Monday, December 26, 2016

10 reasons for Inspiration

Not necessarily a blog post...more of a list of inspirations:

Picasso - The first artist I learned to love.
Architecture - Being from Chicago, this is kind of a given.  Speaking of which...
Cubs - Yeah...lifelong Cubs fan, lover of baseball, and lover of the lovable WINNERS!
Family - My family is very proud, hardworking, and extremely tight knit.  The driving force behind the majority of my decisions and motivations.
Fatherhood - I know that goes in line with Family, but I love being a husband and father.  I LOVE it!
Business - I love discussing business.  Concepts, ideas, etc.
Politics - I'm very opinionated, politically.  That is for a very different blog though :)
Cars - Yes...a Photographer who concentrates on automotive photography is a bit of a car freak!
Nature - The world around us is beautiful, and such a gift.
Travelling - I try to take at least 4-5 trips a year.  Its a must.  I work really hard, in order to live really easy.

Just 10 of my reasons for inspiration.  How about you?

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

The Balance

We all search for it.  We all long for it.  We all desire it.  Yet not many of us actually achieve it.


Let's face it.  Especially us American artist are up against a giant wall.  We have to work harder, longer hours, for less earnings, than ever before.

There's several factors for this...but...consider, for one moment...could this be, because of us?!

Outside of all the regular demands of a creative professional, are the internal demands of our perfectionism.

Prime example:  I had a conversation  friend of mine, who often told me she is feels like she's not maximizing her earnings.  We sat down over a cup of coffee and discussed her processes.  Here's what's happening:

She would get paid for something that would take her...say, A hours, to accomplish, X.  Yet the artist/perfectionist in her would want to take B hours, to accomplish Y.

This is the problem with us, creative professionals.

Many times, we become so wrapped up into providing, or, overperforming, with "perfect" work, for clients who aren't willing to pay "perfect" type of rates.

In no way am I excusing providing shit work.  If you are paid to provide a service, you should do so.  To the best of your abilities.  What this post is about is that my good friend, like most of us, was paid, to do something like basic corrections...yet the perfectionist artist in her, wanted to go to the extreme.  As artist, we cannot do that.

We cannot live in a world where we are paid for the basic, yet we provide the extreme.  As we do that, our clients will learn that they can pay us for the basic, while we provide the extreme, no matter the type of creative work we do for them.

How have you crossed this barrier?

Friday, December 16, 2016

Editorial Calendar...ugh!

Let's face it...if you follow my blog, you'll note how random my posts are.  To be perfectly honest, with a blooming career, Real Estate Investments, marriage, fatherhood, and the demands of daily life, it gets difficult to make time for something which already is not one of my favorite things...blogging.

Yet, I know how important it is.  Therefore, I'm putting together an editorial calendar, to help keep me on track.  I'm reaching out to all of you to see what tips/suggestions you may have.

What has worked for you?  What's helped keep you on track?  As always, feel free to inbox, as most of you do, or comment!

Monday, October 3, 2016

Some More Real Estate Images I shot Recently

Just a glimpse at some work I've done recently.  I didn't do really any lighting on this, although some of the images probably would have benefited from it. Enjoy!

Monday, August 22, 2016

Real Estate Photography

Hey all!  Since I've taken some time off, I haven't been very active.  Here's a small snippet of some new work I shot this last week.  


Need a photographer for your next listing?  Call me up immediately at 407.517.8693!

Thursday, June 23, 2016


I haven't been posting many blogs recently.  Here's why.  This happened earlier this month:

79 Years. My dad lived for 79 years, in spectacular fashion.
On May 27, he was born.
On May 27, he was imprisoned in Cuba, for fighting against the Castro regime.
On May 27, he was let out of prison.
On May 27, he made it to America.
Today, he celebrated his 25th year anniversary as a Deacon with the Catholic church, and passed into heaven with all the angels.
Today, my son's eyes grew wider and wider, as I told him my dads tales of how he hijacked helicopters, leapt from airplanes, fought valiantly against the evils in Cuba, and did it all for us. I told him about how hard he worked, and how much he sacrificed, so we may have the freedoms and opportunity he never had. I explained to him how much his abuelo's spirit lives on in him.
Today, I explained to my son, how, when other kids were idolizing the Spidermans, Batmans, Captain Americas of the world, I saw papi as my superhero, spending his entire life fighting oppression and injustice, with love, and righteousness, in Cuba, as a young man, and daily, in America. My father was always a pillar in our community for everything that was right with the world, everything that was worth fighting for.
Today, I kissed my father, for the last time, and held his hand, for the last time, but I did not say goodbye. Although our family has heavy hearts, we celebrate an amazing man, husband, father, grandfather. His was a physical life well lived.
Today, we celebrate the next part of papi's life.
Te quiero mucho.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Don't hire a wedding photographer.

