To help get ready for our huge upcoming annual event, Photo Week 2015, we’re highlighting some of our favorite instructors who are part of the event.
We’re going to be sharing with you, everything from their tips and advice on how to make it in the photography business, how to frame perfect shots within their domains, how to create your unique style, and much more over the coming weeks.
I got to speak with Jeff Rojas today, a frequent CreativeLive instructor and seasoned portrait & fashion photographer with a very large book of business.
Jeff has been featured in several major photography publications and regularly teaches others how to become successful photographers, especially in portrait photography, and in shooting styles for men.
Here’s our interview with Jeff, focused around how he’s used the best advice he’s ever received, to create a sustainable photography business for himself.
Q. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received as a photographer?
Jeff: “Execution trumps great ideas every time.”
Jeff applies this advice in both his photography style and business practices, by not just trying new things, but focusing on finishing everything he starts before bringing on huge new endeavors or projects.
Q. Tell me about the moment when you knew you made it as a photographer.
Jeff: “I knew I had finally made it when I realized that I made it a whole year without any additional income from sources outside of my photography business. Coming from corporate America, that was a huge step for me. Steady paychecks killed my ambition.” Jeff’s not alone in this sentiment. Many photographers have a difficult time making the leap over to working as a full-time photographer.
Q. Whose work do you most admire?
Jeff: “I find that the source of my inspiration changes over time. These days, I found myself studying Annie Leibovitz’s work.”
“That sounds so unoriginal, but I sincerely love how she captures people’s emotions. I respect that. Most photographers want to control their subjects, and she just let’s them be who they are naturally. It’s empowering. These days, I spend more time talking to my subjects, instead of directing and try to capture candid moments. It’s easy to photograph emotion when it’s genuine.”
Q. Do you have any parting advice for the CreativeLive readers?
Jeff: “Don’t ever listen to anyone who tells you something isn’t possible. DO focus on making it happen.”
For more of Jeff’s experiences in portrait photography, check out Jeff’s course in Photo Week 2015. Jeff teaches about how to achieve the perfect bokeh effects in your photos and how to maximize shooting in small places (Want more information on Bokeh? Check out our Ultimate Resource Guide here)