We had the good fortune of connecting with Vincent Madero and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Vincent, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
For me, risk is part of the process. When I’m faced with a big decision–usually financial–I take a long time to make up my mind. I’ll make a list of pros and cons, I’ll talk to friends, I’ll research other options, etc. The last question I ask myself before taking a risk is: Would this help me get closer to my goal? If there’s not a direct line from that decision to my goal then I decide against it.

A couple of years ago I had the opportunity to shoot with some modeling agencies in NY. It had been a goal of mine to do that kind of work for a long time. I kept putting it off because I didn’t feel ready. At the time I was living in Los Angeles and we were still deep into the pandemic, which meant I wasn’t working, and a trip to NY seemed financially unreasonable. But I knew it would give me the material I needed to create a better portfolio. So I went with a plan to stay there for a month and ended up staying for three months.

I figured the risk was worth it because I could justify it with the goal. It turned out to be an amazing experience where I learned a lot about my industry and photography in general. Plus, the images I’ve used from those shoots have gotten me more work.

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.
I’m a portrait photographer who works with actors and models.

I want to create a different style of photos for actors and other professionals. You could call them headshots but I’ve never really vibed with traditional style headshots. I always feel like those come off as too presentational. I prefer a more editorial look. I tell my actors “you don’t always have to look into the camera” because sometimes I want to see them thinking. I think a compelling photo is one that draws you in, and a person with something on their mind is very interesting to me. Once we’re on the same page with that they’re comfortable because they’re creating a little performance, and the result is a pretty rad editorial style portrait.

I’m most proud when clients tell me that they’ve used my photos in the process of booking roles on TV or with projects at major film studios.

My goal has always been to take a photo of someone that sets them apart. A portrait session, to me, is a chance to look a little more deeply into that idea. I’ve been able to get really confident in my work by constantly practicing and experimenting. I used to get anxious before shoots because I’d think “what if something goes wrong” or “what if I can’t get the kind of shots that I want”. Now I kinda welcome those little curve balls that make me adjust my plan.

Getting here wasn’t easy, but it’s been fun. Becoming a better photographer is a real obsession for me. There were times when I felt out of my depth for sure, but, you know, those are the humbling moments that show you the level you’re at, and what you need to work on.

The biggest lesson I’ve learned is to shoot with intention. You gotta have a plan, and you can’t just keep it in your head. Write down a lighting diagram and create a mood board.

I want people to know that I just want to capture an image that resonates with them and makes them feel seen.

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.
Donuts at Kettle Glazed in Franklin Village Surfing in Topanga followed by fish tacos and coronas at The Reel Inn
A World Series game at Dodger Stadium
Lunch at Jeff’s Table in Highland Park
A tour of the Petersen Automotive Museum
A movie at The Hollywood Forever Cemetery
Universal Studios
Thai food at Jitlada in Thai Town
Drinks at Harvard and Stone and then over to Jumbo’s Clown Room
A show at The Ahmanson Theatre
A hike at Griffith Park or a cardio session at Training Mate in Studio City

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 want to give a huge shoutout to my friends. I don’t shoot landscapes–only people–so most of you have sat for me when I test a new light, or lens, or camera. Some of you have hooked me up with amazing opportunities, and others have just encouraged me and celebrated my little victories. I appreciate the heck out of ya.

Website: www.vincentmadero.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/vincent_madero

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