Roberto Valenzuela developed his unique teaching style by following the same rigorous regimen he developed as a professional concert classical guitarist and educator before becoming a photographer.
Roberto believes that it is not skill but deliberate practice that is at the heart of skill and success. He has traveled to all parts of the world, motivating photographers to practice their craft while musicians practice their instruments before performing on stage. His trilogy of books Perfect picture practice, Picture Perfect Posingand Perfect lighting have become staples in the photography industry and in university photography departments.
Now the best-selling author, multi-award-winning portrait and wedding photographer, and Canon Explorer of Light, is set to appear at the Photography Show in the UK, to show you exactly what it takes to transform your photography , and corporate photography, from average to outstanding.
Tickets are still available to see Roberto Valenzuela at the photography fair (opens in a new tab) in Birmingham, UK, on Tuesday, September 20 from 3:00 p.m. to 4:15 p.m.
Roberto Valenzuela is a photographer, author, and educator based in Beverly Hills, California. As a member of the prestigious Canon Explorers of Light group, Roberto is considered one of the most influential photographers in the world. Roberto appears at The Photography Show 2022 (opens in a new tab) with his speech Out of the average in size.
Awww… I love this question! To me, photos are incomplete stories of a moment in time. But with photography, you can fill in the blanks with your imagination guided by the photographer’s composition, lighting, and posing skills. So funny!
What is the best season to shoot, and why?
I live in Southern California, and the weather here is always comfortable year-round, so our season is year-round. But if I have to choose the best time of the year to shoot, it would be summer for on-site work such as weddings. The reason for this is that to create light that makes people jump when they see the photos, a photographer needs a lot of light – the stronger the sunlight the better.
With stronger light rays, an experienced photographer can manipulate light by redirecting it, diffusing it, creating interesting graphic shadows with light, and/or creating more contrast and drama in their photographs. Flat light, like on a cloudy day, may be easier to photograph, but soft light just doesn’t have the flexibility and punch of a strong light source. Learning how to manipulate this strong light in your favor is key.
What is the best photography/video invention to date?
If you think about photography, an art form that uses light to paint an impression in a sensor or film, then I think the best invention is the creation of FLASH. Having a readily available light at your fingertips that can be placed at any angle at any wattage you want, gives your light painting ability a serious boost in the way you tell stories at through the light. If the light from a flash is properly modified, it can blend in almost perfectly with natural light.
For this reason, I use flash in most of my photos. Flash allows me to paint with light what I want, instead of always accepting what I get. The latter is not as fun. So I welcome the invention of the flash with open arms full of excitement. Another game-changing modern invention is the introduction of eye detection AF. From now on, the photographer no longer needs to have his eye glued to the viewfinder to focus.
What will photography be for professionals in 10 years?
We all worry about automation and software in our camera phones or mirrorless cameras doing a photographer’s job. However, that will never happen. A qualified photographer will be in demand more than ever by people who appreciate good photography. Photography is more popular than ever due to the rise of social media as a mainstream advertising medium. Photographers ready to adapt will find creative ways to meet new business needs to stand out on and profit from social media.
What would you like the cameras to be able to do that they can’t now?
Well, it’s not a megapixel boost that’s for sure! I wish mirrorless cameras worked more like a leaf shutter camera where the flash sync speed is 1/1600 instead of 1/250. This is the biggest bottleneck in my workflow. I constantly use flashes and strobes, but I do it with a moving subject. By adding movement and rhythm to a pose, the photographer can greatly enhance the static feel of a posed photograph or nervous subject. But a faster sync speed would be much appreciated when movement can be unpredictable.
Second, I wish I could buy 5G network service for our cameras like we do with our phones. I want to be able to take a photo with my Canon R5 or R3 for example and upload it to Instagram or YouTube right there and then like a phone. If an Apple Watch can have 5G service on such a small device, why can’t we put it on our pro cases?
You might also like the best professional cameras (opens in a new tab) and the best camera for portraits (opens in a new tab). Learn more about The photography fair (opens in a new tab).