Each week we select and profile a photographer from our #SFGuide community on Instagram. We believe these photographers capture the everlasting beauty of San Francisco and the Bay Area. For a chance to be featured on our Instagram feed, or here, on 49Miles.com, tag your photos with #SFGuide.
This week’s featured #SFGuide photographer is Cassi Bell (@the_lil_0ne), an L.A native currently working as a CPO in San Francisco. Scroll down to view Cassi’s amazing work, and learn more about what inspires her as a creative.
#SFGuide Featured Artist Profile
Name: Cassi Bell
Profession: Chief People Officer (HR)
Place of Birth: Los Angeles, CA
Where do you currently reside: San Francisco, CA
Something you’d like viewers to know about you: Hmm, I guess my IG account name came from my sister always calling me “Lil One” given my whopping stature of 4’9.
What is your favorite spot to shoot in San Francisco, and why?
I love them all, but I have a soft spot for the Dogpatch in Potrero. The people are the kind you’d imagine in the show “Cheers” where everyone knows your name, and are so genuine to everyone they meet. Also, it was the first place I went to take my very first picture with my camera.
When and why did you take up photography?
October 23, 2016 to be exact. Haha. And honestly it was 100% due to my sister Tiffany Bell. She is my role model not only in life, but especially when it come to the photography world. She taught herself everything she knows now about shooting, and she has unknowingly passed that down to me, and continues to be my motivation to try and get better. She was the only reason I bought my camera and there is no way I could ever thank her enough for her encouraging me to just try it out and take a shot.
What do you love about photography?
I love how I have a totally new appreciation for things that I once was completely oblivious to. Such as the yellow lane dividers in the middle of a road. Or the shadows and light bursts that bounce off the windows of a building when the sun is setting. Or the overwhelming excitement I get when I see a puddle of water in the streets of SF.
How do you decide what to shoot?
Well half the time I can’t, but when I finally do decide it’s usually because I got lost and accepted that my original plan was really my backup plan. 😁 There’s so much content around us every day to shoot and so often I feel like I take that for granted. For me deciding what to shoot is really just about getting into that zone where I temporarily forget about all the day to day stress, and can take a step back and capture all the beautiful things around a us.
What’s your favorite part about going out to shoot?
The thrill of chasing sunsets and sunrises and actually getting the shot is of course one of my favorite parts. But after posting a picture and getting a call from my sister specifically to tell me how “dope” that shot was also is contributing factor that runs through my mind when I think about my favorite parts.
Which location did you have the most difficulty getting to, and how did you do it?
With a sense of direction like mine, getting to every spot is difficult. But most recently trying to find Kirby Cove at 4AM with fog so thick I should have had an umbrella. But with my venti coffee, a heavy-duty dollar store keychain flashlight, and adding an additional mile of hiking I found it! 😀
What is your dream shot? (Where, what time of day, what’s in it / the subject?)
So, my sister and I always talk about this… I want a scene that has miles and miles of white sand dunes, the northern lights in the background, and then a girl just casually running against the wind in flowy red chiffon dress, not too much to ask, right? That being said I’d also be just as stoked with a helicopter ride at dusk, with a heavy fog bank right above the Golden Gate Bridge.
What is your favorite app to use for photo editing on the go, and what are your top 3 favorite filters?
Well I’m bad at editing, so I try to just take the shot I am imagining. But if I feel like messing around with it I like playing with Aviary, Snapseed, and your standard Photoshop apps.
How does Instagram and the #SFGuide community inspire you?
As a whole, it is absolutely inspiring to see the how many ways there are to take the same shot. What I love most is that #SFGuide is consistently able to highlight the variety of compositions and perspective of the thousands of Bay Area photographers out there.
What are your favorite San Francisco-based Instagram accounts to follow?
Obviously, I love #SFGuide, #streetsofsf, #sfgate, #conquer_sf, #ilove_sanfrancisco and #bay_shooters, but I also admire the individual work of @tiffanysbell @gettyphotography @Iwozzy @sf.dan @photoz2frame @andrewoptics @kanecandrade and @andreweggers
What type of camera do you use? And what is your dream camera?
I have a Canon 6D. And honestly since I’m fairly new to the game that is my dream camera. She’s my baby.
What are your favorite settings in your idea shot?
Lens: I love my wide angle which is a 16-35 mm
Shutter Speed: 28
White Balance: I usually just leave it in the center
Focus (Manual / Auto): Manual
Image Format (RAW / JPEG): RAW
What advice would you give to new or rising photographers that you wish you had received when you first started?
Don’t think too much. If you like the picture. You like the picture. Not everyone is going to see an image the way you will and that’s totally ok. I feel like once you accept that, then the real magic starts to happen and you create your own personal style which makes each moment you capture a memorable experience.
What do you love about living in the San Francisco Bay Area?
The bipolar weather- shout out to my boy @karlthefog! The extreme contrast you get when going from one part of the city to the next. And lastly the ever-changing skyline, bodies of water, and some of the most iconic places in the world to visit.