We had the good fortune of connecting with Gabriel Lucido and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Gabriel, maybe we can start at the very start – the idea – how did you come up with the idea for your business?
Creativity has always been a big part of my life. In my schooling, subjects like media and graphic design grabbed my interested and allowed me to express myself artistically while also stimulating a more technical part of my brain. At the beginning of my career I started off working as a freelance filmmaker working on films in Los Angeles. While this work was informative and the experiences irreplaceable, something felt lacking. Independence is important to me and working freelance in the film industry is anything but, despite what freelance implies. However, it was here that I met a dear friend who dabbled in photography and begun working with him on some projects. Immediately I felt a sense of gratification from the work. I had more control over the work and was able to be at the helm of my own creativity, but most importantly, it was the direct relationship with the costumer and seeing the joy my work brought them that made me make a career switch. It was around this time my father, who is the CEO of his own food marketing company, was lamenting about how expensive and impersonal it is to work with food photographers. Not knowing the complexities of shooting food I offered to take some photos on spec, curious if I’d be up for the challenge. While the shoot itself was filled with minor mistakes our final photo was more than comparable to the competition. It was immediately following this shoot that we both saw a huge opportunity and I decided to make food photography my career and craft.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
In my line of work, collaboration is key. A concept for a photo could come from anywhere (buyers, suppliers, a small start up, etc) but at the end of the day everyone has to walk away feeling good about the work. Traditionally, food photographers try to minimize feedback down to as few people as possible. You may be familiar with this state of mind through the saying “too many cooks in the kitchen.” While this may be sound advice in most cases, I’ve observed this mentality leading to unsatisfied reception later on or even re-shoots. At Studio XMI we pride ourselves on a more open and celebrative workflow. An example of this is our recent transition to zooming our clients in for photoshoots. At first this was out of necessity due to covid but has since overall improved our ability to get our clients involved and have real time discussions about the work. Our clients can view my monitor through Screen Share and see adjustments I make as I make them. Most photographers might shutter at this thought but I have found this process to be rewarding and produce a better final image. Another example of this is how we treat pricing. It’s very common practice for a photographer to never reveal their prices online. While this technique may benefit the photographer in that they can ramp up their prices when a bigger client comes along I find it unfair to the client. Our prices are published online so there are no surprises. In our experience, clients respect this transparency and feel more confident working with us. These are just a few of the things that make Studio XMI stand out among the competition.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Whenever I have company the first stop is Whole Foods! My passion for food extends well beyond photography. I love cooking and especially for those that matter the most to me. When I arrive I head straight to the butcher for a prime ribeye. I’ve been working on cooking the perfect steak for years and every opportunity to cook is an opportunity to get better and have a laugh with those I love!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Kevin Shanmugam https://www.kevinshanmugam.com/ Helped us with our first photoshoots. Cindy Epstein http://www.cindyepstein.com/ Our primary food stylist. Carl Kravats http://www.carlkravats.com/ Spent a day teaching us food photography.