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Hi this is Jay P. Morgan. Today on The Slanted Lens in the second of my new series “Meet the Photographer,” I’m profiling international award winning photographer Hernan Rodriguez. I got a chance to sit down with Hernan while I was at the PhotoPlus Expo in October. Hernan’s a fellow Tamron guy. Living in Los Angeles he’s photographed many actors and celebrities, including Evander Holyfield, Mike Tyson, Victor Ortiz, Nelly, Cynthia Kirchner, and many more. Hernan is well known for his fashion and celebrity work, but he also photographs families, corporate and editorial.
Hernan got his start in graphic design, working as an art director. Hiring photographers, he realized that he could do a better job than they did. He educated himself, taking advantage of various workshops and mentors- even working under Mike Trerotola for two years. Taking the fulltime plunge into photography came after a theft of his work computers forced him to choose whether to reestablish his design work or pursue what he really loved. His first gig was shooting a high school dance with a friend who worked for Alfred and Fabris, which led him to Mike Trerotola, who was PPA President at the time.
Herb Ritts, Annie Leibovitz, and many of the old artist masters inspire Hernan. He classifies his style by the interaction he has with his subjects. The foundation of his work is based on a personal touch. He loves the intimacy of shoots, and his work reflects that. Crediting his background in design, Hernan works his shoots backwards. He pictures the final image and builds the shoot from there. He has a studio inside his home, and frequently changes wall color and background elements based on his subject. His two favorite backdrops are a white and a gray seamless.
Color is a big part of Hernan’s work. He’s been working with subtractive and additive color. He equates it to mixing paints. He uses Canon and Nikon, preferring Canon for warm color skin tones, and Nikon for something that he’ll blow up bigger and will need more detail. He shoots with the whole line of Tamron lenses. His go-to lenses are the 70-200mm, and the 90mm macro. Most people are surprised when they hear he uses the macro lens for fashion work. Hernan explains that he likes being able to use a wider depth of field for sharpness while still getting really nice fall off on his subject. He also enjoys the new 35 and 45 1.8 lenses. Dynalite is Hernan’s choice of lighting. He likes the Bajas, Hypersync and ring flash. He only uses ring flash as a fill. He’ll often shoot with one key and four fill lights.
Hernan feels that building your network of referrals is key to being successful. He advises getting established within the genre of photography you want to work in. He works with several other people to help run his shoots smoothly from beginning to end. Hernan charges a usage fee and recommends adding a time limit to the terms of usage.
He feels a lot of accomplishment at having won multiple awards, including photographer of the year and the Black and White Spider Award for fashion. His advice to new photographers is to give 100% to the business. Perseverance is key.
Thanks for watching. Keep those cameras rollin’ and keep on clickin’.
Equipment Jay P. and Hernan use:
Tamron 35mm 1.8: http://bit.ly/1R1wS6K (Canon)
Dynalite Baja B6: http://bit.ly/1R1u2i7