At seven years old, David Garcia’s parents gave him a point-and-shoot camera. He began photographing people all those years ago, and now does it for a living. He still owns that camera, and it still works. A graduate of Boston University’s Photography Program, and now located in Stoneham, Massachusetts, Garcia studied wedding portraiture, as well as fashion and model photography. Always aware he wanted to be a portrait photographer, he ranks wedding work as his favorite.
Garcia credits comfort with being the key to his success. Most of his clients come to him by word of mouth. Satisfied customers are his best advertisers. “My goal is to ultimately make the couples 100 percent comfortable with me, let their guard down and just have a good time,” he says. He is very forthcoming about his personality, both in person and via his site. Feeling this is a way to get couples to trust him, let their guard down, and create some great images, Garcia seems to have found the path to customer satisfaction bliss.
While specializing in wedding photography, Garcia shoots many types of events, from hockey to anniversaries to babies. When asked of the challenges found shooting things other than his preferred event, he was happy to share. “With the fashion industry, you have an exposure. It does vary from time to time, but it stays in that ballpark. With sports, I keep on changing angles. The lighting isn’t always as consistent, and I’m trying to get that speed to capture that moment.”
When at B.U., Garcia was torn between black and white and color. He now credits his wedding photography with creating a desire to see images that pop. “I think by saturating them, they really come to life,” he says. “I use Adobe Lightroom as well as Photoshop in the editing process to really make that happen, make them come to life. I have built maybe 30 to 40 Photoshop actions I use.”
Garcia tries to get as much correct in-camera as possible, regardless of what he’s shooting. “As far as the exposures go, I try to get those dead on, right in the camera,” he explains. “I rely on the Sekonic L-358 as well as the L-308s to get exposures exact. The meters are great. I got mine with the PocketWizard transmitter, so I’m able to sit there and I don’t have to go back and forth. I can just pop off a frame, and know exactly how much light I have. I like to be able to find the exposure accurately, as opposed to looking at the back of the camera, adjusting, then going back and forth, and back and forth. I really rely on those meters.”
When asked what shooters who don’t use meters might be missing out, Garcia is quick to reply. “I want to say they’re missing the exact exposure,” he says. “I think a lot of times today’s photographers kind of do it on the fly and just rely on their camera. As a professional photographer, we know most of the time in-camera meters aren’t as accurate. Relying on those meters actually speed up my processing time. I can turn around images much quicker than somebody who has to go in to adjust each one.”
Further discussing how light metering saves him money, Garcia used his wedding work as an example. “If I’m shooting a wedding and have a large number of exposures—like 3000 images—the savings adds up. If I were to actually go in there and balance every single exposure, we’d be hours behind the computer,” he explains.
As one of the few students who showed up at Boston University with a light meter in hand, Garcia was already aware of the importance of preparedness. “It came in so handy there, it really did,” he recalls. “A lot of people were just, you know, fumbling with settings and exposure and lighting and not really grasping the overall concept. It was just so much easier to say, ‘Here’s my light, here’s my setting. That’s it. Go with it.’ It gave me more time to actually connect with the subject and really work on the shoot, rather than the lighting itself.”
Working with three bodies, Garcia uses a Nikon D300, a Fuji S3, and a backup Nikon D70. He’s a big advocate of speed lights. “I use a lot of the Nikon portable speed flash,” he says. “If I don’t have time or the room for a complete light setup, I run mostly on the speed lights. I do, however, use Profoto studio equipment when I do more of the portraiture photos.” He favors the Acute system for studio shoots. PocketWizard Plus II units and the Mini and Flex models trigger his lights.
Besides never wishing to leave his beloved Massachusetts, another thing that won’t change too much for this photographer is his love of weddings. “I think it’s safe to say that weddings is where I’d like to be,” he declares. “I totally love weddings. What I’d actually like to do is mix both fields: weddings and fashion.”
In the future, look for a blending of what David Garcia loves to do most. “A little more fashion, a little more drama, [inserted] into my wedding photography,” he says, with a big grin. It’s a grin his clients keep coming back for, because it makes them comfortable and connected to the person behind the lens, and that makes for great pictures.
Written by Ron Egatz