Today we’d like to introduce you to Tony Garcia.
Tony, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I grew up in a suburb outside of Chicago. My father was an art director along with my older brother. I attended the American Academy of Art where I took art and photography.
While attending school, we went on a field trip on a boat to shoot the city skyline at sunrise. I took a photo of the sun reflecting off the Standard Oil building and crossed processed it which gave it a unique look. That shot was later used in a promotional brochure for the school. Somehow the mother of a student who worked for Standard Oil saw it, and they wanted to use my photo for their corporate brochure cover. That was my first photo sale.
After leaving school, I was fortunate to get a job working for a friend of my father who was a well know advertising food/product photographer as the second assistant. That is where I really leaned about the business. I worked there for 2 1/2 years and then left to get a job as a first assistant for a fashion/fine art photographer. Worked there for 3 1/2 years when a HS friend told me he got a job in Southern CA and they were giving him a two bedroom apt. for six months free in Fullerton. So after having six years of assisting experience in Chicago I figured I could do the same in LA. Once in CA, I would drive every day from Fullerton to Hollywood and I would prey that the used Alfa Romeo that I bought here for $500.00 would make it there and back. I remember sitting at a stop sign and the rear bumper fell off. Anyway I would pick up a roll of dimes from the bank and pull out my Workbook directory and set up my makeshift office outside of Tiny Naylor’s on the corner of Sunset and La Brea and start calling photographers from the parking lot phone booth.
It was centrally located and when I could get an appointment to see a photographer it was easy to get to them quickly. Luckily, I started getting work within a few weeks. I was then offered a full-time job with another talented well know advertising photographer. I always preferred going full time because I can be there for the whole production from start to finish to learn and understand how to make it work and also I was always able to use the studios and equipment to shoot in my spare time to get samples for my portfolio, also it was always nice to get that steady income.
I assisted for another two years and decided to go on my own. It was Aug of 1984. I saved some money, bought some more equipment, and got a $3000.00 hi interest loan from a couple of friends of mine. I found a studio that they were looking to share on Fairfax near Olympic. So I was all set, just needed clients. So I once again pulled out my Workbook directory and this time started calling art directors. It used to be a lot easier to talk to them and see them then it is today.
In a world with all the devices to communicate it seems much harder to talk to anyone let alone get face to face meetings. Anyway, I started getting clients and moved to another studio here on Melrose where I have been for the past 33 years. I still can’t believe where the time has gone. It’s been a great ride. I have worked in Japan, Germany, and South Africa and all over the US. I have shot for many fortune 500 companies and top advertising agencies around the world.
Some of my memorable assignments have been shooting Joe Montana, Jerome Bettis, Derek Brooks and Dante Culpepper of the NFL for FedEx and last year shooting Olympic athletes for the Kelloggs cereal boxes.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
I think every business has its ups and downs. There has been slow economies, recessions, divorce, clients not paying for long periods of time. Just the things in life that everyone goes through. You just have to figure out a way to get through it and keep going. It’s never easy!
We’d love to hear more about what you do.
Tony Garcia Photography is an award-winning full-service production commercial advertising studio. I specialize in lifestyle, product, medical/pharma, health/fitness, portrait, conceptual, animals, location, and time lapse commercial building photography. Pretty much everything!
In my spare time I like to workout and play hockey a few times a week.
I am most proud of the work that I have produced. Also, my assignment and stock photo’s have been published all over the world. Also, being in this competitive business for almost 35 years and still have a studio, I feel it is quite an accomplishment.
The production and quality of my photography. And I’m still having fun doing it.
If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
It’s always easy to look back and say woulda, shoulda, coulda but I feel for the most part I’ve made the best of most of my opportunities. In hindsight, I wish I would have bought a commercial building here in Hollywood.
- Website: tonygarcia.com
- Phone: 323 463-8260
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: tonygarciaphoto
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tonygarciaphotography/?ref=hl
- Twitter: http://tonygarciaphotography.tumblr.com/
- Other: https://www.linkedin.com/in/tony-garcia-aa7956b/?authType=NAME_SEARCH&authToken=YvOP&locale=en_US&trk=tyah&trkInfo=clickedVertical%3Amynetwork%2CclickedEntityId%3A35200927%2CauthType%3ANAME_SEARCH%2Cidx%3A1-1-1%2CtarId%3A1469684089960%2Ctas%3Atony%20Garcia%20Photo
Tony Garcia Photography