A Photographers Interview with Ray Medina

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Please tell us about yourself as a person and as a photographer. Where did you grow up and what sparked your desire to photograph? Were you active with the photography department in high school? Where are you living now?

I consider myself to be a Travel, Nature and Fine Art photographer. I do photograph some portraits from time to time, but my love is the Travel, Nature and Fine Art photography. My father was a photography aficionado throughout his whole life and I guess I just picked it up from him. Unfortunately, he didn’t leave any of his negatives when he passed and now all those are just gone. I was born in New York, but raised in the Dominican Republic. My family and I moved back to the States back in 1990. I currently live in Miami, Florida with my wife Maria @minniemed and two daughters (Daniella 12 and Carolina 5)

© Ray Medina

What was the first camera you ever owned and how did you come across it? Was it a hand-me-down, purchased at a garage sale, found on the side of the road?

Funny you ask. When I first started being interested in being a photographer or when started looking at photography seriously, I was shooting with a Point and Shoot Canon SD40?? And it wasn’t until Christmas 2005 that I got my Canon 30D. My wife actually surprised me with this Camera and Kit lense.

What was your first paid photography job? Did you enjoy it? Were you scared? Did you make any mistakes?

My first big gig was a crazy event. I was hired to photograph a Dance Studio’s yearly portraits. This particular studio had over 200 girls and it was setup as an event shoot, where I would shoot all the portraits and then sale prints. It was a three full-day job. I was frightened with this as I was also doing their Yearly Performance Program with all the images I had shot. I can say that I enjoyed shooting it, but would I ever do this type of job again? … Nope!

How did you decide to make photography more than a hobby? If photography is your full time job, how did you make that decision? What was your backup plan if the photography career didn’t take off? Any regrets? If you are not a full time photographer, what is stopping you? What is your full time job? Any plans to become a full time photographer in the future?

Ever since I started with photography it was a dream of mine to become a professional photographer and travel the world for my photography….I’m NOT a full time photographer. Actually, I’m a Clinicals Technical Engineer for a major Health Care I.T. company. It is hard to be a full time Fine Art Photographer in this economy, so I’ve decided to stay part-time and have all the “benefits” of a day job. Hopefully one day, I’ll get published somewhere and maybe I could make the leap then.

© Ray Medina

Do you try to help others learn about photography? If so, please explain how.

Yes, when a person approaches me with photography questions, I make sure I spend as much time either explaining or showing them. I’m totally self-thought and I believe in sharing the knowledge, in fact, I was say that “Sharing is Caring”. I can’t stand when a photographer thinks they have all the information possible and that we shouldn’t exist.

Usually when I post any images to my blog, I always post my camera EXIF data so in case if someone is wondering what settings I used for the image.

What and/or who inspires you in life and photography and why?

I have many many photographers that I look up to in the different photography areas

Nature Photography: Martin Bailey (website) – For his wonderful images.

Commercial Photography: Chase Jarvis (website) – Chase is the master in the commercial world. His willingness to share/show the world exactly how he goes for a shoot, shoot the images and the post, it’s amazing to me.

Food Photography: K Cline (website)

Travel Photography: Art Wolfe (Website)

What is the best advice you would give a photographer just starting out?

The best advice I could give anybody trying to venture out into the photography world is to know their equipment. Don’t ever think that because you have a DSLR that you can go out there and market yourself as a Photographer. Know your equipment and know it WELL.

The key to creativity is…

Is to continue shooting… Everyday if possible and with anything you have, whether is a DSLR, Point and Shoot or your camera phone.

© Ray Medina

What is your favorite camera that you have used or owned? What camera and lens combination do you use most of the time when photographing for a client? What about when photographing for yourself?

Believe it or not, I’m still shooting with my first DSLR, Canon 30D, soon to be upgrading to a MKII. I found myself using the 24-70 f/2.8 90% of the time. I also use my 50 f/1.8

What is your favorite time of day to shoot outdoors?

I’m going to say what every photographer known to man would say. The golden hour…  Well, that is the ideal time of day to shoot, but when you are a traveler, fine art photographer, it doesn’t really matter what time of day it is. You shoot when/how/where you can. Sure, it can bring challenges, but if you always have the perfect scenario, anybody in the world could get the images you are getting, right? I do love to go out when overcast,

How do you deal with rejection of your work, losing a job, not making a sale or a negative comment?

It is hard to deal with rejection or even not getting a job, but this is the business that we’ve chosen to do and you learn to deal with it. I’ve grown a VERY thick skin.

