... so the explanation of Randy Deloviar, how he is understanding his profession as a photographer. Randy is the photographer of our cover photo this month. He is based in California, United States. We had the pleasure to get an interview with him and can show you some more of his impressive pictures.
I’m 41 I was born on the US territory of Guam. I grew up in Long Beach, California and I presently live in Northern California. I have a full time job as an aviation mechanic. I’d like to eventually invest more time into honing my photography and marketing skills.
Have you been involved in the arts in some form other than photography?
I’ve always been intrigued by other artists and art forms i.e. sculptors, sketch artists, musicians, and dancers. Unfortunately, I did not possess the attributes to excel in any of those listed but I always believed I could see the beauty in things I was just unsure how to express or tell the story of what/how I see things. I overlooked the obvious… photography! Photographers do just that … share their vision with others through still images. That’s when I realized photography was my medium, my paint brush, my stage.
Seeing your remarkable work, I am curious where your creativity comes from?
I feel like we all take from our surroundings in our creations… sights seen, sounds heard and, feedback we receive from our spoken words. I believe my creativity is the product of what I’ve collected through society and nature.
I bought my first DSLR after the birth of my youngest child to capture memories. The camera was very overwhelming at first. I shot it in “Auto” for a few years and, at some point I really wanted to learn how to use the other features the camera offered so I taught myself. A friend of mine told me to study the exposure triangle. Once I discovered the creative flexibility it allowed … I was hooked.
What equipment are you using now and with what did you get started? what is your favorite lens?
I started with a Nikon D60 DSLR with the kit lens. My first additional lens was a Sigma 30mm f1.4 prime lens. I shot everything with it, even many things I probably shouldn’t have as the distortion was not flattering on certain subjects. It really taught me how “to see” composition. I got so comfortable with the 30mm that I composed the images in my head before I even pulled the viewfinder to my eye. I’d walk around looking at the world in 30mm. Today I shoot on a full frame sensor (Nikon D610) and I’m still using prime lenses. Since my first 30mm I’ve added a 50mm 1.8, 85mm 1.8, and just recently a 180mm 2.8. Although I see a lot of wide angle environmental portraiture that I’m really drawn to my style as of late have been tight compositions and filling the frame. I’d probably say the 85mm 1.8 is my favorite lens but I think it would be an interesting study to see what focal length I’d shoot at the most if I had zoom lenses.
Can you tell us about your work flow from the point you first step onto the street until you showcase the developed picture?
Location scouting usually begins while I’m driving around. For portraiture, I’m always looking for interesting lines and muted color tones. I’m always thinking of the best way to bring the viewers’ attention to the subject. My intent for every shoot is to make the subject stand out with strong leading lines and making them the sharpest and brightest element of the image. That’s why I love my prime lenses with large apertures. I also consider how the locations will either add to, or take away from the subject. I never want anything visually competing with my subjects. I also consider how I would light the subject. Although I love the look of natural light, my preference is off camera strobes with high speed sync capability. I feel this gives me the best control over the quality and direction of light and allows me to produce the look I’m going for. I like to speak with my subjects prior to the shoot. I try to engage in both small talk and technical aspects of the shoot to make sure everyone is comfortable and on the same page. My post processing work flow is Adobe Bridge, Camera Raw, and Photoshop respectively. I use Bridge to view my files before opening them in Camera Raw, where I do basic adjustments like white balance, shadows and highlights. The finishing touches are done in Photoshop. That is where I fix skin, remove distractions, color grade, sharpen and resize as required. I share my final image when and if I feel all the elements have come together.
Do you see a particular influence, be it a photographer or school on your work? Any subject that attracts you?
I have never had any formal training since I’m self-taught and began learning photography with Creativelive shows, YouTube, Flickr, Instagram, etc. at my disposal, most of my influences have been portrait photographers’ work I follow on the web. Some of the photographers’ works that I love and admire are Dani Diamond, Craig Lamere, Amanda Diaz, Sue Bryce, as well as a handful of photographers I follow on Instagram and 500px.com.
This question seems to be speaking of style. I still feel like I’m in the development phase of creating a signature style. I see a few artists’ work that I can easily identify. They have such a distinct style, I hope to achieve that someday.
Among your works, which is your favorite and why?
The next shot that I haven’t taken yet is my favorite. At least that’s what I tell myself so I don’t become complacent.
Tell us your funniest or most awkward photography story.
There was a bridal shower I shot which I guess was a little funny and a little awkward. I was shooting my wife, her friends and some of the groom’s family/friends in a photo booth style setting. Mid way through the shoot we took a break in the action so I jumped in front of the camera with my wife for a few of our own frames. Of course I was holding and kissing her, but the soon to be mother in law did not know we were husband and wife. She thought my wife was being very affectionate with someone other than her husband and that the photographer was really unprofessional. The mother in law was so embarrassed once someone corrected her and we all had a good laugh.
Learn to “see”. Don’t obsess with the gear. Any camera made in the last 2-3 years is more than capable. Learn to light, compose and capture the decisive moment. That’s how snapshots improve to works of art. As far as gear shopping advice goes, I’d tell them to skip the package deal every newcomer goes after. You know the big box store deal that sells the camera with the standard 18-55mm kit lens with the 55-200mm. I’d encourage them to pick up a used DSLR with an inexpensive wide aperture prime lens. By the time you outgrow the starter kit you will know what you do and don’t need to increase your work flow.