I am constantly checking out pictures that various popular models post on their social networks and lately I keep running into awesome photographs taken by Los Angeles based photographer Ryan Astamendi. Make sure to checkout the Ryan Astamendi Blog and follow the Ryan Astamendi Twitter Account.
The guy has shot some of the hottest girls on the planet including my favorite Australian model and Veve Swimwear Dream Girl Ellie Gonsalves, Jesse Jane, Holly Madison and Crystal Hefner.
Not to mention a sleuth of Playboy Playmates including Shelby Chesnes, Jessa Hinton, Raquel Pomplun, Jessica Burciaga, Kayla Collins, Jayde Nicole, Tiffany Toth, Amanda Cerny, Alana Campos, Beth Williams, Amelia Talon, Nikki Leigh, Leola Bell just to name a few.
Astamendi attended CalArts, majoring in Character Animation which landed him a gig at Disney for close to two decades as a Character Artist and photographer. When you follow his Instagram Account you will see some awesome photographs he took of various models dressed up as Jessica Rabbit, Tinker Bell, Sleeping Beauty, Rapunzel, Belle and Pocahontas.
As a former Disney employee myself I really enjoyed these images. In addition to his art, Ryan found himself drawn towards photography, and later did many lifestyle photo shoots for Disney as well. Using his formal art training, he incorporates the same principles of color, lighting and composition into his photography.
Since leaving Disney, Ryan has focused his attention on his passion for photography and is now a full time beauty, glamour and portrait photographer. His images have appeared in MAXIM Español, MAXIM Indonesia, MAXIM Australia, FHM Spain, Muscle & Fitness, Playboy’s The Smoking Jacket and several other international publications.
Enjoy our interview with photographer Ryan Astamendi:
Q: Why did you get into photography? Tell us how you got started?
Q: Do you have a photography mentor, if so tell us who they are and how they inspire you?
If I had to choose one person that inspired me, it was Herb Ritts. Always liked his work. Very simple, very clean, and very classic…..totally iconic. Simple is often better.
Q: Canon or Nikon? What do you shoot with?
I shoot with Nikon currently, but I totally respect Canon as well. I learned photography on a Canon.
Q: Are you into using tons of equipment on location or do you try to keep it as simple as possible?
Always keep it simple……always. It’s amazing what you can do with just a single reflector.
Q: Are you very technical or do you just eye things after a few set up shots since we can now preview everything?
Yes, at each set up I usually just shoot a couple of test shots, and then take it from there. I’m very familiar with a lot of the lighting set ups, so I can usually get a pretty close exposure right away.
Q: It looks like you are a fan of natural lighting. Do you prefer natural lighting as oppose to using strobes or do you blend the ambient with the strobe lighting?
I rarely blend…..it’s usually all natural, or all studio…..but many people blend them beautifully.
Q: In your opinion, how important is the photo retouching to a photograph?
Retouching is VERY important. You can make or break a photo with the retouching.
Q: Do you go after models for photo shoots or do they approach you? How do you find so many gorgeous models?
Both. As you improve as a photographer and you become more well-known, it becomes easier to work with the people you want to work with.
Q: Do you like directing the model or do you let them do their own thing?
If they know how to pose well, I just let them go do their thing. I’ll offer some minor direction on the posing if I see something that will improve the photo. The less experienced models are more work because they need more direction.
Q: Sunrise, Sunset or Studio? Why?
I love shooting at sunset….my favorite time of day to shoot….best light….and best time of day.
Q: Did you ever have an photo shoot where everything went wrong, tell us about it?
I did have a bad photo shoot at the beach once. A huge wave came in unexpectedly and drenched all of my equipment. Ruined about $8,000 worth of gear. I handled it well though. It was a learning lesson…a very expensive lesson. Always bring an assistant to the beach!
Q: What was the best day in your photography career?
The day I got laid off from Disney and realized I could make a living doing what I love the most, shooting photos!
To see more of Ryan’s work visit RyanAstamendi.com