Behind The Lens With Ava Cantrell

Images by Stage18 Productions



How did you start in the industry?

I started in the acting industry as a child. I was 7 years old and loved to perform as a dancer on stage. Everyone that saw me on stage thought I needed to be in the industry asap. I had that “it” factor and performance made me happy, not scared. My parents submitted me to three top agents, and two were interested. I am still with the agent we chose AEFH Talent.

When did you decide to pursue photography? I have been taking photos since I was around 12. I asked for a professional camera and have been shooting and upgrading cameras since then. I started shooting animals at the zoo, landscape and other fun things that 12 year old’s like. I have self-taught myself everything over the years, from learning from tips from the photographers that I shot with, reading manuals, watching youtube videos and trial and error from shooting to the editing process.

Why did you decide to work with kids and teens?

My contact list is a lot of kids and teens in the industry or dancers that follow me. I started shooting styled shoots and the referrals started coming in quickly. I think I offer something a bit different out there that really appeals to teens and people in the industry.

What’s the inspiration behind your work?

I have so much inspiration, but what is currently inspiring me is the people I shoot. I really love all the different energy and vibes. I get inspired by that and different personalities.

What’s your goal for the future and where do you see your photography 10 years from now?

I come from a family of entrepreneurs and plan on continuing going down that path. I have a blue blocking glasses lens business with my parents ZOOMe, I am filming the lead in a feature film soon, and I get to pursue my passion of photography in between all that. Ideally I would love to be working for Nat Geo! That would be the ultimate dream, whether in front of the camera talking about animals to behind the scenes, writing and taking photos of them.

Do you have any photographers that inspire your work?

All the photographers that I have worked with have taught me something about photography. Very inspired by them as well as all the nature and animal photographers out there.

Any advice for kids out there wanting to pursue photography as well?

I would tell the kids to just go for it. If you don’t have a professional camera, shoot on your phone. If you really start to love it, then ask for a camera for your birthday or Christmas. There are so many great youtube videos to help you learn along the way. Don’t be afraid to pick a style or genre, Just take pictures! As many as you can. All that will start to evolve. I am still growing and learning and I think that is a gift.

What’s your favorite thing about being a photographer?All of it, from start to finish. I love that it is different every time you shoot it is different. I love new locations, new people and new styling. I am partners with my Mom who is a stylist and in fashion for the last 30 years. I love collaborating and picturing ALL of our shoots as editorials. I love the story telling part of photography. I love the end editing. I truly love it all.

Where can we find more about your work? I am working on my photography website, but for now find me on Instagram @avacantrellphotography