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Life & Work with Jose Ortiz

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jose Ortiz.

Hi Jose, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstory.
I go by the name Jv Ortiz, I am from Pasadena, CA. I started doing photography freshman Year at John Muir High School and I fell in love with the idea of freezing time. I love how each photo tells a story and carries a feeling in each shot captured. John Muir High had an amazing digital and film photography course. This grew my passion for photography more as I was still learning how to really capture these candid moments. A few years after high school, I started to really develop my skills in photography, capturing some of my best work. Which put me where I am today. Working with clients in every Photography genre you can think of. This allowed me to express myself through my photos while capturing imagery of nostalgic landmarks in the city of Los Angeles and Pasadena. I personally love landscape photography, one of my favorite genres. I love seeing the sunset here in the City of the Rose, the way the sun hits the mountains just makes the city come to life. I’ve traveled around the states and taken some really amazing man-made objects and people photography.

My second favorite is portrait photography. Shooting close-ups and detailed shots bring so much life to a photo. I have one favorite I took when I was first starting off with an old friend and her newborn son holding hands. How meaningful that photo was and her reaction just made me fall more in love with photography. My work has led me to now work with some of the best small businesses in the Pasadena/Altadena community. Outside of the community, I work with music artists and creators like myself on some amazing projects. My work has been used all over the world. I can’t explain how much that means to me, seeing my work on different Tv Channels, websites, and Album covers. It still shocks me to this day and I count my blessings as I continue to grow as a photographer. My work has actually been featured a few times on voyageLA. I’m happy now to be here to share my story.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
The choice to become a photographer is one of the toughest choices. My family comes from the normal 9 to 5 lifestyle. The idea of taking a chance to build a career as a photographer sounded unreal. The criticism would come from all over, to the point I did end up putting my camera away and worked a desk job. I loved it, tech support and helping others has always been something I enjoyed. I just felt like something was missing, I would see my camera sitting there not being used. It felt wrong and my gut was telling me to pick that camera back up. In 2018, I was living in San Jose and I stopped the bad habits of sitting at home watching movies and unpacked my camera. I started by taking landscape photography again. I would drive around looking for the best locations to capture.

I rebuilt my catalog and started to look for work again in photography. I had started completely from scratch so it was hard to find a client that trusted me as a photographer. I did not have a good enough portfolio. I went back home to Pasadena. I met with two close friends, one who is into fashion and design and the other who just started a Coffee company. I showed them some of my work and they both took a chance with me and put me in charge of their important projects. While visiting, it was hard to schedule dates that would allow us to work on these photoshoots. The choice was really hard to make… stay with the secured job or risk it to follow my dreams as a photographer? I believe faith made that choice for me, a few months later, the company sold and I was out of a job. I was heading back home to build my photography career.

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
I am a skillful photographer with no boundaries, my work has no limitation to the style or creative ideas I come up with. I take photographs for start-up businesses to help bring their product and visions to life. I work closely with upcoming artists to document and capture amazing visuals for their albums or magazine features. I am known for my hard work and for having that eye behind the lens.

I am proud of my work being feature on network stations and well-known magazines. Seeing my work being used and viewed around the world is an amazing feeling. But I am most proud of not giving up, I now have work with some of the most talented artists and entrepreneurs.

My authenticity behind the images I’ve captured, the hard work that I put into each one of my photos. My ability to be open to criticism and learning from each photo I’ve taken.

We’d love to hear about how you think about risk taking?
Becoming a photographer was one of my biggest risks. In more detail, when I lost my job in San Jose and had to move back to Pasadena, I had two choices; I’d go back to work full time or go full time into photography. That was the biggest risk I could take as my situation was tied up financially. I was helping my finaceè go to school full time, paying my own bills, and other life events. I was receiving work that required upgrade gear and was forced to decline the work. It was either risk it all for my dream or go back to work a full-time job. I took the risk of purchasing new camera gear. What a risk it was but it has got me where I am at today.

If I would have kept that mindset of not risking it I would be working a 9 to 5 and the world would have never seen my work. You’ll never know the outcome until you take that risk. You won’t capture that shot you’ve been wanting so bad if you don’t risk it. Take the risk! Learn from your mistakes if any come along with your choices. Own up to the mistake and grow from it. Risk-taking is all about the lesson, the goods, and the bad. 


  • $100 Prints are available on my website

Contact Info:

Image Credits:

Models: Justyn Carrillo, Anthony Carrillo, Noah V, and EMEKA

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