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photography ideas

Interview with Alter-View Photographer Raul Cabrera

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Interview with Alter-View Photographer Raul Cabrera

Born in Venezuela, Raul Alejandro Cabrera Ruiz studied architecture in the university. Now a Paris-based full-time photographer, Raul builds his style on his experience in building design and his impressive client list includes Mcdonald's, Marriott International, EDF France and DS Automobiles among others.

1. How did you get from being an aspiring photographer to doing it for a living?

My interest in photography started when I was a kid. I had a compact camera that I used for fun. My mom used to photograph, so she taught me the basics. Later she gave me one of her cameras as a gift. During my years in architecture school I started to explore more with photos. For me it was always a hobby and a way to express my creativity. I enjoyed sharing my images and I started getting a positive reaction. As soon as I moved to France I saw that response increased. Brands boarded me to collaborate with them. That gave me more confidence to create and propose my ideas until I got to the point where photography was absorbing a big part of my time. That’s when I decided to give it a try. It took me a long time to consider myself a photographer. I always thought I still had a lot to learn (I still do). At the end I understood that you are never completely ready to do something, you have you try, fail, learn and that’s what makes it exciting and makes you grow

2. Which photographers influenced you, and how did they influence your thinking, photographing, and career path?

I have my favorites photographers but I learned by myself. When I started taking photos I was still in architecture school, so I like to think that my eye was trained by modern architects like Mies, Le Corbusier, Kahn, Niemeyer and Carlos Raul Villanueva. Composition, repetition, scale, space and order were concepts that I learned to design buildings and now I use to create images. That has a big influence in what I do in general.

3. What was your first photo-related job?

I think my first photo-related job was a documentary work for a friend who was doing street art in Caracas. It wasn't even a paid job but those photos were later published in a national magazine and newspaper, so I was really happy about that. Then, my first big official job as a photographer was being part of the Instacorps, a group of five photographers selected by the UN Foundation to shoot the backstage of one of the events for the COP21 in Paris. It was a great experience.

4. Has there been a point when you’ve taken a big risk to move forward?

Yes, moving to Paris has been definitely my biggest risk. Leaving my country, my family, my friends, my job and everything I had to start from zero has been a learning experience.

5. Are your family and friends supportive of what you do?

Yes, my family has always been very supportive no matter what. They like what I do and they always support my decisions. My friends are also very supportive. Most of my friends work in creatives areas so it’s always good to have a feedback from them or ask them for advices.

6. Where’s home and how living there influences you?

I’m from Venezuela but Paris is where I live now. Latin American culture is very different to the European. It’s been a little bit more than 2 years since I live here but 2 years is nothing compared to my others 27 years, so I’m still enjoying the “surprise” factor which the new place brings. This city has a big influence in what I do and the way I see everything.

7. Do you have a routine?

Not really. I try to avoid routines because I get bored. I think I have a routine only for basic stuffs like, waking up, drink coffee and check my emails, then it depends of how busy I am that day in particular. Another habit that I haven't been able to change, and I think I never will, is working at least until midnight. I work better at night.

8. How would you describe your style?

I would describe my style as minimalist. I like to show my ideas with the least amount of elements. The composition is very important to me. I see a photo as a paint, where every element has to be well place.

9. What gives you ideas and inspires you to create such great imagery?

I think the city is my principal source of inspiration. I’m a completely visual person. I try to frame everything I see. I can be easily distracted if I see something that catches my attention. It could be a film, a graphic design or others photographers’ work. Being exposed to this kind of images makes me want to create.

10. Why did you join Alter-View?

Being represented by an agency is a good opportunity to get my work promoted. I also liked the idea of being part of a community of photographers with different backgrounds. Every photographer in the team has a particular style so I think I can learn a lot from them.

To see more photos by Raul, click here:


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Photography tips from photographer Andrew Semark

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Photography tips from photographer Andrew Semark

Smart people learn from their mistakes, geniuses learn from others. Here at Alter-View we’ve got a stellar team of photographers you can learn from. We asked Andrew Semark, a photographer and surfer from Western Australia, to talk about his favorite tools, accessories and sources of inspiration.

