If you had to do it over again, what would you change?

Sometimes you are afraid to take on opportunities because you are afraid you might fail. It has happened to me at least once and letting go on that opportunity that could be amazing will leave nothing but regrets. Sometimes we just have to go all in, even if we don’t make it we learn, even if we fall we will then stand up that is life. Live once and live it to the fullest, that is my life motto!

Do you have any tips?

Don’t ever let anyone tell you, you can’t do it or you won’t make it because one else owns your dreams and knows better how to make them happen than you do. Pursue what you want, pursue what makes you happy and what fills your soul, pursue that passion inside of you but KNOW IT WILL TAKE TIME TO REACH THE TOP. Above anything, be patient and persistent and you will get there.

How do you stay inspired?

Social Media has become not only my best source to market and showcase my work but to find amazing and talented photographers, fashion designers and fashion gurus who inspire me everyday with their creativity, style and vision.

What photography related things do you recommend?

Don’t be afraid to invest your time in learning before you invest in equipment. So many people buy it all and think they have it down just because you have all the tools you need. But no camera will teach you how to shoot, no lighting equipment how lighting works, no equipment in general will make you a more professional photographer. Invest in workshops, classes and then practice, practice, practice. Practice makes perfect!

What's your favourite camera?

I am a Nikon girl so I would say all Nikon cameras are my favorite! But my top choice for now would be the Nikon D750.

What is your most memorable experience so far?

I had just moved to Portland, Oregon and had the chance to attend Portland’s Fashion Week as one of the exclusive photographers. Met a lot of models there and contacted a couple to collaborate right after. One my first shoots right after contacting them was a collaboration between a model a make up artist and myself, a day creating was enough for us three to become best friends. I love the idea of how working with different people all the time gives you the chance to connect not only with people you will grow in this business together but also a chance to build on great friendships.

Booking information:

Instagram: @photoyounique

Facebook: @photoyounique

Email: photoyounique@gmail.com

Photo Credits:

kmphotography_kayla01-2.jpg: Photographer: @photoyounique Model: @naturallyme.kayla Makeup Artist: No make-up the point of the shoot was to promote a natural look. Stylist: @photoyounique Agency: @ryanartists

kmphotography_alla01 & kmphotography_alla02: Photographer: @photoyounique Model: @aborov Makeup Artist: No make-up the point of the shoot was to promote a natural and day to day look. Stylist: @photoyounique

kmphotography_grace01: Photographer: @photoyounique Model: @grace_emer Makeup Artist: @brittanyjauchius Stylist: @photoyounique Hairy Stylist: @brittanyjauchius Agency: @ryanartists

kmphotography_grace02: Photographer: @photoyounique Model: @grace_emer Makeup Artist: @photoyounique Stylist: @photoyounique Hairy Stylist: @photoyounique Agency: @ryanartists

kmphotography_hannah01: Photographer: @photoyounique Model: @hannah_harder Makeup Artist: @photoyounique Stylist: @photoyounique

kmphotography_janda01: Photographer: @photoyounique Model: @digitalbrush Makeup Artist: @helenparkmuah Hairy Stylist: @helenparkmuah

kmphotography_jenny01: Photographer: @photoyounique Model: @jennyjenmeeker Makeup Artist: @helenparkmuah Hairy Stylist: @helenparkmuah Brand: @abundanciacoffee

kmphotography_kemel01: Photographer: @photoyounique Model: @kemelfakhry Stylist: @kemelfakhry & @photoyounique

kmphotography_kylie01: Photographer: @photoyounique Model: @kyliehross Makeup Artist: @helenparkmuah Stylist: @photoyounique Hairy Stylist: @helenparkmuah Textile: Aguayo


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