Industry Profile: Swell Photography Coordinator Heather Baker

10 Jul, 2012

Job Title: Photography Coordinator
Employer: Swell
Years on snow: 22 years
Days on snow: anywhere from 10-80
Currently Riding: Roxy Ollie Pop 148, Burton Stiletto, Burton Bootique or my Flow Myriad and Prima bindings, depending on the day.
Currently I am: Living beachside in San Clemente.

Shay: Tell us a little bit about yourself
Heather: I grew up in a little town called Penryn, CA, which is just outside of Tahoe. I spent my winters snowboarding Northlake to Southlake to Mammoth. Board sports were ingrained into my life from an early age, and later took up surfing while getting my B.A. from Humboldt State. I am an animal lover, artist and gypsy.

Shay: How has snowboarding changed your life?
Heather: Snowboarding is my first love, it’s a lifestyle not a hobby. A guaranteed smile.

Shay: How did you get your start in the industry, who or what opened up more opportunities for you?
Heather: My first “real” job in the industry was for Flow Snowboarding. I began as an intern, and then was asked to stay on to work in Marketing and Public Relations. This was an amazing start that opened up opportunities to meet industry professionals and seasoned pro’s. After 2 ½ years there, I moved back to Tahoe to work a season at Boreal Mountain in their marketing department doing everything from general marketing, events and social media to resort photography. Working in these positions led to various freelance jobs with Snowboarder Mag and EXPN covering snowboard events. I have never been happier working for any other industry, and I am currently getting my feet wet in the surf industry.

Shay: How has your previous education or work experience helped you in your current job?
Heather: My degree from HSU is in studio arts; photography. The years I spent working in marketing and public relations, I would also provide graphics and photography for both Flow and Boreal. Wearing multiple hats was an added bonus I have to offer to a marketing department and has helped me to excel in assisting with any creative demands for the marketing team.

Shay: Tell us about your role as at Swell and a description of the work you do?
Heather: Currently I edit all on-model photo’s for our website and flat product clipping as needed. I also create web banner’s, emails, promo materials, and catalog layouts. My days are spent in photoshop, bridge and indesign.

Shay: If you had to make up a job title that most accurately described what you REALLY do, what would it be?
Heather: With our art department consisting of only 4 people, it’s really a job where tasks can change with any art and photo needs for our Marketing team. But most times I am processing photos for products to go online a.s.a.p.

Shay: Describe the craziest day/moment you’ve had at your job?
Heather: I’m slammed on the daily with non-stop editing and graphics. So I guess you could say it’s crazy everyday at Swell, the down time is little to none.

Shay: What are some memorable experiences from working in the industry?
Heather: The best times are the ones spent “schmoozing”. There’s no better way to take the edge of the stress of a job than throwing back a couple with like-minded people. From bonfires, to dinner parties, to days on hill with your bosses, there’s no better way to build your career in this industry than to let other’s get to know who you really are. Yes, even the embarrassing ones when you’re caught on camera doing a keg stand in the lobby of your work.

Shay: What do you think are the biggest challenges that the action sports industry faces and what changes would you like to see for the future?
Heather: Currently the state of the weather changes and environment are the biggest challenges. The snow was so dismal for sales last year. Year round camps with various activities are growing and could help the future for the industry to generate a steady stream of finances in sales and interest.

Shay: What advice would you give to people wanting to work in the industry?
Heather: Start where you can, and never turn down an opportunity even if it’s not a job you were hoping for. Meet as many people as possible. Don’t be annoying with persistence, just express your interest and hope for an opening. Be professional at all times and be prepared to make a low wage and work overtime. Industry jobs are about a passion for the sport, if you can’t relate then move on to something that you can.

Find out more at:
Instagram: @hlbaker
Website:, or my much neglected blog,

About the author


From the beginning of time, I was Shannon. From the beginning of snowboarding, I was Shay. From the beginning of online communities, I was Shayboarder. In the end, I’m the writer, photographer, editor, publisher, guru of sorts, product tester, curvy girl, and most importantly the snowboarder behind it all. Follow me on this journey through snowboarding, mountain biking, traveling and fun experiences!

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