“It’s about you and your subject. Even a faceless portrait still says something!”
Looking at his body of work you wouldn’t guess that Raul Romo is 23 years young! He likes to think that his honesty, confidence and kindness trickles through and into his photography and sets him apart as photographer. His love for what he does is clear in the way he answers every question; and I couldn’t be more excited to share with you his journey into photography.
“It was totally being at the right place at the right time”
He started shooting at the age of 13 and never in his wildest dreams thought he’d become a professional photographer. A friend invited him to attend her “all girls” party; there were about 10 girls in one room doing make-up and another 10 in a different room picking out clothes to wear. It was then when he met a photographer for the first time – when he saw the lighting equipment he grew equally confused, excited and completely inspired! The next day, his grandpa gave him an old camera and the rest is, as they say, history. “I’m a big believer in the idea that everything happens for a reason, and if I hadn’t gone to that birthday party, who know where I’d be today?”
Raul is another photographer who proves that you don’t have to study to become a success… You do however need a strong desire to succeed, endurance and a willingness to work hard for what you want. It started with watching all the YouTube tutorials he possibly could and then, at 15, he interned for a lifestyle/fashion photographer for two summers. “I would get my book critiqued at the end of each week and I would immediately apply that advice and get a positive response!” Over the years, he learned to trust himself and now believes in passing on whatever knowledge and help he has to offer. He hopes of going back to school to study business because “no matter how much you love photography or fashion, it’s a business and you have to be smart about it.”
Inner strength and confidence, knowing who you are and a good attitude are all characteristics that make a person/face even more beautiful. Whether working with new faces or seasoned professionals, he wants his subjects to feel strong and gives direction as needed. He believes that ultimately, both photographer and model is working toward a common goal – capturing the moment. “It helps that I’m closer in age to most of the young models because it feels like two friends are taking pictures and if I need to give more direction, it’s less intimidating.”
Whether in studio or on location he keeps it simple and minimal. I asked him if he has a “signature” setup and although he has a certain setup he likes to start with, he loves experimenting. “Lately I’ve really been shooting at night, playing with different lens filters and gels.” Although he prefers black and white photos over colour (he has ever since he was just a kid) his love for colour has grown and he learned that some photos are meant to be in colour, and others in black and white. When it comes to retouching, he says that with colour photos you’re looking for complementing colours that tell a story… and because there are no distractions with black and white, you’re digging deeper and continuously setting the mood.
5 tips to better your photography
- Shoot! Shoot! Shoot! Always be shooting.
- Trust yourself and your vision. Speak up!
- Put yourself out there – always!
- No fear.
- Know what you want and show people as best you can.
“I’ve found that I’m happiest sharing my journey to the image, when I show my subject and fellow creatives what I’m aiming for, it gets me there faster.”
Every moment makes him proud because those moments make the people he cares about most, feel proud too!
A proud moment was having one of his photos displayed on a billboard in Times Square (at the age of 16, might I add). “Not because of the billboard, but because that it was the day my dad finally took my love for photography seriously.” Another was having a photo in the Cosmopolitan Magazine because it’s a magazine his mother had always bought. And more recently, last spring shooting for China Vogue. “I told myself I wanted to shoot for Vogue, any Vogue, before my grandparents passed. They speak mostly Spanish and don’t know much about fashion, but they know about Vogue. I didn’t ever think I’d be showing them my name on the pages at 22! And I can’t wait for the next proud moment.”
He’s accomplished so much in his 10-year career and dreams of shooting for brands like Chanel, Calvin Klein and Miu Miu. “I aspire to be one of the greats; creating work I’m really proud of.”