Photographer Spotlight: Jeff Rojas

We are so excited to welcome the fabulously talented Jeff Rojas to the Rock the Shot Blog! Take a moment to learn more about his gorgeous men’s fashion photography, and be sure to visit his website SAJORFFEJ (which is his name spelt backwards). Thank you so much Jeff for taking the time to share your work with us today!

Where did your inspiration for photography begin?
To be completely honest, I never thought I’d be a photographer. It wasn’t a childhood dream and I didn’t have friends or family that were photographers. It sort of fell in my lap. I was a car enthusiast and wanted to showcase the work I’d put into my car in a creative way. I picked up my first DSLR to do just that. Somewhere around that time, I decided to attend a meetup photography group in New York that was put together to showcase lighting. It was from that day forward that I was hooked.:)

How would you describe your photography style?
Simple, Clean and attention to detail. I try my best not to over-complicate things these days.

Did you study photography in school or are you self taught?
I don’t have a formal photography education. In fact I started college want to be an aerospace engineer. That’s a story for another day. I attended workshops early on with photographers like Lou Freeman and Steve Prue and picked up little tricks along the way.

Do brand/model camera do you shoot, and what is your favorite lens?
I currently shoot with a Canon 5D Mark ii/iii on set and you’ll find the Sigma 35mm f/1.4, 24-105mm f/4.0, 70-200mm f/2.8, and Sigma 150mm f/2.8, although my current favorite lens is the Sigma 35mm f/1.4.

Do you have any tips for photographers on how to find the light?
Yes! Switch your Picture Style (Profile) to Monochrome while you’re shooting in RAW. Your eye will instead focus on exposure instead of color, which makes lighting a million times easier. You’ll also want to be sure to use a color checker when you’re using this method.:)

What is the most challenging thing about photographing men and fashion?
Not fitting into most of the clothes I’m photographing… no samples for me. lol I’m kidding. I would have to say that working with guys is relatively easy, but learning how to work with Alpha Male complexes when you have one is an art.;)

What is a good lesson you have learned this year in photography or in your business?
Focus on keeping it simple. That goes with everything in life. The more you complicate things, the longer it takes and the less you’ll be productive. The less time it takes you to shoot, edit and deliver, the faster you can find your next client.

If you could encourage a new photographer in one area, what would it be?
I would encourage them to work for someone else (even retail) before they ever decide to do this as a business. It’s so much cheaper to make mistakes when it’s not on your dime.


What do you love most about being photographer?
The freedom, which is also my biggest fear. I’m free to do ANYTHING I want as a sole propriety (within reason), but there aren’t any restrictions. This can be a great thing if you’re focused or detrimental if you can’t find your focus.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I’d love to write a couple of books in the next couple of years and work with larger clients. I also love being able to work with smaller clients these days and I hope to grow alongside them in the next 5 years.

About the Artist: Jeff Rojas is an American Photographer based in New York City. His primary body of work includes Portrait and Fashion Photography, although he’s directed misc. fashion films and commercials. Rojas also frequents as a photography instructor and has taught on various photographic platforms including: CreativeLIVE, WPPI, PhotoPlus Expo, Gulf Photo Plus and APA.

Visit Jeff at his WEBSITE | INSTAGRAM | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | PINTEREST pages

February Photo Challenge: Friendship

Good friends are like stars….You don’t always see them, but you know they are always there.  – Author Unknown

Friends are such an important part of our lives.  This month, share one of your favorite images that conveys “FRIENDSHIP” to you!  There are no specific rules for this challenge, you may interpret the theme in any way you wish. Everyone is invited to participate!

Special thanks to our very generous sponsors for the FABULOUS prizes for this months challenge!

Here are the prizes you can win:

1st Place PRIZE:  a Free Art Wall from Simply Color Lab {$449 Value}

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK

 

Art Walls now exclusively from Simply Color Lab!
Take your images beyond the perfect shot. Create a three-dimensional work of art from your photography. This high-end art installation is created from either Canvas Wrap Mounts, Fine Art Mounts or Metal Prints. This unique and innovative approach to imagery is the perfect way to show off your creativity to your clients.  Our graphic artists will work with you to create your one-of-a-kind art piece. Once ordered, we will send you a proof to approve. When you approve our custom creation, your piece will be produced and shipped to you with detailed assembly instructions. Set yourself apart today!

THE BEST PART: Simply Color Lab wants everyone to be a winner! Enter code RckArt15 in the Discount Field in ROES to receive $100 off any size Metal, Fine Art or Canvas Art Wall. Code expires March 30th, 2015. This is a one-time use code. You cannot apply to this to previous orders, and cannot be combined with any other offers, discounts or gift certificates, and cannot be used with Simply Cash™ or Canvas Cash™. If you have any questions, please contact customer service at 877.803.6366.

