We recently had the opportunity to interview professional photographer Ibarionex Perello. Ibarionex Perello, living in Altadena, CA, is a photographer, writer and educator with over twenty of years of experience in the photographic industry. He is the producer and host of The Candid Frame: A Photography Podcast. His articles and photographs have appeared regularly in numerous magazines including Digital Photo Pro, Outdoor Photographer, Shutterbug and Rangefinder magazines. He is an adjunct professor at the Art Center College of Design and teaches several online photography course through Better Photo.com. He is currently on the board of DIMA (Digital Media Association and he is one of the co-founders of Alas Media, a multi-media production company). Below is the interview we conducted with Ibarionex where we asked him some questions about photography. Also below are a few samples of his work – when you’re done reading head over to his personal blog and portfolio. Thanks again for your time Ibarionex, and keep up the great work buddy!
Thank you for taking the time to participate in this interview, why don’t you start off by telling us a little about yourself.
I am a writer, photographer and educator and I’ve been making image since I was eight years old. It’s a passion that I developed while attending the Boys Club of Hollywood in California. I’ve been blessed with the fact that most of my work life has always involved working in photography from my time at Nikon, an editor at Outdoor Photographer and Digital Photo Pro. I am currently a freelance writer for various publications including Rangefinder Magazine and I teach photography at the Art Center College of Design at Better Photo. I also continue to produce commercial work for my clients in Southern California and am I am in the process of writing my first book, Chasing the Light, which will be available from Peachpit Press in the Spring.
What kind of photography do you do? Do you enjoy it?
I don’t think a specific label fits what I do. Though it can be said that I’m a generalist, I have a particular affinity for street photography and images of people. However, my work is more diverse than that especially the work that helps may the bills which can include documentary work, product imagery and portraiture. In all the work, I try to apply my particularly way of seeing, especially my awareness of existing light, to everything that I do.
What’s your gear? (type of camera and most used lens)
I am currently primarily using Olympus and Canon equipment, though because of my position as a freelance writer regularly use almost every brand of camera currently available, which is a nice benefit. I am a real fan of the new Olympus E-5 and am looking forward to getting one of my own before the end of the year. Otherwise, I am not a brand loyalist. There’s something to like in so many of the camera’s that are out there.
Can you offer any advice on how to go about building up a portfolio / ‘getting your foot in the door’ for our readers wishing to start a career in photography?
In terms of building a portfolio, I recommend printing 4×6 inch prints of the work that you are considering for your portfolio and put them on a wall or board and play around with layout and design. I think regualrly looking at the images really provides you the ability to discern which images should stay in a portfolio and which ones should be taken out. You can really see where you are getting repetitive or where’s there’s a hole in the book. I also think that the book has to be targeted for a specific client. If you do portraits and weddings, you should create two different books. You really have to think about who your potential audience is in order to make the best of the book as a marketing tool.
Have you ever shot in film? Which do you prefer?
I started shooting with film, but now largely shoot digital. I occasionally shoot film particularly medium format in order to shake things up. I still love film and the medium format provides a look that’s unlike anything else you will find even with digital, especially with color. I use as it’s appropriate to the project.
What advice would you give to our readers who are looking to ‘go pro’ and turn a hobby into a profitable business?
Make a plan and just get started. It may involve a part time effort, but it’s a great way of getting a sense of this is really for you. Be a full-time photographer demands you be a full-time business person, which isn’t for everyone. It’s not just about making beautiful photographs. Much of your time is spent during to nurture and sustain a business, which isn’t particularly glamorous. If you have a partner that enjoys doing that part of the business that can be great, but otherwise it’s going to be just you. So, it’s important to learn more about business, marketing, finances than worrying about the latest camera or lens that’s being sold.
Photographers are often told that they need to develop a personal style to set them apart. What would you say sets you apart?
The longer you shoot, the more you’ll develop your personal style, particularly if you are photographing things you are particular passionate about. I think that building your portfolio around something that you are passionate about outside of photography really helps in this respect. If you are into food, dogs, skateboarding…the insight you bring about that particular interest will inform how you document it with your camera and it will inevitably lead to a particularly style. Otherwise, you run the risk and merely copying what other people are doing successfully, but just less successfully. Don’t worry about style. That will come in time. Learn how to be a good business person and learn how to communicate well to your clients and subjects and you’ll be well ahead of the game.
When not looking through the lens of a camera, what do you like to do in your spare time?
Spare time? What’s that. I so busy most days that my oft-time is spent primarily with my family or reading a good book or watching a movie or taking a long walk with my dogs. It’s very simple stuff. A good dinner with good friends is an ideal time for me.
Who are your influences?
When it comes to photographers there are legends such as Gordon Parks, Jay Maisel, Joel Meyerowitz, Roy DeCarava, Mary Ellen Mark, Garry Winogrand, William Albert Allard and so many others. I have a strong affinity for those photographers from the sixties and seventies, because they are the one that really shaped the way I see today. I appreciate many of today’s photographers including Dan Winters, but I have to go back to many of the old school guys for my inspiration. They didn’t have the sophisticated equipment we have today and yet they managed to make some amazing photographs and that always reminds me that keeping things simple is so important.