April 16, 2015

Richard’s Photographer Spotlight

Richard is shining the photog spotlight on our friend Valentina Glidden! Val is a wedding & portrait photographer who loves experiencing love, and in turn, capturing it with her camera. Her romantic, elegant style permeates her photography, calligraphy, and life. So, join Richard and take a moment to get to know Val!

Richard: What first sparked your passion for photography?
Valentina Glidden: I actually grew up in a household of photographers, so photography was always part of my everyday life. I grew up around it, I grew up around film, I just never thought of it as my thing. It wasn't until I moved out to California, over four years ago, that I started having a lot of time on my hands and I picked up a camera and I just kind of fell in love with it. I feel like I fought photography my entire life and then it just found its way into my heart.

R: Making the leap from photography as a personal passion to a paying gig is a big one... how did you decide to pursue it as a career?
VG: Well, I'm originally from Colombia; I moved to Florida when I was 12, and then I moved to California for grad school. I was pursuing my Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy and I was doing photography at the same time. Then, somewhere along the road, I just decided that I really liked photography better than therapy. At the end of school, I basically had to make the decision to go get a job or an internship and start the long process of getting my license or not, and that's when I decided that I didn't want to do it. If there was ever a time that I was going to jump into full-time photography, that was it.

R: When you aren’t shooting for clients, what do you LOVE to photograph?
VG: I love to photograph women; that's just my go-to for fun, personal projects. I think there's something really beautiful and delicate about women, and I'm just really drawn to that.

R: How do you find a balance between being creatively fulfilled and being able to pay the bills?
VG: That one is really, really hard, because part of me does love what I do so much that I don't even care about the money that it brings in, but of course I have to make an income. So, it's about always trying to find the balance between doing what I love but also getting paid for it. I think one of the ways I do that is making really smart decisions about raising my pricing and sticking to my guns, even sacrificing some weddings in order to maintain my value... and doing personal projects to stay creative. I have booked clients because they've seen my personal stuff and they love my style, so it has paid off, literally.

R: What is your favorite camera?
VG: Contax 645. I started shooting film in early 2013, and ever since I started shooting film, that has been my go-to camera. I love looking through the viewfinder--it's so clear, so beautiful, the colors are amazing! I love shooting it and I love the results.

R: What is your first memory of shooting with film?
VG: My very first memory of film is when I got this little pink camera when I was little. It was a film camera, and I felt like such a pro! Like I knew what I was doing, haha.

R: Why do you continue to shoot film as a professional photographer?
VG: I played around with film when I was little, but I didn't know what I was doing. When I started shooting digital as an adult, it was the logical choice at the time. Then a friend of mine convinced me to try out film. I started playing around with it, and it just happened so fast for me... I was shooting a little bit of film with digital (that's what I was mostly shooting), and when I would get home and look at both, there was just no comparison. I hated digital and I loved film--the feel of it, the color of it, everything was so different. There was no passion for me with digital, but film revived my passion for photography.

R: Why is it important to have continuous communication with your lab(s)?
VG: I'm really lucky that I get to work with you guys in person. From the beginning, I feel like that's one of the reasons I really wanted to work with Richard: I wanted to be able to come to the lab and communicate anything that was going on. I've been in so many groups where people aren't communicating with their labs and they're constantly upset and they're constantly getting things that they don't like, but they never say anything about it. Getting great scans is really about the communication you have with the lab, because how else are they supposed to know what we like? Having a good relationship with the lab helps both parties--it helps me get what I want, and it helps you guys know what I need. I'm sending in weddings, and I need someone reliable because that's a huge responsibility.

R: Do you have any pre-shoot rituals? We wanna know the quirky, weird stuff.
VG: I lay out all the film on the table and count it and recount it and pack it. That's one of my favorite things to do before weddings. I can't have coffee before shoots, because I get shaky. Which sucks, because I love coffee and that's usually the days I need it the most.

R: Let’s play a game of “Either/Or”! Savory or sweet?
VG: Sweet.
R: Dogs or cats?
VG: Dogs.
R: Vintage or modern?
VG: Vintage. But, I hate the word vintage.
R: Warm weather or cold weather?
VG: Warm weather.
R: Early bird or night owl?
VG: Night owl.
R: Crossword or Sudoku?
VG: Sudoku.
R: Chocolate or vanilla?
VG: Vanilla.
R: Urban or rural?
VG: Rural.
R: Breakfast or dinner?
VG: Breakfast for dinner!
R: Batman or Superman?
VG: Superman.
R: Historical Non-fiction or SciFi/Fantasy?
VG: Historical Non-Fiction.
R: Comedy or drama?
VG: Comedy.
R: Truth or dare?
VG: Truth.

R: If you weren't a photographer, what would you be when you grow up?
VG: I would probably be a therapist, haha. If I could be anything, I'd be a singer, but I have no musical talent in my genes at all.

R: If you were a super hero, what would your super power be?
VG: Walking through walls.

R: What is your favorite word, and why?
VG: My favorite word is "grace" because of its depth and meaning, and it’s super fun to write in calligraphy.