A Photographers Interview with Tina De Silva

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 want to be a better me. Everyday, there’s always something new to learn…I was born in the Philippines but grew up in California. My first interest in Photography was when I noticed my classmates were taking pictures just for the heck of taking pictures..I was not active with photography during high school nor college. When I started seeing the beauty of photography through my husband, I got into the field myself. I currently live in Long Island, New York.

Can you describe the defining moment or image that made you want to become a photographer?

When I started saying to myself: ” Photography has no boundaries. . . I want to step up to every level I can get to and learn in every way that I can.. “

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?

My very first camera was a film camera by Kodak, which appeared like the shape of a rectangular box. These are already obsolete. My first DSLR was a Nikon D50. Both were hand-me-down’s.

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

My first paid photography job was an engagement photoshoot. I enjoyed the shoot, yet scared of making mistakes. Yes, I had made mistakes, but I didn’t show it.

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?

When people started appreciating and paying for my works, I decided to make photography more than a hobby. I have a more stable job working for the government in the State of New York. Photography is only my sidekick right now. Yes, I plan to become a full-time photographer when I retire from the State.

What was the last straw, the final decision maker to make you go digital? What do you miss about film?

Technology itself made me want to go digital. Too many limitations with film..I don’t miss film at all..

What is the hardest part of the job when shooting for a client? What is the hardest part of the job when shooting for yourself?

Their expectations. My own expectations..

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

Yes, I try when asked. Advices and suggestions are the only things I can offer…but they still have to dive into the water and see for themselves..

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

My husband, his works, and him pushing me to the limits. Other people’s works inspire me as well, no particular favorites.

Do you consider yourself an artist first before thinking about the job ahead of you?

I have to.


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

Understand your camera and learn the basics..

The key to creativity is…


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?

Nikon D300. D300 with a 70-200mm, 28-75mm lens for clients. 28-75mm, 50mm for myself.

What is your favorite time of day to shoot outdoors?

approximately 5:30pm

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

With negative comments, I try to understand and learn from them, then move on. With the others mentioned above, they are not applicable.

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

RAW..just prefer it. RAW format.

How do you protect your camera when not in use? When traveling? When on the way to a job? What if it rains?

Camera is stored in a cool place when not in use. It is kept in a photo bag when traveling, on the way to a job, or when it rains.

Do you clean the CCD yourself or send it away somewhere? If you send it away, where to and how much does it cost?

Just do it myself with a blower.

I recently started a project called 5511 where a client pays $5 for a 5 minute photo shoot when 1 artificial light is used and they receive 1 digital photo. Is this something you would be interested in trying? For me it is something fun and challenging. What are you thoughts on that?

Sounds fun. If it fits my schedule..let’s do it!

What music sparks your creativity? Do you listen to that when shooting a job? Do you listen to music at all? Do you listen to what the client likes?

I like Eye of the Tiger. I listen to modern music during shoots and those of what clients like as long as it’s not heavy metal.

What is your favorite band? Movie? Book? Museum? Website? Who is your favorite photographer? Artist?

Movie…Erin Brochovich. Book…photography books. Museum…American Museum of Natural History. Website…different photo websites. Photographer….they vary.

What is your favorite photograph you’ve ever taken?

The “Spoon Splash.”

Tina De Silva

What is your favorite photograph from another photographer?

Too many to mention.

If you could take your art in any direction without fear of failure or rejection, where would it lead? What new thing would you try?

Any path I choose to take..Any new thing that comes my way. Photography has no boundaries..

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

No, but now that you’ve mentioned it….

Anything you would like to add for our readers?

The basics will always be your foundation.

View more photographs by Tina De Silva:  sweetfuzion.smugmug.com, twitter.com/sweetfuzion

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, @ishootinraw, @donkeymaster, @GrfxGuru

Some questions supplied from the following Facebook users:
Brian Walter, Faylin Myhre, Leslie DeLorean, Patrick Connor

Leave a Reply

Close Menu