Shooting out of Miami, Florida, USA, Roberto Ojeda is taking stunning portraits with cheap and simple props
A reader looks for help in taking architectural shots with more edge
All my life I have been an artist – a painter, sketch artist, and so on. I discovered my love of photography in 2010 when my former boss gave me a point-and-shoot camera. When I chose to upgrade, Nikon’s durability was the standout feature for me. I feel I’m a good communicator, and this makes all the difference at the moment of capturing portraits. I am always testing low-budget ways to obtain the results other photographers get with very expensive lights. I have used paper bags, foil, and paper as diffusers, and so far I am having fun with it.
These are some of my favourite black-and-white photos. I love these because of how fragile and in the moment each model looks. I also used props you can find at the grocery store such as milk, flour, and cling film (Saran wrap). Another thing these photos have in common is that they were all shot with just one light. Every model who posed in these photos had never done it before in the nude, and I had to make sure they felt respected and comfortable at all times as they battled their nervousness at the situation.
Roberto, your images are impactful, stunning and graceful in equal measure. We’re very impressed with the fact that you’ve achieved these results with a
single light and some simple household items and ingredients.
‘Galaxy’  is our favourite of your portfolio. It’s incredibly dynamic, with the flour seemingly exploding off the model. The jumping pose works so well because you’ve frozen the action with the backlit flash.
‘Fluidity’  is also another shot that wows the eye. It makes us wonder how you got that effect. There’s just enough liquid on the face to define the features, but little enough to create this splattering abstract. Your work demonstrates you have strong control over exposure, composition and timing.
‘Fragility’  and ‘Mother’  are both lovely shots. They are technically proficient and contain a good sense of emotion from the models. But for us, they don’t have the same impact as the other, more action-based, shots. We can see the flour being dusted off the model in ‘Mother’ but the body position suggests a static pose. The juxtaposition between the moving flour and the still-looking pose is interesting, but they perhaps don’t complement each other quite as well. It would be interesting to see these poses set up with a different prop ingredient, like milk or another type of liquid. The fluidity in the milk would also compliment the smooth curves of the belly bump.
Overall your images are superb, and it’s great to see such powerful imagery being made with a Nikon and simple props, but none of it would be possible without your creativity and the willingness to apply yourself in the pursuit of new and better pictures. We look forward to seeing what you do next!
3 Fragility Nikon D5000, Nikon AF-S DX 35mm f/1.8G, 1/160 sec, f/5.6, ISO200 4 Mother Nikon D600, Nikon AF-S 50mm f/1.8G, 1/160 sec, f/6.3, ISO200