We had the good fortune of connecting with April Staso and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi April, where are your from? We’d love to hear about how your background has played a role in who you are today?
I’m one of those people that doesn’t consider themselves from anywhere really. I have lived in a different state for nearly every stage of my life. The majority of my younger childhood life was spent in Arizona and the majority of my adult life so far was spent in Seattle, so I consider those closest to any kind of “home”. Both my parents were creative, but didn’t take that route for their career. They did fostered exploration and creativity as I developed and grew though. I had explored many different mediums of art and even went to a 4 year university after high school to pursue a fine art degree, but that never materialized. I was having trouble finding a focus on where I wanted to take my career until I found myself at the foot of an amazing comercial photography program in Seattle, that I just had to at least give a try. It turned out that photography was where I was meant to be. I knew this not only because I had talent to “see the light,” but also because I came out of my shell when I am on a shoots and get so excited to collaborate with other artists. Photography had always been one of my hobbies and passions that it makes so much sense when I look back. I had gotten my first digital camera in 6th grade in the 90’s and was carrying its everywhere I went. I was constantly taking photos of my friends and I was even doing fashion shoots of my step sister in our backyard. Pursing fashion photography now and remembering those things, it’s so cool to see your life just fall into place. In the photography program I learned every technical skill and computer program I would need to jump into a career in the commercial photography field as soon as I got out. Although my fine art degree never materialized the art classes I did take really helped my photography skills and develop my eye. My art now embodies everything I learned in those art classes. I focus on all the elements of art: color, form, shape, line and texture in every image I create.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I am a commercial photographer. I shoot a little bit of everything, but mostly focus on product and fashion. I started my education in fine art, so I believe my images have many great examples of the elements of art in each image, whether its light, shadow, color, shape, line, texture, or form, etc. Those things are always on my mind and I think they are what make up a great image. I have very good technical skills in lighting and I think that is one of the main things that makes my work stand out. If the lighting is bad I find it hard for me to be proud of the image I’m creating. So, that Is always number one for me. I spent 2 years at a commercial photography program learning the skills I’d need for what I do now. It was many long hours of training and practicing my craft to get through, altho it wasn’t always easy it was always fun! Shooting product photography has paid the bills here in Los Angeles, but shooting fashion is where my passion lies. I work alone the majority of the time when i’m not shooting, so I absolutely love when i’m on set and get to collaborate with other creatives. Fashion photography combines not only another beautiful art form, but also a beautiful model, so that just makes it that much more fun for me than shooting product. Either way though I still enjoy shooting whatever it is at the end of the day because photography is 100% my passion and what I was meant to spend my time doing on this earth.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I definitely always take my friends to the most photogenic places in town and all the main tourist spots like Griffith Observatory, Santa Monica, Matador State Beach, and Malibu. Those are places you can’t miss on your visit here in my opinion. I love being by the water so getting as much ocean time is a must. Theres a coffee shop called “The Trails Cafe” on the way to the hike up to the Griffith Observatory I would definitely start at early in the day. Afterword we would get tacos at “Homestate” and walk around los Feliz. Another morning we would go to my favorite coffee shop in Glassel Park called “Habitat Coffee” and get breakfast at ” Lemon poppy kitchen” down the street. Lunch at “Spitz” in eagle rock is a must. As you can tell I am a big foodie. I would take you thrifting if thats your thing to all my favorite local thrift shops because i’m a big thrifter and also started a side vintage home goods business during the pandemic. So thats typically what I do with most of my friends. Any of the boardgames bars/cafes are fun to hit up. Theres one in Burbank called “Guild Hall” and one in Atwater called “Game Haus”. A comedy show at any of the numerous comedy bars in town is always high on my list of places to take friends as well. “The Virgil” has some fun shows and obviously “The Comedy Store”. If you like shopping I always recommend checking out the shops downtown in “Santee Alley” and you can also check out the rooftop hottub and bar on top of the Ace hotel there- which use to be one of my favorite spots to hit up pre-pandemic.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My success is 100% dedicated to the amazing commercial photography program at Seattle Central Creative Academy and the professors/students there. Tomas, one of the professors who started it all and is now retired, definitely had a hand in my growth into the photographer I am today and so thankful he started the program in the first place. My mentor through the program and who I had an internship with afterword, Kevin Cruff. He is also an amazing photographer and helped launch me out of the program and Into freelance life. Finally, my grandfather and father for financial support and otherwise because without them I would not have been able to attend to the program in the first place.
image 1: Katie T. from Dragonfly agency, image 3: Denishio M, image 4: for Mokuyobi image 7: for fragrant jewels image 9: Palonia from Nomad management and Jahza for Mullosk