José, please tell us your talent/work rate per hour?
Intermediate, I spend about an hour or two doing retouches, while I can spend anywhere from 10 minutes to 5 hours shooting and trying to get that shot just right.
José . Tell us ABOUT yourself.
For years I've found myself filled to the brim with concepts of beautiful worlds and images but without the medium to put all together, then she stepped into my life, her name was photography, and like any true love, she left me enamoured, enriched, and always seeking to know more.
I'm currently working as a student at Cogswell Polytech, obtaining my degree in entertainment design. Be it through matte paintings, ketches, life drawings, or photographs, I find myself needing to know and master any and all fundamentals of art. Through these practices I've learned how to compose my images, how enrich colours, compose a pleasing pallet, create wonderful contrasts. I don't consider any stretch to say that my interest lies in laying the groundwork, composing an image to leave the viewer wondering why? What's the history of these people, of this place? It's all rooted in my desire to be a designer, to show someone the intense wonder and simple beauty of anything, and how a few things as simple as composition and lighting can make anything into a captivating image.
As a student I'm also flying this ship solo, everything from the planning phases right on down to dodging/burning those last few stands of hair is done by me. I'd like for nothing more to be considered the Swiss Army knife with legs, and luckily for me, I'm a fast learner, doubly so with hands on experience.
I wouldn't consider myself a professional yet, my equipment and skill set is still building up. However, my interest and the seriousness that I bring are that of a professional, no matter how many layers of snark they're buried under. My strengths are with landscape photos though I've had enough experience directing my friends to say that I can work wonders with a professional model.
I've seen it in my work and those that I aspire to be like, that I've got ways to go before I'm satisfied, and as such I hope you can help an aspiring photographer to get to that point! Thank you for your time!
Would you like to complete our full Editorial interview or skip straight to uploading your photos? (12 more interview questions).
Our readers would love to get to know you more José. Tell us about yourself, what is unique about you?
It thinks what's unique about me as a photographer, is that I aspire to capture atmosphere more so than others. Even from the simplest portrait to my most elaborate landscapes, there's something I want my onlookers to feel. Be it a vintage retro feel from looking at a grainy, semi-overblown, film photo to making them feel cosy in on an otherwise cold night in a mountain town.
José, what are your passion and aspiration in life? How did you start as a Photographer?
My passions have always stemmed with being able to share my view of the world with others. From the terrible crayon drawings, I made trying to explain the wonders of Pokémon to my parents to the photos I take know trying to explain the wonders of Pokémon to my parents. I find nothing more satisfying than being able to share a bit about myself with someone and having told me "I get it." Is suppose what I've been trying to say is that there's a sense of belonging we all share, and my best way getting that is through my photographs. I started last year taking Photography 101 as an elective, even then it didn't pull me in as much as I'd hope. However when looking back at them for compiling my portfolio, I noticed that with a few tweaks I could really fall in love with a few of these, and soon I spent my whole summer going back and editing, and when I ran out, I went out and started taking more, and since then I haven't stopped.
Who is your inspiration in life José? How do you keep inspired?
If I had to say, one person, it'd be my Mom. If I had to say one photographer it'd be Elaine Mayes; there is just such a simple and captivating breath of air that the "candidness" of her photos capture. I think it's safe to say that my photos are "a little" dramatic, so I'm amazed when I see someone create such a captivating image with the basics, and I rarely see street photography capture day to day life as well as she has. It's something that I'm still learning to do, and she'll always be the lady who started it all for me. As for inspiration, I think my answer is the same as everyone else's; I see someone who seems something in a way I've never thought about and say "Wow! Now there's something I gotta try!" Of course, I'm also motivated by my aspirations, it's as simple as thinking of something pretty and going out and capturing it, and yes sometimes it does come to me in a dream.
We all make mistakes José; we wish we could take back. Please tell us about time being a Photographer; you wish you’d handled a situation differently with a colleague.
To keep this one simple, I've always struggled with putting myself out there because I often don't feel my skill set is up to snuff, and though it was a simple request, no money on the line, I was asked to touch up an image and all the while I was struggling to balance out the multiple exposure levels that needed retouching, and rather than simply watch a tutorial on how to do it, I stubbornly persisted with my method, ultimately submitting a shoddy patch job at best. Since then I've made it a point to spend my free time learning how to make myself more efficient regarding touching up photos, and I've humbled myself to the point where I won't assume that I know best.
José , when you’re working with a large number of clients, it’s tricky to deliver excellent service to them all. As a Photographer, how do you go about prioritizing your clients’ needs?
I'd let them know right from the get go the amount of work I'll need to put into their image, as well as my current work load. I'd go about prioritizing those that I can finish up the quickest, obviously, it'd be more cost effective to get the simple exposure boosting/evening jobs out of the way first and leave the longer and more fun stuff later. I've come to understand that many clients are very understanding that it's easy to overwhelm and they'll be happy to wait so long as you tell them in advance, after all, no one is going to be happy getting a crappy image sent to them faster.
Please tell us José, about a time you had to be very strategic to meet all your top priorities as a Photographer?
The semester I decided to take a photography I had also taken many of my core classes, as such I prioritized them ahead of my electives. So when the end of the semester rolls around, I needed a contact sheet of over 500 images. So I decided that the best method for me was to go out and take many landscape shots at varying exposure levels and then go back to recombine them into landscape photos with a high dynamic range. In the end, it worked out rather well, I made my dead like and got quite a few great images to go with it.
José, please give us an example of a time when you were able to successfully persuade someone to see things your way at work.
I had to present 10 of my best images to my photography class at the end of my semester, simply put my teacher wasn't statistics at first my composition, I'd placed one of my focal points too close to the bottom row right corner of my image. She argued that it was leading the viewer off the image. I argued that since the rest of the image is comprised primarily of white space, that the figures in the corner did the opposite and drew the viewer directly towards them who in turn are looking up and towards the sky, effectively guiding them to look towards the rest of then landscape. She seemingly agreed, and we moved on to my next image.
José, please tell us about your proudest professional accomplishment as a Photographer. There might be many, but there is always this proudest moment that you just want to share with everyone. What is it and why?
Simply put a photographer that I had begun following on Instagram somehow came across my most recently posted landscape photos. He then commented on it, complimenting that image in particular and the rest of my feed. It was a very rewarding moment for me, and it's something I always think back to when I need a pick me up.
José, please give us an example of a time you were able to be creative with your work. What was exciting or difficult about it?
Most of my work as an amateur is free of contracts and demands, so I'm as free as I want to be. What's most exciting is seeing your idea come to fruition, there are few things more satisfying. What's difficult is when it becomes apparent that you either lack the skill to get the job done or that your image simply isn't suited for what you had in mind. However it comes back to being fun by finding a way to fix it or having to put a new spin on your idea to make it work.
What advice would you give to the people who want to be successful as a Photographer?
READ, READ, READ! The faster you can learn the basics of exposure is the sooner you'll be taking pictures you're proud of. Not very many people seem to be interested in reading those two extra pages that explain metering modes and how to focus manually, so be that person that does and feel great for taking a big leap without putting in much work. And for people who shoot digitally learn the ins and outs of your camera, literally, everything can and will come in handy. Don't toss the DVD that comes with it!
Are you looking for collaboration with fashion talents, brands and creatives? If yes, please state below what type of collaboration you are looking for?
Of course! I'm mainly looking for a chance to become acquainted with the experience of working in a professional studio and learning new techniques from others. As I said before, nothing inspires me more than learning a new way to look at something, and there's no better place to experience that than working with the creative type.
Now for the best part José! Please upload 5-10 photos so we can get to see your work.
Photographer: José Gutierrez