Today we’d like to introduce you to Esteban Allard-Valdivieso.
Esteban, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
Even though I had always loved taking pictures as a kid and teenager in LA, I had never really thought of becoming a photographer until 2006 after assisting another photographer friend (Troy Bayless) work on some shoots in the Bay Area, where I was living at the time. His encouragement was really the impetus; he even sold me my first DSLR, a Nikon D80. And as if by some kind of magic, I found myself suddenly surrounded (and living with) at least 6-7 other full-time photographers whom were gracious enough to show me the ropes. From there, I started getting some gear and a kit together, as well as asking friends to collaborate and pose for me. Little by little, I taught myself the basics, kept assisting other photographers, found other artists, HMUAs and stylists to work with, began shooting in earnest in 2010 and started my business (Fiestaban Photography) in 2013. I moved back to L.A. in 2014 and am now shooting regularly.
Has it been a smooth road?
There were so many times when I thought I should give up on doing photo work, there are just so many scheduling conflicts working with other artists, plus the business aspect was overwhelming at first. When I moved back to L.A., I also felt like the competition was just too much to bear. But I’ve stuck with it and some of those challenges have just become part of the fun!
Is there some part of you work that is particularly difficult?
By far the most difficult part of my job is finding stylists, models and art directors to consistently help bring a vision to life on a small budget. It’s just the eternal pitfall of being a solo entrepreneur. It’s usually why I usually veer more towards lifestyle, editorial and events.
How do you define success?
For me, short-term success would just be making enough money to fund whatever the next project is. I’ve never really considered ‘success’ in terms of money (though I feel like I should!), rather it’s whether you’re able to stick to your guns in terms of your creative vision, and making a shoot go as smoothly as possible. My questions are always: how can I put a little bit of beauty into this world? How can I show you something awesome that often goes overlooked? How I can present something you’ve seen a million times before, but in a new way?
On a larger level, my main marker of success is the quality of people I get to collaborate with–like how awesome it is when collaborators can become friends or fellow adventurers, and vice versa. Having amazing people in my life is how I would define ultimate success.
So, what should we be on the lookout for, what’s next in store for you?
I don’t have any major plans other than to revamp my website and try to attract more traffic to my social media. I’m just going to keep putting projects together, keeping my camera with me wherever I go, try booking some paid gigs and keep having fun!
- Website: www.fiestaban.com
- Phone: (510) 282-3189
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @fiestabanphoto
- Facebook: @fiestabanphoto
- Other: twitter @fiestabanphoto