We had the good fortune of connecting with Richard Policastro and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Richard, what do you attribute your success to?
Continued education is the most important factor behind the success of my brand. There will always be new information and new equipment to learn about in any industry. When you have the ambition to always stay educated within your industry it gives you an edge up on your competition. Your clients will recognize it, therefore you will get busier year after year.
Please tell us more about your work. We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about. How did you get to where you are today professionally. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way. What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
I got to where I am today by hard work and dedication to my craft. Once I decided to commit to wedding photography I knew I had to do something to set myself apart from the competition. I live in Los Angeles and there are thousands of talented photographers here. I have never been afraid of competition, I have always embraced it. I used to sell commercial real estate in my early 20’s. My boss at the time used to give me great advice and the most important advice he gave me was to play the numbers game. Between cold calling and pounding the pavement I knew that the more people I spoke to or met in person the better off I was. It was all about creating relationships. I took that advice and applied it to wedding photography. I knew that I had a great eye and that I had some amazing photographs but I had to share that in order to get business. I started to visit venues with my portfolio to try and get on their vendor lists. I would call up wedding planners to meet them for coffee or buy them lunch. Bridal shows became important for me to attend every year. I would team up with other wedding vendors and create mock wedding shoots. I would do anything that would give my photography exposure. At first it was not easy. I was rejected all the time. Wedding planners wouldn’t even give me the time of day, even without looking at a single photograph. I was shooting weddings for free just to build up my portfolio and to try and get my name out there. But I was persistent, I stayed the course and eventually the hard work started to pay off.
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?
I love this question because I am originally from the east coast and I have a lot of visitors every year from NY to escape the cold! They always tell me that I should be a travel agent or plan trips for people because I always show them a great time! As someone who travels all over the world, the key is finding a travel guide or someone that knows the best places to take you. Not only the tourist hot spots like the Santa Monica Pier or In n Out burger (both are great and a must visit) but also the hidden gems. The beaches that aren’t heavily visited, or the restaurants that not everyone knows about. I always like to take people up the coast. I live in Santa Monica so we always start with a nice drive up the PCH into Malibu. Malibu is one of my favorite areas in all of California! I love Point Dume and Zuma beach, there is a great outlook point at the top of the bluff that gives you amazing coastal views. Always a ton of sea animals in the area as well. Sea Lions, dolphins and if you get lucky whales will swim close to rub their bellies on the rocks. On the way back to Santa Monica I always stop at Cholada Thai Cuisine. Hands down the best Thai food around. The place looks like a weathered, broken down shack but the service is amazing and the food is absolutely delicious! I love the outdoors so I try to hit some good hikes and beaches around town. Mostly Malibu, Palos Verdes and even into the San Gabriel Mountains. Heading into the evening I enjoy walking around Abbott Kinney in Venice, stopping in a few bars and then eating dinner at my favorite restaurant in LA, Gjelina. Amazing food and amazing wine list. It is tough to sit here and zero in on specific restaurants, I am a foodie and there are so many amazing places to eat throughout the LA area! From the corner taco stands, to anything Asian on Sawtelle, to higher end restaurants peppered throughout Hollywood, it’s ALL good! I always tell people when they come visit that you need a solid 7-10 days in LA. Between the great hikes, beaches, restaurants/bars and the short road trips to places like Palm Springs, San Diego, Santa Barbara and even more north into the wine country, what an amazing state!! I am lucky to say that I live here in Cali! 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?
I have been lucky enough to work with multiple photographers who I would call mentors, but nobody more than my father. My father is also a wedding photographer residing in Upstate New York. I grew up with a camera in my face and in my hands. He taught me the technical side of a camera and the basics of shooting. It was “home schooling” for photography over a span of 10 years. He would take me as an assistant to all types of shoots. I would carry his bags, grab him rolls of film, help set up light stands, but most importantly I would just watch. I was like a sponge absorbing all of the knowledge that he was giving me. Eventually when I moved from New York to Los Angeles, he gave me an old Canon 40D camera to take with me and said,”Take this and shoot, and shoot more, and don’t stop shooting!” I took his advice and it blossomed into a very successful photography career. Even now I call him up for advice or just to talk about new tools or equipment in the photography game.
Instagram: @richardanthonyphoto – @richardanthonyp_
Linkedin: Richard Anthony Photography
Facebook: Richard Anthony Photography
Other: TikTok – @Richardanthonyphoto
Stef Gallo, Chris Gallo, Diana Tovt, Danielle Kupperberg, Max Besong, Richard Anthony Photography, Krystal Guo