We had the good fortune of connecting with Lacey Sombar Curtis and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Lacey, what do you attribute your success to?
In two words: Dedication and Trust. Over the years I have had to learn to trust in myself, that I am talented and that I can run a successful business to support myself and my family. If you don’t believe in yourself you’ll end up stifling your growth. A lack of self confidence only brings stagnancy and work that you don’t want. Quite honestly, my husband has supported my passion for photography and has voiced his pride in me – those words of encouragement bounce around in my head when I don’t feel it myself. It takes experience and time to further your success. My drive and dedication is what started my journey but trusting in God, myself, and having the support of my family is what has kept me going.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
What was once a difficult decision, choosing between majoring in photography and surface design at the University of Georgia has turned into a defining feature of my business. I thought it was crucial and a binding choice to define my career as only one thing – I am a photographer and nothing else! I didn’t understand or know that the more skills you can offer, the more marketable and valuable you become.
Working with textiles informed me that I really enjoyed shooting products versus shooting portraits. Because I am an artist underneath it all, this has allowed me to be quite flexible in the type of projects that I take on. I don’t advertise myself as an art director, stylist, web designer and color specialist, but those are the things my clients receive when I’m hired as their photographer or assistant. I think I would be bored if I did the same type of project all of the time!
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
If my girlfriends were visiting me in the city I would take them to a few of my long-standing favorite spots. Because I spend most of my time in Virginia Highlands, I’d have to take them to Park Tavern, the most chill yet eventful restaurant located right in Piedmont Park. Being a “foodie”, I would be most excited to introduce friends to non-traditional eateries like Havana Sandwich Shop, Sweet Auburn and La Fonda Latina.
Since they’re here for a week I would also take them to either Monday Night Garage or New Realm Brewing Co. because breweries are the most fun places to hang out with friends outside! Another very worn in spot for me is the Atlanta Beltline where you’ll pass neighborhoods, skylines, skate parks, and restaurants while getting a breath of fresh air and some exercise. And since we’re on the Beltline, we can swing by Victory Sandwich Bar in Inman Park where we could snag one of their famous Jack & Coke slushies while competing in a game of ping pong!
I also love going into Highland Row Antiques and getting some work done at San Francisco Coffee while sipping on an iced latte. Lastly, you can’t leave Atlanta without going into Dixon Rye or Press Shop. Both satiate that art and design appetite I carry daily.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
There are some very key people in my life that have been cheerleaders in all stages of my growth and development. From the start, my parents, Mike and Suzanne Sombar, have always followed my lead in the daunting art world, even when they weren’t sure where it would take me. They moved me to John S. Davidson Fine Arts Magnet School in Augusta, GA where I received 7 years of college level art education from my teachers, Ann Marie Dalis and Rosanne Stutts.
Fast forward to my university experience, Clay McLaurin taught me surface design (my minor) while I was majoring in photography at the Lamar Dodd School of Art. I was unsure if I would major in the textile design or photography program but soon after graduating with a BFA in Photography, Clay hired me to shoot his textiles for his newly established textile line, Clay McLaurin Studio. Simultaneously I had the opportunity to grow the internship I had started with Emily Followill Photography while at UGA into a part-time assistant position, where she taught me the basics of shooting high-end residential projects. She educated me on how to interact with clients and how to handle and care for very expensive equipment. It was through Emily that I met Melanie Davis Bracey who is an Atlanta based interior designer by the name of Melanie Davis Design.
Melanie has single-handedly guided me from inexperienced, anxiety-ridden young adult to the professional that I am now (a decade later). She’s pointed me in the direction of success when I didn’t know if I should keep going. She didn’t allow me to give up and she shares my experience as a photography graduate from the University of Georgia where we even had the same professors 10 years apart. She has pushed me to pursue more and has given me a comfortable spot to land when clients and circumstances change. She’s not only become an older sister to me, she has also connected me with other successful artists and designers like Robin Burnett (Robin Burnett Design) and Bradley Odom, owner of Dixon Rye.
Sprinkled in over the years, I’ve had friends and fellow artists like Ginger Frye Davis who passively taught me a lot of technical information about cameras and strobes which was a big hurdle for me in the beginning. Kelsey Edwards (The Ballog), Isobel Mills Prescott (ISOBEL), Mary Katherine Goss (Fold+Stitch) and Page Hall (all graduates of UGA) also shared their freelance and business ownership successes and hardships with me.
Facebook: Lacey Sombar Photography
All images were photographed by me – Lacey Sombar Curtis