Adriana Samanez is a Licensing Contributor based in Lima, Peru, who doesn’t shy away from exploring different locations while traveling and capturing candid and intimate moments between her models.
Q: How you get into photography?
A: I got my first camera as a gift from my uncle one Christmas. It was the one he used to shoot all his travels with. I couldn’t put it down. Of course, I would use it in auto for everything. I took it on every vacation, beach trip, and family event.
When I started uploading photos of my family and friends, a lot of people would ask me how much I charged for taking pictures, and I remember thinking, “Charge? Like, money? How could I charge for something I do for fun?” Ah, to be young. Anyway, I went on to study Communications at Universidad de Lima and learned more about photography until, eventually, I realized I could actually do it for a living.
Q: Where do you find inspiration for your shoots?
A: Everywhere, really. In other photographer’s work, good paintings, movies with great cinematography, and even moments. There are moments that I know I don’t want to miss, and so I photograph them.
Q: What is your favorite gear to use to shoot lifestyle photos?
A: I’m currently torn between the Sony A7III and the Canon EOS R. I find they both have certain qualities that work amazingly for every kind of photo.
My favorite lens for any camera would have to be a 50mm. In the case of Sony, I love using the Zeiss 55mm, and for Canon, I’m aiming for the 50mm f1.2
Q: How do you prepare for a shoot, and what are the essentials you can’t go without?
A: The first thing I do before shooting is look for references, whether they are of the place where I’m shooting, the kind of photos I’m taking, etc. Most of the time, I’ll get inspired and shoot without even checking them, but I find that it’s always good to be at least a little prepared.
Q: You are great at scouting locations for your shoots, what are your top three requirements for a great shoot location?
A: Most of the time, I don’t look for them, but find them. I try to challenge myself to find a good composition in whatever location I’m at. Most of the shots I’ve uploaded are of travels, and it’s not even that I’m traveling to take these photos. I’m on a family trip and suddenly find a location that I like, and stop and shoot for a couple of minutes before we move on to the next activity.
Q: Are there any commercial trends that you incorporate into your shoots?
A: I check Instagram a lot, so maybe I do get sucked in the trends from time to time, but it’s not like I try to shoot like this or that studio or photographer.
Q: Authenticity in commercial photography is in high demand, and you manage to capture this in every photo. How do you ensure your models feel comfortable in front of the camera?
A: A lot of people do not feel comfortable with being photographed because they’ve never gone through the experience. They probably don’t have a photographer’s vision, so they have no idea how the pictures are going to turn out, and would rather not do them instead.
I try to go over other photoshoots I’ve done with them to assure them that this crazy process is going to be worth it, and also encourage them to look for some references and that way they get excited thinking their pictures can look as great as some others you find on Pinterest or Instagram. Also, I just have fun with them.
I shoot a LOT of pictures per photoshoot. I mean, a LOT. And this is because I don’t only shoot the ones I’ve planned, but I shoot constantly. Sometimes, before or after a pose, something funny will happen, and the models will start laughing, and that’s where I get the best shots.
Q: What are some key lessons commercial Licensing on 500px has taught you?
A: Talk to the models beforehand and make sure they are on board with having their photos submitted to commercial Licensing on 500px. Also, get their signatures for the model releases that instant. If you wait, there’s a chance you’re not going to get them at all.
Q: Can you list off three post-processing tips that you feel are key for commercial photographers?
A: First, develop your own style. Do not copy other photographer’s editing style or current trends. Believe me, the trends are going to change, and once you discover your own style, that’s going to stay with you forever and you’ll be recognized by it
Second, try to give all your photos the same essence. Maybe not the same look or colorization to every single picture, but if your gallery looks thought out, that will seem more professional.
Lastly, do not let too much time pass before you edit your photos.
Q: What advice would you give photographers who want to shoot commercial photography and are interested in licensing their photos with 500px?
A: The best advice I can offer: just do it.
Get out of your comfort zone and do it. If you can’t get any clients at first, convince your friends and do it for free. Clients will come along. Shoot as much as you can, practice, challenge yourself, and you will get better.
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