In this series of weekly interviews we have met fitness professionals, fashionistas, food and travel bloggers, and lifestyle bloggers. Many of these folks take selfies, but a lot of times they hire professional photographers for photos shoots, or for a month-long travel stint. There is nothing more important to bloggers than posting exceptionally beautiful, unique photographs. Rarely, bloggers are pro photographers themselves, but they can get by.
Getting by with passable photos is not the same as being an exceptionally talented photographer. I sat down with Alejandro Moreno de Carlos, a native Spaniard, to learn more about what it’s like to be both a professional photographer and an up-and-coming influencer, not to mention a prolific writer. It took a few weeks to connect with Alejandro because he has been busy on location shooting photos in Morocco. Here’s what Alejandro had to say about photography, life as an influencer, and more when we had the chance to catch up!
ZJ: Alejandro, what drew you into professional photography?
AM: I studied journalism and filmmaking and have been always interested in multimedia and the different ways to tell a story. Photography is a simple, yet powerful way of telling a story and at the same time one of the most challenging ways to do it right. It’s a challenge getting everything in just a fraction of a second: a message, a whole story, a concept, a feeling, etc. I enjoy this kind of challenging but rewarding aspect of it.
My photography has been always closely related to my travels and has evolved with them. I’ve always been very passionate about traveling and experiencing new adventures. Photography, I guess, came from the need to express those feelings I had when traveling, and desire to tell thrilling travel stories and communicate my experiences, so I might inspire others to go out and explore. At some point I was loving traveling photography so much that I had to work really hard to make it my main career and make it my profession.
ZJ: How long ago did you start your IG and FB profiles? Can you please share with us what inspired you to start sharing your photography on social media?
AM: I started my Instagram about 4 years ago, and my personal Facebook in 2008 or so. The FB page came later, around 3 or 4 years ago.
I guess the main reason I started sharing photos and travel moments on social media is the same reason I love photography in general; sharing those moments of life and travel, with hopes to inspire others and make them feel part of it all. Sharing on social was actually the way I could relay stories and share my passion for photography and travel with people. From the beginning I knew social media was the new media outlet. It was the way I decided to deliver my stories to a broader audience and make my work visible to whoever is interested and inspired by it.
ZJ: Your images are breathtaking. Where do you draw your inspiration (or how do you decide what photo to take, and when)?
AM: Thank you very much for that! I feel humbled and grateful for it. I guess my best and main source of inspiration is traveling itself. The moments I live on the road are the ones that inspire me and my photography. Each of the moments and experiences I have through traveling are always unique and different, which is what makes each photo trip a new, challenging experience and at the same time serves as the source of inspiration itself. I usually don’t decide much; I let the travel and experiences develop by themselves and allow those guide my photography.
ZJ: Is the main source of your income from social media? If not, what is your main job?
AM: No. Not yet at least haha. My main source of income is photography. I work for different clients and do mostly freelance work.
ZJ: Who do you most admire – in the world of photography, or in general?
AM: People in general who go out there and follow their passion, whatever it is. Those who overcome all fears and social restrictions, and go for it. Obviously, I admire many travel photographers and people that live by their passions, who combine their job and passions into one. I admire many people, so it’s difficult to pick one.
AM: I didn´t before, but these last years I had to work really hard to make it in photography, and specially travel photography, as my main source of income. So that inevitably made me a marketer by all means. I had to learn many marketing skills and ways to get my work out there and be able to make money out of it. So yes, I guess now every freelance photographer has to be a marketer too.
ZJ: Do you work for brands? Can you give us an example of sponsored posts you have done as an influencer?
AM: I work for brands by doing photo project for them, but not directly through my social media. I haven’t done sponsored posts yet. My following on Instagram came because of my photography business but I haven’t yet started monetizing my social media profile itself.
ZJ: Many influencers are in different verticals and need photographers taking pictures of them. How do you gain sponsorships from brands?
AM: I haven’t done it yet. But I guess I’ll try to contact them directly and after researching what they do, I will offer them a few good ideas related to my photography and what I’m able to do for them.
ZJ: At what point did you start gaining massive amounts of followers, and what did you think?
AM: I started using Instagram for fun, and used it for photos I took with my phone. One year ago, more or less, I decided that Instagram would be a great way of putting my professional work out there, and I started to put more time and consistency into it. At some point the whole thing started picking up. To be honest I was really happy to see people were appreciating what I was doing. That definitely gave me a lot of motivation and a push to keep going and do more and better things! I really thank everyone who follows me, because they are really supportive and I greatly appreciate all their constant support.
ZJ: If you were to give someone advice that wanted to get into the industry of photography influencing, what would it be?
AM: Shoot what you love the most, and show that passion in all of your photos. That will make people passionate about what you’re doing and they will want to follow and start engaging with you. Also try to get personal, and be authentic. Be yourself so people can engage with the person you really are, and they feel a genuine connection with you.
ZJ: Why do you think people find you or follow you?
AM: I’m not really sure to be honest. I guess they enjoy the travel experiences that I show through my images. And they enjoy a dose of adventure and trips unknown places in their feed, from my lens perspective. I guess – and hope – it inspires them to go out and explore, and it gives them good vibes all around. They might find me different ways: the photo agencies I work with, some features I had in bigger accounts, etc. And beside this, I guess the domino effect helps more and more people find me.
ZJ: What is your favorite thing to do outside of photography and social media?
AM: I really enjoy traveling and adventuring which is quite related to my photography. Also I really like action sports like snowboarding or surfing. I’m surfing in Morocco at the moment, haha. I love to mix sports with travel.
ZJ: Tell me about a time when you really impacted someone’s life with your social media content. What was the result?
AM: Well, I had people thanking me for things that really overwhelmed and surprised me. Some people thanked me for sharing my travels photos with them, because they couldn’t travel (for different reasons). They felt they were traveling through my eyes each day and it helped make their lives a bit better and happier. Things like that just make me feel so humbled, and I would simply love to go meet and hug this person. I cant describe how happy it makes me that someone can feel like this, knowing that my work is helping in ways I never expected. It inspires me each and every day to keep going, and hopefully make many people feel this way and live these experiences for themselves.
ZJ: What is your biggest dream in life?
AM: To keep being inspired and happy with what I am doing everyday. To be honest, where my career is heading is a dream coming true because it is enabling the lifestyle I have always desired. My biggest dream is that my work keeps developing in this way, and enables me to travel and live these kind of experiences on a regular basis.
ZJ: Favorite quote?
ZJ: Favorite place you have photographed?
AM: There are so many it´s difficult. Loved the stunning landscapes of South America, the lovely people of South East Asia, the incredible colors of India…
ZJ: Do you have any upcoming events or announcements you wish to share?
This year will be full of travels and exciting things I’m excited to share as they come up, but nothing really planned yet (that’s the beauty of it).
[All pic credits in this article go to Alejandro Moreno de Carlos. His photos available on Stocksy]