This is a complicated blog article to write. As of the writing of this article, I’m not feeling as positive as I normally do. But, I am positive. So, let’s start with that….

The Shoots

I did two shoots with two agency models. One of these shoots was done directly with a great agency in New York: State Model Management. The other I hired directly. But still, she is with a great agency.

Model Inga with State Management in New York City

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This is a great thing. This is by far the largest number of times I worked with agency signed models. And they were great. I really couldn’t be happier with the way the shoots turned out. I finally purchased the Mola Rayo light modifier for use in the beauty shoot which felt like bringing a machine gun instead of a fly swatter to down a bug. It was so powerful. I loved it! Speaking of….

Kelsey of EMG Models in New York City

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The Gear

While it wasn’t a big gear year, it was an important one. The Mola Rayo Light Modifier I had been drooling over this modifier for years. YEARS! I had seen work done with it and thought if I got one, it would up my game. It did! And it doesn’t.

The work I had seen done with the Mola Rayo was pretty darn great. For me, I really love the more dramatic look you can get with the Rayo than with a traditional beauty dish. It’s not widely used as most photographers go with the safe choice by using what other photographers use and promote.

That’s totally not me.

The Mola Rayo. Image: Mola

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The great: it’s super-powerful. My first time using it was the day of the beauty shoot with model Kelsey Butler. I thought “I’ll just set this up and it will be great!”. But when I was setting it up, I saw how incredibly powerful it was in creating a particular look. It wasn’t a simple point-shoot device. I really had to adjust lighting. In post-production, it was more difficult to get make certain adjustments.

So to me, this is a good thing. I don’t want a dumbed-down piece of gear that gives me very good results. I’ll take something that requires experience and time to get great results. I mean, that’s the same with my Capture One software. Lightroom is a really great application. But because it’s meant to appeal to hobbyist as well as professionals, I think it’s potential has to be limited. Capture One is all about professionals. There is a much bigger learning curve. But, you’re rewarded for your efforts with images that could look better.

Image: Mola

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So that’s the thing. I need much more time with it to learn how it works and get the best results out of it. I probably need 2 – 3 more shoots to start getting comfortable with it. I’ll probably do just practice shoots before bringing back to a real, big shoot.

The Panasonic Leica 10-25mm f/1.7 Lens

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Here is something else I’ve been drooling over for a long time. Well, two years vs. the 5 or 6 of the Mola Rayo. Why the drool? Several reasons why..

1) Wide shots for shoots. With the need of getting lots of background for different reasons of shoots. With my 42.5mm Leica Nocticron, I have to stand at incredible distance to get the same shot.

2) Event work. With my Ricardo Gomez Studio business, which involves lots of event photography, this lens is a godsend. I was previously using a 12-60mm f/3.5-5.6 lens and the widest open aperture was just killing me indoors. I could make it work. But image quality suffered due to the quality of glass in the lens and high ISO settings I needed in the camera.

3) A wide-angle version of my Leica Nocticron. This lens is basically a zoom version of my Nocticron. Literally. The image rendering is almost the same. Better than the Nocticron actually by picking up color better in the midtones. But then again, the Nocticron is 5 years old. However, I still don’t have to change much if anything in my post processing.

The 10-25mm f/1.7 lens next to the previous m43 lens size king the 42.5mm f/1.2 Nocticron.

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The Leica 10-25mm f/1.7 lens brings Nocticron image rendering and quality to a wide-angle zoom lens. Fantastic opportunities! Now, I can squeeze into areas to get that shot which I couldn't before. The shot with the tall trees would've been impossible with my Nocticron. I just couldn't get back far enough before.

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Considering that I only had to wait two years before I can buy it, is also a big deal. For almost 10 years, I’ve never had more than 1, professional level lens. If I needed another, I would rent. Now I have two. And I may have 3 before the end of the year. That I could buy these lenses is a huge symbolic positive for me. Huge.

My Panasonic G9 with the Leica 10-25mm f/1.7 Lens

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I’ll be writing a more detailed, 3-month review of the lens next month.

The Work

This is the tough part….

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* In the Count of Monte Christo, Edmond spends years digging his way out of prison. His fellow jail mate and mentor had Edmond read a book on economics:

Abbe Faria: Define Economics.

Edmond: Economics is a science that deals with the production, distribution, and consumption of commodities.

Abbe Faria: Translation?

Edmond: Dig first, money later.

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* It took Amazon 14 years to have its first quarterly profit.

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* My favorite example: Morgan Freeman was a broke-ass theater actor for 20 years before he had his big break.

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What would we have lost if these folks had quit?

Really, I REALLY started marketing my fashion photography business just before the Covid-19 pandemic. And when things were lighting up a bit in 2020, I did get an eMail from a jean company asking if I would photograph their line for the next two seasons.

I turned it down.

I sometimes feel like kicking myself. I did this shoot for myself in 2019. If I may say, far better from the shoot from the jean company I saw... Not even the exposure was near correct with those photos.

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Why?! Because something sounded fishy. I had sent them my information in the past, so I wasn’t surprised to hear from them. But they wanted to start shooting in 10 days. Which I thought was crazy. Nothing was ready. Though, I heard this happens more on a regular basis. Even with the huge, billion-dollar consumer companies that sell clothes as part of their category.

I saw images from the shoot. I didn’t think they were very good. I told a friend about this. She said “That’s why you should’ve taken it. The images would’ve been better….” It hurt a little. Maybe she was right… It would’ve given me great experience with shooting at that level. And made at least some money.

So, for now, keep digging!

Ricardo Gomez Photography

Originally from San Francisco, Ricardo is now a New York-based photographer specializing in editorial and commercial photography.
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