Artist Insight with Luke Gottlieb
We sat down with Luke Gottlieb(@Victorofvalencia) to ask him some question about his background with photography, what gear he uses, favorite shoot locations and much more.
Which camera do you use?
My main camera body is a Nikon D750
Do you prefer to use a tripod, or freehand?
I pretty much always use my camera freehand unless I am shooting stars. If that is the case, I will throw it on a tripod so that I can use long exposures. Since my main focus is portraiture, the camera is in constant motion, even for still portraits. I love motion way to much!
What are some of your favorite locations to shoot?
Locations are always an important piece to my photography. I often shoot at locations that aren't too obvious or too overshot. I like to keep each location and shoot unique in a way so I am constantly changing up my spots. I'll shoot in industrial urban areas, secluded forests and mountain settings or really interesting indoor locations with natural light to name a few.
What time of day do your prefer to shoot, night or day?
The time of day for photo shoots all depends on the overall vibe of what I am going for. Most often, i'll prefer sundown. I tend to like the hues that are given when the sun has been baking the earth all day. Sunrises are very nice as well, since the hues are slightly different than sundown. Early mornings are great for shooting indoors, but if I am outside, I'll most always prefer to shoot around the sunset hours.
What brought you into photography?
It was serendipitous really. I had always shot my whole life, but it wasn't until I realized I wasn't happy with current, more traditional job, that I discovered a real genuine love for photography. I literally woke up one day and decided to take a chance on it. I felt that if I didn't take that leap of faith that I would always wonder about the possibility of photography being a profession.
How long do you spend editing a photo?
Again, this varies from shoot to shoot, but I tend to spend a bit of time on certain photos that I feel deserve the attention. I'll spend anywhere from 5 minutes to 20 minutes on one photo. It just depends on the story I am telling.
Which program(s) do you use for editing?
My main editing program is Lightroom. I don't like to over-edit my photos, but once in a while i'll do some general tone curve and skin cleanup in photoshop if need be.
Do you have any advice for someone getting into photography?
I don't think there is any formula for someone getting into photography. Whether it is for pure passion or for a more professional intention, the approach is that same. If you love it, pursue it. The main thing is to feel good about what you are doing. I tend to be inspired by a lot of photographers and creatives, but I tread lightly as not get influenced too much to where I lose my own voice or get discouraged. We are all different people and see things differently. That is important to always remember.
What type of images do you think your presets are best suited for?
Well, a couple of the presets are bit varied in look. I find they work really well for a more moody portrait vibe. They can also be excellent for landscapes. It just depends on the type of mood you want. I like strong portraits that evoke a strong feeling. These presets help accomplish that for me.
Do you have any tips or tricks for users of your presets?
I almost never apply a preset and say to myself, "this is it". I'll almost always apply them and then tweak them from there, usually starting with exposure, contrast and white balance. Every photo has different light, so I like to think of these presets as a starting point that allows you to tweak them to your desired look.
Your best tip for post-processing an image
Before I start editing anything I like to look at the photo for a bit. I like to think about what I want to convey. See, photography is all about storytelling to me. If you can't tell a story it is hard to move beyond that. That is why we love movies so much, we like to feel something from them. Photography in my eyes is the same. So, once I hone in on the vibe or story I want to tell, I'll then think about the things I can do to achieve that. There are so many ways to do that and for every photographer we will take different steps to get there. I like to push things a bit. So, I may over expose or make an image much darker than normal to evoke the mood I am going for. I encourage patience and even encourage coming back to a photo a couple times before I settle on the final product.
What inspired you to get involved in the AOV community?
I think building relationships is important in this community. Without them we don't grow or push ourselves to be better or more true to ourselves. It feels good to inspire just as much as it feels good to be inspired. That is what I love about this community. I also think that education is integral to keeping this industry fully functioning.
A little bit about yourself
I grew up in the mountains of Colorado, which defines so much of who I am. It was a great community as a whole, one that encouraged creativity and positive relationships. Outside of photography I play in a rock n' roll band. We tour around the country and perform "rowdy" rock shows, which also brings a tremendous about of joy and inspiration into my life. Having two outlets keep things fresh for me. I love traveling, but I also love my home here in Denver Rock City, USA.
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