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by Raul Rivero

Posts by rriveroa

Canvas Series I-2020

I printed my first series of photos of Allen, Texas and Cozumel, Mexico on 36″ x 24″ canvas. These prints are exclusive and limited edition, you won’t find them anywhere else. 35 pieces of each photo only.

Bring Texas and Mexico’s sea to your home or office. Your walls never looked better .

Click here to visit the online store

Cozumel Waves

Cozumel is a Mexican island in the Caribbean with great spots to relax and watch the blue waves breaking at the coral beaches.

Sailing Boat

Cruise ships and and small boats love Cozumel. Fishing, scuba diving and snookering are popular activities in the island. Best of all, sunsets never disappoint you.

Sunset Train

A new restored steam locomotive arrived to Allen, Texas in October, 2020. The 1918 locomotive, weighing 189,360 lbs. and its tender arrived on 4 different trucks. Allen has been my home town for the last 4 years and it was then, when I started to capture the most iconic places of the town.

Allen Memorial

Allen’s Veterans Memorial honored those soldiers who lost their lives. I took the picture in the summer trying to capture also the full moon that was raising at the moment, but the angle and perspective wasn’t good enough for my composition so I finished focusing only on the memorial, the flags and the clouds.

All the canvas are certified and signed by the author. Click here to visit my online store

Why I need to hire a professional photographer if I have a smartphone?

Why I need to hire a professional photographer if I have a smartphone? No one really asked me that question but I saw a lot of commercial photos taken by small business owners that I’m pretty sure they asked themselves why.

Just because Apple added the word “Pro” to their latest iPhone doesn’t mean that you have a professional camera. It is like that if you drive a car, it doesn’t turn you into a professional race driver or if you make a nice pasta at home, it does not turn you into a chef.

A phone with a camera definitely is a great tool for selfies and fast trip pictures, but for commercial proposes is useless. I’m not going to write about all the differences between cameras because there are many videos on YouTube and blogs that will explain much better the characteristics between each one, just let me tell you one, that for me, is the most important thing: the sensor.

The digital sensor is the eye of any camera and determines how much light it uses to create an image, and as many other things in life… size matters. 

A sensor size in a professional camera is about 35mm (Medium format pro cameras uses bigger sensors) in a smart phone is about 5mm. Those 30mm create sharper, colorful and contrast images. 

Taking a picture is not just about pushing a button as many people think. The composition of the image, what kind of light will use (natural, flash, diffusers), how hard you want a shadow cast over the subject, which lens is better for that shot, the final use of the image and what do you want to express are essential questions before taking a picture and like any other job, you need to study, learn new and different  techniques, practice and as a photographer, update yourself and your equipment.

The only valid answer to the question of my blog is the price. There is no doubt that the phone option saves you money but your service or product deserve it. A professional photographer will charge you between one hundred to thousands of dollars even for just one picture. All depends of what you need and of course how much you want to spend.

Always keep in mind that a professional photographer, before he takes your pictures, has had years of practice and has been learning about posing, composition and techniques. We capture the image first in our brains and have a very clear concept before pushing the camera’s fire button. We invest money not only in cameras, we buy lenses, studio and speed light flashes, light modifiers like soft boxes, reflectors or umbrellas and finally, when we take the pictures then comes the post production process in high speed computers with special software to give you the best image possible. 

To finish, let me share with you this fictional conversation between Ernest Hemingway (writer) and Ansel Adams (photographer) form the Digital Photography School blog I read last week.

Hemingway: Mr. Adams I love your photos, which camera do you use?

Adams: Ohh Mr. Hemingway, I love your writing. Tell me, which typewriter do you use?

“Where to look when your muse is gone”

Sometimes as a photographer your muse is gone and you need to find something that inspires you again to create an image, someone who generates a feeling that you can transmit to the viewer. For me, taking a walk or read a book with masterpieces paints help me a lot. It doesn’t matter the gender or the artist, the important thing is that you find a picture that you like.

In fact, finding a picture that you like isn’t enough, it has to inspire, feel and mean something to you. When you find it, analyze the composition, where are the objects and subjects, what kind of colors she or he uses, are they’re warm or cold? And something very important, analyze where the light is coming from.

In this article, I will focus only on a couple of great masters that inspire me and I enjoy their technique, painters from the Dutch school of the XVII Century, Rembrandt and Vermeer.

I’m pretty sure as a professional photographer you know the “Rembrandt light technique”. The idea is to create a small inverted triangle of light on the subject’s cheek that is opposite the light source placed approximately 45 degrees offset from the subject and a bit higher than eye level, lighting the side of the face that is farthest from the camera and a reflector approximately 45 degrees to the shadowed side of the face.

This technique is very popular because the equipment you need and the warm final picture you get in the end. But something also interesting about Rembrandt is the more than 300 self-portraits! Maybe actually you have more selfies with your phone than the Dutch master on Instagram.

From Rembrandt, you can analyze how he poses toward the camera or to the viewer, Does he painted a full body portrait or just a headshot, where did the light come from?

From Johannes Vermeer, you must learn his ability to manipulate the light source. Caravaggio, the Italian artist is considered also a master of light, I prefer the Dutch because of his smooth contrast and elements although his paint legacy is much smaller than the others, around 30 masterpieces only.

On Vermeer paintings, you will be able to identify the light source very easy, sometimes only a simple window, but the way that the light illuminates and fades away is wonderful. You will notice all the objects and textures he includes and one important thing, by 1600’s he understood the use of focal depth. Yes, the dutch painted objects at different distances to give depth to his masterpieces.

Johannes didn’t paint still life, or at least nobody has found any yet, but in this picture, I inspired on a window as a light source and I was very happy with the final result.

Finally, I want to encourage you to reproduce those masterpieces in your photos and compare techniques, that will also help you to find your own photo style. Take your camera, set up the lights and composition and don’t forget to share your image with me.

From still life to a product alive

Food and product photography is not more than a still life photography which with the right knowledge, light, lens, props and digital post production comes to life. If some inspiration strikes…. It becomes a masterpiece.

As I have always said, for me the picture begins in the brain, I set up everything in my mind and then I reproduce it in real life. That’s always easy if you have the freedom to do whatever you want, if not, you need to understand very well your clients’ needs. Empathy they call it…

In these examples, as you can see, for a still life image you don’t need too much room to set the lights, product and backdrops, any room or small space in your living room will work just fine. First place the product separating it enough from the background, then place the secondary lights, and finally place your camera in a tripod and adjust the frame. Use the auto focus once, then turn everything to manual and take several photos of the bottle with a wireless flash aiming to different parts of it, even on the back. Then go to photoshop and merge the layers (pictures you took) masking the dark areas and allowing only the ones where there is light.

I know, maybe you want to see all the process but believe in yourself, be courageous and try or check there’s a great deal of videos of this technique on YouTube.

Feel free to practice and enjoy shooting!

Nikon D750 50mm F/11 1/160
This image was composed by 5 different pictures, masked and merged in photoshop.
Nikon D7500, Macro 40mm, ISO 100 f/4.5 1/160


“Photograph: a picture painted by the sun without instruction in art.”

Ambrose Bierce

We always make small adjustments to our and your pictures, but sometime we like to go a little further and use our imagination to  have some fun or use some cool effects to  create nice atmospheres.

Call us or write us for a free quote.

“Photography is the story I fail to put into words” D.Sparks