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W​hen people think of photography, they tend to imagine the elaborate light set-ups, multiple assistants, colorful backdrops, and crisp, dreamy bokeh. They’re not wrong, but what shocks people when they ask me about my job is that the most time-consuming part comes after taking the photographs: Editing and post-production.

If we’re being honest, I actually hate post-production. It’s the only part of the gig that actually feels like work. I’ve spent many of my evenings working on photos individually into perfection, only to notice that the sun had risen an hour ago. …


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I​n the litany of mobile editing suites, I was a pretty slow adopter of VSCO. I liked the idea of grading my images to resemble film stock with presets, and the ease of use was nice, but it didn’t suit my needs. At the time, I would edit and color grade my work and tailor it to a specific look I had in mind. My mobile devices were an extension of that, with apps like Astropad, but rarely edited on them. …


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Sunrise with everyone home — Photo by Me.

I​t’s now been over three months since the last time I shot at a professional capacity. The shelter in place order just lifted to a limited degree at the end of last week, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t kept busy. It wasn’t easy, though.

There were many projects I had planned that got scrapped. I​’m confident I’m not the only one who feels this way, but whenever I feel down, I open up Instagram and search for any kind of inspiration or insight into what my peers are doing photographically.

Each time throughout the quarantine, I was left stunned by the creativity of my fellow photographers and artists. …


PHOTOGRAPHY

Using the old to express something new

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All images taken by Ken Ozuna

I come from a family of comic-book nerds. Every time a new Marvel movie would come out, my parents would gather my brother, and we’d all go to a packed midnight screening on a Thursday night. It was grueling for my mom who, at the time, worked 70 hour weeks, but it never stopped her from sipping some espresso after coming home, donning her favorite T-shirt, and cheering with the midnight premiere crowds.

The only movie that I didn’t watch with them was Batman V Superman, which came out in late 2016. The reception was mediocre at best, but the story itself had sentimental value to my parents and brother. …


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Biscyane Beach — Shot on a Nikon D810

For many who know me at the beginning of my career, you’ll know that I used to shoot almost exclusively on a D810. I’ve since sold it and now shoot on the Fujifilm XT-2, a markedly “inferior” camera in terms of specifications in almost every way. The sensor is smaller, less resolution, and less latitude. Fuji has beautiful lenses, but so does Nikon — they’re one of the staples in the photography world, after all.

Some of my peers look at my camera selection with a raised eyebrow and strangers often ask me how old the camera is, and whether it shoots film. …


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A photo taken by me that I’ve never shared. Shot as a warm up to a shoot. Taken late 2018

When I have spare time before a shoot, I like to warm up and some of those pictures form the foundation of the “Moments” section on my website. It used to be creative and therapeutic, but as I’ve grown more successful as a photographer, it became reminder that I’m not in love with my personal work anymore.

I​t’s a hard thing to admit about your craft, especially when you’re getting paid to do it. The quality of the pictures are, at least in my opinion, great but the mind set in which I take the images have changed. …


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All Photos in this Article Taken by Me

It’s been a few years have passed since I took my first professional gig as a photographer. A friend put me in touch with a classmate who was looking for performance headshots. They were studying music together with aspirations of becoming professional opera singers, and the friend needed headshots for auditions, if I recall correctly. I didn’t know what I was doing, but I remember how excited it was.

If you just booked your first gig, I hope you were as excited as I was, despite the nervousness.

Since then, I’ve photographed in a diverse range of genres, and I continue to accumulate knowledge with each and every shoot. Looking back, I made a lot mistakes. You will, too. It’s part of the process to learn and grow, but I also wish I knew how to make life a little bit easier than my first shoot did. …


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All Images were Taken By Me

My journey into my career didn’t start that long ago. It was in the mid 10s and for a year or so, I would study almost non-stop. I loved it — I knew it was what I wanted to do with the rest of my life.

The only problem was that my skull was impenetrable by anything related to lighting.

It was the great hurdle I had to overcome. I read books written by old cinematographers from the 90s, watched YouTube tutorials, subscribed to podcasts (shout out to WanderingDP, by the way), and even bought a fuji X10 that was more portable than my D810 and I liked dynamic range of the camera over what my phone was capable of at the time. …


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All Images Taken by Me

I love traveling, but airports have always been places of many goodbyes. No matter what, even if you’re going to vacation, you’re saying goodbye to something. When I wander the airports, I see so many people traveling alone, keeping to themselves, and hugging their belongings. No one really talks to anyone except to people on the phone. Sometimes, it’s business contacts and other times, it’s lovers or friends that are getting left behind. Going back and forth to Miami from Chicago is hard.

Every time I fly, there’s a somber tone to it, especially this trip. I arrived at O’Hare in the sunset, and departed MIA in the sunrise, so I saw many opportunities to capture what the environment and circumstance was making me feel. I’m partial to evening flights, but when you arrive late, everything is closed. There’s no longer an air of entertainment or luxury. The staff is packing up and going home. There are fewer overhead announcements to break the silence. Everyone speaks more quietly. Some of the TVs are off in empty terminals. …

About

Ken Ozuna

Photographer, Cinematographer, Writer, and Lover of all Visual Arts. Like my work? Book me here: https://www.kenozuna-photography.com/

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