Fashion and style photographer Dennis Tejero has always been interested in the arts, and express himself everyday with his camera. Primarily shooting fashion, but not limited to just that, Dennis has a unique way of capturing style mixed with emotion.
Dennis has worked with companies such as G-Star Raw, Hypebeast, Juicy Couture, and more to help create campaigns, editorials, look-books, and other visuals. Read more about the Philippines-born photographer below to find out how he is able to bring his ideas to life through the means of his camera.
1. Tell us a little bit about your childhood and background. When did you first pick up a camera?
I was born and raised in the Philippines and came to the United States in the middle of high school. Was always an artsy kid. When I was in grade school, I won a few drawing competitions and took every art class in high school. Ironically, I did not take the photography course because I hated how the chemicals smelled when developing film.
I first picked up a real camera not too long ago and just fell in love. Been shooting non-stop since. There was a time when I shot one to three models a day for multiple months. That was A LOT of editing.
2. What and/or who were some of your inspirations when you first began shooting?
When I first began shooting, I was doing a lot of street photography so I was looking into a lot of Henri Cartier-Bresson photos. Then I rediscovered Steve McCurry’s work and got obsessed with color and portraiture.
3. Have your influences and inspirations changed since then?
Now since my main focus has changed into fashion photography, I’m inspired more by image makers in the fashion industry. There are the legends like Helmut Newton, Richard Avedon, Peter Lindbergh, and Meisel that I really love. Currently, Alasdair McLellan and Glen Luchford are my faves due to their recent campaigns with Miu Miu and Gucci respectively.
4. What kind of photography equipment did you use when you first started?
5. How has your equipment changed since your first started and what impact do you think equipment (camera, lens, etc…) has on a photographer?
Right now, I am shooting mainly on a Nikon D750 and three lenses but my favorite is my 24-70mm. I think a full frame and 24-70mm lens is the perfect combo if you want to get into fashion photography. I love the fact that I can stick with one lens throughout an editorial shoot and not burden my assistants with lens changes. This makes a more seamless experience when shooting the typical 6 to 12 looks for a fashion story.
I think my equipment definitely impacted my work. I can translate what I have in my head into an image much easier with better gear. Do I think I can still do it with a “lesser” camera and lens? Of course. I think people get easily lost in features and forget that the first legendary photographers did not have the luxury of let’s say a 7 FPS camera or megapixels for days. I think if you understand the basics of photography and light well, you can still create special images.
6. What is it about fashion photography that pulled you in?
Aside from having an affinity for clothes already, I think what really drew me in is the fact that I love concepting and collaborating. I think fashion photography through editorials allows that. Since getting into fashion photography, I have met so many creatives whether they are models, stylists, makeup artists, or even agents, which a lot have become close friends. So initially it was the clothes, then the people kept me in it.
7. What are some things you always make sure of when planning a photoshoot?
The main things for me are a great mood-board that everyone loves and a fantastic team. I think my best works were realized when I assembled the best team possible and cast the perfect model. Location is crucial as well. I go on a lot of location scouts before every shoot to help me plan out the day.
8. Who are some of your favorite models and stylists to work with?
I can’t say who specifically but I love models and stylists that give it their all during a shoot. For models, I love it when they really get into character and know how to express not only through their poses but facial expressions as well. And I love stylists who can put together unexpected combinations of color and shapes.
9. Take us through your process after a shoot.
I edit with Lightroom for color grading and Photoshop for retouching. During a shoot, I already have a mental list of the best shots from the editorial so I make a mental note of those photos already even before I load up my card onto my computer. Although, I still make it a point to go through the whole set before calling it a day because some of my favorite images that I have taken actually looked “ok” behind my preview screen but ended up looking epic in full screen on my computer screen.
10. Do you have any special tips for editing portraits?
I think the main thing is making sure that the skin looks perfect and to compose the image in a way that the subject is truly the star through great cropping. Also, don’t over retouch! I do minimal retouching if any but it’s important to take care of things like acne and stray hairs.
11. Who do you hope to work with in the future?
Of course, the main goal for a fashion photographer is to shoot stories and covers for big magazines like Vogue, CR Fashion Book, Harper’s Bazaar, and others. I also would love to shoot campaigns for major brands like Gucci. I have a long way to go but that’s the main goal! Also, Kate Moss and Amber Valletta, if you are reading this… let’s shoot.
To find more of our interviews with all different types of photographers, check out:
- The Anthony Trevino Interview
- The Andrew Kearns Interview
- The Allegra Messina Interview
- The Alivia Latimer Interview
- The Olivier Wong Interview