We had the good fortune of connecting with Vitali Rodriguez and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Vitali, the decisions we make often shape our story in profound ways. What was one of the most difficult decisions you’ve had to make?
I think the most difficult decision I had to make in 2020 was to continue my photography busines, MyLove4Pictures, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. In all honesty, I was terrified when I first heard about COVID-19. Then, when I heard of the shortage of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), I felt an immediate need to learn how to make homemade masks to donate to our first responders. This gave me a sense of control and sanity during these unprecedented times. Thankfully, other people stepped up to the challenge and started making and donating masks. This is when I decided to shift my focus back onto my family and my photography business. Going back to work as a photographer during a pandemic was a very difficult decision for me. I was worried about the safety of my clients, my family, and myself. After much planning and research, I felt it was safe to work outdoors following social distancing and protocols placed by the state. Although it was a very difficult decision, I’m glad I decided to allow MyLove4Pictures to survive. MyLove4Pictures’ survival story is built on the strength, love, and support of its community. My family, my friends, my clients, my friend photographers, and now SDVoyager are all part of that strong and caring community. Although the pandemic is far from over, my story thus far, as a photographer and as a small business owner of MyLove4Pictures, is one of survival and success because of all of you. I will forever be grateful. #agratefulphotographer
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
One thing I’d like to share with my community is my experience dealing with the unexpected as the photographer for MyLove4Pictures. The more I do photography, the more I learn to appreciate every moment, every type of weather, and every emotion. During my past 5 years as a photographer, I have captured candid moments of waves unexpectedly crashing into a family walking along the ocean. I have captured images of the weather unexpectedly changing from sunny to cloudy to dark. I have captured images of kids crying or bored out of their mind. With the pandemic, I have even captured images of families wearing their masks. Believe it or not, these non-traditional images are the ones that end up being the most beautiful and most memorable as they have the unexpected factor. Those images turn out to be unique and priceless to each of my clients and myself. My goal has always been to create images that my clients love as much as I love creating them. I encourage you as a client or as a photographer not to be afraid to take pictures in all types of weather or difficult situations. I assure you that you will learn to love and appreciate the beauty in those “imperfect” moments that are actually completely perfect and beautiful.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I always like to find beautiful locations with beautiful scenery for my clients. Now, the COVID-19 closures have driven me to find even more outdoor places to explore. One of my go to places is Leo Carrillo Ranch in Carlsbad. Although at the moment it is not open for professional photography, it is still open to the general public and quite a beautiful place to explore. If you are lucky, you may even see some gorgeous peacocks. Another recommendation is the Olivenhain Meeting Hall in Encinitas. The location is not very big, but the history and architecture are just so timeless. Lastly, another favorite place to visit is the Carlsbad Tide Pools. I love taking my boys during low tide so they can find sea creatures. It’s so much fun for them to play and for me it’s gratifying to see them interact with nature.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My first shoutout goes to my wonderful clients who are genuinely concerned about the challenges my photography business faces with COVID-19. I’m thankful that my clients support me with their repeat business, referrals, recommendations, and encouraging words. Some of my clients even went above and beyond and supported me by donating to my mask project. This was one of the most generous acts of kindness. Not only were they helping me with the cost of making the masks, but they were also helping me with my mental well-being and for that I will always be grateful. My next shoutout goes to my family for being the principal reason my photography business survived this past year. Again, due to COVID-19, I could not hire a babysitter for my boys while I went to a photoshoot. My husband, after working all week, helped me with my boys during my weekend photoshoots. I also have my amazing sister-in-law to thank, who helped me with childcare during my weekday photoshoots. There is no doubt that their help contributed a great deal to the survival of my photography business. Frankly, without their help, I could not have done it. Finally, I’m lucky to know many wonderful photographers who put community over competition. There are too many to mention them all, however, I would like to give a specific shoutout to my dear friend Aldair from Infro Photography. He has helped me connect with other photographers and he has helped me develop an editing style that I absolutely love.
Aldair Sanchez from Infro Photography
Nominate Someone: ShoutoutSocal is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.