Enrique, a recent FStop member, is a photographer who specializes in landscapes, wildlife, and swimwear (to name a few). He tells us some fun stories and gives us some great advice.
Say hello to Enrique:
Where are you from? Where have you been?
I am currently based out of San Jose, CA. Born and raised. First generation though. Pops and Moms came from Michoacan, Mexico. As for travel thus far? I’ve traveled across many Central and South American countries but I have yet to have the courage to travel into a country with a language that I do not understand. lol
What’s your favorite place in the world?
Well…in case the portrait of myself didn’t tip you off already? I am a huge animal lover. I actually got my start in photography as a wildlife photographer. And that love came shortly after my trip to Alaska. I have been to several tropical locations in my time, but to me? Nothing beats the beauty of the massive glaciers in Alaska…and of course, it’s wildlife heaven as shown from this image that I took:
Share your experience of when you found out your work was being published for the first time.
I’ll never forget the shoot that led to my first publication. I actually met up with my buddy, Amanda, from Sacramento and we were supposed to be shooting a sexy baseball-themed set. We had scouted a small local baseball field that was rumored to be rarely used anymore. But unfortunately, on this given Saturday? I think half of America showed up with their young kids for a huge tournament, lol. Our plan was crushed. But we didn’t give up. We got in our car…drove randomly into some local hills…and knocked on a door of a home that we thought would be a great spot for a shoot. Luckily, the door was answered by a very kind young man who was very welcoming in allowing us to shoot on his property. And we had an awesome shoot that yielded my first published set. Here is a shot from that set:
Do you get photographer’s block? If so, how do you overcome that?
Sure I do. How do I blow past that? I study a lot. I study images from other photographers on social media…in different magazines…and take tons of seminars. I stop at posters in store windows with cool shots and imagine how they were shot. My mind is filled with catalogs of favorite images that I have seen. And when I have a block? I just start shooting…and once I start shooting, the juices start flowing and my mind starts remembering cool details from my past shoots and from the images that I have studied. Then I just start to spin them in new ways.
Tell us about your career. How did you get into it?
Actually, I was a landscape hobbyist and I went out with a group of hobbyists to shoot butterflies at a local park. I bumped into a guy who was having trouble with his settings and I helped him out. He came to explain that he usually only shot in studio and invited me to his studio to shoot in San Francisco. I took him up on the offer one day and ended up shooting a model for the first time in that studio. Goes to show that you never know when and where your next move will come from! Eventually, I would move to shooting models outside to utilize my experience as a landscape photographer. And today, 90% of my glamour work is shot on location, as in this shot I took on the Sacramento river:
What types of photography do you do? What’s your favorite?
I do a lot of swimwear and glamour, and I also do some pet photography and landscape work. I definitely get noticed most for my glamour work. But my first love will actually always be in landscapes. I love to get lost in nature all alone with just me and my camera:
What has been your biggest setback as a photographer?
I went down to shoot for a lingerie line in Hollywood. I was shooting poolside…and I was leaning over the edge of the pool to get a shot. When I leaned over, a $2 lens cap fell out of my shirt pocket and my instant reaction was to reach down and catch it before it hit the water. I know…its a $2 plastic lens cap. I have no idea why my reaction was to stop its fall. But it was. And my 5d MarkII that was hanging around my neck ducked into the pool as I dipped down. Gone was my camera. Arrrrgh!!! Lol. Of course, I had my back up. But that didn’t stop me from shedding a tear for my Mark II. 🙂
Photography is competitive. How do you stand out?
I never worry about the next guy. I just put the work in and do my thing. I think you have to create a brand that it is unique to you. Tons of people can shoot a well-exposed shot. But if you create your own brand? Your own style? Then you don’t have to worry what the next guy is doing. Just do you.
What’s the best advice you can think of for someone just starting in photography?
Don’t go out and spend a million dollars on gear. Instead, master light and composition. Get out and shoot a lot. And when you have shot a lot? Shoot more. If you do, your quality will get better so much quicker than if you went out and bought a fancy camera.
What is the best thing a model can do to make the most of a photoshoot?
Keep moving. With every pop of that strobe? Move and give something else. Change that expression and pose! You will have so many more cool options to choose from.
What was your most memorable photoshoot?
A shoot I did with my parents about 2 years ago in their backyard. Their smiles were so big and they looked so happy together. They recently celebrated 55 years together and they are such an inspiration to me.
Who was the most unforgettable model you’ve ever met?
I don’t remember her anymore. 😉
How do you bring out your model’s personality in a shoot?
Always come prepared with Pandora and let her choose her music. That’s a must. 🙂 Other than that? Just be a fun person!
What’s the most inspiring photo you’ve ever seen?
Geez. Take your pick from the amazing Emily Soto. She is my photography idol. A genius.
What are 3 tips you have for aspiring photographers?
Shoot every chance that you get.
Don’t get hung up on expensive equipment.
What are 3 tips you have for aspiring Models?
Have a good attitude.
Practice those expressions in the mirror and know your good angles.
Choose your photographers wisely. If you have goals to be a fitness model? Book a fitness photographer. Know your goals and book the appropriate photographer.
What kind of gear do you have? What’s your favorite?
I am a Canon guy. I have tons of stuff that I have acquired over the years. A few bodies, tons of lenses, etc. My favorite depends on the genre and goals of my shoot. Each piece of equipment has a specific strength that landed it in my bag 😉
What will you be doing five years from now?
In five years, I will still be shooting and looking for that next outlet from which I can learn to take my images to another level.
What’s something you’ve always wanted to do but haven’t?
I have always wanted to visit and shoot in an animal park in Africa. Its my dream to capture lions and zebras and all of those beautiful animals in their natural habitat
Enrique, interviewing you was a joy. We look forward to seeing the best of your Africa shoots!
If any artists out there want to collaborate with FStop, don’t hesitate to reach out to us.