1) What Technology and Gear do you use?

I shoot with Canon gear mainly. I use the Canon 5d mkiii with a mix of canon L series Lenses. I have been trialing a new Sony setup for some of my landscape and surf work and the camera is producing some nice quality. I think staying focused for me personally it's a mentality, my gear is just a tool to help me produce the images I see in my head and bring them to life.

2) How do you Edit and what Tools and Accessories do you use?

I don’t edit to much on the go, I have a little system at home that I like to shoot and come home to my office and work away at my images. I think the comfort of my home office helps with my images. Love my Wacom tablet to help with finer details.

3) Where do you get your Inspiration from?

To be honest, I am still trying to focus on perfecting what I do, so I don’t visit many blogs or websites. There are so many amazing photographers going around it’s easy for me to get distracted so I try to keep my mind focused on what I'm doing. I use social media quite often so it’s easy to log on and see some amazing crew shooting some mental images. When I was asked to be a part of Alter-View, they sent me a couple of links of the other photographers and it blew my mind how good some of the crew I'm lucky enough to be included with.

To see more of Andrew's work, check out his page:


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5 Tips for Lifestyle Photography from Maïder Oyarzabal

5 Tips for Lifestyle Photography from Maïder Oyarzabal

Lifestyle photography is arguably today’s most in-demand genre. While it might seem pretty effortless from the outside, there’s much more to lifestyle photography than simply taking impromptu shots. We asked Alter-View photographer Maïder Oyarzabal to share some tips, that’ll help you get that lifestyle feel.

1. Always Have a Camera with You

You never know, what’ll happen in a second  and you don’t want to miss something worth shooting. Sometimes you’ll have that great light or a very inspiring moment that you’ll want to to capture, so bring your camera with or at least have your phone with a camera feature out and handy.

2. Zoom In

While you might be tempted to literary look at the big picture, sometimes it really pays off  to focus on little details. I have nothing against wider shots - they tell their own story, but very often it’s the little things, that make a photograph special.

3. Look for the Light

The right light is what makes the main difference between a good image and a very special one. Try to let things unfold organically as much as possible, but don’t be afraid to change your shooting position or angle of your camera.

4. Stay Weird

Stay true to your weird side - that’s what makes your picture unique and personal. Don’t limit yourself, because you never know how things will unfold. Connect with you inner child, it will give sensitivity to your work and special style to your images.

5. Always be Ready

The key to great lifestyles is avoiding posed pictures, and to do that you should always be alert. If you want to take a great portrait you need to be spontaneous and capture the right expression without imposing anything. Also, if you manage to build a connection with the person you’re shooting, your photos will come out great.

To see Maïder's work click here!

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Interview with Misha Stroyev, Founder & CEO of Alter-View

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Interview with Misha Stroyev, Founder & CEO of Alter-View

Today we're gonna open up about the person behind Alter-View and its creative community. Micha Stroyev, Paris-based photographer and Founder & CEO of Alter-View, embraced photography at an early age, got a stellar business education and lucrative management career, then left it to disrupt the photography industry. The former corporate executive turned photographer turned entrepreneur, recalls his path into the world of photography, and risks he took to build a business he believes in.

How did you get from being an aspiring photographer to actually doing it full time, for a living?

Photography was part of my life since childhood, but it wasn’t until 2004 that I started taking it more seriously. But an aha moment happened ten years ago, when I went on my first Bali vacation, coincidentally that was shortly after I‘d got my first DSLR and started toying with all those editing tools that were coming out at the time. When I got back from my vacation I saw that some of my shots were pretty good - one is still among my favorites. That’s when I realized, I wanted to shoot more beautiful pictures and maybe occasionally sell them to galleries, but never thought it would amount to anything more than a hobby. After that for about 7 years I took pictures but never published my work – there was a certain belief among photographers that once a photo was published on the Internet it lost its value. So I had been in this mode till 2014, but eventually I started publishing my pics, gradually built up an online portfolio and started socializing as a photographer, but still it was no more than a hobby. Only a year ago I realized, I wanted to do something that drives me every day, which is photography.

