SAN FRANCISCO PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHER
OUTDOOR, NATURAL LIGHT // LOCATION SCOUTING // ORGANIC PHOTOS
Mexican-American Oakland born, grew up in San Rafael, attended Marin Catholic High School and then made my way down to the University of Southern California (I very much miss the beaches, weather and friends of USC… FIGHT ON!).
Early Days, The Beginning
The first camera I owned was in college in Los Angeles – a gift from my sister (one of my biggest supporters) – a Kodak film camera. I took that everywhere with me. A few years later I interned at MGM Studios’ Publicity / Photography department where I began my love of photography. The red carpet premieres I attended gave me glimpse for anticipating shots, working with narrow windows of opportunity and working in spontaneous environments helped me understand what this profession would entail.
Prior Career In Strategy, Analysis & Operations
I spent 10 years working for Loopnet and other startups in cross-functional roles spanning marketing, strategy, business operations & analytics. Having spent every day in Excel files, writing SQL queries, storytelling through data and distilling simple narratives from disparate data sources, I am familiar with the business side of data and love blending the analytical and creative sides of my brain whenever possible.
Understanding funnels, optimizing conversion rates, navigating customer journeys, examining business models with a customer mindset and extracting insights from incomplete data sources is something I love and still use every day in my current line of work. I captured the company culture of Loopnet through team-building events, happy hours, holiday parties, volunteer events and headshots.
NYC + Europe Travels, Couchsurfing
In 2011, I moved to the Upper West Side in NYC and I took my first and only photography class in Central Park (where we crossed paths with Woody Allen) and quickly learned that I hated staged shots and prefer candid moments, unique personalities and composing photos by taking what is given to me versus forcing things.
As a self-taught photographer, I developed a distaste for overly photoshopped, filtered images that could never be observed naturally and loath the self-absorbed copied/pasted cliche shot lists and staged, embellished portraits that look nothing like the person in real life. The only two photographers I have ever followed are – Brandon Stanton (Humans of New York) and the late great Bill Cunningham (New York Times).
In 2013 I couchsurfed in Europe for a few months bouncing around various cities including London, Barcelona, Amsterdam, Budapest, Bucharest, Stockholm, Copenhagen, Venice, Malmo, Berlin, Munich, Brussels, Paris, Prague and Vienna. Traveling alone was one of the best decisions I ever made – I highly recommend doing it if you have the chance. That trip forced me to meet strangers despite language barriers.
How I Started As An Online Dating Photographer
Early in my career, I covered a lot of events and did a number of headshots. I used dating apps back in my single days and noticed a number of headshot clients were using my photos in their dating profiles I knew right away my natural, approachable photos were in contrast to the stiff, self-aborbed airbrushed norms. As I researched online dating photographers in the space and press, I noticed most of them were pretty awful – merely portrait photographers (i.e. modeling, wedding, engagement and studio headshot) rebranding and overextending themselves and misleading clients.
To this day, my biggest source of clients come from those that hired other photographers and did not have any improvement in their dating profiles. It’s not just photos, it’s also app choice, profile fatigue, bios, prompts, answers, demographics, photo order, communication skills, smiles, poses, body posture, wardrobe etc. Most photos don’t address these core aspects of a dating profile. Heck, most have never used dating apps or if they have been single for a while now. They are easy to spot because their photos don’t look like them at all.
The best photos are one that show interests, warmth, personality, candidness, some dorkiness, vulnerability in natural environments and location. They shouldn’t look like a casting reel with several photos in the same outfit and same location with slight changes in poses. These are dead giveaways for professional photos and will give users pause as they will assume the photos were retouched or artificially enhanced. There is a reason why people wait 3-6 months out or more to hire me when I visit their cities.
My Approach & Ideal Customers
I am mostly known for my business headshots + company culture photos and dating portrait photography. I seek out individuals who are camera-shy, introverts, socially awkward, cannot smile, are new to online dating or who have had bad experiences with other photographers. While mostly focusing on professional business headshots and those looking to hire a photographer for a dating profile, I occasionally do take on other types of opportunities on a case by case basis i.e. organic couple engagement photos, civil ceremonies, divorce parties, personal travel photos for people visiting the San Francisco Bay Area, bachelorette parties, non-profits and civic events, food & beverage opportunities and unique events.
