We had the good fortune of connecting with Luis Cubas and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Luis, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
When I started my photography business, I was attending college at UC Santa Cruz and noticed that there was a high-demand for senior portraits. This made me realize that this was something I could tap into and provide services for students since I knew exactly what their needs were. While studio sessions were offered through the campus, most students wanted outdoor sessions and portraits that captured the beauty of our school. I mean who wouldn’t want pictures outdoors when your campus looks like a forest from Disney?
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Making genuine connections was and has always been a priority for me. My goal was to create a photography business where photo sessions didn’t feel like a transaction, but to rather create real connections with the people that I work with. Over the years, I’ve gotten to see students graduate and achieve their goals, families growing and celebrating key moments. To me, being their photographer is a special invitation into their world that I never take for granted.
Growing my photography consisted a lot of trial and error. From day one I knew that I didn’t have 100% of what I needed and that I didn’t know 100% of everything in the field, but I knew that I was ready to give my 100% to learn and push myself out of my comfort zone. I learned from my mistakes and focused on improving my business more and more everyday. My mentality has always been open to change, explore new learning and to understand that before seeing them as a customer, my clients are a human being with needs and emotions.
In 2021 I was able to launch a photo booth business and incorporated many of the ideas, lessons and experience that I learned through photography. Growth has always been important to me, and I embedded this into the branding of the photo booth business. I gave the name of Cemillitas Photo Booth ( Semillitas meaning little seeds in Spanish and I swapped the S with a C to honor my dad’s name since he was known to everyone as Cubas and his love for plants) to the business and all of the photo booths are named after a plant, tree or flowers: Roble, Nopalito, Agave and Lily
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.
1. Monday: Berkeley Social Club, all of the food here is amazing, their morning pizza is a must! 2. Tuesday: Masa Tamales & Taqueria, Aguas frescas and quesabirrias are always on point.
3. Wednesday: Pamana Plantas, because honestly you can never have too may plants!
4. Thursday: Catahoula Coffee Co, great spot to get that morning coffee!
5. Friday: The Factory Bar, great greats and a beautiful outdoor patio!
6. Saturday: Marina Bay, perfect park for a walk or long bike ride if you want to make it to the bay bridge!
7. Sunday: Castello di Amorosa, tour a castle and try some of the best wines that Napa has to offer !
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Rosamaria Garcia is someone that I will always be thankful for their mentorship, guidance and support. They believed in me when I didn’t even think I could make my photography business a reality. Thank you for always believing in me!
Last image with photo booth, Arabela Espinoza