We had the good fortune of connecting with Keem Ibarra and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Keem, what habits do you feel helped you succeed?
You have to be comfortable in your own skin. As you grow and develop a style you like (knowing that this may change with time!), embrace it. By shooting what you love and enjoy, your work will be naturally more genuine. If you’re in business, the same rule applies. Capture moments that appeal to you, and you’ll find clients who are attracted to the same style.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I believe what sets me apart from other photographers is my will constantly want to improve my images. I am not very easily excited unless a photo really captures my attention and I hold my own work to a higher standard, possibly a standard some would say is too hypercritical. I sometimes feel like taking a great picture is kind of like a puzzle. You need to put all the pieces together in just the right way for it all to come together with the way you really intended. I think this is all part of the fun of photography though, the challenge to do something no one else has done before. In 2014 I moved to Santa Clarita, CA to work as a videographer for a photographer that owned a studio, and while there I learned a lot about strobe photography. The complexity really intrigued me; that somehow you couldn’t just show up and “BAM!” incredible photo. You had to know what you were doing while communicating your intention with the model to get the “perfect” result.
Some challenges along the way included finding models to work with, and actually finding a style I was comfortable with. The two best lessons I learned were to constantly stay shooting until you find your way. You won’t know what you like/prefer to shoot until you’ve covered your bases and have enough experience doing it.
As much as I love creating gelled lighting/portraiture for clients.. I would want people to know I loved photography for its core foundations.. preserving memories. I have lost a lot of family members in the last year due to covid and am lucky to have been able to capture their images and use those images to preserve them in my memories.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Well, first things first. If you’re in Las Vegas we need to do Las Vegas the right way! Aside from hitting some of the best AYCE and HOT POT spots in town (Sushi Kaya and Nabe), we would definitely need to go on a hot air balloon ride! There’s nothing quite like it. Quick trips to Red Rock for hiking, or Mount Charleston for sightseeing are also on the list of to-do!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
One person that deserves a major shoutout in my life is one of my long-time friends and co-creator, Charles Sicuso. I call him Chuck. We met around 2010 when we would film music videos for local artists. At the time, he was primarily a photographer and got me interested in picking up a stills camera to start experimenting with picture taking. Over the years we’ve become great influences on each other and are still constantly excited by learning new things.
All images are my own except for a portrait in black and white with the logo in the corner. That portrait was of me captured by Alan Sabido at Endvrs Media