“The most important part of my work is the preproduction phase, where my ideas spark,” says photographer Eli Infante to the Phoblographer in an interview. “…When I first started capturing portraits, I ignored details which often left me regretting not spending more time planning. During my preproduction phase, important things I consider are locations, colors, wardrobe, and makeup.” Once Eli has figured out all of that, he thinks about gear, the subjects, and the moment. By all means, it often makes him a much better photographer for it.
All images by Eli Infante. Used with permission. We transparently found Eli from Gura Gear‘s newsletter. If you’re interested, the Phoblographer’s subscription membership includes a discount on Gura Gear products.
Eli was introduced to Photoshop in high school; and that’s where he got into photo editing and manipulation. Then he purchased a camera and veered toward portrait photography. “As a beginner, I worked with natural light and transitioned to strobes outdoors and in the studio,” he states. “My work is known for my high-speed sync portraits outdoors, capturing the dramatic Texas sunsets. I also focus in the studio, developing creative light setups with creative gels and unique modifiers.” He continues to state that he doesn’t stray away from hard light in his portraits and noticed that it’s something that needs to be added into portrait photographers’ portfolios.
He considered it a completely new way of working with subjects as it also helped him cure his boredom of repeating the same look over and over again. “If you find yourself using the same lighting style, consider expanding your comfort zone and trying different qualities of light,” he states.
Eli uses some great gear on set. He loves the Canon R5 and RF 24-105mm f4 L IS USM for in-studio work. In fact, he can achieve 90% of his looks with that one lens. Sometimes he’ll used a 70-200mm for tight shots. On location, he uses the Sony a7 IV with the Sigma 35mm f1.2. However, he also reaches for Zeiss 50mm and 85mm lenses when he wants better bokeh.
Of course, Eli cares a lot about his ideas. And overall, he believes that AI technology and what it can do is incredible. “It opens up new possibilities for photography and inspiration,” he tells us. “If used correctly with apps like mid-journey, it can level up your photography for new ideas. I’ve used it to previsualize photoshoot ideas.” Indeed, lots of photographers have used it for mood boarding. But Eli says that he wouldn’t go down the rabbit hole and only make AI content.
“Using it as a source of inspiration is essential, but nothing will beat the hands-on process of creating portraits in person.”