The last two years. I should say, the Pandemic Years. Where do I start?

I really don’t want to even talk about it. I become furiously angry at several different levels and angles of the situation. But in my typical fashion, I try to find the best out of any situation. Like Abbe Faria, Edmond Dante’s prison mate who was wrongly imprisoned, made the best of his time. And remained kind to even his imprisoners.

I got busy. I had only begun my photography full-time. But as some people know, the worst thing someone can tell me is that they are bored. They have nothing to do. Ask me, I can find things to do. They may not like it. But it would be positive. And needing to get done.

Fortunately, I got lots done. In fact, over the next few months, I would get approximately 5x the amount of work I would typically accomplish with photography. Not so much about photography itself. But about business. Setting up financials and workflows. Rebuilt the website THREE times! And incredibly happy with that. Training on software. Learning new things. Sending out marketing pieces. I was busy.

Untitled photo

I rebuilt my website several times! Wordpress was just too much to maintain. Then using the same web hosting service didn't work when building the website. Then I switched to SmugMug. I had to do some tweaking with the code. Some tiny items that I would like to see change. For the price and functionality, it can't be beat.

A Lost Opportunity?

In July 2020, a local jean company had contacted me to do a shoot for them. I would shoot their collections for the next two seasons! Wow! I had sent them my portfolio and marketing pieces. So it wasn't just some random event.

The big problem was this: they wanted to start shooting in 11 days. Nothing was prepped. No models. No nothing. Being a NY'er, I'm very cautious about some things. Like, why are they throwing this '2-Season' carrot in front of me? Why the rush?

So, grudgingly, I turned it down. Even writing it just now, it hurt. I would check their website a couple of months later and can see the new photography. I thought "I could've done such a better job." Many of the images are under-exposed. No personality. I told this to a friend. My friend said: That's why you should've done it. 

It hurt. But she was right.

Untitled photo

At the time, only the second time I did a fashion shoot with a woman wearing jeans instead of a skirt. No real reason. I just don't have really interesting jeans to photograph. Like these by Diane von Furstenberg worn by Catie-Lysa. I don't want to brag. But the images from this shoot and what I saw on the jean company website....

The Mola Rayo

My next shoot wouldn’t happen until mid-October. A beauty shoot. I was also testing a new item: the Mola Rayo. I had been wanting one of these for years. At least 5 years. For some reason, something always came up to prevent me from purchasing one.

Untitled photo

My baby! I've only used it once. Using the Mola Rayo is like going from a regular car to Formula 1 race car. It's a whole other league. One I'm which I'm willing to skill-up to! Amazing modifier.

My Second Beauty Shoot

This was actually a tough shoot. I was lucky to be working with model Kelsey and makeup artist Anna. It was tough because the Mola Rayo was very difficult to use. In a good way. It just amplified everything in the photography. Stupid me. I never had even tested it. I thought it would be no big deal. It wasn’t. And that’s good. It’s a modifier that’s going to do some great things when I get some more experience with it.

I got back to work. Especially with creating photos that would eventually get published. But again, got lots of work done on the business side of things of photography. Between the first and second shoots, I actually got some paid photography work via my Ricardo Gomez Studios business! I did several headshots and a couple of elopements/weddings! Actually, all of it was quite squeezed in together and turned out to be my most profitable month of photography. Ever!

Untitled photo

I really couldn't be happier with this shoot. I only wish I had more practice with the Mola Rayo. That was by far the toughest thing I had to deal with. I love the images.

Another 'Practice' Shoot

My next shoot: the lovely Tashi. I wanted to get in a simple shoot in for practice before the big shoot I would do in March of 2021. This shoot would be done in early January 2021. Again, another simple shoot. Nothing fancy. She would do everything herself. Hair. Makeup. Wardrobe. And it was freezing cold! And she was totally fine. A total trooper. And we had a fantastic shoot!

Untitled photo

The Mystery Woman. This lady is just so amazing to photograph.

There are certain combinations between photographers and models/people that people just shine. Tashi is one of those for me. We only one worked once together. But it was amazing. She brought her own clothes. Did her own hair and makeup. And she made the cover of my portfolio with shoots that cost much more.

And this shoot was nothing less than that.

The Big Shoot

That’s what it was called for a long time until I gave it an official name: Everyday Elegance.

I had been planning this shoot for a good year. I wanted to get it published in an international editions of Vogue or Elle and such.

I think the biggest surprise was how enthusiastic State Model Management was to work with me. I just sent them an eMail about doing a shoot with them and they were like “Yeah! When?”. I was like ‘Ummmm….’ haha! But they are a major agency in New York and I was incredibly grateful that they wanted to do a shoot with me!

The shoot was fantastic. Another surprise was the amazing sunlight we got through the enormous window in the studio. I rarely used any external lighting. Inga, our model, looked fantastic. Veronica and Daniel, the makeup artist and hairstylist respectively, did great work.

Untitled photo
Untitled photo
Untitled photo

I couldn’t be happier with the shoot! It didn’t make it into any of the international editions of the magazines I was hoping for. Which is by far the biggest disappointment. But that’s just the way it goes. I mean, how many great books stay books and not become movies just because you don’t know the right people or the timing isn’t right? Lots. Lots I’m sure. I could’ve gotten it published in one of the fashion magazines that do only that. But, I think it’s kinda silly after a certain point. I got published in GMARO and Horizont magazines. I know if I submitted these shots, they would get accepted in one of those. But it’s not the same as a Vogue or Elle obviously. The standard and competition to get in is much tougher. And it’s paid!

What’s Next?

Marketing Marketing Marketing!!!

A friend of mine said “Running a photography business is 98% computer, 2% photography. But that 2% is really awesome!”. She’s totally right. Well, for her, she’s exaggerating the percentages. A little. But largely, she’s right. The business side of photography is a lot of work on the computer. WHEN my business gets to a certain size, I can make it much more about the art. But for now, it’s the computer.

Untitled photo

Postcards! I'm the master! But yes, marketing and computer-oriented work is hugely used in running a photography business. When you become bigger and hire staff, you can have more creative work to do. But if you own the business, the computer is going to be your best friend. Even more than your camera or the art that you practice.

Life Happens

Sure the pandemic slowed things down and maybe some things would’ve happened if it weren’t for that. But there were some ‘additional’, stupid life things that happened along the way. I mean, you just don’t know what’s going to happen and you just have to do your best to keep moving forward.

You can’t play it super-safe. Progress will not only be super-slow, but you can also miss opportunities. I think there is the potential to stifle creativity. To also get so frustrated, that you can create your own mental issues.

You can’t throw too much caution into the wind either. That can turn into a train wreck as well.

Don’t Underestimate Positivity

Remember Edmunds prison mate? How positive he was. He was in prison for years. Decades. There are going to be tough times. Really tough times. I had been through it. Plenty. Still. Honestly, I didn't know if I'd make it. I'm a man of God. But how does that help?

The Bible may be one of the oldest and greatest self-help books available. Forget about any moral issues you may have with it. It was written over 2000 years ago. So forget about the truly weird and terrible things that are in the book.

So many of these self-help geniuses take so many of their philosophies from the Bible. You rely on God to help. Totally. But there is a bunch of things in there to teach you how to deal with difficult times. Seriously.

It’s what you do during tough time that defines you. How bad do you want to accomplish your goals? I know how I answer that question….

Untitled photo

Ricardo Gomez Photography

Originally from San Francisco, Ricardo is now a New York-based photographer specializing in editorial and commercial photography.
Powered by SmugMug Owner Log In