Photography is a beautiful way to memorialize or document any event that you wish to cherish later on in life.
Local Inland Empire photographer, Salvador Sanchez (@SalsTouch), provides some insights into his life as a professional photographer.
Salvador Sanchez, 24, has his own thriving business and shares what it is like being a professional freelance photographer.
Q: Why did you choose to pursue photography?
A: Fourteen years ago, my mom gave me a video camera and I swore I was going to become the next Quentin Tarantino. A few years later and I’m taking my first video production class in high school. As fate would have it, I discovered the class also had professional cameras for photo-taking. I realized at that moment that photography was truly what I was passionate about and never looked back.
Q: How long have you been a professional photographer?
A: I’ve only been doing photography professionally for a little over a year now. My first paid gig, however, was a wedding during my senior year of high school.
Q: How often do you do shoots?
A: It’s hard to say because the schedule of a freelance photographer fluctuates and can at times be very unpredictable. On average though, I have about 1 photoshoot every 3 days. There have been instances where I’m even doing as many as 4 photoshoots in a single day.
Q: What are the skills required to be a photographer?
A: To become one, I think the two biggest things are having a creative eye and a passion to bring that creativity to life. At the end of the day, photography is an art and like music production, there are no real rules to photography, just guidelines and suggestions to what might work better.
Q: Can anyone be a photographer?
A: I truly believe anyone can become a photographer. That’s not to say everyone can become a good one. I think it comes more naturally to some than others, but with almost anything, it just comes down to practice. How much work are you truly willing to put in? I myself am still learning more every day, striving to reach my full potential in this amazing field.
Q: What are some of the downfalls of photography?
A: I feel a clear downfall of photography is the saturation of the market. With cameras being so easily accessible, there are a lot of people who are willing to do photoshoots for free, which ultimately hurts the value of photographers as a whole. The mindset becomes “why pay this person for my photos when I can have that person do it for free?” Another downfall that comes to mind is just the ego that can fill many photography communities. While I’m all for competition, I think it’s important we help each other grow in this industry rather than tear each other down.
Q: What are some of the rewards you get from being a photographer?
A: A reward of being a photographer is when you see a photo you took printed out on a huge canvas by a client. It’s realizing your friend’s new wallpaper is actually a photo you took. It’s seeing your photo become the new Instagram profile picture of an aspiring model. It’s a text from a couple who say they still smile when they see their wedding photos almost a year later. There’s a quote that’s stuck with me for a long time that says “photography is the story I fail to put into words.” It’s this notion that for a split second, you were able to pause time and capture a moment that can forever be saved and at the same time tell a story. And that in itself is very rewarding.
Q: Have you had any horrible experiences that you feel comfortable sharing?
A: I’ve had SD Cards stop working in the middle of my photoshoots, I’ve run out of memory during a critical moment at an event, lost my lenses, and I even broke my camera once. Yet, I regret none of this. Each low has only helped better me as a photographer and for that I am grateful.
Q: Why is professional photography worth it, to you?
A: Professional photography is worth it to me because it is simply doing what I love and at the same time providing something that people can cherish forever. It’s worth it to me because I can bring out a concept in my head and turn it into this real thing that people can see and appreciate. The journey hasn’t all been perfect, far from it actually, but with each opportunity, I’m constantly reminded of just why exactly I decided to commit to this art full time.
Photo by Salvador Sanchez | This spot was suggested to Salvador by a friend who loves taking photos of LA’s cityscape. Here is a “long exposure” shot just above the freeway.
Q: Is there anything else you would like to add?
A: As long as you’re not harming anyone, do what ultimately makes you happy. I know it’s so much easier said than done, to just drop your 9 to 5 and say I’m going to follow my dreams and do what makes me happy. But it’s all a process, and with the right mindset and drive you can truly make that happen. I’ll end it with one of my favorite quotes from Denzel Washington that says, “There is no passion in playing small and settling for a life that’s less than capable of the one you’re of living.”