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Rising Stars: Meet Brandon Concepcion

Today we’d like to introduce you to Brandon Concepcion.

Hi Brandon, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today?
My interest and love for photography started in middle school as an elective class. I remember being handed a Canon film camera and being shown how to properly load film into the camera for the first time. My teacher gave the students different subjects to shoot and mine was, geometric shapes. I distinctly recall working on this assignment and looking at a group of trees in the shape of a triangle in the courtyard of my school. I knew instantly it was a geometrically sound subject to shoot for the project.

The snap of the shutter, winding the film to the next frame and feeling the clunk of the steel in my hand. It wasn’t only the feel of the camera that had me, it was the process of developing my own image. Being in the dark room, not knowing how the image was going to turn out and seeing the process from beginning to end was captivating to me. Getting to see the picture I took literally appear out of thin air on a blank white sheet as I moved it back and forth in the developer tray. It’s truly the whole process of photography that I fell in love with.

I would dabble in and out of photography throughout my teens and early 20’s. My first job in a studio setting was at Image Shots. Yes, the ones that had hearts and clouds in the background and you use to hand them out like trading cards to your friends. I joined the Navy and left San Antonio but once I got out, I knew I still wanted to take photos.

I landed a job at Picture People where I can say I learned the MOST about portraiture. Working there helped me understand the fundamentals of lighting, posing, editing and even marketing my work to the client better. I have to thank my parents for buying me my first camera for Christmas, which helped launch my career into photography outside of my studio job. I don’t know when or how I would have started back then as I was living on my own and working paycheck to paycheck. But if I could go back and give myself any advice it would be; that the gear doesn’t make the photographer. Get the cheap camera, learn more about photography, master the skills with what you have and chase the next best thing as you improve!

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
Not at all, but I’ve enjoyed every part of the journey because it has made my photography and myself a lot stronger. In the early part of my career, I did it out of passion. But as I got busier it got to the point that the business overshadowed that passion. I saw my images become mediocre and that just isn’t me or what I want to put out into the world. I’ve always wanted to give it my all, because honestly…why do it if your clients don’t get the best from you? I took about two years off from doing photography to find that inspiration again. And it wasn’t until I met my wife that I picked up my camera and started to shoot on weekends to find the love behind my photography and once I felt that feeling again, I dove into it head first.

My biggest struggle would be being my own worst critic. I would often look at other photographers that had been doing photography longer than I had and compare my work to theirs, which made me feel like my work was lacking something. I would think I could never be that good and it’s that type of thinking that held me back for a while. Everyone’s journey is different. And once I began to embrace my own journey, reach out to more experienced photogs, ask questions and learn from past mistakes I made and from others, being my own critic has become less of a barrier for me.

As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
I am a photographer in San Antonio. I currently specialize in family portraiture, but I also do event, commercial, headshots, quinceaneras and wedding photography. I can say that the past few years portraiture has been the most intriguing part of my craft. I love meeting my clients with their families and talking about their lives and getting to know them more – so much so that they begin to feel like family. Those memories stay with me forever, just like the picture in that tray. I get to become closer to my clients and create a personal relationship with them, which is the most rewarding part of photography.

There have been a few defining moments in my career, but the most recent has been my favorite so far because it truly was a labor of love. I recently published a photo book titled, “I Love My Skin”. It is comprised of a collection of portraits I took and letters from my loved ones and friends. The project ran over the course of a year, where I was able to sit down with each of them and have one on one conversations. Their personal letters in the book dive deeper into their lives, upbringings and cultures. This project allowed me to really understand and define my love for portraiture and cultivate my ability of being a good listener. Another reason this project has been my favorite is because it’s devoted to my son, Maverick. I have hopes that when he reads the letters of his family and friends, he has a greater understanding and pride for what is behind and underneath a person’s skin because we all have our own unique and intricate story to tell.

Networking and finding a mentor can have such a positive impact on one’s life and career. Any advice?
Find someone who has been in the area of photography or craft that you want to focus on and ask to shadow them. And when you find that person be teachable, flexible and ask questions. Work in the area you want to improve in – day in and day out. A lot of my work that I love to showcase is personal work, images that I shoot on my film or digital camera are of different things around the city and of different places that my wife and I have visited. I try to take every opportunity and chance I have to learn and get better.

Don’t take constructive criticism personally, use it as a tool that will help you just get better.

And as for networking, it’s simple. If someone has helped you, you turn around and help someone else. And always remember you are your brand’s personal billboard. You will never catch me without a camera. Whether it be my film, digital or even just my phone camera. Showcasing a lot of my personal work shows the world something other than my business work and even gives people a chance to know my interests outside of the business, which makes for great conversation starters.

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