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Meet Frankie Leal

Today we’d like to introduce you to Frankie Leal.

Every artist has a unique story. Can you briefly walk us through yours?
At the age of 20, I began my professional career as a graphic designer. Design came easily to me. In the beginning, I would hire photographers to take photos for my graphic design projects. It wasn’t until I taught myself how to shoot in manual mode is when my passion for photography began. I learned that two photographers could shoot the same subject using the same lighting and achieve totally different results simply by adjusting the camera settings. In 2006, I bought myself my first digital camera; a 6.3 MP Canon Rebel.

I am a self-taught photographer. My education in photography began from analyzing pictures published in entertainment magazines like Rolling Stone. I studied the works of photographers like Mark Seliger, Art Strieber, and Michael Grecco. I studied their picture’s highlights and shadows and would then recreate the light quality with my clients. I absolutely fell in love with the art of strobe lighting. The more lights I can use, the better. I couldn’t get enough of the craft and therefore strived to improve my photographic ability by teaching myself through workshops, books, blogs and reading interviews of those whose work I admired.

My passion is photographing stand-up comedians, whether it’s a portrait session in the studio or shooting a live performance. Comedians are interesting people, I believe they have the hardest job in the world and I’m on a mission to meet them and photograph them and to find out what makes them tick. I am intrigued by their story. I have worked and stayed friends with many great comics. Some of the comics I have photographed are Jo Koy, Felipe Esparza, Bobby Lee, Sarah Tiana, to name a few.

Today, I shoot out of Los Angeles, but you can also catch me on-location throughout the United States shooting for a wide variety of clients that include several in the entertainment & advertising industries. My images are frequently used for print ads, magazine covers, corporate marketing, websites and social media marketing.

Please tell us about your art.
I shoot stand-up comedians. Comedians are interesting individuals and I’m on a mission to find their story. My signature look is using vibrant colors in my images. The goals are to photograph real portraits of my subjects being themselves. I strive to bring out the real person behind the comedian, not the character or persona they portray on stage. When people see my images I hope they can distinguish it’s my work by the lighting style, subject’s expression, and overall feel of the portrait.

Given everything that is going on in the world today, do you think the role of artists has changed? How do local, national or international events and issues affect your art?
Yes the world of photography has changed dramatically. Technology has changed the game for the good and the bad. The bad, there are new artists lowballing talented established photographer. They are getting hired for a fraction of the cost of an established photographer. Everybody can go to the store and buy a semi-professional quality camera for cheap and produce great shots. The good, there are a lot more talented photographers today. There is a lot of resources all over the internet on how to take great shots, from shooting to running a business. Today we also have to be a jack of all trades. For example a photographer needs to know how to shoot and do video and edit if you want to get hired for gigs. You got to come in with value, not just still photography value.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
All Photography by Frankie Leal.

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