Roman Coates
United States
State / Region


I started my love for photography in high school. Many years after graduation, I made the move to Los Angeles to further my learning. I attended the Art Institute of California- Los Angeles. I learned a lot of technical things but I decided to leave and furthered the creative side of it. I was taken under the wing of my friend and mentor, Shannon Brooke, a freelance photographer. She let me work on set with her as a lighting assistant. I learned so much from being on set with her. Now, I'm back in Sacramento. I take on work from schools, friends, bloggers. I love collaborating with makeup artists, designers, models, other photographers. I'm preparing to make my way back to LA or, possibly, New York.

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 Roman. Tell us about yourself, what is unique about you?

I like to think of myself as an anomaly. I am a twenty-something person of color, sober, vegan, gay male. With all of these labels, comes experience. The things I have experienced in my short life have given me my greatest gift. I observe. I see beauty in things that others might not see. And I bring light to those things. I love to capture things that others might perceive as flaws, or "wrong". I see the heart of things some people might think are ugly. And I think they're beautiful.

Roman, what are your passion and aspiration in life? How did you start as a Photographer?

My passion lies in art. In creation. My four favorite art forms are music, photography, fashion and tattoos. I aspire to be immortal. I know that sounds weird but what I mean is, I want to be a photographer that can combine my passions and share them and inspire others. If I can have an impact on lives around the world just by being who I am and leaving behind images that touch hearts and souls, then I can leave this earth happy.

Who is your inspiration in life Roman? How do you keep inspired?

I would have to say that my biggest inspiration would have to be my key makeup artist, best friend, my sister, Jessica. We have both been through a lot in our lives. And she has been bent, broken, beaten down and she always gets up, handles business, and is still inspired to create. That is inspiring to me. We motivate each other to be our best selves. I stay inspired by remembering who I am, who I want to be and what I want to leave behind in this world. I surround myself with good people, good energy, and art.

We all make mistakes Roman, we wish we could take back. Please tell us about a time being a Photographer, you wish you’d handled a situation differently with a colleague.
Well, there was a time where I had booked a shoot. Time, place and day had all been set. And something unexpected came up and I had to reschedule which I hate doing. I made the awful mistake of not keeping in contact with my client, she became frustrated and eventually canceled altogether and I lost her as a client. I definitely wish I would have just been more communicative with her. I don't want a reputation for being a flake. So I make it a habit to be very in contact with all of my clients.

Roman, 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 usually prioritize my clients' needs by the order in which I book them. But if I book a 6-hour shoot one week and a few days later, I book a 1-hour shoot, I will send the 1-hour shoot to post before I tackle the 6-hour shoot. And I make sure that I am in contact with my clients during the process. They are all usually very understanding.

Please tell us, Roman, about a time you had to be very strategic in order to meet all your top priorities as a Photographer?

Most of my career as a photographer has involved me being strategic. In addition to photography and my social life, I work retail full-time. So I have to coordinate my schedule and my bookings. Making the transition into a full-time photographer has proven to be difficult for me. But I am still working toward it.

Roman, please give us an example of a time when you were able to successfully persuade someone to see things your way at work.
I'm a talker. I'm a salesman. I can almost always persuade people to see things my way. But with photography, it's very difficult for me to explain what's in my head. I explain to the best of my abilities but I just need to bring it to life. I like collaborating with other artists so that we can bounce ideas off of each other. And it makes the execution run so much more smoothly.

Roman, 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?
My proudest moment was seeing my name in a published work. Shannon Brooke released a book of a collection of her photos. And I was named in the credits as one of her lighting assistants. It was a small success. But it means the world to me. It let me know that I am on the right track.

Roman, please give us an example of a time you were able to be creative with your work. What was exciting or difficult about it?
I always try to be creative with my work. I worked with a friend of mine. She is gorgeous. And we had this idea to do a fall fashion shoot. We wanted bold fall colors. We wanted natural light. It was exciting because the photos we were coming up with were amazing. But we were in a race against the clock. We were using light. That was the difficult part.

What advice would you give to the people who want to be successful as a Photographer?

I would just say hustle. Hustle hard. Work as much as you can. There are so many photographers out there. This field has become so competitive. But being yourself, staying true to yourself, your style and your aesthetic will set you apart and be your biggest asset.

Are you looking for collaboration with fashion talents, brands, and creatives? If yes, please state below what type of collaboration you are looking for?
I'm always looking for new people, brands and artists to collaborate with. I want to branch out more into the fashion world. Fashion is a huge passion of mine.

Photo Credits:
Photographer: Roman Alexander
Model: Pedro Jimenez


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