I could spend hours telling you about my credentials and my thirty-some years in corporate America, but that would probably bore you in no time flat. Just know that I'm one of those very fortunate people who managed to finally figure out what is truly fulfilling professionally - even if it took a few decades to get there.
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CONTACT: LUIS TAVEL
I never meant to become a photographer. The thought had never really crossed my mind. But sometime in 2014, while working at the University of Phoenix, the school decided to partner with companies that organized career fairs. One of my colleagues suggested that we should set up a "LinkedIn photo booth" and offer participants complimentary headshots as part of our presence at those events. My boss put me in charge of that effort, and I went out and bought the cheapest camera and lens I could find at a big box store and a very basic lighting setup from Amazon. A week later, I found myself taking photos of career seekers while literally figuring out how the camera worked. I quickly found out that even though I had no experience in photography, I had an excellent eye for it and worked easily with people - most of whom hated having their picture taken. Few things in life bring me more joy than making someone feel great when they see their headshot.
I left the university in late 2015 and decided to go full-time solo with photography and with my other professional passion: public speaking. I spent years speaking at conferences and companies on behalf of my employers. Still, I remember the day I delivered a 90-minute workshop of my content to an audience of about 300 people. It was as if the clouds parted, lights shined down, and the angels sang - this was my happy place! I started out by speaking about personal branding topics and eventually found a way to incorporate photography into my talks. What could be better than to speak about photography and related topics? Being a professional golfer, maybe, but that's another story.
So, I decided to learn as much as possible about headshot photography from the very best in the business; people like Peter Hurley, Scott Kelby, and many others. I took online courses, in-person seminars and read lots of books about the art of photographing people. Eventually, I managed to get better equipment - the right equipment - and I was off and running. Thanks to a long-term contract with a company out of London, I started traveling to conferences all over North America and became really good a volume photography. In other words, I was photographing between 20 and 25 people per hour AND doing a great job getting some great shots. I needed to figure out not just the proper camera settings but a way to bring the best out of someone in less than five minutes. That's how I ended photographing over six thousand people in less than five years. Bottom line, I know how to photograph the human face very well.
I've had an interest in sound recording ever since I was very young. Some years ago, I recorded and produced several CDs for a local pianist. I did such a great job, I'd put my recordings up against the best record producers in the industry any day. All that was left for me to learn was video recording and editing. Fortunately, with today's technology, most photography cameras also offer the ability to capture high-quality video. As a result, I have learned how to film interviews, live events, and selfie-type videos on YouTube. I've had opportunities to record, produce, and edit promotional videos for other speakers, business owners, as well as real estate videos. The addition of a drone to my gear list has also rounded out my capabilities in our current dynamic business environment.
When I'm not photographing people, I like to work on my golf game and spend time with my beautiful wife and adorable dogs.