Carianne Older talks about shooting LA’s top stars & her all-female photography team

Carianne Older talks about shooting LA’s top stars & her all-female photography team

by Juliette Eleuterio
6 min

As a woman, trying to make it in a male-dominated field is no easy feat, but that hasn’t stopped Carianne Older to become one of the most exciting photographers on the scene. Also known as Peggy Shoots Film, not only has managed to make a name for herself via a distinct film-inspired style, but she has also supported women along the way, by working with an all-female creative team.

What started as a hobby has snowballed into a full-time job of passion for Older. Now four years into the game, Older has already managed to capture some of LA’s biggest names, including SZA and Olivia Rodrigo, and has worked with the likes of Playboy. We caught up with Older who told us all about her come up story, working as a woman in the industry, as well as teasing us about an upcoming project.

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Hey Carianne, how are you? What did you get up to before this interview? 

Hey there! So excited to be sitting down with Culted today. Before this, I was organizing some shoots I have coming up soon for Halloween.

Let’s start at the very beginning. How did you first get into photography?

I got into photography as a hobby when I was working at Abrams Artists Agency as an assistant in the talent department. I was so bored with a desk job and desperately needed a creative outlet, so I picked up photography as a little hobby to do on the weekends and after work, and then it took over my life in the best way possible!

At what point did you realise you wanted to explore this creative avenue as your career?

I decided that I wanted to really pursue photography as my full-time career when I moved to LA in 2019. I moved here to keep working in entertainment, as an assistant at one of the bigger companies here, but my photography business was going so strong when I moved here that I stopped interviewing at companies, and started my own business! 

You are also known under the moniker “Peggy Shoots Film.” Where did that name come from? 

I went to school for theatre, and in musical theatre history class, we got to talking about the first princess musical called Peggyanne The Musical. All my friends were like, “Wait, that’s YOU!” and the name has stuck ever since. As a theatre person, I figured I may as well have a stage name, so I made an Instagram with my nickname, which has taken over my life. It’s cool to have it as my brand’s name. 

Playboy, @peggyshootsfilm ©

You’ve developed quite a distinct style, often delivering us film-style imagery with a play on lighting. How did you find and hone in on this style?

I’ve been experimenting with film for years, working with a number of different brands like Cinestill & Polaroid. I also shoot on like, 12 different cameras, and they all give a different style which I use depending on each project. I started to incorporate digital photography and videography into my repertory about 2 years ago, which I don’t think a lot of people realise, as I am so good at making my digital photos look like they were shot on film. 

Do you have any photographers you look up to for inspiration? Or artists/creatives in general?

I am most inspired by theatre and film. I love going to see any and every theatre production that passes through LA & NYC whenever I am there. I also love going to museums to check out what art they have that could further inspire shoots I have. I’m obsessed with the imagery from movies. I really like to recreate iconic scenes from films, especially during Halloween time!

Do you have a go-to camera to shoot on? 

I do! My favourite is my Canon AE-1.

SZA, Olivia Rodrigo, Charlie Puth, Christina Aguilera… you’ve worked with a wide pool of celebrities. How do you manage to balance your own creative vision with someone who has a strict brand image? Do you tend to have creative freedom or do you have to follow a brief?

It depends! Sometimes I am brought into their world, and sometimes they are brought into mine. I ideally love to creative direct my own shoots, but sometimes it’s nice to step into someone else’s creative world for a shoot. Luckily, I am always brought onto projects that fit my vibe of photography. 

@peggyshootsfilm ©

Have you got a funny BTS story to share with us when on shoot?

I recently shot my best friend Kevin as a scary clown – inspired by the film Terrifier. We drove all around town and whenever anyone saw him in my passenger seat, they would lose it! We put the window down and Kevin would pop his head out and wave to passerbyers. We got gas at the end of the shoot, and this gaggle of frat boys saw Kevin and freaked out and we all cracked up. That was such a fun day and social experiment all in one. 

Who would be your dream subject to shoot?

Lady Gaga! I feel I could bring the most iconic concept to life with her that would break the internet. She just gets it.

What are some difficulties, if any, you faced along the way as a self-made female photographer?

Being a female! As a woman working my way up in a male-dominated industry, I have found it difficult to make a name for myself. I try to empower women with my photography. I normally work with all females on my shoots to make my models feel most comfortable. Over the past two years, I have been taking on mentees. Being a mentor and role model for women in this industry is something I find extremely important. I have been doing one-on-one mentorships and classes to help creatives find community and learn to shoot within their means.

To finish off, have you got any projects you’re working on? Any fun projects in the pipeline? Workshops or panel talks to come?

I have a panel I put together with important ladies in the industry at Soho House West Hollywood on October 24. Super excited about this, as it’s the first panel I have put together. I love public speaking, so I know this will be super exciting, and it sold out in a day! I have a few really cool holiday campaigns coming up to close out the year, a notable one I can mention is Playboy! 

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