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Morning Q&A

Lesson 22 from: Location, Posing, Execution

Roberto Valenzuela

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Lesson Info

22. Morning Q&A

Summary (Generated from Transcript)

This lesson is a Q&A session with instructor Roberto Valenzuela. He addresses questions about talent in photography, his sources of inspiration and learning, and the importance of practice and studying different perspectives.


  • Does Roberto believe that anyone can become an accomplished photographer or is talent necessary?
  • Roberto believes that talent plays a role, but it is only about 10% of the equation. Developing skills and practicing are more important.
  • What books does Roberto recommend for learning about the mind and maintaining a positive mental attitude?
  • Roberto recommends reading a variety of books, including "The Talent Code" and "Talent is Overrated."
  • Who does Roberto look to for growing his skills presently and learning in photography?
  • Roberto learns from everyone and looks at other photographers' work for inspiration. He mentions specific photographers like Jeff Ascough, Jenna Pascoe, and Matthew Jordan Smith.
  • Does Roberto believe that luck plays a role in capturing the right moments in photography?
  • Roberto explains that luck is not the main factor. It is about putting oneself in the right place at the right time, which requires studying the game and anticipating the next move.
Next Lesson: Light & Shadow

Lesson Info

Morning Q&A

you guys have any questions in this video has no everything please I know thank you before but you did not have to give us all of your secrets and you're giving them to everyone and you worked so hard and just to give it to us so awesome thank you I am more than happy to keep secrets they're no secrets uh there there there take them use them I I want you to succeed in photography I want everyone watching to succeed you should see my heartbreaking when when those people come to me in other countries and they're having a hard time and I just he paints me because I know that's a solution and they're just not doing it like uh you know I mean um I hope so I hope so my wish is just not just my wish the wish of probably every instructor there comes the creative life yeah they're coming here to help right there this is a lot of work coming out of your studio and stuff I haven't even responded to an email from any clients in the last three days they're probably firing me right now just getting ...

