The Art of Perfect Practice

Episode #157: Weekend Wisdom with Skip Cohen, interview with Roberto Valenzuela (34 minutes)

Discussion Topics

  1. Constantly Improving
  2. practice makes perfect
  3. playing with light
  4. stepping out of the box

Roberto Valenzuela

World-Renowned Award Winning Photographer, Author and Educator

Roberto Valenzuela is a photographer, author and educator based in Beverly Hills, CA. He developed his unique teaching style by following the same practice regimen he developed as a professional concert classical guitarist and educator. Roberto believes that it is not talent but deliberate practice that is at the core of skill and achievement. He has traveled to every corner of the world motivating photographers to practice and break down the various elements of photography in order to master them through goal setting, self-training, and constant dedication.

Roberto serves as a judge for photographic print competitions in Europe, Mexico, South America, and the most prestigious International photography competitions held in the United States through the Wedding and Portrait Photographers International (WPPI) in Las Vegas, NV.

Roberto Valenzuela teaches private workshops, seminars, and platform classes at the largest photography conventions in the world. He has been an International first place winner three times and has been nominated by his peers as one of the ten most influential photographers and educators in the world. His first book Picture Perfect Practice became a top selling photography-training book and it is sold worldwide.

Aside from the world of photography, Roberto is a high performance remote control helicopter pilot, a (not so good anymore) classical guitarist, and a table tennis fanatic. He is also a major foodie and is still searching for the most amazing red wine and the most pungent cheeses. His search for the perfect steak is over; he found it in the Japanese Wagyu.

Summary of Discussion Topics:

  • The importance of wanting to constantly improve and move forward with your craft.
  • Reflections on the low barrier-to-entry of professional photography.
  • Having a deliberate practice regiment to improve your skills.
  • What you can do to make sure you are practicing the “right way”.
  • Exploring and improving skills with lighting through practice.
  • Exploring posing parameters and giving direction through practice.
  • The stigma surrounding the word practice.
  • Exploring the use of equipment rentals for practice, and to help you justify actually making an expensive equipment purchase.
  • How you are selling yourself short by saying you are a “natural light” photographer, and the importance of learning how to use lighting tools and techniques.
  • Following a lighting vision for an image vs. a lighting style.
  • Photography as a career where you can never learn too much, and why you should never “specialize”.
  • Roberto’s advice to how you can make the most of practicing and where to start.

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