 2nd Place PRIZE$150.00 Gift Certificate to Birdesign

WEBSITE FACEBOOK

Birdesign provides affordable and original high quality designs to help grow your photography and make your workflow easier!

We love to provide photographers with designs that help them book more and engage their potential customers, such as marketing boards to promote Mini sessions and Specials through Facebook or email campaigns and Digital magazines to provide their clients with the most complete information about the sessions, pricing and products of the studio.

 3rd Place PRIZE: Pretty Presets for Lightroom Teal Camera Bag {$119 Value}

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK

Pretty Presets for Lightroom is excited to support thousands of photographers around the world.  Their goal is simple: To make you work smarter, not harder.  They have so much to offer photographers through their Lightroom Presets, Brushes, Workshops and Free Tutorials.  They are known for their renowned customer service and support and look forward to working with you.

Here are the details for entering your submission:

1. Create a post on your blog and include ONE photo submission for the challenge. If you like, include some fun facts about the photo, and any tips or tricks you might like to share about how you captured and/or processed your image.  For this month’s submission, the only rule is that the photo you submit must be your own.  There are no other requirements!
2. Include the Rock the Shot Button and type the link www.rocktheshotforum.com in your post. DO NOT include http://
3. You can also link your submission from public Facebook pages, Flickr, Pinterest, etc. Just be sure to include the link www.rocktheshotforum.com within your post. If you are having trouble with this method, check out our step-by-step video tutorial HERE 
4. Submit the link to your post using the InLinkz button below. You must submit the actual post link (permalink), not just your website URL. NOTE: do not include http:// in your link
5. You may submit your photo at any time during the challenge – the deadline for this month’s submission is Saturday, February 28th, at 11:59pm CST.
6. The winners will be announced on Friday, March 6th, 2015.

LEGAL STUFF: This promotion is in NO WAY sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook. You will NOT be notified publicly via Facebook if you are a winner. You MUST be 18 to participate. By entering this giveaway, you are providing information to Rock the Shot and NOT to Facebook. Prizes do not have cash value. There will be no returns/exchanges on any of the items.

By submitting your photo, you grant Rock the Shot permission to re-post your photo on our blog and/or Facebook page.

January Photo Challenge Winners

We are so thrilled today to announce the WINNING photos for our January Photo Challenge.  Our theme last month was “Favorite Shot of 2014”, and the images were absolutely breathtaking!  We want to thank all of our readers who submitted entries for the challenge, and a HUGE THANK YOU to our fabulous sponsors Squijoo; Sassy Designs; and Canvas by Blossom for their generous prize donations to the challenge this month.

Here are our winners for the “Favorite Shot of 2014” photo challenge:
1st Prize: #77 Butterfly Moments Photography

2nd Prize: #28 Carrie Anne Photography

3rd Prize: #10 Photography by Arika Reed

Honorable mention 1: #2 Laura Carroll Photography

Honorable mention 2: #62 Katie Photography

If you’re one of our top five, proudly display the button “Top 5 Photo” button on your blog and Facebook pages. This button can be found HERE.

Winners, please contact Karlen at karlen@rocktheshotforum.com

Thanks to everyone who entered, and STAY TUNED for our next Photo Challenge…

Photographer Spotlight + Celebrity Mentor: Katie Andelman

We are so excited to welcome the fabulously talented Katie Andelman to the Rock the Shot Blog! Take a moment to learn more about her beautiful children’s photography, and be sure to visit her website Katie Andelman Photography.

The best news… Katie will be featured as our “Celebrity Mentor” in the Rock the Shot Forum for the entire month of February so come on over and ask her anything you like. Thank you so much Katie for sharing your work with us today!

Where did your inspiration for photography begin?
It began when I was a child with my love of fairytales. I would spend hours reading, immersed in their magical worlds. Striving to create my own enchanted images, I started styling my dolls and taking photos of them with my parent’s camera. In middle school, I transitioned to my reluctant friends, who were forced to be my involuntary models.

How would you describe your photography style?
Whimsical, ethereal, dream like, and technically accurate.

Did you study photography in school or are you self taught?
My first photography class was in high school, back then we still shot with film. I wanted to study photography in Collage, but I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to make a career out of it. I did however spend a semester studying abroad at the University of London, where I shot and developed color film. After graduation, I photographed weddings part time, but continued with school and completed a Masters in educational psychology in 2012. Afterwards, taking the biggest trust fall of my life, I decided to follow my heart and peruse portrait and commercial photography full time. I am still constantly learning, I never want to become stagnant; there is always room for growth.

Do brand/model camera do you shoot, and what is your favorite lens?
The Canon 5D Mark iii is my go to camera. I shoot primarily with the 85mm 1.2L, and recently with the 200mm f/2L. However, the 200mm is a VERY heavy lens.

