Anyone can take pictures and call themselves a photographer these days. These people would learn a lot from multi-award winning master photographer Erich Caparas, FMPA at the Master Photographers Association, UK and Bound for Style’s esteemed Brand Ambassador for Photography. His work has been showcased by big names such as National Geographic, Discovery Channel, and the Smithsonian Institution, as well as hundreds of fashion magazines.
What was your first shoot? How did you get started in the industry?
I’ve been in photography for 40 years. Truthfully, I don’t remember my first shoot and how I transitioned to doing photography professionally. I don’t even remember how I got my first camera. I know it belonged to my Dad so I must have asked for it or he must have given it to me. I still have the camera in pristine condition that’s why I remember that much of it. I wanted to be a news photographer like Peter Parker (Spiderman), so I submitted my resume to several newspapers and local publishing firms. All of them rejected me. I kept trying until a design firm gave me a break. I also worked as a graphic artist for that firm.
How did you get to where you are now in your career?
Passion. Anything you do out of passion, you never give up on. If you do it for money, you will only get so far. When the money dwindles, you give up or move on to another venue that makes you more money or you are passionate about. If you are passionate about something, you do it regardless of whether you make a cent or not. I didn’t desire to have the success I have now. It’s just a consequence of being passionate in what I do.
When you go out on a shoot, what’s in your bag? What gear do you prefer to use on a shoot?
I used to bring everything when I was younger. I didn’t want to miss an opportunity just because I didn’t have the right gear. As I grew older, my tolerance for baggage burden became less and less. I bring the least and the lightest I can bring and challenge myself to create masterpieces with what I’ve brought.
What is your post-processing workflow like?
I open the file in a RAW file editor, transfer it to Photoshop, and go from there. I don’t have a set workflow as each image requires unique approach.
How do you stay inspired?
Again, passion. If you are passionate about something, you attract people equally passionate about what they do. The synergy is what excites me and what keeps me going.
What’s the shoot you are most proud of?
I am most proud of the Tribal shoot that Mehdi Moussaoui put together for me. It is a shoot I initially said no to, but I’m glad I did it. It is my top shoot to date, with 30 people pulling together and collaborating for the project. I’m so proud of them. [Purchase photos from this shoot here!]
What would be your dream shoot?
A Hollywood-type production shoot with a million dollar budget.
Do you feel like you’ve met your goals and are successful?
I don’t really have a blueprint for success. I set small goals and I meet them. Then I set new ones, and so on, and so forth. Success is relative. Happiness, contentment, and fulfillment are the ultimate measure of well-being as far as I’m concerned. Yes, I am happy, content, and fulfilled.
If you had to do it over again, what would you change?
I’d change a lot of decisions I made in life but in terms of photography, I wouldn’t change a thing. There’s a couple of models I probably will not shoot but that’s about it.
What advice would you give someone who is young and wants to be in position such as yours one day?
Surround yourself with people you admire. Learn the skill sets needed to do the type of photography you’re passionate about and find a mentor.