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Meet Luis Zavaleta of Zavaleta Photography in Burbank

Today we’d like to introduce you to Luis Zavaleta.

Luis, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
My journey into photography began in Mexico City when I was 20 years old. I had been recently rejected from Berklee College of Music, and for the first time in my life, I felt lost. I decided to take a break from music and try something different, so I went on to study media & communications. I choose photography as one of my electives and fell instantly in love with it. It was everything I loved about music but working with images instead of sounds.

In 2011 with mostly homemade equipment, I opened my first studio, and the more I discovered, the most I wanted to learn. Things went great for the next two years, but I still wondered what my life would have been if I had been accepted to Berklee. So I dropped from media school, shutdown my studio, and apply to Berklee one more time.

I got accepted and moved to Boston in January 2014, where I had the most amazing five years. There were some challenges, but at the same time, it couldn’t have been more perfect. I was studying music at my dream school, and I was a photographer in a place where everyone needs a photographer. I opened a small home studio, and over five years, I had the chance to work with over a hundred musicians, design many album covers, direct several music videos, and collaborate in all kinds of projects.

After many sleepless nights and too many energy drinks, I graduated in May 2018. A few months later, I decided to go for a new challenge, so I packed my life in Boston and took a plane to a land I had never been to before. I arrived in Los Angeles in January 2019, ready to start over. I opened a new studio in Burbank, where I’ve been working with musicians, actors, models, and entrepreneurs. Los Angeles is an extraordinary place different from anything I’ve experienced in the past, and I’m very excited to see what challenges are coming next.

Has it been a smooth road?
As an adventure worth taking the path have been paved with all kind of struggles. But so far, my biggest challenge was moving to Los Angles and starting from scratch again. It took me some time to settle down and to get things running. I’m really grateful to have such amazing people coming to the studio and to see them enjoy my work makes all the effort worth it.

This year has been especially hard because of the challenges we all are facing right now. I had to shut down the studio and keep trying to work remotely. I’ve been doing some virtual photoshoots and designing album covers, but I can’t wait to go back to the studio and create awesome work with amazing people.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Zavaleta Photography story. Tell us more about the business.
I work as a photographer, designer, and sometimes as a filmmaker. But as a musician portrait photographer, I try to reveal my personal style in each photograph I create. Through my eyes, I try to share with the world my take on music. Being a musician myself helps me to connect and understand their visions in a way only a musician would experience. It is part of my process to be part of their process.

I collaborate closely with them, sometimes attending their writing sessions, touring with them, drinking together, talking about their past, and discussing visions of the future. In my own eyes, the extraordinary is always there waiting to be discovered. Depending on the work to be developed, we use a range of tools from medium format film cameras to digital painting and photography. From simple, one light studio shoots to scouting the right location or traveling overseas to bring their ideas to life.

It’s my responsibility, no matter how crazy and idea could be, to make things happen. I have a network of artists in different fields that are always down to create new work and take it as far as we can, and beyond.

How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
We are in a fast-moving industry where the best way to move forward is to adapt to the new trends and technologies. Cameras have evolved so much over the last ten years that it is now easier than ever to create and share amazing images.

Social media and the rapid content consumption we face today has pushed photographers to their limits to find faster and more efficient ways to create work. I can but imagine what technology will bring us in the years to come, from immersive photography to artificial intelligence software. I’m very excited to see the next big thing.

It’s hard to say how much the industry will evolve in the future, but one thing is sure, It will be amazing.

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