Oct 1, 2012

Meet Julian | 20 Year Old Pro

I'm Julian Navarette, of Julian N. Photography.  I am a Fine Art Lifestyle Photographer and this is my story :)

I am 20 years old.  I Live In Odessa Texas, a small town in west Texas. I am owner and photographer for Julian N. Photography and I have been in business professionally going on 4 years. 

My interest in photography started when I was very young.  My mother was a hobbyist photographer and loved taking photos.  I picked up the love from her. My whole family is naturally artistic.  My brothers are artists as well, and it seems to runs in our blood.

Early on, I got my hands on any camera I could get, disposable cameras, tiny web cam cameras, digital cameras; you name it. I was young so I couldn't afford a fancy camera, but I managed with what I could find. 

I remember snapping my first photos on my mothers 35 mm Pentax film camera.  I also used her old Kodak camera until I finally got my first nice camera from eBay.  I was excited because I could edit photos directly on the camera. That's when I discovered photo manipulation. I played with every photo software that was free. I was impressed early on with how you can touch up photos with software. I started taking photos everywhere and anywhere. I always practiced on myself and on my best friend and brothers, and I started applying filters to the images, and posting them on Myspace.  I wanted to have a cool looking Myspace page, so I always tried to take a cool new profile photo to go with it. I got immediate feedback from friends and family, but I didn't think anything of it. My mother told me I had an eye for photography, though it was just something that I loved to do and didn't really think about it until my first “photoshoot”.

I was in Junior high when my best friend’s cousin was graduating.  She knew I liked photography and that I had a camera, so she called me and asked if I could take some quick photos for her graduation invites.  After submitting our order to the photo lab, we were told to come back in about an hour. When we came back to pick up our photos, the employee told us that we couldn't, because its against copyright to print professional photos without a release.  My eyes grew big and I had a big smile on my face as I told the employee that I was the photographer. I think thats when I first realized that I actually had something going for me.

I started my photography business and became an avid photographer when I was 17 years old and I was in my Senior year of high school.

I had a technology class my senior year, it was animation and design, we learned advanced software called Maya Autodesk, the same complex software that was used to create the movie Avatar and Toy Story. Towards the end of the semester we had a course on photoshop. I was excited because I would finally learn how to use photoshop and know how to edit photos more professionally.

After a few weeks of assignments my teacher told the class that we would have the chance to take a photoshop certification test and if we passed we would be Adobe CS4 certified. I had my twin brother in the class with me and he passed the test and i failed it. I was so jealous and mad when the teacher told me I would have to retest (might I add that they charge you to take the test every time).  This was the test I studied very hard for, and I believe on my 2nd or 3rd try, I passed. 

That year I had to write an essay about the career I would be getting into after I graduated. I researched photography, freelance photographers and commercial photographers basically anything and everything that had to do with field of photography. After weeks of researching, I began to see that it wasn't easy to get into this field, but that didn't stop me. 

A few weeks before that, I bought my first DSLR (a Canon Rebel Xs , the cheapest DSLR camera that canon offered at the time) and I loved it!  I used the rebel for alot of my shoots until I could save up enough money for another lens. After graduation I starting doing more and more photo shoots.  After being at a job that I was just tired of it, I decide that I would go full time as a photographer.  

Honestly it wasn't easy for me, business was good but after seniors were done, work was slow, and I was discouraged. I didn't know what to do.  I thought working in a photography chain studio would be good for me.  I thought about it, actually applied for a few and never heard back. During that time I started talking to other photographers.  One particular local photographer Jennifer Guiley, inspired me, and her work is amazing! Jennifer helped me out alot as I continued my photography journey. She convinced me not to go work for a chain studio and told me I was good enough to be on my own.
I am a photography and technology geek so I liked learning everything. I built my business and my clientele completely around Facebook, it was the best way of getting in touch with people and the cheapest, well,... because it was free. Most of my clients have come from Facebook and a lot of my client base grew from a word-of-mouth client base. I had a Facebook page and started to get likes on it, when i got to 100 "fans" I had a free photoshoot giveaway to clients, my page grew from there. After about 400 likes I hosted a Valentine contest for a free photo session, from that session my likes grew from 400 to over 1,000. To me, offering a free session was worth it because it helped me grow my client base and get my name out there. After a while my name was reaching out in town and in the photography community, I was thrilled. It did take some time but as I went I began developing my own style and kept to it.  Now I only shoot what I love and I get clients specifically who like the kind of work that I do. About 4,271 "likes" later  I got noticed by the local newspaper (I was 19 yrs. old).  I was also featured in other known photographer blogs. Now i am at over 5,300+ Facebook likes and I cant help but thank everyone for the support that they've given me.

Now, almost 3 years later, my good friend Jennifer Guiley and I have a studio together, and I run my own successful photography business!

I am inspired daily, there are hundred if not more, photographers that inspire me. To name a few:  Jessica Drossin, Gina Kolsrud, Angie Monson, Skye Hardwick.  I am also inspired by art, light, shadows and textures, and take a fine art approach to my photos.  I love cross processing and film tones.  I shoot 100% natural light and use the suns golden light to light my photos. I believe in first, getting the photo right, in the camera, and then using photoshop to add to it, rather than trying to save it with photoshop. If I could give advice to someone I would say: Practice, practice, practice!! Don't give up, learn much as you can from yourself and others. If you are passionate about it, you will do what it takes, develop your own style and keep at it.

I shoot in the evenings for all my sessions during the best light that many know as golden hour. I shoot with Canon 5d mark ii (now mark iii) and use mostly 50 or 85 mm focal length.  I Start in Camera Raw and do adjustments in ACR and then I open in photoshop.  I do any retouching and then add sharpening and contrast. I use curves adjustment layers, as well as levels, color fills and gradients to get my achieved look, finishing off by adding a texture and sharpening.


No comments: