How 19-Year-Old Photographer Franey Miller Went From High School to Shooting for ‘Nylon’ and ‘Bullett’

Since starting out as a fashion photographer, Franey Miller has racked up a solid CV, shooting editorials for magazines like Nylon, Oyster and Bullett. She also happens to be 19 years old, having chosen to skip college, internships and assisting more established photographers in favor of setting out on her own.

This isn’t to cast Miller as some kind of photography wunderkind; it’s just relevant information to anyone curious about her career. Here’s her take on making rent, preserving teenage awkwardness and the virtues of visiting magazine offices uninvited.

How old are you? I ask because I saw you’d written a post on your site about the frustrations of being taken seriously when you’re so young.

I’m 19. I didn’t go to college; I graduated like a year and a half ago. I considered about going to art school for two seconds, then I was like, “Okay, no one’s going to teach you to be creative. I already know what I want to do.” I got shit at my high school for knowing what I wanted to do and not going to college, but then other people get shit for not knowing what they want to do, so where can I be right here, [guidance] counselors? I took a year to chill out at home and went to New York back and forth. I moved here on July 1.

My big question here is how you got yourself off the ground when you moved here. 

A lot of emails — I mean, honestly since the second half of senior year. I’ve been shooting seriously since I was 15, and I shot film for two and a half years. I was playing around with friends.

I didn’t really have a normal high school experience. I never partied or drank or anything. I didn’t do it. I filled my weekends writing emails. I just worked really hard, and all my friends were like, “What are you doing? You should be a teenager.” But, like, no. I’ll do that later. I have all the time in the world. The past few years [of high school] I had an internship at a newspaper that I never went to, so I would sign out and go home. I shot every weekend.