Avant-garde photographer and Los Angeles native Ebony Marmolejos started her own photography business, Essence by Ebony, in the latter part of 2010. She specializes in on-location headshots, wedding photography, senior portraits, newborn photography, family portraits, and boudoir shots. Her stellar portfolio speaks volumes about her God-given dexterity and her passion for capturing the essence of her subjects through her camera’s lenses. It is because of this that word about Essence by Ebony is spreading quickly throughout the Phoenix, Arizona area, where she currently resides with her husband and their 5 children.
For years, Ebony carried her camera with her everywhere she went and took pictures of anything and everything she could—just for the fun of it. She never considered starting her own business until her husband, Nector, who is also an amazing photographer, fervently encouraged her to seriously pursue it. After all, he felt that she had something very special. Nector’s urging was just what she needed to push her into action. She started advertising and marketing her business and pretty soon the inquiries started pouring in. She began shooting around the clock, allowing her work to speak for itself.
Although the work of Joel Grimes, Desiree Hayes, and Julie Harris inspires Ebony, her biggest motivation is the excitement of having the perfect shoot. The thought of being able to create a photograph that someone will love propels her to excellence.
Ebony is a perfectionist, to say the least. She will drive for 3 hours sometimes just scouting for the perfect spot. And with the architecture in Arizona being somewhat uniform, finding unique locales can be challenging, but that pushes her to work even harder to find them.
Before a photo shoot, Ebony schedules a consultation with her clients to find out exactly what they want for their pictures. She also asks the client what they would like for other people to think when they see their pictures. She takes that information, searches Google Images for possible looks the client might like, and emails the images to her client just to be sure that they are on the same page. Once she receives feedback, she almost always has an accurate idea of what kind of pictures she needs to take. She then uses her scouting prep work to determine where the shoot will take place.
So far, all of Ebony’s customer feedback has been extremely positive. Her clients often tell her that her pictures are the best they’ve ever had, which is amazing because just 5 short years ago Ebony didn’t believe that anyone would ever take her work seriously. She thought, “I’m JUST Ebony. I work in a call center. I’m JUST a mom.” As time passed, Ebony realized that she didn’t have to have any titles behind her name to be legit. She was more than just a call center worker…and more than just a mom. She was an extremely talented photographer with a creative voice—one that couldn’t be ignored.
Ebony says that God will move and shift earth to make your dream a reality if it is in His will. “God doesn’t part the red sea so that you can stand there and look at it. He parts it so that you can walk through.” For years Ebony stood admiring the road that God had cleared for her, questioning whether He had actually cleared it for her. She wondered whether the waters would swallow her whole if she took a step through them. It was when she finally stopped allowing her thoughts of fear and self-doubt to consume her that she developed the strength to step out on faith, move outside of her comfort zone, and walk into God’s blessing for her—where the rewards are endless.
Ebony’s advice to aspiring photographers is “Be your own #1 fan. No one should love your work more than you do. When you’re excited about your work others can’t help but to be excited as well…Someone’s going to be the next world-renowned photographer. Why can’t it be you? You have the potential to be just as good as the next person. If you’re even thinking that you want to be a photographer, JUST DO IT. Pick up a camera and shoot. Don’t put the camera down until you find what you like.”
In five years, Ebony hopes to have her own studio. Even though most of her shots are on-location, she wants to provide her clients with the option of taking in-studio shots as well so that they won’t have to use multiple photographers for their needs. It is her ultimate goal to be known as “THE professional studio to go to” in Arizona. She wants Essence by Ebony to be on the lips of everyone who is even considering having their pictures taken.
On a final note, I must say that Ebony is one of my dearest friends. She’s someone I’ve known my entire life, and whom I’ve always looked up to. She has always had her own unique style and she’s always been extremely creative. She literally breathes life into anything and everything that she touches. I admire her because she has finally taken her photography to the next level. I enthusiastically look forward to the day when her work is studied on the collegiate level and hangs from the walls of photography museums across the world. Her success is my success. Seeing her living her dreams inspires me to live mine as well.
I encourage you to check out her work and see exactly what I mean when I say that Ebony Marmolejos is a Shooting Star: