It’s not every day that a fashion designer moves away from styling photos and gets behind the camera to click the shutter.
For Ron Wash, it was time for a change. After building a contemporary menswear apparel company in Los Angeles, he decided to leave his fashion career behind and return to his first love… photography.
Since then, he has won photography awards, shown in galleries, and his images are part of the California African American Museum in Exposition Park. Ron says with a smile, “You don’t need to reinvent the wheel… just create a better one.”
We caught up with Ron to learn about his background in the fashion industry, his experience as one of the very first photographers in the PhotoShelter mentorship program, and more. Read through our interview below and follow along on Instagram to see more of Ron’s bold and beautiful portrait photography.
How did you get your start in photography?
I always had a camera growing up. Relatives would ask me to bring my camera to family functions in my teens. My very first portrait was my great grandmother who was in her 90’s at the time. I photographed her in my grandmother’s kitchen with natural light from the louver windows. It was a strong image all of my family loved. This was the start.
What do you love about portrait and fashion photography? How has your career in the apparel industry informed or affected your approach/appreciation for photography?
I love the interaction with the subject in portrait and fashion photography. I always want to convey something about them, the moment or a feeling. My fashion background always serves as a base for styling a photo. However, I am practicing restraint 🙂
You were recently a mentee in our second-ever mentorship class! Can you share a little bit about your experience, your mentor and what you took away from the program?
I reached a point in my photography career where I wanted someone to look at my work with a critical eye. So, I decided to become a mentee. I wanted to throw everything on the table and let a notable photographer (mentor) look at it. We discussed where I had been and where I wanted to go. It was a positive experience for me and it refocused my photography work.
Looking to learn more about photography mentorship? Download our free guide, Photography Mentorship: Why You Need it and Why it Helps Everyone.
Any tips you have for your fellow fashion or portrait photographers? What’s one thing you wish you knew when first getting started?
Just do it! You don’t need the most expensive equipment to make great photos. Use your creativity and shine! Trust your instincts.
How long have you been using PhotoShelter? How does it help with your creative workflow and/or your photo business?
I have been with PhotoShelter for many years (10?). It has been a great platform to host and build my website. Clients have pulled up my website and hired me. Plus, I have been a part of the PhotoShelter community where I have been a mentee and met other photographers in the field.