We interviewed Jerry Maestas to hear his tips and tricks about photography
Tell us about how you became a professional photographer, and what lead you to make it a full-time gig:
Becoming a professional photographer has been something I've been working toward for years. I remember discovering how much I loved photography about 7 years ago and it's led me to where I am today. The reason why I'm emphasizing the amount of time that I've been doing this is because the simple answer on how to become a professional photographer is to give yourself the correct amount of time to learn everything you need to know. It's definitely not something that happens overnight & it takes a lot of hard work to go pro. My biggest tip is to practice practice practice even if that means taking pictures of your cat. You'll learn so much just from picking up your camera and taking pictures as much as possible. I'm mostly self-taught so whenever I had any free time, I was taking pictures of almost anything, anywhere. Don't be afraid to challenge yourself and constantly try new things. I feel like there's such a big pressure on artists to find their style right away but learning the basics and trying new things is what lead me to the style I have now.
What item(s) do you always have in your camera bag, that you can't live without?
I don't think I could live without my 40mm f2.8 lens. I feel like it helped me shape my photography style and when I started shooting with it, I instantly fell in love. Lately, I've been pushing myself to use other lenses but I somehow always find myself popping on my 40mm at least once during a shoot.
What are your best tips for photographing?
Heres a few quick tips that I always run through in my head while shooting:
1. Find your light.
Before you even take a photo, find your light and then take a few test shots and see how the light is hitting your subject. I usually ask myself, is the lighting flattering on my subject? Is it adding to the mood of the photo? If adjustments need to be made, how do I need to move my subject or how do I change the lighting to better fit what I need.
2. Take your time.
I feel like sometimes I put too much pressure on myself during shoots which can end up in the shoot not turning out exactly how I was intending. Take a deep breath, think about what you're trying to capture, & take your time so that you can photography exactly what you need.
3. Don't be scared to ask for help.
Get yourself a team! There's nothing wrong with a little help. For me personally, I like having help with lighting because when you're in the middle of a shoot there's a lot to think about. Having someone there that knows exactly what lighting I'm looking for helps so much.
Do you prefer digital or film? And, why?
I personally prefer the look of film but I'm still learning how to use it properly so I don't use it as much as I wish I could. Film has such an incredible look & feel that is so difficult to recreate in digital photos.
Why do you mainly use the 70's and 80's effects in your photos? Is there a reason behind it?
I've always been inspired by the past. As a kid, I was obsessed with mid-century style. Over the last couple of years though, I've been finding myself more and more drawn to the style of the 70s and 80s. I love the colors and clothing style of the 70s but love the vibe of the 80s.
How do you get the best lighting when shooting photos? Any tips?
If you're shooting outdoors, figure out what time of day you prefer shooting at. I personally like to start shooting around 2 hours before sunset so that the shadows hitting my subject are flattering. If you're shooting indoors, figure out what kind of lights you like using and how you prefer to arrange them.
What challenges could you encounter during a photo shooting?
There's a ton of challenges that a photographer can encounter during a shoot. Your battery could die, your model might be late, your camera could malfunction, your SD card might stop working, the lighting could be bad, I could go on and on! You just always have to prepare for the worst.
Why do you enjoy working with companies and how do you choose certain collaborations, any criteria?
I like working with companies because I like the challenge of capturing their products or pieces of clothing through my eyes. I feel like the criteria for deciding to work with a brand is different with every brand. A few questions that I usually ask myself before working with a company are: Do I like the vibe of the brand? Do I think we are a good fit for working with each other? Are they asking for a fair amount of work for the rate they're providing?
Tell us about your biggest personal achievement as a professional photographer.
From a young age, I've always been interested in fashion so one of my biggest goals as a photographer was to shoot for a big brand campaign. This year I was able to shoot for Bershka during festival season & they loved my photos from the shoot so much that they made two of them the front page of the website.
Do you have any lessons from past failures others could learn from?
Always! Be! Prepared! For! The! Worst! I can't emphasize this enough! There have definitely been a few times that I've been on set of a shoot and I've said "oh no... I didn't bring *a very important piece of equipment*. I didn't think I was going to need it!". Then I'm desperately calling my friends to ask them if they can bring me whatever I decided not to bring because I didn't think I would need it.
Any advice for up-and-coming photographers?
Take your camera everywhere with you and shoot as much as possible! Photographers are constantly learning something new because there's so much to learn about it. To this day I'm still learning things even after doing it for 7 years.
What social trends are you seeing unfold for 2019?
I definitely see more brands working with more social media influencers since they're seeing such a huge return from social media marketing. I also see brands taking social media more seriously! It's honestly so great to hear people say that Instagram is being viewed like an online business card.
Campaigns with The Cirqle
How was your experience participating in campaigns with The Cirqle?
It was great! The Cirqle team has been very easy to work with and very quick at replying to any concerns that we've come across.
Do you like working through creator platforms?
I do like working this way with a brand. It helps keep everything organized and it makes sure you're completing everything on time and correctly.
What do you think about brands involving professional photographers in their marketing plan?
This is the first time that I've been involved as a professional photographer in a social media campaign and I think it's brilliant! I've been saying for years that brands should start doing this. They get professional images plus social media marketing! It's a win-win situation for them. I'm honestly surprised I haven't seen more brands doing this.