Having a mentor was crucial to me for my professional career.Dani Oshi
In this episode, I speak with street and portrait photographer Dani Oshi. Originally from Venezuela, Dani moved to Belgium and started from scratch. There, he found a photography mentor and eventually started his own business.
We talk about:
- How Dani Oshi built his network after moving to another country
- Tips for studio portrait photographers
- What every photographer should have on their website
& much more!
Dani Oshi’s persistence led to many incredible opportunities. As he mentions during this episode, he forced himself to take photos every day in order to improve. As someone who had to start from scratch, Dani is an inspiring example of determination and talent.
Here is a preview of our conversation with Dani Oshi.
Q: What advice would you give to photographers who want to improve their studio portraits?
Dani Oshi: When you have the power of a light at your fingertips, you should definitely try to use that to your advantage so you get a more consistent look.
If the lighting is not the same, the client might not be happy with the results. It’s crucial to have some knowledge on how to use lights.
If you don’t have any lighting knowledge, I’m pretty sure there are many very good tutorials online on how to use a flash. You have to get a hold of some lights. If you don’t feel like investing too much in it, I recommend to visit a studio where they can rent the studio and their lights for a day. Take some some models with them. Watch some some tutorials before doing that so you don’t waste your time there.
Try the light. Put it to the left, put it to the right, put it up, put it down, put it on the back, etc., and see the effect that it creates.
Q: What should every photographer have on their website?
Dani Oshi: You need to have good search engine optimization, SEO, because if clients can’t find your website, they’ll never contact you. Because I come from an IT background, I spent a lot of time improving the SEO on my website so that I would be sure that people could find my work.
I have to say that really helped to build my portfolio and get started with my business. Show people what you do, even if you have only five photos, and work a lot on SEO. That’s really important.
Q: Your personal photo project, Faces & Photography, features 1400 portraits of strangers in Belgium. How did you deal with the discomfort of approaching people you didn’t know?
Dani Oshi: I don’t have a lot of problem talking to people, so approaching a stranger on the street is not a big problem. It also depends on what I need from the person. For example, I have a hard time approaching a person and asking them for their phone number. I find that extremely awkward.
However, I have a very clear objective that I don’t think trespasses any boundaries. I just say, “Hi. I find you very interesting and I’d like to take some photos of you. Is that okay?” I got some rejections, but most of the time I got a yes.
I started it because I wanted to force myself to take photos in the streets every day. I wanted to become a professional photographer. It couldn’t be possible if I didn’t practice photography every day. I wanted to improve my photography, understand my camera, and learn how to deal with people, so I created this project out of thin air.