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19-Year-Old Builds Booming Business Photographing TikTok Stars


Tati Bruening is a photographer who has found wild success in the unusual niche of photographing TikTok’s biggest celebrities. Bruening, known as Illumitati, has garnered 157,000 followers on Instagram and 900,000 on TikTok, and she has even signed with a talent management firm this month.

An article on Business Insider details the incredible rise to fame that Tati Bruening has experienced.

Her initial start was simple: she just got in touch with TikTok creators by direct messaging them on Instagram.

“I was addicted to TikTok and I would sit and scroll for hours and hours,” Bruening told Business Insider. “I saw the potential in the talent and the e-boy scene. These are good looking boys that could have a career in modeling, why aren’t we taking advantage of this?”

She started her business early just as TikTok was beginning to take off. Now, thanks to her relationship with stars like Chase Hudson, known as Lil Huddy, with his 26 million followers, Chase Keith with his 4 million followers, and Ellie Zeiler with her 7.7 million followers, she boomed in popularity along with them as the social network exploded over the last year.

Bruening was recently signed to Outshine Talent, an agency that specializes in social media creators and innovators.

“I’ve only been doing studio photography for a few months now,” Bruening said. “I was able to connect with bigger and bigger clients because I built my TikTok following and Instagram following so rapidly. It was like if you can’t beat them join them sort of thing. If I can’t get through to them on this level, then I just need to become an influencer.”

The entire story is a fascinating and highly educational piece for photographers who are looking to carve out their own niche to success. It’s easy to dismiss new social media companies like TikTok as a “fad” or “just for kids,” but Bruening is proof positive that anything that is popular can be leveraged into a business if you tackle it from the right perspective. If you do not have access to Business Insider’s “Insider” stories, the entire article was also republished on Yahoo.