Do you have any tips for photographers on how to find the light?
Light is one of the most difficult and rewarding elements in photography. Once you discover how to find the light your images will transform. I recommend going out during different times of the day and looking at how the light falls on your subject. I believe the best time to shoot is golden hour.

What is the most challenging thing about photographing children?
For me, kids 4 and under are the most challenging age group to work with. However, it’s also very rewarding. When you get those wow shots of kiddos this age, the effort is worth it!

What is a good lesson you have learned this year in photography or in your business?
There is a quote by Conan O’Brien, “If you work really hard, and you’re kind, amazing things will happen.” That’s my daily motto for life and for running my business.

If you could encourage a new photographer in one area, what would it be?
I would encourage him/her to learn how to shoot in full manual. I cannot stress this enough. I believe that as professional photographers, we have a responsibility to our clients. Knowing how to shoot correctly, in any light, in full manual is one of those responsibilities. Only start shooting clients when you have mastered your camera, and can find the light at any time of day.

What do you love most about being photographer?
Everything! I love that I get to capture the beauty of this world, and do it as my career. The possibilities are endless. I am so motivated and excited for what comes next.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
In 5 years, I plan to be dedicated to the creation of my visions, and the education of future visionaries.

About the Artist: Katie Andelman is an internationally published award-winning photographer, specializing in unique whimsical photo shoots. Her stylized children’s portraits have been published and featured in multiple magazines, international blogs and websites. An observer of tiny moments and a collector of memories, Katie strives to capture the whimsical magic of childhood.

Visit Katie at her WEBSITE | INSTAGRAM | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | 500px pages

And don’t forget, you can ask Katie anything you like in the Rock the Shot Celebrity Mentor Forum for the entire month of February!!

Some Advice on Taking Your Own Baby’s Pictures

by Guest Contributor Jimmy Bui

I’m a professional wedding photographer based in Riverside, California, and by no means do I consider myself a newborn photographer. It’s a tough job and something that I won’t consider trying professionally. As a new father, I found a new love for the genre, and although I won’t be shooting other couples’ babies anytime soon, my experience so far has opened up a whole new world of creative photography for me. Here are some advice that may help you capture some amazing pictures of your baby.

Capture Baby’s First Experiences Creatively

A baby experiences new things every day, and to witness her reaction is something truly special, especially when that baby is your own. When I’m capturing my daughter’s first experiences with things, I like to really think about the composition and take the pictures creatively rather than just plainly documenting the experience. It’s as simple as shooting above the crib through the rotating mobile and capturing her first reaction to it, or playing around with depth of field during sunset while she’s witnessing bubbles for the first time.

Anticipate Milestones

I like to setup shots, but there’s nothing like a truly candid moment, especially when it’s a milestone like first steps or first words. To be ready with those moments, I always have a camera either on me or within arm’s reach. It’s pretty easy, nowadays, to have a camera on you at all times with smart phones, and just the other day I was able to film my daughter’s first laugh with my phone.  One of her first milestones that I captured was the bonding experience between her and my wife during their first moments together. I shot this particular image with a Canon 6D paired with a Sigma 50mm f1.4 prime lens  through an empty glass cup to create a cool lighting effect around them. I love using this camera set up since it can handle low light really well and the ISO performance is amazing. Beautiful moments can happen at any given time, and it’s great if you can use a camera that can handle any lighting situation.

Exercise Patience and Learn From Your Mistakes

Posed shots with babies take a lot of patience, and it can be often times be frustrating. If you’re prepared in your set up and props, and if you can accept the fact that your initial shoot may fail and you would have to try again another time, then you’ll do fine. These are some of the concepts I took  of Kayla, and these were done over the course of a month. When we first tried doing the moon shot, it was a complete failure. The props weren’t great, the posing was awkward, and Kayla was in a fussy mood. We tried it again another day, simplified the set up, and it went much better.



Look for the Light

As a professional wedding photographer, I’m always looking for great light to shoot amazing bridal portraits. I apply the same mentality when I’m photographing our baby. I love the look of natural light, especially when it’s diffused through white curtains. I also love shooting in open shade and into the sun at sunset. When the ambient light is just not cutting it, I like to use a speedlight and bounce the light off a wall. For really extravagant concepts, I sometimes use multiple speedlights paired with umbrellas.

About the Author: A former elementary school teacher, Jimmy Bui switched his career after 10 years working in public education to pursue his dreams in photography. He specializes in wedding photography and conceptual fine art portraiture, and is based in Riverside, California. When he’s not shooting or spending hours in the editing room, you may find him exploring a National Park and spending time with his beautiful wife and daughter.

 

 

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