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Meet Flor Blake

Today we’d like to introduce you to Flor Blake.

Flor, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I grew up in the Caribbean, the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. My parents are both very creative people so that’s where I get the creativity gene.

In photography, I started like most of us do. I woke up one day not liking what I was doing with my life and decided to pursue something I wanted to do since I was a teenager, but didn’t do it then because I didn’t think it was possible. That day was roughly 12 years ago. I took a film photography class while I was living in NYC. Soon after the class ended, I moved to Denver (chasing after my now wife.) Once in Denver, I thought to myself, “you’re not going to do here what you did in NYC, you’re gonna do things.” And I started to look for things to do. With my little point and shoot camera in hand, I found a local photography group that also crowdfunded to put out a magazine with the work of the members. We did photography shows, meetings to learn from each other, and shared what we were working on. Then, I started drafting ideas and asking every friend I had to pose for me. At the same time at my full-time job, I started taking on some photography responsibilities and little by little, I started building a portfolio of portrait work and learning about editorial photography, photos for nonprofits, events, etc.

Traveling is another love of mine and after my first time in Europe, I decided I wanted to work on doing sessions in the cities I visited. That’s when I discovered traveling branding photography was a thing and knew that it needed to be part of the way I do business. So, with a lot of patience, plus developing meaningful relationships throughout the years, working hard on the craft of photography, pushing myself out of my comfort zone more times that I’d like to admit, and with the support of my wife who loves me and helps me with every “brilliant idea” I have, I got to where I am today.

Has it been a smooth road? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
It’s been a bumpy and rewarding 12-year ride, full of lessons that have made me a better professional. With that said, here are a few things nobody tells you about, especially when you’re a solo operation:
-You’re a solo operation, so at the beginning, you’re it for everything, from picture taking to bookkeeping, to marketing, you are doing most things yourself.
-It is hard to find your style and also to stay consistent about it.
-It’s tough to hear criticism that is not accompanied by constructive feedback.
-It’s hard to not get discouraged when it takes you 55 times to get a technique right.
-It may take 6 years to finish a series.
-Everything is more expensive than you think, and because photography equipment is so expensive you think paying $100 dollars for something it’s a steal!
-You need to learn how to troubleshoot everything because you may be in the middle of a shoot and the camera stops working properly, or the lights aren’t lighting, because equipment fails all the time and you need to be able to fix it on the fly. Yes, even the really expensive equipment.
-You spend hours editing pictures, and you try to remember to save your work, but the time you didn’t save it, that’s the time the computer fails and all those hours of work are gone.
-And being a photographer is a beautiful thing, however, you’re also running a business, you have to file taxes, stay organized, email people, send invoices, create contracts, do your marketing, clean out your hard drives, update your software, clean your equipment, keep track of said equipment, and many other things.

Now, you know, so you’re welcome! Yay!

I must say that passion makes all of those struggles seem smaller because you love what you’re doing so much that you don’t mind them. So, waking up at 4:30 am to do a sunrise photo shoot at a cool location, or walking 15 miles doing photoshoots in a new city lugging heavy equipment, is actually a delight because you are living your dream and you’re actually remarkably fortunate to get to do the work you love.

Tell us about your work. What do you do, what do you specialize in, what are you known for, etc. What are you most proud of as a company? What sets you apart from others?
I am a Portrait photographer that specializes in Editorial, Commercial and Personal Branding. We live in a world where photographs rule, especially with social platforms that emphasize the sharing of pictures, so I help businesses, publications, organizations, and individuals elevate their image, business, and brand by creating photographs that help them shine brightly online. I am known for lifestyle editorial images that are colorful and vibrant. My clients come to me because they want photographs that will showcase their personality with photography that makes you stop scrolling.

My business is all about capturing the true self of my clients. The more people get to see how genuine my clients are, the more success they have, and by default, the more success I have. I provide an experience, an opportunity to explore inner beauty, authenticity, emotion, and fun, all captured in captivating colors.

I honestly believe that everybody is beautiful, and I take pride in showing even my shyest clients that they too are gorgeous and deserve to be portrayed as such. We have a ton of fun in the sessions, and we laugh a lot, so you could say I am proud of making people happy.

What has been the proudest moment of your career so far?
I am super proud to be a working professional!

The proudest moment of my career has to be the moment my parents started telling everybody their daughter is a photographer! I know it sounds cheesy, but as the oldest of four girls, I think I was unconsciously looking for my parents’ approval the whole time, so when they started telling everybody, that was the moment when I felt like: “Yay, I made it!” And when that started happening I took advantage of it and convinced them to do a photo shoot to celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary!

I’m also proud of being chosen to photograph what I see as important figures in our current environment. To name a few, I got to photograph former First Lady Michelle Obama, feminist activist Gloria Steinem, legendary actress Ellen Burstyn, presidential candidate Julián Castro, and a few other people who are working to help society and move this world forward.

If I can give advice to anybody reading this, is to know that you are capable of doing anything your heart desires. Push yourself to master whatever it is that you want to do, and then keep learning some more. Be patient, patience is underrated and it will take you way farther than desperation. Work hard, because when you work hard, share kindness, and surround yourself with people who truly have your best interest at heart, the world is your oyster. And once you’ve done all that, remember to give back, because the world always needs more people that love what they do and help each other out.

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