uh there's a lot of work but we do it because we love the industry well or because we want people to succeed I personally I'm personally tired that when I go to a party with my wife and they meet us and they're like oh what do you to meet my wife says oh I'm a material science engineer and I work for this company and people are like whoa awesome what do you do hi I am a wedding photographer and they're like oh look and it turns from a handshake to a wet noodle handshake where noodle their respective goes just thanks and that's because we haven't given up people are recent to really respect the industry because everyone goes to costco and buy their cameras nobody works under under art but yet we call each other artists photographers the only art form that we can actually make money doing it whether you make a little money or no money or a lot of money you can call yourself on artist without ever practicing your craft like imagine how many years it took the castle to learn his craft he is an artist in my many years of practice it took tiger woods to learn howto play golf like that it took practice we call everybody artists pianists violinists guitarists we call them artists we call ourselves hardest yet we never practice we just buy the tools then we photoshopped some mean but then we complained that we were going out of business so what else do we have I'm going to ask this question just because and we talked about this several times but I just want you to reiterate the answer to this question from rob mirage who says as roberto roberto is clearly multi talented does he not attribute his ability to become an accomplished photographer to be mainly down to his talent as a creative does he believe that anyone can do the same nice I believe there is talent tendencies I believe you have natural tendencies like somebody could have what you would call physical intelligence which means your body is physically very linked limber and so you become a good answer something sense but you having that physical intelligence see there's emotion emotional intelligence or physical intelligence is right there is like logistical intelligence there's all these different kinds you can have physical intelligence and become a dancer but it's only going to help you so much you have to develop it it's like I would say is like ten percent of it yes ofcourse talent was there like look at mozart everybody thinks most I was a genius right and he waas is very good but then you forget when people were like did you know mozart was playing piano when he was five in front of the queen well who cares because when he was zero he was fathered by one of the greatest music instructors in the world at that time so yeah he was good but look at his environment his environment was full off constant reinforcement in one little part of its life music piano music theory piano listen to the note what is the picture that note when you're like that and your brain is just a sponge by five you should be a genius if you're not like what's wrong with you but were so impressed but we forget about the person's environments short if you're a dancer and you have a family of dancers people say you're talented dancer no you had an environment that fostered you're dancing on the fact that you had ten percent ability to move a limb in a limp away didn't hurt you so that's it that's what I think talent's fellow out roberto john smith says and I've been wondering the same thing what books you read you seem to know a lot about the mind and keeping a positive mental attitude huh or how did you learn all that I read a lot uh okay guys I'm a nerd that's why my wife didn't like me some call it geek chic I'm definitely a geek chic but don't forget the nerd geeks get the ladies later on but when you're in high school you won't get the ladies just wait right there won the football players no not you nikki right I read the economist everything a week I I read a lot about opposing views of anything so if I listen to cnn I also listen to fox news I don't want to ever ever ever listen toe one perspective I know listen to the other because you do not want to be brainwashed by any book any magazine or any news media so when I was taking philosophy of logic and philosophy of all these classes when I was in college I uh that's when I was starting not to ever just read one side so I look a good photos I also look a bad photos I compare things all the time I read cnn I mean I listen to cnn I listened to fox I read books on how to learn all the time I love being a nerd sounds like he read some neuroscience books I do a lot of new cutting edge neuroscience going on cutting edge neuroscience I have photographed the wedding's off brain surgeons on also people who studied the mind a lot I shot their weddings on we've had the best coffee conversations for hours so you pick their brains I do I think that rain but there's a book that I want to recommend to people just because it's been so it's called the talent code the talent code dot com I've been talking to you about that roberto and it's it is exactly what you're talking about and anyhow the talent when we do talk about talent code because when you purchase a crate of live course it is chungking it's chungking in the book and what it means is that you study the same thing over and over and over until your brain has just completely absorb it before you move onto the next thing right it starts with a with a musician who learned sort of the first line of the music practice practice practice right just another before going on about along the same lines as that that what's it called the talent I'm the talent code telling code this other book I read it probably uh you know to have twenty three times or some thing cover to cover it's called talent is overrated uh you know uh welcome uh called wrote a book called the out liars and he talked about the ten thousand our rule toe really master something I feel like you can turn that into one thousand hours with deliberate practice ten thousand dollars what it takes an average person putting ten percent of their energy into practicing I think if you spend a little more time focusing the way you practice which is what we're gonna do today you can turn that into a thousand hours instead of ten thousand hours that's tenth attends off the time to really become a master people have asked me if I've been shooting all my life and I just started a part of you like I started like five six years ago really because my first two years I wasn't shooting much I raised her picking up like my second year so you know talent is overrated and talent code all right you saying you've only been shooting for five or six years leads me into the next question from cody j bennett who ask I'd like to know who roberto looks to to grow his skills presently how is he growing and learning at this place in his photography and do you look at other photographers are you learning from other photographers actually do I'm not ashamed I uh I learned from everybody uh sometimes when I'm teaching a workshop a student takes a picture of that I'm very analytical like I can decide for things like a computer you know I mean well sometimes like one time I saw it and told me about a workshop I should like roberto did you know that because I was telling her about blocking the double chin or whatever and she came up to me she said you know if you put your tongue at the top of your mouth through the back of your tongue you get rid of the double chin too and I was just like what I saw what it was like you see it kind of goes because I definitely have a double chin going on but like it's like it cancels it out if you put your tongue and you push it against the roof of your mouth your chin socks ing on I've been using that for quite a while with grooms and stuff I looked at the work it depends what style of photography you're trying to improve on when I started trying to improve my photojournalism I looked at the work off he lives in england um he's a photographer in england on dh he is to me the best photo journalist wedding for the journalist in the world I know you're talking about he's a genius go what's his name jeff ask oh yes he's my fair he's my hair it wedding photographer as well besides besides you jenna pasko is one that I studied religiously on how to shoot for the journalism yeah um toe toe style I suppose onto finesse little things I go to a lot of people uh obviously jerry jones is really good at that andi I studied his work quite a way to uh when I went to study simply city through subtraction and those kinds of like really making a subject stand out I look at creative life's next teacher um matthew jordans with because he's a master ofthe subject emphasis he has toby he's a fashion photographer right I think we may have crashed some websites jeff ask oh he's just having trouble loading right now he doesn't even know you maybe now you will know what I mean look I've never even met the guy I just looked at his work and I'm like you're a photographic freakin genius photojournalist incredible person on yes I have spent many hours just looking at his website I'm trying to decipher how did he get into that moment and then you look at michael jordan and you're like why don't you why is he always in the right place at the right time is it by accident or be he studied the game does he know that if you're about to throw the ball into the basket at the next possible move is that the boss we're going to be on the left of the court yes maybe so he'll stand on the left side of the court the balls there and he happens to be there again so we say all my heroes gets lucky because he's always at the right places no he puts himself at the rebels at the right time so when I started studying people like jeff roscoe I started looking at the little flower girls moving around and stuff and then I would see a chair like this like you see this little bench thinking on and a little flower girl's gonna walking around on one of the photos that jeff took jeff esko talk that I saw was like a bunch of chairs and he took it from the little hole on the little girl was walking around and the chair was just gonna framing it whatever and I was just kind of caught us like how did you put yourself out there he's like well he saw the frame he thought there's a good chance you'll keep walking back and forth so he just put himself in at the right place at the right time and took the picture

