“Initially, it was a hobby, something that I did in my spare time. At the time, I was in school as an undergrad gearing up for med school. I started sharing the images I took with friends and received positive feedback. I thought they were just being good supportive friends. It wasn’t until I started getting request from them for me to photograph them that I believed I had a hidden talent.”

Did you always want to be in this field?

I’ve always been interested in the creative arts. I enjoyed music, singing, writing and such. But, photography wasn’t at the forefront of my mind. As I mentioned, it started off as a hobby, then quickly developed into something I felt I was good at.

What was the first camera you ever shot with? Do you remember your first recognizable talent?

The very first camera I shot with was the Canon AE1 film camera. I wasn’t much of a developer, they had labs for that. I leave the expertise to the experts. But, what I enjoyed was the simplicity of that camera. I used it with a 50mm lens, which in my humble opinion, is the best focal length to learn with. Prime lenses are sharp but they also teach you how to compose and frame a shot. There’s no zoom. So, you’ll have to walk back and forth to setup your shot. This method helped me to develop good habits when shooting and being more precise with my shots. I quickly learned that technology was here and was not slowing down. In comes the age of digital cameras! My first digital camera was a Nikon Coolpix camera. It was nice, did a pretty good job. Nonetheless, I knew that if I wanted to be taken more seriously and also have more flexibility to be creative, I need a professional grade body and serious lenses. My bank account didn’t agree at the time, but now, we’re the best of friends. I think the first recognizable talent I photographed was probably Tia & Tamera Mowry. I mean, who doesn’t know the uber popular series “Sister, Sister”? They were both so similar, still different but lovely and fun to work with. After that, things started to take off with other individuals.

How would you describe your style?

That’s always a tough question to answer, because I think it’s all about perspective and whoever is viewing my images and how it makes them feel. However, based on what my clients have told me, I would say that my style is classic and timeless. I really make it a point to create images that invoke the feeling or emotion of placing yourself in that very setting. So, whether I’m photographing someone or a particular travel destination, I hope that viewers can imagine themselves in that photograph and having it make a lasting impression on their minds.

What are some publications we can find your work in?

I’ve been very fortunate with the opportunities that I’ve had over the course of my career. Some of the publications where my work have been featured include Harper’s BAZAAR, Vanity Fair, GLAMOUR, ELLE, People Magazine L’Officiel and GMARO.

Can you name drop a few celebrities for us?

In no particular order, Meghan Markle, Paris Hilton, Regina King, Jeffrey Wright, Brenda Song, Sterling K. Brown, Wendi McLendon-Covey and Octavia Spencer to name a few.

How is it different shooting Real Ppl Vs “Talent” ?

At the core, there’s no difference because we’re all people, including celebrities. Obviously celebrities have this seemingly invisible wall around them and for good reason. Some of these individuals have people coming at them from all directions, all wanting something. It can be incredibly difficult for them, having to navigate what we take for granted (anonymity, privacy, etc). However, they want the same things we all want, and so I treat them the same. Most celebs want to be treated like normal. My approach to photographing someone is the same for all. Build trust, find common ground and have an enjoyable experience that we can all walk away from and remember in a positive way.

We see that you also branched out to Property and Travel/lifestyle – Do you have a preference?

I truly enjoy traveling. I love experiencing various cultures, ways of life, thinking, and living. You really find yourself when traveling. And if you allow yourself to be absorbed in the culture or location where you’re at, you’ll experience some amazing joys and walk away with different perspectives. It may not be your favorite place, but the education you gain will change your mindset and provide you with understanding. And, that in itself, is what is needed for our global community.

Where have you travelled to for photography?

I’ve been fortunate to travel to some amazing places of work. These include Croatia, Thailand, Paris, Bahamas, Mexico City, Dubai, Beirut, Panama, Costa Rica, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Rome. Some of these places I’ve been to multiple times. And yet, there’s still so many more places to explore.

There was once whispers on a book – is this still a thing in the works?

We’re still whispering. It’s still in the works because I’m a perfectionist and there are still new experiences coming to the fore. And so, I have to include these right? At some point, I’ll get out of my own way and force it to a completion.

Would you ever consider doing a “master class” ?

I would absolutely love to do a master class. A good friend of mine and I have been discussing and planning. Again, wanting this to be perfect, but at least my friend is there to balance me out and help me get to the finish line. It will be a fantastic way for me to give back and help up and coming creatives to learn about the business and the process of taking great photos.

What are you currently working on?

Besides the master class and writing a book, I have a few projects in the works. It’s a little pre-mature to discuss it right now but good things are happening and I look forward to sharing these at the right time!

Instagram: @dimitryl
Website: www.dimitryl.com

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