Welcome to another Photographer Spotlight episode! It’s an honor for me to introduce Amanda Diaz to you today !! Amanda Diaz is a portrait photographer from Canada who shows absolutely stunning photographs.
Step into the world of Amanda Diaz to learn all her tips and tricks.
1) Tell us about yourself, where are you from? How, when and why did you get into photography?
I am a portrait and conceptual photographer currently living in western Canada. I was studying graphic design years ago online while I worked 2 jobs. I was working mainly with special needs children and experiencing massive burnout, that’s why I was studying something else in hopes to eventually break away from my current work. In order to complete the course, I needed to choose an additional subject and so I chose photography. Once I began the homework projects and using friends as models I received a lot of attention on social media with ohhh’s and aahh’s. Which was really surprising. (When I look back now at that first collection of work- it’s actually a bit embarrassing) and so I just continued on and slowly turned into a photographer and a business eventually. It took me 5 years to finally transition away from my jobs as I was doing both that and photography.
2) How much time do you spend on photography on average?
It really depends. Weeks can go by without me doing a shoot because I am also an educator, creating content for that can be very time-consuming. I would say I sit more at my desk than shooting. But I plan on some future personal projects soon that should change that up a bit.
3) Which gear do you mainly use / What is typically in your camera bag?
I’ve never been one to rush out and buy the latest gear every time there is an updated version. I am still using the Canon MKIII and perfectly content with it. As for lenses I have 4 primes that I stick with. 35L, 50 Sigma Art, 85L & 135L. I have these 4 so that it gives me a good range. I don’t really use a tripod I have tried many times and it’s just so awkward. I think when you shoot things like landscape it makes much more sense for that but I need to be able to freely move and change angles etc.
Honestly sometimes if I have a shoot I bring just one lens (mainly my 85) and my camera body and maybe a reflector. Especially when I’m shooting outside in natural lighting. Which is about 95% of the time?
4) How important is post-processing for you? Can you tell us what kind of postprocessing you typically do?
Well, a lot of people say and make assumptions that everything I do posts. I can’t tell you the number of comments I get how “You’re really good at Photoshop” yea- maybe I am to a degree? But I also need to make sure I am getting a good shot to begin with. Composition, the look, hair and so on should be styled and shot properly in the first place. The things I do in the post are usually the same pattern in the following order
The only time I do more Post than usual is when I am creating a composition. Which is usually created across multiple images that I shot at the same shoot. I don’t usually add in buildings and things from other images on the net although, sometimes I do add birds or butterflies and things of nature) or I might have an idea in mind to make a fairy tale type image etc. and will shoot multiple shots of material blowing or hair blowing or falling petals etc. and put it all together into one shot. This is great for me as the lighting, shadows, and colors are all consistent and I don’t need to make it look “real” in photoshop. I might try a more complex composite in the future if I can think of a unique idea. The majority of my edits take me anywhere usually from 10 minutes to 90 min max.
5) What’s the favorite photo you took and why?
I don’t have a favorite photo. I have a number of images I really love and am happy with. (let’s say like 20-30) over the years I really, really like. But honestly most of my other work I am a little judgemental and my own worst critique. I always think…oh, I should have done this instead of that or edited this way rather than that way, used a different lighting set up etc. But I guess that’s how we learn and grow right?
6) What’s the most challenging part about being a portrait photographer
Well in reference to the previous answer, I think just not being satisfied with your work. I get caught up sometimes in comparing my work to others whom I look up too. I think why can’t I be good like that? Why can’t I get better at Insert ______ So that is a major challenge. The other thing is that if I’m shooting someone who is really shy or uncomfortable in front of the camera. It doesn’t matter how attractive they are. If they don’t relax and get into the shoot it’s a flop for me 🙁
7) Do you have general advice and tips for other portrait photographers?
Never stop learning. I have hit a wall a few times and grown very bored with my work. It’s wise to always look for fresh ideas and inspirations. Learn new editing techniques and lighting. Learn to be more creative on your own and don’t copy every idea you like. Its ok to take elements from images you love and photographers you look up too, but flat out copying another artist is pointless and only proves you are good at imitating. This will help you stand out and be unique.
8) Who or what inspires you to do what you do and why?
I am inspired by many things. I don’t focus heavily on one artist or anything like that. I can be inspired by anything to an illustration of a cinematic movie or a piece of art, maybe a color scheme in Ikea. This goes back to when I said it’s important to be creative and think of ways to create. Learn to see your surroundings and have an imagination. It can do wonders.
9) What do you know now that you wish you knew when you started?
That the photography industry can be a very harsh and critical place. People sometimes pick just to pick, often times when someone says something about my work and how I should’ve done something better or different I always check out their work and 99.9% of the time would never take advice from that person. I think people think they can critique others and they are just supposed to accept their advice. Which is not true and a big misconception in the industry. That’s like a chef taking cooking advice from a plumber. I learned that the advice to value is from those I admire and look up too. Critique is important for growth but consider the source first.
10) What are your future photography goals?
I am soon releasing my online Feminine Portraiture Course for photographers that will be all about capturing specific elements and creating beautiful images. This will be my first online course release so I am really excited about that. I’ve been working on it for months and it should be ready before summer 2018
I also plan on a future project that has been on the back burner for a couple years. I don’t want to say too much but it will require some travel and a lot of prep and planning. It will most likely be a series. I hope I can start on it before the year is over, so try to keep an eye out for that!
11) Where can we find your images?
I have a couple social media channels I use more often than others Instagram is @amandadiazphotography and 500px is https://500px.com/amandadiaz and of course just my website www.amandadiaz.com
12) Is there anything else you want to say?
Yes, just keep believing in yourself. Keep your focus on yourself and your work. Try to keep learning and growing in your craft and seek advice and inspiration from those you admire!