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Meet Alex Casillas

Today we’d like to introduce you to Alex Casillas.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
My love for photography began at a very young age, which led me to start washing cars and mowing lawns to purchase my first camera at 12 years old. I vividly remember dumping out my coin jar on the glass counters at Ritz Camera in Riverside (no longer in business, rip) while the workers helped my mom and I count to see if I had enough for the Canon Rebel T3. I did, barely. But I didn’t have enough for a memory card. The workers at the time (shoutout Shadi & Bobby) saw how defeated my little naive pre-teen self was, and bought me a memory card and camera bag on the spot. This set the tone for the next few years of my life as I was shooting anything and everything I could, landing my first solo wedding gig at 15.

Through high school, I experimented with all sorts of styles and took every job that came my way. After I started my freshman year of college, my style became a little more refined and intentional. I realized that my passion for photography lied less in photography itself and more in the art-making process as a whole. This took my work in a bit more of a fine-art portraiture direction. After building a decent portfolio and making some important connections, I dropped out of school in 2016 to pursue photo full time.

Today, I’ve found that I make my best work when I have full creative freedom to get a little ‘out there’. Because of this, my favorite shoots are usually with other artists and musicians in controlled lighting environments where I can go as wild (or as minimal) as I like with my light setups.

Love me some crazy dragged colors and some punchy B&W’s.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Any creative will tell you that it’s never a completely smooth road, especially if your work is your main source of income. The leap from student to full-time photographer was not an easy one. I worked in retail and did photography on the side for quite a while before I landed my first consistent photo gig at a studio in Anaheim.

There’s been busy times where I have more work than I can handle and drinks are on me and slow times where I’m rationing out grocery money to try to make rent. But this is all part of the life that I signed up for and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Character building stuff, you know?

Alex Casillas Photography – what should we know? What do you do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
My work can be characterized by lots of high contrast black and whites, dramatic light play, and some good ‘ol dark undertones.

I work mainly with artists who want creative press photos and cover art, but I do some fashion, beauty, and live music work as well.

What is “success” or “successful” for you?
Success is one of those subjective terms that can have a constantly changing definition as you get older and refine your craft. Practical goals are extremely important, but once you reach those goals, you have to keep going.

Today, I define success as winning the daily battle of getting off your ass and doing the work. Lots of people have talent, but not everyone has drive. Getting up and suiting up as an artist each morning is not an easy task, but the person who makes consistent work (sometimes good, sometimes bad) will always outlast the person who simply has talent. Create something everyday and you’ll inevitably get lucky with some insane work once in a while. Figure out what separates that work from the rest of your work, and do more of that. Quantity breeds quality. This mentality, in my opinion, is the mark of a truly successful artist.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Personal photo by Raymond Alva

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