When I started in photography, I photographed anything my heart fancied. Sports. Portraits. Flowers. Architecture. It was my journey to discovering what would be my specialty. While I found myself preferring a particular path in my photography, it wasn’t enough. When I’d finish a few fashion and portrait oriented shoots, I would photograph a different genre. Usually, something very different. Or are they?

I think the two big things I enjoy photographing when not ‘working’ is either Street and Flower photography. Street could mean anything: people, architecture, cars. Anything. Flowers speak for themselves.

Some people would say “You’re not focusing on your work….” But I say, my other photography complements my fashion and portrait work.

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With both genres, I encounter challenges on both the photography and post-production side that help me create a better fashion and portrait image. I think the best example of this is when photographing someone I encounter during my street photography. How can I get the best image out of this without external lighting? It’s time to be creative and work with what you have.

My first preference of fashion photography was on-location. Outside the studio. I love the diversity of the backgrounds. I would largely use technology to resolve any locations issues that usually regarded lighting. The funny thing is that sometimes, the problems would actually make the scene work! The problem with that is, the problem was solvable. Easily. You don’t want to leave things to chance. You want to control it if possible. Then if you have some time, try some new things. But first, get the shot. Then play.

I think the best thing that helped me from street photography is checking exactly how the sun is affecting the subject and from what angle. I recently had a client who would squint whenever we were outside. It may seem obvious, but I even remember from my second portrait shoot. When you’re inexperienced, your ‘eye’ isn’t trained to see the details that will pop up in photos.

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My first portrait shoot was perfectly lit by nature. Beautiful Simone was over-the-moon that someone asked to photograph her and was totally down for the shoot. An overcast sky so harsh shadows wouldn’t be a problem. What I would've done differently is lessen the skin smoothing just a nudge and work on the hair. Which I did none. The The hair work is a bit debatable. It's kind of natural. But not too shabby for my first portrait and photoshop retouching. A beautiful person and smile certainly doesn't hurt either.

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My second portrait shoot was a disaster. Harsh light and shadows. Nasty shadows of leaves on the models face. This shoot really grounded me after my first shoot. I knew I had a lot of learning ahead. You truly don't realize how much your brain compensates for shadows and filtering out other things automatically like strange items in the background. All that changes when you become a photographer. Mind you, when I took this picture, it looked perfectly fine in my eyes at the time. Thank God I was able to salvage some images for Lara Ann. Had to. She was an absolute sweetheart.

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With flower photography, I notice the colors. How some colors complement and others oppose. How they work together. The positioning of flowers in a garden or relative to each other. I test aperture settings. In post-production, I experiment with contrast, sharpening and many other settings. In fact, I interchange my color presets between fashion and floral. I do it all the time.

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Photographing dance parties. People totally got into it. Made pics available for them for free on Flikr. Try nailing focus with a manual focus lens! Fantastic camera practice and training!

Now, while you can say going dancing every night may have some connection how it will help your photography, it’s a bit of a stretch and the payback wouldn’t be as much as what have written about. Or maybe playing cards. Playing a video game. There’s probably a way to relate all of these things to photography. But again, it’s a stretch.

When I’m doing any photography, I’m trying to make any of the photos I choose to be the best I can make them. Including at the time I’m doing photography to post-production. This clearly is relatable to my main work and the payback is much higher. And I’m having fun!

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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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