Vogue Magazine has always been a staple in the fashion industry, with a reputation for having top notch, trend setting style, and photography.  Its history stretches back into the late 1800's.  Recently, Vogue Magazine published an article regarding weddings, and the 10 things you should "ditch."  You can read the article here.

The article was written by the Molly Guy, founder of Stone Fox, a wedding dress boutique specializing in custom wedding dresses, crowns, jewelry.  Interestingly, Ms Guy also has a casual line of clothing labeled "FUCK WEDDINGS."  It is notable to point out that she herself is not married.

The perplexing portion of this article is that Ms Guy, a wedding professional herself, pushes the notion that you should consider not getting wedding rings...yet she has wedding rings on her website, several of which exceed $9,000 each, but, as she notes:

"Historically, they were there to let the world know you were the property of your big strong husband, who was out in the scary mean world skinning bears and slaving away at his important job, while you stayed home, scrubbing the woolen underwear of your six children in the washbasin. Why not get matching tattoos instead? Actually, why get matching anything? Not to get too Stevie Nicks here, but the psychic bond you share is what’s important—not the jewelry."

Now look...I'm not against tattoos.  I agree with the last line...the ring doesn't matter as much as the love, but, it is a beautifully scripted hypocrisy to advocate against readers of a fashion magazine not to buy rings, all while selling rings.  Which one is it?

I won't get into all ten of them as this blog would get much longer than it already will be, very quick, but the ones I won't get into are: The girls, The big reveal, The registry, Something old something new, and feeding each other cake.  These are interesting, to say the least, things to "ditch," but we'll move on.  There are more pressing matters here.

Let's start off with the easiest of the remaining four: the honeymoon.  What I find outright insulting on this one is that the designer who sells $10,000 wedding dresses is lecturing you about how you need to save money and do a staycation, "And while you’re there, ask the hotel manager if the pool could stay open late for a private swim." What?!

Another interesting "suggestion" Guy makes is to skip your first dance.


Look.  I'm a guy's guy.  I drink beer.  And whiskey.  I love me some sports.  As you can tell, I have an undying love of the automobile, and I don't dance...but to take the suggestion to skip the first dance would be outright lunacy.  At the end of it all, you won't remember your newlywed wife's dress nearly as much as you will taking those first steps while a room of loving eyes looks on.  That might be the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard from a wedding professional, IF NOT FOR:

DON'T WALK DOWN THE AISLE WITH DADDY.  The man who raised you.  The man who taught you what a man should be.  The man who was the #1 man in your life, until you met your husband.  Fuck em, right?  RIGHT?!  It is every man's dream to walk his little girl down the aisle.  One of the most important moments I'd ever experienced in a wedding was at my sister's wedding, when my father walked her down the aisle.  As they reached the end of the aisle, they embraced each other, as they both wept, and there was not a single dry eye in the house.  My father taught my sister what a man was, and as he gave her away to an equally great man, the symbolism was not lost on anyone in attendance.

Ladies...don't be an idiot.  If you have a father or a father-like figure that was there for you, do it.  You won't regret it.  Neither will he.

The last piece of advice, and seemingly the most intrepidly horrid piece of advice, was to NOT HIRE A WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER.

I get it.  I'm a photographer, so of course I will be against this.  Here's what she states:

"It made sense back in the olden days, pre–Facebook albums and Instagram hashtags, when the whole world didn’t have phones with cameras on them. Having the actual leather-bound album on your coffee table seemed like the only evidence that the whole thing actually took place. If social media is not your thing, why not scatter some disposable cameras around the party and let your drunken guests go to town? You’ll end up with hilarious and candid pictures without the pressure of “likes.”'