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

Roberto Valenzuela creativeLIVE Keynote Slides.pdf

Ratings and Reviews

a Creativelive Student

Im a freelancer and have studied photo school several years ago and also been working as an assistant for a few years. I think you always have things to learn and keep you from getting stagnant in photography, and i find creative live is a great source for that. Been taking some of Lindseys classes and watched several others from Sue Bryce as well as other classes for equipment and about shooting people in general. I always read what others have said before to avoid any classes that are not informative etc or have a teacher that leave out too much, i was drawn to what people said about Roberto walking the students through the shoots and that he had this great system you could use and take with you when you go forward. I actually never heard of Roberto before but were mainly interested cause of what he was teaching here. I have now watched almost the whole course and first of all let me say i do recommend it a lot. Its a great system to use in my opinion, and i have learned some great stuff to think about that will enhance my own photography, and its a great reference to go back to when you need it. Roberto as a teacher is relaxed, intelligent and has great humor that i can relate to. So you you are not "bored" which is also very important, he keeps it interesting. Some things that i did not like about his way of teaching was that he was a little too impatient at times when the students tried shooting themselves , he reminded me of other photographers i have worked with in past. They were also very impatient sometimes when people around them were moving to slow for the shot to get done etc. I understand during the course the students had limited time to get every shoot done. But many times i was frustrated with that Roberto almost always stepped in too early to "help" them out but instead kind of took over telling them what angle would work best or what light that should be used. It was almost as he wanted his system to show up as flawless and felt as he was scared letting the students try it out on their own because that would somehow show a flaw in his system. I would rather have had him let them try first and later he could come in and suggest the different angles and light. But now many times he would take over and also take his own picture and pointed to the strengths of that picture and why it worked. Still, you learn because he explains at the same time, and walk you through everything. I just find that you would learn even more letting the students fail first or do it right on their own. Also sometimes he would choose a location and say: You can use this wall and these props etc, then when the student would start he would suddenly limit them and instead tell them what to use and how they should crop so that the location itself would not make much difference. Otherwise though, great course. I think i would buy another course from Roberto as well if it was something i needed from it.

a Creativelive Student

I have seen many of the creative live workshops, and attended many great workshops by photographers, including Jerry Ghionis. It was Jerry's wife - Meliisa Ghionis who suggested that Roberto's course on creative live should be a must see. This course was by far the best on creative live for improving your photography of couples, it is just brilliant and has improved my photography in leaps and bounds. There are many great photographers, but most do not know how to pass on their knowledge to others - Roberto is the exception I would consider this course a must see for any wedding photographer, no matter what your experience.


Love Love Love this class!! The way Roberto integrates class participation into his teaching is such an amazing teaching technique! CreativeLIVE has some amazing teachers, I have learned so much from many of them, but Roberto's "hands-on" approach put's the on-line audience in the moment. Very captivating teacher! By far I would say this is one of the, if not the best photography class I have watched!! Thank you!!

Student Work