Today we’d like to introduce you to Carlos DeLaRosa Jr.
Carlos, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I’ve always been a creative in one way or another, whether it was drawing, making music, or whatever I could create, but when I purchased a camera I quickly, and unintentionally, found that photography was my favorite medium for creating. I got into photography almost by accident. I had gone into a modeling agency to seek representation and although they liked my look, they suggested I come back when I had some more “professional” photos. So I figured, I’d invest in a few shoots or I’d invest in a camera and have my friends shoot me, then return as if I had been modeling the whole time (lol). So I chose to buy a camera and found I enjoyed being behind the camera just as much, if not more.
Around the same time, I had recently received my Bachelors in Criminal Justice and was in the pursuit of a career in law enforcement. My original plan was to apply at a major dept to increase my chances of moving up to the Feds after a few years so I applied to LAPD, got invited to the expedited process/testing, took all the exams in a weeks time, passed all the exams, then while I was back home awaiting the invite to the academy, I decided I’m going to go the creative route and do what I actually enjoy doing, photography. I had my prearrangements to move to LA, so I did that but ignored my letters from LAPD, sold most of my sneaker collection, bought a better camera, and have been building since.
Has it been a smooth road?
Absolutely not. There were plenty moments that I went through where I sat there and thought, “this is when most people who move to the big city and feel like they’ve failed, move back home and settle for that job that don’t really love.” If you know me, you know I’m not that person to quit on myself, ever. My biggest struggle was maintaining a sustainable income while still keeping photography my main focus. I knew I couldn’t just move here and start charging $1000 a shoot, I had to build. So I needed a way to make money on the side, while still having the freedom to shoot whenever I wanted. So I did some research and found ridesharing. At first, I didn’t like the idea of being a driver, but once I found a way to associate it with photography, it became almost a business move. Besides social media, it’s become one of my biggest networking tools, and it’s great for location scouting also. Of course the goal, however, is to be a full-time photography but I am confident in my direction and where I am heading.
What’s your outlook for the industry over the next 5-10 years?
I think with the rise of social media, and so many photos being shared daily, major companies are getting a look at other forms of photography and advertising. I think marketing has already began to change from the unpractical to the practical. Advertisements are more “realistic”. Lifestyle photography is a great example of a genre that has become very prevalent in a lot of companies’ marketing campaigns because the products in these images look more relatable to the common consumer.
I see the industry continuing to shift as much as the trends on social media do. They’ve realized that it’s easier to reach a huge audience and save a lot of money with social media and it’s not a tool I’d assume they’d neglect.
Has there been a particular challenge that you’ve faced over the years?
My biggest challenge over the years has been focusing on one thing. Although I’m pretty sure I found my thing with photography, it took some time for me to get there. After college my focus was making a professional football team, then I wanted to be in law enforcement, then model, now I’m a photographer. I just need to feel like I’m in the pursuit of something at all times. And sometimes I wonder what I’d do if I actually got there.
But like I said, I’m certain on this creative route. I imagine myself getting more versed in other forms of creative content in the future and trying to master those as well.
What would you tell someone who is just starting out?
My advice for any scenario in any city, ESPECIALLY LA, is to know yourself, and stay true to yourself. You’ll get suggestions, offers, “advice” from people. It’s ok to listen to feedback and criticism, but be able to filter who’s trying to help you and who just wants you to change into something that suits them more than you. I’ve been told to change my style, but I like my style. And chances are there’s a few people in the world that also like my style enough to pay me for it. Keep doing what YOU do and with patience, your audience will find you.
- Website: www.DeLaRosaJr.com
- Phone: 413-552-9280
- Instagram: @DeLaRosa_Jr
All photos by Carlos DeLaRosa Jr. People in photos (top to bottom): Danielle Wright, Puma (for Brandy Melville), TreMarie, Nick Dean, Spencer, James Bland, Wilze.