What is your title, and can you explain what your daily responsibilities are?
I’m the Director of Development for Duarte Inc. a design/communication agency in Silicon Valley. I started there as a contract graphic designer and photographer who eventually went full time and my career has advanced there for the past 6 years. I’m also an Adobe Certified Expert and Adobe Community Professional who teaches, freelances, and more. My most important daily responsibility is to be a father, husband, and caring peer to those around me who I can support in their growth.
What inspired you most to become a Photographer? Why did you pursue this as a career?
My grandmother gave me my first camera when I was around 4 years old. I’ve always had a camera since then and I can’t imagine my life without it. I started taking it really serious when I was a teenager. Although I am a photographer, my passion has always been in sharing experiences with others. As I evolved into digital-imaging work I simply fell in love with all the potential it presented.
What do you think is the biggest obstacle to pursuing a career in the creative fields?
If you want to be a business/commercial creative you need to learn about how the business world works. It’s something that is rarely taught to creative professionals. I hire a lot of people and it’s always those individuals with strong collaboration and business skills that have great careers. The “famous” designers and photographers out there are less than 1% of the people in the industry doing the work. So if you want a solid career, learn how to build on your foundation so that you will be viable to clients. Design schools are churning out a few thousand graduates a year who all want the same job you do, so learn your niche and if you can specialize absolutely do that. Just make sure you specialize in something that will offer enough clients to you in the future.
With all the new versions of Photoshop and Lightroom what changes do you personally feel are the most exciting or brilliant?
I’ve been using Photoshop a really long time and I’m always amazed at what the team comes up with. I’ve sat down with some of the main-brains behind Photoshop and I’m astounded by how they think. I am loving the new Blur options because for over a decade we just relied on Gaussian, Motion, and Radial blurs and they felt very synthetic compared to the blur of a camera. But now, Path Blur and Iris Blur options are staggering in their quality.
What Photographers & Photoshop artists do you follow, and why do they stand out from others in your opinion?
Wow this is a tough one! I’m a huge fan of the creative field in general. Saying that though photographer Thomas Leuthard, who goes by 85mm, is probably the one photographer I keep coming back to over the last 18 months. His street photography and black and white work is so pure and brilliant in how simple he makes the craft look. I’m always envious of how he sees things. Richard Johnson of Spectacle Photo is a Photoshop Artist I’ve worked with and he is doing really interesting projects that I always love to see. For the longest time I’ve always been a big fan of Ben Willmore and Bert Monroy as digital imaging masters. There are those non-public guys who are getting it done too. Like Sam Nordermann from SNRetouching, he does great work and is just in the day-to-day grind for his career of making great photoshop images.
What social networks do you like most? Which present good examples of Photography the best?
I think there are so many varieties presently it’s hard to say. If I need inspiration Behance, 500px, even Pinterest, will offer up something that blows my mind. But for years I’ve been on Flickr and I have built up a small network there that I love to connect with. The challenge is finding genuine content that resonates with you and doesn’t constantly make you feel like the creator or that group is marketing at you. That’s why I like some of these Facebook groups that are run by individuals who really care about the craft. I most commonly use Flipboard though so that I can aggregate content from a variety of sites and filter that down to exactly what I want. It helps cut through the noise. I’m trying to find ways to reduce the noise I’m exposed to visually so that I can continue to see work that inspires me.
What is your prediction of the evolution of social networks? How do you think these networks will showcase artists and Photographers better in the future?
I think the social media side of the web is really having a predicament right now. There seems to be this grand divide culturally. Some see it as the replacement of print media like magazines and traditional journalism once was. Others are taking it to a sidebar, maybe next level, of broadcast media like television. The few that will succeed are the ones that understand they are creating a full media universe, an eco-system of content that needs to be balanced and abridged. There will be no one format, but rather a digital garden that must be tended to. Trends will come and go, but one thing we know is attention spans are becoming shorter which means you have to peak interest faster if you expect your content to resonate with an audience enough for them to read/watch it. I think these eco-systems for content, Huffington Post is a good example, will become the norm. Where a variety of people contribute to one network operating under one manifesto that their audiences can expect.
What predictions do you have for the future of Photoshop and Lightroom?
I’ll still be using them, lol. I am not sure though it all keeps changing. Predictions, hmmm. I think much like Bridge has a mini-viewer inside of Photoshop we might one day see a view-between workflow with LR and PS. I think Smart Object options will continue to advance so that you can insure more non-destructive workflows. Maybe with facial recognition technology advancing we might one day see LR have the ability to identify eyes and automatically brighten them, things like that. But I hope the digital art side of post-production and those granular controls grow in PS. Wouldn’t it be nice if a panel could appear that lets me pull up slider options from an imported RAW file Smart Object so I don’t need to bounce back and forth between applications? Like a right-click on a smart object that you imported from LR and in there you see the list of panels for editing “Exposure, Curves, Color, etc” Then you could just adjust the slider for that panel only inside of Photoshop. I think that would blow people’s minds.