Do you prefer RAW or JPG and why? If RAW, would you prefer a system that uses the DNG RAW format?

Once I learned the pros and cons of shooting RAW, I became addicted to it and I can’t shoot anything else but RAW.

How do you protect your camera when not in use? When traveling? When on the way to a job? What if it rains? Any specific brands you love more than others?

When not using my camera, I keep it the camera bag, all lenses are packed with their pouch. When traveling for business, I always travel with camera equipment as well, Always carry-on, never check in. The bags I currently use are as follows:

  • LowePro CompuDayPack
  • LowePro SlingShot 200AW

What is your favorite photograph you’ve ever taken?

© Ray Medina

What is your favorite photograph from another photographer?

It is extremely hard to pick just 1 photograph; instead, I’ll pick my favorite from each of the photographers I mentioned.

© Martin Bailey

© Martin Bailey – martinbaileyphotography.com

© Kelly Cline

© Kelly Cline - kclinephotography.com

Do you find yourself always looking at the World wondering how it would look as a photograph?

OH yes, if you ask my daughter, she would tell you that she is SICK of IT. I’m always looking at the light or a particular subject in a particular way. She has learned to know what I think and actually, she has picked up the photography bug herself.

When you meet someone for the first time and they find out that you’re a photographer what kind of questions do you get from them relating to photography? What is the strangest question you’ve been asked from someone you just meet for the first time?

I can say that I get the same question every photographer gets. What camera do you shoot with and if I do weddings? I haven’t YET gotten a strange question, but I know I will someday.

Do you prefer big lighting, a strobist style lighting or mostly natural light?

For the type of photography that I do, strobist and natural light is my preferred method. I do have studio lights, but only used those for indoor portraits, product and food photography.

Any projects you are working on currently? Anything planned for the future?

Yes, I have two projects in the works at the moment. I’m collaboration with a friend to make a South Florida Twitter Calendar 2011. This project is very special to me as we’ll be showcasing the local talent in the South Florida area. We are still working on the date to shoot, but I can tell you that this calendar will be for sale and parts of the proceeds will go the American Cancer Society. You can follow us in twitter at @twitcalendarSF or visit our blog @ http://southfloridatwittercalendar.blogspot.com/

The other project I have named “Inked”. Just to give you some information, it will involve tons of Tattoos and it will be a self published book at the end of the project. This is a long term project and I’m planning to have this book any earlier than late 2011

For someone really considering a major life change is it worth it to quit an office job with a fixed salary for freelance photography? Any advice on getting started?

If you are person that do not have a family to feed, I’ll be the first one to tell you to JUMP, but when a family and kids are involved, make sure you have a good amount of clients before doing the jump.

View more photographs by Ray Medina: raymedphotography.com, raymedphotography.com/blog, @rmedina, http://facebook.com/rmedina

Thank you for reading the interview. This interview was presented to the photographer with questions asked by me and submissions from other photographers. The photographer is asked to answer only what he/she is comfortable with. If you would like to contribute to future interviews, please submit your your questions to me on Twitter, Facebook or on the Interview intro blog post, What would you ask a photographer?. Thank you for reading and enjoy the interview.

Some questions supplied from the following Twitter users:

@pjtaylorphoto, @donkeymaster, @GrfxGuru, @thomasflight, @paulwestlake

Some questions supplied from the following Facebook users:

Brian Walter, Faylin Myhre, Leslie DeLorean, Patrick Connor

New Jersey Photographer

Thank you for reading the Scott Wyden Imagery blog. I am a Manalapan, New Jersey Photographer sharing my passion for photography any way I can. I am also the Community & Blog Wrangler at Photocrati, teaching other photographers on how to increase business with their website.

Join me on Twitter, or Facebook and lets talk photography.

Comment Policy: Your words are your own, so be nice and helpful if you can. Please, only use your real name and limit the amount of links submitted in your comment. Critiques and conversations are encouraged, however negativity will not be tolerated.

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3 Comments

  1. Joanna's Foto April 21, 2010 at 10:41 am #

    Great interview! It's really pleasure to get to know you and your inspirations, Ray. I love your motto: "Sharing is Caring"- so true! Thank you !

  2. cmedina April 23, 2010 at 12:44 pm #

    Awesome interview! My favorite photo is your b/w beach one showcased here. Ray, your niece says she is going to hit you up for some sharing…. another one that has the photography bug.

  3. cmedina April 23, 2010 at 8:44 pm #

    Awesome interview! My favorite photo is your b/w beach one showcased here. Ray, your niece says she is going to hit you up for some sharing…. another one that has the photography bug.

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