Has there been a point when you’ve taken a big risk to move forward?

Alter-View was and still is the biggest risk: before I started it I’d worked in IT and Oil & Gas industries. The job I quit to found the agency was the General Manager for a new branch of an Oil & Gas company, which I supervised from scratch. Personally I love business development, love starting new projects and growing new businesses from scratch, but when I was done building the structure and got deeper into details of the Oil & Gas industry, I realized that wasn’t where I saw myself. That’s when I quit and fully channeled my energy into building Alter-view - it wasn’t an easy decision to make and it took some time, lots of thought and conversations with people whose opinion I value. So since September 2016, I’ve been fully focusing on Alter-View and photography.

What was your first photo-related job?

I guess the first was in 2004 - I was working as a reporter for a French photography website. But as for me, work is whenever I take a camera into my hands, but I was never looking for jobs on purpose and did what came to me naturally - got hired as a photographer for a variety of projects, curated exhibitions and when someone was willing to buy my work, I gladly sold it. But I never pursued clients.

Which photographers influenced you, and how did they influence your thinking, photographing, and career path?

People, who influenced me creatively are mostly Americans, since I consider them trailblazers and not only in photography. As for those that inspired me to go further in my work, that would be lifestyle photography by Chris Ozer and architecture shots by trashhand.

Are your family and friends supportive of what you do?

My family and friends are very supportive – they know I’ve been into photography from an early age, and when I decided to focus on Alter-View and photography, I heard things like “Finally! What you’ve been doing before was so not you!”

Where’s home and how living there influences you?

Home is definitely in Paris although I’ve lived in the USA, England, Russia and Switzerland. Paris is great for architecture and lifestyle photography, because it’s - you know - Paris. But another great thing about it is that a two-hour drive from Paris will take you to fantastic-looking nature.

How would you describe your style?

My photography style has been changing a lot over the years. When I just started shooting, I focused on lifestyle photography –  people vs. nature, people within nature, moving people - that kind of thing. Gradually I moved to architecture and it had been the focal point of my art for some time. Then I graduated to landscapes, and now you can say that I’m back to lifestyles, but I think photographer shouldn't limit himself to just a couple of genres, as many people do. If you make great photos, you'd better try and apply yourself to as many genres as possible, otherwise it’s a waste of talent. That the principle I live by.

What gives you ideas and inspires you to create such great imagery?

I’m inspired by many things – it all depends on time, place, environment, company and my mood at the moment. If you’ve been in photography for as long as I have, your creative vision evolves, and looking through the lense of a camera is just as natural as seeing with your own eyes. I don’t look for inspiration - it comes to me.  If I see something I’d like to shoot and don’t have a camera with me, I get really frustrated. I love life, I love the world I live in, and I want my pictures to inspire others.

Why did you start Alter-View?

It all started when I realized that the photo industry is facing some sort of curatorial crisis. Most of works exhibited today are very 2007 and way out of touch with the current situation on the market and demands of customers – people see works of photographers online, but they cannot find them in galleries. Even though the European market is highly competitive, it’s nearly impossible to find photographs worth buying. At the same time there are lots of talented photographers that never get a show with galleries – only because there are unspoken rules in the industry and if you go against the flow, you’ll never make it. So I decided to create a gallery where photographers, can get the visibility and recognition they deserve. Another idea was to help talented photographers meet brands, that want to elevate their content marketing. Both initiatives were supposed to commence at the same time, but then I thought that strategically it’s better to start the agency first, as gallery opening requires much more preparation and talent recruitment.

What are your plans for the future?

My plans are mostly around the agency and the gallery, which are now two standalone projects: we’re already working with brands for photo and video production while growing our community of photographers to showcase at the gallery, which is set to open in 2018. But most of all I’d like to move the photo-industry forward and to make and sell art of the present and future, looking to the years 2020 or even 2030.

To see Misha's work click here.

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