I came across Ivan’s work on 500px, if you haven’t had a look at that site yet I recommend you check it out.
Tell us a little about yourself?
My name is Ivan Ramirez and I currently live in the San Francisco Bay Area, although I was born and rise in Guadalajara, Mexico. I’m Electrical Engineer by profession, I was introduce to photography while in college I would take art classes to try to find some balance with my Engineering classes; during that time I took one photography class. However, my real affair with photography started 3 years ago when I was asked by a friend to photograph her for a promo flyer. Since then, photography became hobby which growing into a part time profession.
What inspired you to get started in photography?
Art has always being part of my life, I would always be painting or drawing something. During college I was doing a lot of freelance webpage and design work, so, photography for me is just another medium to created art and de next logical step.
What gear do you take to each shoot and what lens can you not live without?
For outdoor shoots always take a tripod and speedlite, would not used them all the time but they are my backup plan in case natural light is not working for me. For indoors always 3 Alien bees (with soft boxes and umbrellas), so far tough and cheap strobes is what I’ve used. Lenses, I dont have that many 50mm 1.8 and 18-55mm (kit lenses).
How do you market yourself and has social media been an important part?
Nowadays word of mouth, most paid gigs come from people that were send from past clients. Social media is very important to get your name out; it might not bring you jobs, however, it is important to have a good web presence. Make a logo and make sure any photo that you put on the web has it; you would be surprised how many people will recognized your logo.
What’s your favourite photo that you’ve taken and does it have any significance?
There are so many, but this is one them. I know is a little weird. However, this one is one of the first photos I ever took with a LSR film camera, it was from my photography class. And it is significant because this is when I realized that photography was just like drawing or painting. You can created anything and the possibilities are endless.
Select a photo you have taken, explain how it was taken and how did you edit it?
This was shot with only one soft box to the side and pointing down at the model. Edited in Photoshop, were the smoke was added and then the smoke dragon was created with several custom brushes.
What processing tool do you use and do you believe in the camera doing all the work or in post ?
Mostly LightRoom and Photoshop. Try to do in-camera as much as possible, you dont want to be wasting time fixing errors that could be avoided when you shot the photo. Im not a purist, I loved post processing!
Whats your favourite photography accessory other than your camera?
Speedlite, it has rescued me when natural light fails me.
Where do you prefer to post your photos online and why there?
I try to post my photos everywhere I can. As I said get your name out there as much as you can. Some of my favorite sites to post work are:
Do you ever get photographers block and if so what do you do to get inspired again?
Of course, sometimes you just need to walk way from the camera, never force an idea, let it happen by itself. When Im stuck, I like looking at DeviantArt, Flickr and some design blogs like abduzeedo.com. to get the inspiration juices flowing again
Is there anything you wish you had done when you first started in photography that would of made a difference?
My only wish is to have gotten into photography early; if I could go back I would have started in high school.
Any advice for new photographers wanting to go pro?
So many things to say! To start, I do not considered my self a PRO, but, here is a few things that might help:
1: SHOOT, SHOOT and then SHOOT some more. Photography like anything else takes practice, if you want to get better at it just keep shooting.
Second: Cameras are just a tool; a good camera wont make you a better photographer, as a Ferrari wont make you a better driver.
Third: Grow a tough skin, there will be people out there that will tell you that your work is horrible; when this happens just keep shooting.
Fourth: Network; talk to other photographers, models and artist in your area; and collaborated as much as possible.