Ricardo Martinez is based in Chile and is an Engineer who’s passion lies in photography. Ricardo is working towards taking up travel photography as his full-time career.
You can see his work at http://www.ricardomartinez.cl/
Tell us a little bit about yourself?
I’m an engineer who has a great passion for photography. Over the years this hobby has assumed great importance in my life. I travel as much as I can, so I have been able to photograph several countries of amazing beauty. I’m trying to orient my life towards travel and photography as it gives me great satisfaction and joy. I plan to keep doing this and maybe in the future have my own full-time photography business.
Tell us about your childhood and growing up in Chile?
I must say, it was a happy childhood. But the curious thing about this is that nothing indicated clearly that I was going to be so involved in photography. Maybe a key element was that I traveled a lot around Chile as a kid and had the opportunity to be amazed by the beauty of this country.
Chile at that time was a far and extreme location to visit, which was important because a lot of the natural landscapes were unspoiled, making my contact with nature wilder, and therefore making me appreciate them more.
You trained to be an engineer. How did you get initiated into photography?
It was a gradual thing. I did not know that photography was going to be so important in my life. It all started with a business travel to the United States, several years ago, there I bought my first DSLR camera (a Nikon D50 with the lens kit) without much too many expectations.
But after a few months of using it, I had shot hundreds of photos in the Atacama Desert. It was an amazing experience, so I started to take photos more seriously. I bought two more lenses and started to learn about photography. I ended up dedicating a lot of my free time to practice and learning about post-processing. That was the beginning.
How would you describe your photography style?
It is rather simple. I like to capture the beauty of the places I visit, nothing fancy. I try to capture the moment and represent it in a photo, staying true to as I lived that moment. Through the years, I have been exploring several techniques and styles, but now I’m more focused on just taking the photo and showing the moment through my eyes.
As a travel photographer, you have photographed Chile extensively. How has being in Chile influenced your work?
I must say that it has been a great influence. Chile is an extremely beautiful country, it has nearly 4400 kilometers long and I have been very lucky to photograph it from north to south, from the Atacama Desert to the Chilean Patagonia. It is a land of contrasts and a very particular country. Chile’s amazing and overwhelming beauty have had a very strong inspiration in my work and has pushed me to achieve high standards in landscape photography. Wherever I travel, I have the beauty of Chile in my mind and the more I travel, the more I love this country.
Outside Chile, which are your favorite places that you have shot?
I have had the opportunity to travel to several countries: Iceland, Morocco, Turkey, Spain, etc. Every one of them has their own beauty, but somehow I’m in love with the landscapes of Scotland and Ireland. They have something that appears mystical and magical to me, maybe it is the history behind the castles and the great landscapes there, I’m not sure, but I really enjoy traveling to that part of the world anytime I can.
What are the challenges and perks of being a travel photographer?
Well, for me in particular, the challenge to be a travel photographer is to be able to find the time to travel to different places, being a full-time engineer. So far, I have been able to deal with this problem by finding the time from my own vacations and using every possible holiday of the year to travel, but I must say that it has been quite a challenge. Besides, you have to plan every aspect of the place you visit very carefully, for example, you have to consider the time of the year you are traveling, the time of the day, the light, deal with other people and photographers who are looking the same spot, etc. So, it is important to be prepared to deal with all these issues in the places that you visit.
As far of the perks of being a travel photographer, it has to do with enjoying the places you visit, leaving photography besides for a moment. Traveling around the world, learning different cultures, talking with other people, etc., it is a big deal to me. Travel has made me grow, not only as a photographer but as a person. I have been able to live different, enriching experiences, that has great importance to me.
You must often find yourselves in remote or challenging locations. What have you learned about how to pack, gear to bring, etc? What will we find in your camera and equipment kit?
Well, every place has his own challenges, but so far I have reduced the list to a few considerations. First, I try to travel light as far as I can, one camera body and two or three lenses max. Of course, I always bring at least two more camera batteries a bunch of SD cards to spare and a speed-light just in case.
Second, a key thing is to have a trusted, light and resilient tripod. In landscape photography, it is important to obtain photos as sharp as you possibly can, therefore a good tripod is key. You have to choose according to your needs but choose well.
Which is your favorite image that you have shot?
It is an image I shot in the Atacama Desert, award winning in a national contest and my first photography 1st place, which gave me great satisfaction. Beyond the photo itself, that moment gave me the push to continue believing in my work and my talent. It was the starting point of the adventure that brought me at this point.
Do you get to take in the beauty of the places you travel to, just as a traveler?
One hundred percent! Every time I travel, the thing that most amazes me is the beauty of the places that I visit, every travel and every place has touched my soul deeply, and photography came second, because I’m so overwhelmed with the beauty of those places that I want to show them to the world through my photography.
I think I enjoy more with the beauty of the places I visit, the experience I lived, and photography is the way to show those feelings.
How do you market your work?
I started off by using the typical photo profile websites available at that time, trying to get the users’ attention with my photos. Then I started to participate in several national photo contests. That was a turning point, I won several contests and after that, things started to roll. I was contacted by international photo magazines, I sold a few photos to National Geographic and other magazines and local companies.
After that, I decided to promote my work more professionally, so I started my own portfolio website at Pixpa. Now I have added promotion on Facebook and started to sell some photos in a few photo stock websites. So far so good.
How has your website helped you?
It has been a great help in my business, now that I have a centralized website where all my contact information, photo portfolios, and skills are available to possible clients, making my business more professional.
Besides that, Pixpa has offered me beautiful portfolio templates to show up my work. It has been a great improvement.