A visual designer by trade, Lucero has the skills to take her photography to another dimension. Enter her beautiful and surreal imagination below. 🙂
Say hello to Lucero:
Where are you from? Where have you been?
I was born and raised in the beautiful city of Puebla, Mexico. Thank God I’ve had the opportunity to travel almost throughout the whole world. I’ve been to Canada and the U.S., South America, Central America, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia.
What’s your favorite place in the world?
I hate to say it, but my favorite and happiest place in the whole world is Disney World, but since it’s so cliché, this will be my real answer: I don’t have ONE favorite place – every country I’ve visited is completely unique, but I love Norway and Iceland. Some of my work from Norway and Iceland:
What’s on your “bucket list” of ideas to create?
I’ve never really had a bucket list; it just doesn’t work for me that way. As a normal human being, I get inspired by moments and that’s how I get random ideas to create, but then I forget to write them down, haha. I’m a little more spontaneous, so when I decide to make a new edit, I try to figure out what to do with what I have at the moment.
How would you describe your visual style?
I don’t know – weird yet inspirational, surreal photoart, I guess.
Your multiple exposure composites are quite charming and tell a story – how do you find your inspiration?
It depends on how I’m feeling. Everywhere I turn, there’s something that gives me an idea to create something – I get inspiration from literally ANYTHING. I have A LOT of imagination; I just need to be in the right mood and in the right place. That’s why I get inspiration from traveling; getting to know the place, the people, and their culture is something that works amazing for my creativity and imagination to start brainstorming the next possible composition. I’m also a big fan of fantasy, sci-fi, and mythology, so I usually get inspired by the unreal. And of course, music – it’s a must.
What does the workflow look like and what tools do you use?
I take THOUSANDS of pictures and videos of absolutely everything I see and everything I do when I travel. When I get back home (a few weeks later), I go back and look at those memories and try to remember how that place made me feel and what that moment reminded me of. I literally spend like 3 hours until I get to the point when I decide which picture to use and what to create with it. Once I get the perfect idea, the process gets remarkably fast and easy. Every picture has a different workflow depending on the idea, but I spend no more than an hour editing the picture. Most of my pictures follow this work process:
1.Adjusting and cleaning the background image – first, I make some cropping and perspective adjustments. Then, I get rid of people and objects that I don’t want in my image.
2.Cleaning foreground images – I do the same cleaning process for every item I blend into the background image.
3. Blending – this is the “hardest” part, where I overlap layers and perfectly erase backgrounds WITH MY FINGER, almost pixel by pixel. In this part, I also blend in some fake shadows or reflections for water if needed, and throw in some highlights to make the mixture a bit more realistic.
4. Color correction – the foreground and background never have the same lighting tone and color temperature, so I need to balance that. Then, I add the color filters to the almost finished composition. I tend to use only pastel tones, especially blue and purple. Thanks to Afterlight, I already have my own filters made for almost every tone I use.
5. Margin cropping – before I upload the final composition to Instagram, I add rounded corners to the image and crop it into a white square. And that’s it.
All of the pictures I make are taken with my iPhone and edited with iOS apps. Since there is no perfect, complete editing software like Adobe Photoshop for iPhone, I use 38947298402 apps for each picture, one for every step or tool I need. The basic ones I always use (and I thank God for the existence of their creators) are Snapseed by Google [for healing and transformation tools], Afterlight [for color correction and filters], and from PixiteApps, I use Union [for multiple exposure and merging layers], Fragment, and Matter [for 2D and 3D decoration].
Do you get photographer’s block? If so, how do you overcome that?
ALL THE TIME. Patience is the key. Not only do I get photographer’s block, I also get designer’s block, so I just cry and wait patiently until inspiration comes by itself. Music helps, taking a walk or a long drive also helps me clear my mind in order to get ideas flowing more easily. Reading newspapers and blogs and getting inspiration from the internet is also very helpful to the process.
By trade, you’re a visual designer – tell us about that aspect of your career and how it influences your photography.
I majored in Visual Information Design two years ago, and I currently work as a freelancer. I’ve always loved the creative arts and photography ever since I was a little kid, but I didn’t want to get a degree in Photography – I wanted something more, I wanted to learn the basics of photography by myself and then make something different with it. Being a visual designer gives me the tools and knowledge to create something different with a little more imagination than any other photographer.
How did you get into photography?
One of my best friends, Aldo Herrera, got into professional photography when we were finishing high school. I told him I wanted to learn and he voluntarily lent me his Canon all Christmas break to play around with. I loved it and then I got my first camera (a Nikon D3100) a few months later as a gift from my brother.
What types of photography do you do?
As a designer, I have to do photography for almost everything. I do products, fashion, advertisement, portraits, and social events, but I don’t like it as much as I love landscape and travel photography because that’s what I use for my artistic compositions.
Photography is competitive. How do you stand out?
Well, I think that having this original and different style of photography makes my work stand out from other people’s work, since right now, a lot of photographers and artists have a very similar style. But still, I don’t think photography is that competitive as a job. I have a harder time finding opportunities as a designer than as a photographer. I think it depends a lot on what type of photography you do and who your competitors are. Sure, there are a lot of professional photographers today that are very committed to their work, but every single person in the world needs pictures, so there’s always work. Also, social media and virtual business are growing so fast that there are millions of companies, brands, bloggers, etc. looking for freelance photographers. I think that as for today, there’s still room for plenty of us.
What’s the best advice you can think of for someone just starting in photography?
Being good at taking pictures does not make you a photographer. Just like in any other job, you need commitment and responsibility to stand out and progress professionally. As I said before, patience is going to be the key to your work for the rest of your life if you plan on being a photographer. Start saving money – professional photography is extremely expensive. Also, you need to feel okay wandering solo because almost no one is going to be there with you waiting for hours while you shoot. (Always take pepper spray and a knife with you, for security just in case, haha!)
If you could photograph anything in the world, what would it be?
I wish I could photograph the far side of the moon or a volcanic eruption. I would also love to spend the rest of my life shooting Aurora Borealis. Taking pictures of something that looks unreal just gives me the most beautiful and inexplicable feeling on earth.
What is your most life-changing event?
I don’t think my life has ever changed drastically from one moment to another, but I’d say I kind of had a hard time dealing with my father’s passing a few years ago.
What has photography done for you as a person? How has it changed you?
It lets me express feelings that neither actions nor words can. It has also made me more creative.
Who’s your biggest hero in your life?
What’s something you’ve always wanted to do but haven’t?
Hike the Himalayas and Mont Blanc.
For anyone who wants to get in touch with Lucero, here’s some contact information:
Lucero, thank you for the charming interview! 🙂
If any artists out there want to collaborate with FStop, don’t hesitate to reach out to us.