Name: Hugo Velazquez
Location: San Diego, CA and Denver, CO
What made you get into photography?
I have always been the photo/videographer for my family and friends since I was a kid. Never did it professionally, always with point and shoots and with camcorders. I have been fascinated with photography since my childhood, always browsing through Vogue, Cosmo, Victoria’s Secret and other magazines. I was never the artistic type growing up, although I was surrounded by artists in my family. My dad went to some big time art institute in Mexico City and to this day still paints and sculpts. My mom had the same talent painting, which all my siblings inherited. I couldn’t draw a stick figure for the life of me. I was always the techy, mathematical, problem solving smart kid (which later on helped me to learn my photography skills). So, when I first discovered professional photography after a friend of the family took pictures of our kids, I decided to get myself a DSLR and start doing it on my own. It became a passion of mine in an INSTANT, and I became very serious about it.
How would you describe your photography style?
I don’t have a defined style because I am all over the place. I shoot anything, from kids to family pictures, to boudoir, glam or even landscape to real estate. I have always been captivated by lingerie photography ( boudoir, glam, etc) and artistic nude photography. So, MY personal preference for my portfolio needs, I love shooting alternative models, tattoos, glam and boudoir. I think of my personal style as being “Sexy but Edgy Photography”.
Any photographers or artists that you looked up to that helped influence your style?
My style has been influenced by random photography, mainly sexy, classy photography. If I can name some names, Roberto Alvarado has been one that definitely stuck with me. I took a lot of inspiration from his work when I first encountered his work on deviantART. I also have been influenced by Michael Muller and Joel Grimes when it comes to lighting schemes. I look at their pictures and try to decipher lighting set ups to help me get my own lighting techniques in shape. In general, my style has been influenced by what drives me, what I find sexy, what catches my eye and what I consider true beauty. To me, the female body is the ultimate beauty in life. Any photographer that has captured the female form in an ultimate, sexy and seductive way, has been my influence. I don’t know where to start with names because there are so many. Tumblr and deviantART have influenced me, thanks to the creative mind of the photographers that contribute in those networks.
Did you study photography in school or are you self-taught?
I am 100% self-taught. I have never taken any photography classes of any kind. I went to school of hard knocks when it comes to photography. I learned everything by trial and error, studying photographs that catch my attention, and by creativity. I am still learning, I try to push myself in every shoot when it comes to techniques or what not. I have been influenced by photography in general, so it has only been a matter of trying to figure out what photographers did to get those results and I feed off of that to help me grow. I only just learned about ISO, Aperture and Shutter Speeds less than a year ago when I started getting into photography.
What do you feel is the most challenging thing about starting a photography business?
The most difficult part in a photography business is getting customers willing to pay an amount that is worth while for the photographer, in this economy. Many people think that a photographer’s job is simple… you just point your camera and press the shutter button and PRESTO! You have a masterpieces… WRONG!!! Photography is hard work. Not only do you need to know what each feature or factor in a camera does in relation to other (ie: shutter, aperture, ISO, strobes, speed sync, etc) to create a nice shot, but you need to know how to communicate with a model/subject, you need to be creative and you need to spend a lot of time in post processing to get the final result and know how to use all those post processing tools. You also have to invest in very expensive equipment that regular people would never pay for to take a picture. Also, I am a married man and have small children. With the type of photography I am personally after, I have to make sure I don’t cross any lines that can hurt my relationship with my wife or take too much time away from my children when it comes to editing.
What do you love most about being a photographer?
I love the interaction I have with my models. I have fun in my shoots and it is an outlet to the everyday-routine of life. I get to work with beautiful women (most of the time in lingerie or nude) so what is there not to love about it. My biggest satisfaction is when my client or model loves their pictures so much that it makes me feel like I make a difference in their life. I love to make people look even more beautiful than they are, so I get a big sense of personal accomplishment with my photography. I get to freeze time in a person’s life and capture a beautiful moment in their lives that they, and other generations can enjoy later on in life. I also love it when my photography becomes viral and I have people all over the world admiring my work. I get an even bigger sense of accomplishment in my life, I feel like I did something that gives some meaning to my existence.