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Jetset with Reema Desai

the style line reema desai

Today’s story features a personal piece by Reema Desai. An esteemed travel photographer and editor, Reema shares her travel experiences (with exclusive and never before seen photos!), her thoughts on D.C. and a glimpse into her day-in-the-life…

My name is Reema and I am a freelance travel and food photographer based in Washington, DC.

I also work as the Travel Editor for The Everygirl. My days tend to be pretty varied and I wouldn’t have it any other way1 More often than not, I’ll spend 3 days straight wearing leggings and working from home on edits, emails, accounting, etc., and then have a week straight of travel, shoots or a mix of the two. I enjoy both equally so I am thankful for the balance. When I’m not working, most of my free time is spent with my rescue dog, Mooch, or exploring the city with my boyfriend, Jonathan.

Destination DC

I’ve lived in DC for almost four years now, and I recently settled into a neighborhood that I really love. DC is an interesting place, and though it’s a big city, the arts and photography scene is definitely smaller than it is in New York or Los Angeles. That aspect of it is really nice in a way, because it definitely allows you to have more personal connections. I love that amongst all of the history of the city, there’s always something new coming up. The creative community and even the food scene is constantly growing and flourishing everyday. Because of the work I do, I often get to meet other business owners and creative types around the city, and I find that talking to them and learning about what they do to be a really wonderful part of my life.

At Home in The World

I think that travel has helped make me better at my job, most definitely!

As a photographer, you do need to be constantly seeking inspiration, and I definitely feel most creative while traveling. I find the work that I produce while traveling or right after a trip to be the work I am most proud of which I think is a direct result of that heightened creativity. Seeing new places, meeting new people, and hearing their stories has really had an impact on both professionally and personally though. I tend to be a bit introverted so I think travel is good for me in the sense that it gets me out of my comfort zone. I also feel like I appreciate my homelife, my friends and my family even more after traveling for a while.

A Day in The Life

6:15AM– Wake up and take a walk together with my boyfriend and our dog.
6:45AM- Most days, I’ll head to the gym and work out for 30 minutes so. I’m always more awake and productive after a gym visit so I try to squeeze it in.
7:30AM Get ready, make some coffee and breakfast and start working on emails. The rest of my morning is typically spent editing photos, talking with clients, invoicing, etc.
1:00PM – I’ll often head out to an afternoon shoot for a few hours at this point. After working from home, it’s a great way to break up the day.
4:30PM- After getting home, I’ll go on another long walk with my dog and make any phone calls needed along the way.
5:30PM – Depending on the day, I may head to drinks with friends or start cooking dinner. This part of the day is usually a bit of a wind down.
8:00PM –  I’ll usually do a little more work in the evenings and try to plan out my upcoming day.
10:30 PM- The goal usually is to put down work, get ready for bed and read for a little to relax.

Life Beyond the Lens

Outside of my work, I am a huge dog lover and an advocate for rescue animals. I would spend pretty much my entire day hanging out with my dog if I could! I hope that going forward, I am able to devote more time to volunteering at dog rescues and shelters. When you don’t have set work hours, it can be easy to overwork yourself and fail to make time for things that matter like this but it’s important to work at it. More and more, I realize that freelance work is all about a balancing act.

I always hope I can encourage others to choose a path that makes them happy. There seems to sometimes be this misconception that you have to come from a really creative background to do this type of work or that you have to come from wealth in order to support the whole “starving artist” lifestyle, for lack of a better word. I do want to share that it’s possible to do photography or writing or art full time without all that. My parents are both immigrants and I came from a pretty modest background. I went to a state school and studied Political Science so by no means did I have any sort of background filled with amazing creative connections or anything like that! I think it’s important to share that things will work out as long as you love what you do and work very hard at it.