Ramona Rosales loves the offbeat.
A native of Los Angeles, with a BFA from the Art Center College of Design and an impressive portfolio that includes unforgettable shots of the likes of Emma Stone, Kevin Hart, Tina Fey, and Lupita Nyongo, Ramona is every bit as memorable as the pictures she takes.
We caught up with the busy photographer during a shoot at The Hollywood Roosevelt with America Ferrera following the Oscars, to discuss photography, art, and inspiration.
You are known for your work with celebrities, although your artistic portfolio is equally amazing, how did shooting these artists begin for you?
From college, I set out to work on more conceptual and fashion projects. I was assisting back and forth between NY and LA, and my early assignments would be actors or musicians when I was in LA. Eventually all of my editorial work was mostly celebrity, but as a creative outlet I would always work on personal series and projects to fulfill my love of color and theatrics. Luckily by now I am able to bridge both worlds together with clients who believe in me and my approach.
It must be a high pressure environment, what is your process to get the best out of a subject?
For the most part I do my homework on the subjects. I’ve been blessed to have been able to collaborate with people who’s work I am already a fan of, so those projects are more collaborative or organic since I already have a connection. Vice versa, I try to allow time to chat with the subject before we shoot and share my work with layouts, or my plans, and direct them into character. Usually when I share my inspiration and mood, the subjects can translate it into their own approach and it plays out into a natural harmony.
Is your work reflective of how you see these people or how they want to be seen? Where is the balance?
There is definitely a balance, I try to make it as collaborative as possible. Based on the subjects or their current projects, I’ll incorporate a few elements or visual cues to tell the story but allow myself to inject my style or point of view while moving the subject to a specific direction while giving them the opportunity to mix it up or improvise.
Are you ever seduced by the glitz of it all?
I’m a sucker for beautiful locations and wardrobe, It’s so easy to get lost in it all, but I like to consider myself pretty down to earth.
Who or what inspires you creatively?
I’m inspired by so many things but mostly music and film, there are so many endless possibilities! Photography wise, my absolute favorite photographer is Guy Bordin, so much sexy color with a wink of humor. I’m also a huge fan of Louise Dahl-Wolfe & Martin Munkasci. But seriously I find inspiration in everything, every day.
You have shot a few times at The Hollywood Roosevelt, what is it about the location that brings you back?
One thing I appreciate about The Hollywood Roosevelt is that it’s truly a classic Los Angeles location that holds on to the history and (in classic LA fashion) looks better with age. You do genuinely feel like you are in the thick of glamour and a timeless escape of reality just outside its doors. There are so many gorgeous bars, clubs and restaurants to play off of and the attention to detail gives me endless options and ideas to pair the right subjects with. The rooms have the most beautiful light that streams in and mixes well with the lovely and comfortable appointed decor. The Hollywood Roosevelt is truly one of my favorite locations in LA.
When you’re traveling from shoot-to-shoot what are your 3 “must pack” traveling essentials and why?
I always pack a bathing suit, an evening outfit and good mix tape…. you never know who wants to meet up after a shoot for cocktails, dance or go for a swim.
Favorite location you’ve been to in the last year? Why?
New Orleans is one of my favorite cites (it’s tied with Chicago, which is just behind LA & NY). New Orleans is so vibrant in color and energy. The best people and of course the music and the food is the best.
Do you like having your picture taken?
I absolutely loathe it, I’d much rather be behind the camera. I’m pretty sure it’s a control issue, Ha!
What’s next for Ramona Rosales?
I’m currently juggling editorial and commercial work with my next gallery series that involves a ton of color, a new muse and concept that makes it feel like it’s summer all year round.
Finally, what is your favorite thing to do in bed?
Everything but sleep, though I could use some sleep.