Here's the thing:

A few years ago, I shot a wedding at a golf club.  Beautiful wedding, beautiful couple and family, everything went off without a glitch.  GREAT.  I got a second wedding, a referral, off of that first wedding, due to the quality of my work.  While at that wedding, I had a quick conversation with a guest, and it went something like this:

"hey, uh, photographer.  Sorry, I don't know your name."
"Hey, how you doin?!  Ramon."  He was the first brides brother, and we knew each other, but since I was running around shooting, we did not have the pleasure of formally introducing ourselves at the first wedding.
"Ramon, my name is ____, I wanted to share something with you."
"Good to see you, brother.  How can I help you?"
"You see, Ramon, a while back, you shot (first wedding), and you took a portrait of me and my family.  My sister showed me the portrait of me, my wife, and kids, and I fell in love with it.  A few months later, Father's day came, and as a present, my kids got me that portrait, in a nice frame.  It meant so much to me.  That was the first time I had cried since my children were born, and I wanted to come up today and thank you for making such a beautiful image of my family."

No mention of the food.
No mention of the dress.
No mention of the DJ.
No mention of the Music.

While ALL of those things matter...the only part left, was that photograph.

Story #2.  I shot another great wedding at one of the local theme park resorts, which I will not name, but it had, um, characters of the, uh, rodent, variety :).  Beautiful wedding at a gorgeous location...what more could you ask for?

While shooting, I made an image of the bride and her grandfather...she was kissing him on the forehead.  He was in a wheelchair, unable to stand.  That was the last image of them together.  Three days after the wedding, the grandfather, on oxygen at the time of the wedding, passed away.

Wanna entrust those moments, those times, that love, that tenderness, to a couple of drunks with disposable cameras, or a few facebook pics?

The outright lack of respect for other wedding pros displayed by Molly Guy and Stone Fox is a serious shame.  Here we have someone who makes her money by selling $10,000 wedding dresses, has crowns adorned with flowers, selling for over $2,000, and $9,000 wedding rings, sells clothing with the words "FUCK WEDDINGS" all over them, devaluing weddings, wedding professionals, and everything about the wedding industry.  Moreover, the company she runs uses professional photographers, not "drunken guest" or "disposable cameras" to sell their clothing and jewelry. That is an outright shame.

To add insult to injury, what the hell was Vogue Magazine thinking, allowing this garbage to be put on their pages?  This is a magazine that has made their reputation on the backs of iconic journalism AND photography.  The annals of vogue boast images made by all the legends.  They don't use "drunken guest."  To allow such a load of rubbish to pollute their pages is to endorse the outright devaluing of what made them such an icon in the fashion world.

I am calling on Vogue Magazine to speak out against this insult to professional photographers, the wedding industry, and other fashion professionals, immediately.  To allow this to stand is nothing less than a slap in the face to all artist around the world.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Why Photography

I never had any intentions of being a photographer.  In fact, I had never even considered photography, as late as my first day of my senior year of high school.  I wanted to be an architect.

I loved studying the designs and motivations of Frank Lloyd Wright, the Bauhaus Architecture movement, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, and so on.  The thought of conceptualizing something, combining your creativity with scientific like precision kept me dreaming.

I would dream of seeing my contribution to Chicago's skyline.  I wanted to make something that would last throughout time.  There was one problem; while I have always been very smart, I've never been a good student.

I remember my first day of my senior year.  I had a couple of gym classes, English, a social studies class, more.  There weren't many electives that took my attention.  Aside from sports, I wasn't really into much more.  I had already taken drafting classes, and there wasn't really much else in that regard.  I didn't want to take drama, or any other ridiculous class, but, alas, I needed one more elective, so, I just looked at the schedule, and, reluctantly, picked

I walked into the photography lab with a positive attitude.  I thought it would be cool, but really knew nothing about it.  The teacher in the first week taught us about darkroom chemicals and processes, techniques, and the like.  We had to go out and buy a camera, so I did just that.  And then the addiction started.

The moment I picked up a camera, aimed it at something, with the intention of capturing the beauty of this world as I see it, I knew, for a fact, this was what I wanted.  Scratch that.  This was what I needed.  It became a physical need to me, much like breathing, or eating.  I lived photography.  I still do.

As I think back to how I discovered my love for photography, I think to the world we leave ahead of us.  What if the next generation doesn't have the opportunity to discover their love for the arts, whether it be music, photography, painting, drawing etc, because schools are underfunded?  You see it everywhere...schools left and right are left unfunded, with no other option than to cut extracurricular activities, cut back on things like drama, band, sports, and arts.  These are highly essential, not just for our children's minds, but also for their development.  We cannot allow this to happen.

***For my work, click here***

It is so important, now, more than ever, that we as artist unite to make sure our society begins to place an emphasis and appreciation on the arts once again.  Our society needs it.

What are your suggestions to help preserve the arts for future generations?

Wednesday, January 6, 2016