Say hello to Derek :
Where are you from? Where have you been?
I’m a Miami Native and I’ve been to Texas and California for a few days. I do own a passport but it has ZERO stamps in it. I will travel more and one of my goals as a photographer is to put myself in situations where I can travel while enjoying my craft. Ideally, I see myself photographing European models as part of an ad campaign for some sort of overpriced luxury product. $$$$$ lol.
What’s your favorite place in the world?
My favorite place is actually my home. As much as I enjoy being out and about photographing all sorts of people, there is nothing that compares to getting home to my family and watching Rick & Morty with them in bed.
What’s on your “bucket list” of ideas to create?
My current bucket list of ideas is pretty all over the place and half of it I can’t even list. I get tons of ideas from simple and cute portraits of people with their pets to fine art nude portraits in public. I wish I could list them all out in one concise list and I wish even more I had the time and income to get them all done!
How would you describe your visual style?
My visual style has changed over the years and I hate looking back at my old work because I honestly think it’s THE WORST! Currently, I would say my visual style is a mix between lifestyle, editorial, and fine art photography. Usually, if I like how something looks I will explore how to recreate it. So, most of my work involves studio lighting and equipment.
You’re a self-taught photographer – what resources did you use to guide your learning?
My biggest guide to learning was trial and error. Failed test shoots and straight out lame photos have all been part of a journey to where I am now. Other photographers, websites, and YouTube have all helped me too; however, it was all the knowledge in practice that made the difference and helped me develop a somewhat successful photographic eye.
How do you find your inspiration?
I’ve always been visually inclined so picking up a camera was kind of a natural thing. It wasn’t until I was older that the idea of actually creating “art” became a possibility.
Tell us about your career. How did you get into it?
I used to just take photos as a hobby. It wasn’t until my girlfriend told me to “Stop being stupid and start charging people,” that I actually considered I could probably do it for a living.
What types of photography do you do?
I’m a portrait photographer and shooting people is definitely my favorite. I really enjoy the whole process of getting to know a person and then trying to translate them and what they do/are/want into a single frame or two.
What is the strangest situation you’ve ever faced as a photographer?
The strangest situation I’ve ever faced as a photographer was while shooting my girlfriend’s maternity photos. It was a forest theme and while wandering through the forest, we encountered so many weird things like (not so) distant chanting, weird trash scattered throughout the place, and what appeared to be an entranced, homeless person worshiping some sort of Pagan god.
What are your favorite three photos you’ve taken?
My three favorite photos are below:
Photography is competitive. How do you stand out?
I stand out by remembering that portraiture is about one thing – people.
How do you bring out your model’s personality in a shoot?
I always try to make everyone comfortable and relaxed. It doesn’t always work, but I still try.
What are 3 tips you have for aspiring photographers?
- Keep shooting.
- Keep shooting.
- Keep shooting.
What kind of gear do you have?
I’m a Nikon guy and I own off camera lighting equipment. I’ll work with just ambient light if I have to, but I really love manipulating light and shadows to craft an image of my own.
What’s one lighting tip you’d like to share with other photographers?
Learn to use it, make it, bend it, etc. It’s was probably the toughest aspect of photography for me to learn but it has been worth it.
What has photography done for you as a person? How has it changed you?
It’s given me a different perspective on everything. Everything in life in general is just so temporary (even the “permanent” stuff) and photography has taught me to just either sit back and enjoy it, or to have my camera ready to capture it.
What’s one of your biggest fears?
Dying… did that get too dark suddenly? Sorry.
What will you be doing five years from now?
What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done?
Taking naked self portraits with my girlfriend in the California desert.
For anyone that wants to get in touch with Derek, here’s some contact information:
Derek, we love your work and look forward to seeing more! 🙂
If any artists out there want to collaborate with FStop, don’t hesitate to reach out to us.