From The Desk Of: Cheyenne Ellis

Apr 28, 2016

We've had the pleasure of working with photographer Cheyenne Ellis on a number of projects over the years. From beautiful promos to softcover books, Cheyenne's signature aesthetic always seems to get right to the essence of the California lifestyle she knew growing up. We sat down with Cheyenne to find out how she stays inspired in the fast-paced world of commercial work. 

What’s on your desk?

A globe, 100 terabytes of backup drives, and a drawing mannequin

Fill in the blank: "I don't show up at a meeting without _________."

a pen, I'm old fashioned and still love to write notes, postcards, and to do lists

What’s in your bag/always on your person?

Chapstick, I'm addicted, and recently made my own with my logo on it

Subject I won’t shut up about lately... / Subject I avoid...

How we spend too much time on our phones, its effect on children, and relationships. But I avoid talking politics as much as I can, I don't enjoy the arguments

______ is worth the wait / I have no patience for _____

Good food is worth the wait but I have no patience for bad customer service

Describe your personal aesthetic in three words:

Natural, Modern, Bohemian

Describe the creative space at your company:

very open, with views of the mountains, and a dog always on the couch

What are your design inspirations?

Traveling. I always pick up something new from wherever I go. Whether its textiles, color palettes, or just how different cultures arrange interior spaces. I love the diversity

How does one tap into their creative side?

For me its drawing. Whenever I'm feeling stuck or lacking ideas with my work, I try to go back to the pen and paper to loosen up my thought process

What’s the motto/life philosophy/advice you live by?

My dad used to say all the time… We are some Lucky Fucks…. I say it a lot and feel it all the time. I'm really lucky to do what I do and call it work. But I have worked really hard to get here too.

What is your favorite aspect of the job you do?

Working with people. Whether I'm making the client happy, the talent feel good about themselves, or my crew is enjoying their day. I just love seeing the people I work with smile, its my favorite accomplishment

What career moves and/or aspirations brought you to your current role?

I grew up in the film industry, my father was a stuntman turned director. I loved how he ran a set and knew I wanted to do something similar, just on a smaller scale

What is the best professional lesson you’ve ever learned?

To put actions behind my words. As an assistant I used to talk a lot about taking pictures and what my career was going to be like one day. Until I had another photographer told me that .. a lot of people talk about taking pictures and not many take as many as they say. I think I quite working for him about 2 weeks later and really started my career

What are the most exciting developments in your industry?

Thats a hard one for me. The developments in my industry have made everything so easy and accessible.. that I miss the hard work. The hours in the dark room. I do love that everyone can take pictures now and get creative behind the lens, but not that everyone can call themselves a photographer if they buy a nice camera. So many people will never know what it means to spot a print or work in a darkroom. I'm not a fan of filters and quick fixes to make a pretty picture

What do you love about what your company brings to its clients?

That it was an experience. They love their time spent with my crew and that they get great pictures to show for it

How do you start and/or end your day?

I start and end my day walking my dog. I live in Topanga Canyon and I love being outside first thing when I wake up or as soon as I get home. It gives me a break from the technology.

Tell us about your latest printed project:

I'm working on a series of bounded books that include stories of my favorite work. The first volume was from a recent trip I took to Panama with my good friends non profit, Floating Doctors. Volume 2 were portraits of my friends that I was commissioned to shoot for a DSW campaign, and the next one will be from a trip I took last year to Peru for Organic Life Magazine. I haven't decided what the 4th volume will be, but most likely something I haven't shot yet

What was the inspiration behind this project?

To make beautiful promos that showcased my favorite images. Something to hold onto and collect almost. I wanted a promo piece that didn't just get looked at once and discarded, I wanted people to hold onto them and keep looking forward to the next one

What brought you to Paper Chase Press?

I've been printing here for years and I believe it was just word of mouth thru the industry. I went to the old store on Sunset once to take a look at some sample materials and fell in love with everything I saw being done here, I was sold.

How often do you use printed goods to promote your business?

I print 4 special promos a year, and about 4 -6 postcards a year, so I'm working on a new one every other month

What's the response like to these printed goods?

People love them and they get me work

How does this project fit into your design philosophy? Your branding? Your overall objectives?

Ro & Co in NYC has been doing my design work since I started. Roanne and I have been friends since we were in our 20s in New York. She has really helped keep my brand consistent while always keeping it up to date and modern. These new pieces were just an extension of the work we did the year before with just a new font

The paper product I can’t live without is ____ and I use it to _____.

Hahnamuele photo rag duo, I use it to print my portfolios, which I still do myself and print at home. Although I'm starting to consider Paper Chases lay flat custom portfolio books

What is your favorite aspect of your job?

That every day is different. I'm constantly traveling, meeting new people, and getting challenged by the work. I love that 

What do you love about what your company brings to its clients?

We run a really fun set and keep a lighthearted atmosphere in a job that can sometimes get incredibly stressful. Every Friday we have a game called $5 Friday, that my dad used to do on his sets and I've done every Friday since he passed 3 years ago. Its simple. You put your name in a hat and $5 in another hat and if your name gets picked at the end of the day, you go home with the whole lot. Sometimes the seamstress will go home with $200 or the guys in the equipment room win $150.. its a nice way to end the week.

How does your brand convey its personality?

My brand is called Love,Chey.. its a heart with my signature that Ro & Co turned into a logo… i like the idea that everything we do is for the client with love… we've made all sorts of things with the love chey logo, but most recently I gave my whole crew gift certificates to design their own New Balance running shoes on line and without telling me they all had the backs of their shoes monogrammed with love on one shoe and chey on the other. I was pretty flattered

What is the best professional lesson you’ve ever learned?

That its just photography. At the end of the day, we are making pictures, not performing brain surgery. I take what I do seriously, but I have perspective and realize that I don't have to take it too seriously

What are your creative inspirations?

My sister inspires me every day. She just doesn't know it. She has incredible style and an amazing eye. I'm always trying to get her to art direct or style shoots for me, but she's a full time mom and a very good one at that. In addition to her, I have some really talented friends in my life who constantly inspire me creatively. My friend Roanne for one and how she runs her business. My friend Abigail is the head women's designer at Stance and I love her aesthetic. And lastly my friend Gina who just exudes style in everything she does, from making Jewelry to how she cooks.

What websites and blogs do you read regularly?

I don't do a lot of website searching or blog reading at all. I don't actually know where people find the time. If I'm not shooting, I'm retouching or editing, and If I'm not doing that I'm trying to catch up with loved ones, sleep, or exercise. I have enough time in front of monitors that I really try to limit my time on them outside of work.

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