It feels so good to be back, and I am thrilled to introduce you to Natalia Seth @escapingyouth. Seth is a 17-year-old self-taught surrealist photographer, whose passion for photography began at the age of 14. Seth captures everyday objects or scenes and then transforms them into extraordinary experiences. When you start scrolling through her profile, you’ll soon realize how addicting her feed is—to the point that it becomes nearly impossible to stop looking at her work. Her endless creativity has earned her over 200K followers along with a series of collaborations with major brands like GrubHub, LoveSac, and Zevia. So, after obsessing over her for months, I had to reach out. She kindly gave me some FaceTime after her long week of final exams, allowing me to pick her brain about everything from her process to brand collaborations.First, what apps do you use for your photos?I don’t typically use apps to edit my photos, but more for filtering them! VSCO and Snapseed are amazing for coloring and local adjustments. For the actual manipulation part, I use Photoshop.Who inspires your content and style?I learned Photoshop through a YouTube channel called Phlearn. It’s a Photoshop tutorial channel that taught me basically everything that I know (other than me aimlessly clicking buttons and figuring out what everything did). So they’re a HUGE component of what I am today. Also, Rosie Hardy (@georgiarosiehardy) is incredible at surreal photography. Her style includes models with big dresses in mystical places, which is my kryptonite.
Since it’s a new year and the content creation space is always evolving, what are some trends you see emerging and disappearing in 2018? This can be for photography or be working with brands. I’ve noticed many brands are cutting down on how many creators they’re working with, and are now more focused on quality rather than quantity. As I create long-term relationships with brands, they’ve learned the value of my work and other creators’ work. With the emphasis on quality, this allows lesser-known creators whose work is spectacular to shine. While influence is a huge component of creative advertising, I feel the talent element will outweigh a follower count.When did you realize that brands are willing to pay you for what you already like doing?I started small, promoting bows and clothes. As I my skills and influence grew, more brands started to contact me and even offer me compensation for my work. That thought hadn’t even entered my head before. I can get money doing what I love? It’s still crazy to me, to this day.As you continue to do more collaborations, what are some best practices and lessons you’ve picked up along the way?I’ve learned that I shouldn’t take every opportunity that is thrown at me. As I’ve grown in my skills, I have realized that my time is worth money, so I’m careful in picking the companies I work with. I have to decide which brands I prefer creating for because if I chose them all, I’d just end up being burned out.
Your content is unconventional and super unique. How do you make sure a brand is willing to give you creative control? With all the content I create for companies, I try to reflect my aesthetic/style while still promoting the brand’s product. Prior to the shoot, I share ideas or concepts I have in mind and explain my process before executing the photos. And of course I submit my photos for review. Advance planning helps eliminate miscommunications, and transparency from both parties is crucial to a successful relationship. I’ve been lucky to work with brands that give me a lot of freedom. Even if they have a certain theme, I am still able to morph my style and have it fit their brand.Lastly, how do you plan to build on your success? Do you have ideas for extending your services beyond Instagram?The only way to improve is to keep working hard and be open to anything! I will continue to grind and at the same time experiment with different ideas and push my boundaries. Instagram is my main girl right now, but I hope to expand my audience to YouTube as I continue to learn more about videography. I’m going to college next fall and will be majoring in creative advertising, which will continue to expand my horizons.
Tell me you are as infatuated with her as I am after seeing those photos and reading what she has to say. With Seth entering her senior year, and most likely enrolled in a creative advertising program by the fall, there is no telling where her talents will lead her. One thing is for sure—this is just the beginning, and nothing but greatness awaits her. Keep up with Natalia at either her personal account @nataliaseth, or continue scrolling through her artwork here.