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BetterPhoto Photography Interview with Ibarionex Perello - Part I

Ibarionex Perello is an online photography instructor, writer, as well as associate editor and course advisor here at In this interview, Ibarionex explains not only how he got into photography, but how he became a successful portrait photographer.

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How did you get first get interested in photography? And did you take classes or workshops?

Ibarionex Perello:

I learned photography while a member of the Boys Club of Hollywood. A counselor, Mike Cohen, restored a darkroom that hadn't been used for years and had two photojournalists come and teach us kids how to shoot, process film and make prints. From the moment I saw the image appear on paper in the developing tray, I was hooked. Though I have taken some classes in college, I have been mostly self taught, drawing most of my education on photography by studying the work of great photographers like William Albert Allard, Gordon Parks and Sam Abell.

You are a fine writer, as well as photographer. How has writing fit into your professional and/or personal life?

Ibarionex Perello:

I remember writing stories as early as first grade. It's always something that I wanted to do to the point that my parents bought me my first typewriter when I was still in elementary school. By high school, I was such a fast typist that my typing teacher had me do all the class exercises twice just to fill in the time. I love having the ability in both my fiction and my articles to express and share something of what I know and feel. It's especially great when I get to instruct others on photography. I love making pictures, but I also have a passion for helping others discover the magic of photography.

You were a technical engineer for Nikon for a number of years. What are some of the most common problems that camera owners have?

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Ibarionex Perello:

I think the biggest question was when they would want to use a particular feature. The instruction manuals would tell you how to set the camera, but they were never clear as to specific situations when you would want to utilize them. That was one of the reasons I designed my course: DSLR Features When, Why and How to Use Them . Today's cameras are amazing picture-taking tools, but without a concise understanding of when specific features can make a big difference in making a photograph, the camera becomes just another expensive luxury item. When you master the camera, the creative possibilities increase tremendously. You don't want to serve the camera. You want the camera to serve you.

Any unusual - or funny - problems come to mind from your Nikon tech support years?

Ibarionex Perello:

We had a lot of funny stories there. I guess one of the funniest and saddest calls was a customer whose neighborhood had been subject to a series of burglaries. In an attempt to hide his camera from theft, he thought it would be a good idea to hide his camera in his kitchen... in the oven. Which might have been a good idea if he had bothered to tell his wife what he was doing. A camera doesn't really respond well to three-hundred and fifty degrees. Maybe cookies, but not cameras.

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