I likely will not do photoshoots at Museum of Ice Cream, blog photos at the Color Factory, Look of the Day Instagram photos, weddings, maternity portraits, senior graduation portraits, newborn photos, or staged family shoots unless you can convince me it is something natural, candid and doesn’t involve a boring shot list.
My knowledge of locations, backdrops, murals, architecture and colorful walls is second to none. I am unconventional in my approach to photography and consider myself more artistic than technical. If you are looking for skin softening or embellished images, you won’t find that here. I prefer to capture people organically as possible. All my photo shoots are customized to the client based on their age, lifestyle, interests, professions, availability, and curiosities.
My Mission, Philosophy For Photography
Photography should be about authenticity, approachability and organic people, places and moments. I work one on one with clients – no makeup artists, no stylists, no location scouts, nor excessively filtered, edited images – just you, me and the camera. Much of what people see in magazines, Instagram and advertisements are illustrations, not photographs – they are not visible to the naked eye nor are they attainable with just a camera.
My goal is to make photography approachable for all, change the expectations about what makes a great photograph and help people appreciate their appearance and be comfortable in their own skin. I love capturing pictures of people and want to change people’s perception about getting in front of the camera.
I have worked with clients from Uber, Airbnb, Adobe, Tesla, Apple, Facebook, Instagram, Google, Amazon – ask around and you will likely find a referral from someone who has worked with me. My client list spans dozens of countries across Latin America, Europe and Asia as well as individuals from over the United States.
My Holistic For Dating
My goal is to improve the dating experience for all by providing advice to the masses via my blog, guests posts as well as work with individuals one by one to present them in flattering, honest and candid ways. I am not a pickup artist by any means, I work with those seeking relationships (think of me as an online, offline Hitch). While I am know for my work within dating app profiles, I work with clients through the first date. This includes app choice, bios, captions, answers to prompts, posture, eye contact, wardrobe, first impressions, vocal intonations, positioning in bars, cafes, placing orders at bars, conversation starters and more.
Random Tidbits About Me
When not behind the camera, I am out stalking the late great Jonathan Gold’s recommendations, road-tripping up and down Hwy 1, sampling the best dark sour, IPA and stout beers I can find, catching up on This American Life and Revisionist History podcasts, anxiously awaiting episodes of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, watching USC Trojan football (Fight On!), adding to my unhealthy addiction of dress socks, Cuban salsa dancing, exploring street art, stalking Sade next tour dates and traveling aimlessly. My desire to explore hidden gems, sit at bar counters with locals and get outside my comfort zone is largely inspired by the late Anthony Bourdain.
I strive for a balance between analytical and creative approaches in my life and in my work and am often referred to as ethnically ambiguous. I am a sucker for a good espresso martini, small intimate small music venues, hotel bars and eating at the bar whenever possible. As an introvert, I know what it’s like to take awful photos year after year in school, feel uncomfortable around large groups in social awkward situations and put myself out there and feeling vulnerable.
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Social Media Profiles and Links
PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHY SERVICES OFFERED IN THE SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA
Business & Professional
- LinkedIn Profiles
- Employee Headshot Day
- Executive, CEO Headshots
- About Us / Recruitment
- Volunteer Team Outings
- Volunteer Outings
- Corporate Events
- Casual Corporate
- Not So Corporate
- Cool Corporate Headshots
Creative & Social Media
- Website Photos
- Blog + Instagram Photos
- Model for the Day
- Branding Portraits
- Personal Photos
- Location Scouting
- Acting & Modeling
- Natural Headshots
- Portrait Photo
Dating App Profiles
- Profile Review + Critique
- Location Scouting
- Wardrobe + Styling
- Color Theory
- Bio, Questions & Answers
- Dating App Strategy
- Dating Portrait Photography
- Bar and Restaurant
- Offline Dating
- Photo Editing
- Analytics & Website SEO
- Backlink Strategy
- Vacation / Travel Photos