The Art of the Personal Project: Sabrina Helas

As a former Art Producer, I have always been drawn to personal projects because they are the sole vision of the photographer and not an extension of an art director, photo editor, or graphic designer. This new column, “The Art of the Personal Project” will feature the personal projects of photographers using the Yodelist marketing database. You can read their blog at Projects are discovered online and submissions are not accepted.

“Rock-rock, Rockaway Beach
Rock-rock, Rockaway Beach
Rock-rock, Rockaway Beach
We can hitch a ride to Rockaway Beach”

Today’s featured photographer is: Sabrina Helas

















How long have you been shooting?
I have been shooting since 2005, I started off as a pet photographer.

Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
Mostly self-taught, the funny part is I had always dreamed of being photographer, but for some strange reason I went to film school instead. It wasn’t until I had been working in that industry for a few years that I woke up and picked up a camera. I had taken photography classes in high school and college but I still had everything to learn.

With this particular project, what was your inspiration to shoot it?
The Ramones song “Rockaway Beach”. I just couldn’t get it out of my head! I have a friend who lives in Rockaway and he was raving about it. He suggested I should take a trip out, so I did and I loved it! We started planning a shoot around the location that day. I am pretty sure that on a subconscious level we pulled from that song’s energy for the entire shoot.

How many years have you been shooting this project before you decided to present it?
I moved to NY in the middle of winter of this year so as soon as the weather warmed up we took a little trip to Rockaway and shot it 2 weeks later.

How long do you spend on a personal project before deciding if it is working?
This was an easy one, I knew right away. The shoot came together perfectly. The energy of the boardwalk was fantastic, the kids were super fun, Michelle Zapata (Photo Producer) made sure everything went smoothly and thanks to Heather Rome (Wardrobe stylist) the clothes matched the vibe. It was a blast!

Since shooting for your portfolio is different from personal work, how do you feel when the work is different?
I love the freedom of a personal project and how it is allowed to organically grow and deviate from the intended concept.
You can plan a shoot as meticulously as you want but once you’re on set with all the different personalities and elements
it has the ability to take on a life of it’s own and you have the permission to just go with it.

Have you ever posted your personal work on social media venues such as Reddit, Tumblr, Instagram or Facebook?
Sadly I am a bit of a grandma when it comes to social media. I have only recently started to embrace it. I do post some of my work, but until recently, all of my settings have been “private”. I’m working on it…

Have you printed your personal projects for your marketing to reach potential clients?
I am actually doing that right now.
I just signed with Kim Knight Represents and I am getting my promos ready to share with the world! (Fingers crossed they like it). LOL


Sabrina Helas is a NY based lifestyle photographer.
She specializes in all things kids.

She recently moved to NYC from Los Angeles and is loving every second of it!
She is represented by: Kim Knight Represents

APE contributor Suzanne Sease currently works as a consultant for photographers and illustrators around the world. She has been involved in the photography and illustration industry since the mid 80s, after establishing the art buying department at The Martin Agency then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies. She has a new Twitter feed with helpful marketing information believing that marketing should be driven by a brand and not specialty. Follow her on twitter at SuzanneSease.


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