Before & After | Mike Rodriguez

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Yep! Christmas comes early this year with this week’s Before & After! Our friend and colleague Mike Rodriguez really pulled out all the stops, giving us a play-by-play of his process and how this image came together. 

Seriously, guys. This is the gift that keeps on giving. Enjoy!

Oh, and, hey! Happy Holidays to you from all of us at LooksLikeFilm! Cheers!

Mike. You. Go!

My name is Mike Rodriguez and I was born in Monterrey, Mexico.

I have always worked in sales; from computers to cars, my last job before becoming a photographer was in a business coaching franchise, then I took the step to become an independent photographer . . . currently 3 years in the making.

Since that day I have always tried to do my best, doing what I love. I now have a studio named Vimedia Photographers, based in Monterrey, but we mostly do wedding photography around the globe.

By what artists/creatives are you influenced? What inspires you?

I’ve been inspired by a lot of people in my life, some are photographers while others are not. I’m the kind of person that prefers to follow someone because of their personality and humanity than just their work.

One of them being my friend and neighbor, Fer Juaristi. His work is amazing, but even more so his personality and passion for what he does!!

Sam Hurd, another amazing photographer and one of my greatest mentors.  I met him at Fer’s house during a workshop and his work changed my mind forever.  There’s definitely a noticeable change in me which I like to call the “before and after I met Sam.”

Erika and Lanny Mann have without a doubt influenced much of the work I do today, but I also admire them because they are very professional. They have everything I hope to be in this industry; technique, charisma, the business, the images. They are definitely one of my top inspirations and they also happened to be my wedding photographers 😀 !!

Gabe McClintock has some of the most romantic and nostalgic photos I’ve ever seen, and I love them. His posts are amazing, too.

But I must admit I am inspired by one special person . . .  my fiancé Monica. She has pushed me to do things that I probably couldn’t have done by myself, she has taken my fears and obstacles away. She has helped me believe in myself, she is just my perfect friend and partner.

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Do you have a vision in mind before going out and shooting? Tell us about about your workflow and how the vision comes to life before shooting and in post.

I need to be honest with you guys, I never go out with something specific in my mind. I think that if you try to control things, you’ll only be disappointed. You can’t control the weather, the sunlight, or the moments, so I prefer to be surprised by what’s going on at that specific moment.

But I have to tell you that I am a symmetry freak. When I find a place that’s symmetrically perfect, I have to take a shot, even if that means getting on top of a roof, or down on the floor. I don’t mind getting dirty, so I guess I’d consider myself to be a risky photographer.

I shoot with minimum equipment; this allows me to be more creative and fast when I need to get a shot. I use a Nikon D750, a Sigma 35mm 1.4 Art Lens, and a Nikon 85mm 1.8G. That’s all I carry in my bag.

I do culling in Photomechanic 5, and edit my Photos in Lightroom CC. My favorite presets are Fernwehs C1, C5 and B&W. I use them as a base to start, and then make some tweaks depending on what the image needs.

Now tell us how this amazing image came together, from conception to completion.

I was doing a photo shoot for Maria Fernanda in NYC and we were on her building’s rooftop. I wanted to do something where I could show the Empire State Building, but at the same time wanted a good portrait of her, so I tried this:


I was happy with it, but I knew that it wasn’t the best shot I could do in this amazing place, so I decided to sit her in a chair to have more sky and buildings, but pointing towards One World Trade Center like this:


That was the moment when I decided to take a double exposure, so I switched my camera to double exposure mode. I overexposed 1 step to blow up the sky and that was my first shot (the portrait of her). I shot it twice by mistake and this was the result:


At that moment I thought, this is good for a double exposure but I need something about NYC so I decided to look around to find some good spots, and I tried this:


When I looked at the back of my camera I saw the empire state and thought, “I need her to look like she is looking at the empire state to have more impact so the eyes and the empire state have to be in the same direction.” And, my next shot was this . . . . the SOOC Image.


Time to Edit in LR. I used the Fernweh C1 Preset.


The last step was to use Exposure 7 for sharpening, some color correction and grain.


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And here are a slew of gorgeous images from this session. Merry Christmas, everyone!

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Follow Mike!


Comments (3)

  1. Iván Lomelí

    Thanks for sharing…

  2. Helena ✈

    Gorgeous pictures!

  3. audrey nilsen

    Love your thought process on these images. The overlay of nyc is fabulous!!

    Audrey Nilsen

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