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Finally Focused NY to LA: Episode 5 Photographer Ace of LA

“The image that we create enhances that person to be bigger than life.”

Ace of LA

Ace of LA, black Commes des Garçons tee on, black snapback faced backward, speaks from his studio in a reclined black chair.

As he speaks, it is clear he is reflecting on his journey, with a visceral understanding in a solemn tone that he always wanted to be a photographer, and thus was always going to be.

“I knew my purpose at a young age. And that’s what I wanted to do no matter what.”

Ace of LA

Photographer Ace of LA takes the first step towards success…

Ace of LA is a photographer based out of Los Angeles. Born in Mexico, from an early age there was never any doubt about what he wanted to do.

“The changes that I went through defined who I was as a person.”

Ace of LA
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THE ETERNAL

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He dropped out of high school at an early age to become a photographer. And amidst family members and peers thinking it was a hobby, temporary, or just fun-and-games, photographer Ace of LA stuck with his craft because he knew it was anything but.

He started taking pictures of people he wanted to photograph; “people that gave you that magnitude in front of the camera…” He then transitioned into photographing models, often with no pay.

But Ace of LA doesn’t see free work as just that, because that endeavor is always going to end up in securing a bigger paid opportunity.

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IN MY MIND w. @queenofblood

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“That’s one of the biggest things to me, just knowing the value of yourself, what you bring to the table.”

Ace of LA

Ace of LA has shot for Ty Dolla $ign, Wiz Khalifa, Common, Nipsey Hussle, and many more in his career. And he’s just getting started.

“We are in a never-ending journey,” Ace of LA says solemnly. There isn’t a day that goes by where he does not learn something new about himself and his craft.

“The only thing I can tell that young shooter is just to keep being hungry, keep wanting to create, and keep wanting to excel.”

Ace of LA

Ace of LA’s ability to live in the moment enables him to stay grounded and focused on the task at hand. Treating every project like it is a big-budget blockbuster means he is always seeing the best work emanating from his eye and fingertips.

Stay tuned for more of his work and his fashion line here, and check out the rest of our Finally Focused series below.


Watch the entire season of Finally Focused below

Finally Focused NY to LA: How photographer Ace of LA found the perfect angle

So maybe for those of us on the East Coast or just not in tune with our creative side, have you ever heard of Ace of LA? Let me just say, here’s one shooter who has completely transcended what we all think makes up the word “photographer.”

We got an exclusive chance to talk to Adalberto Ramos, or “Ace” for short, about his methodology behind photography, and generally what he thinks about a lot of common “shooter-esque” questions.

I personally know that starting out with my first camera, all I could think about was the fact that everyone’s equipment around me looked so much better. Forget talent or hard work. There were thoughts that I’d simply never be able to create something as great as some of these shooters with my little Canon Rebel T6 that plagued my mind on a day-to-day basis.

@aceofla

Ace was genuine in his answers and gave a perspective similar to so many shooters around the world, including myself.

“Cameras are like relationships. Some mean the world to me and some… I just don’t even think about them. I feel like cameras represent a time period as relationships do. So to say what the first camera I owned was like describing my first relationship – A MESS!

Now how many of us can relate? Ace continued:

“And it’s easier just to say “hey, I’m a photographer” versus “I really don’t know what I’m doing with this camera. I just know it feels right… I’m just simply enjoying moments.”

If that wasn’t you starting out, then I don’t know man, do you, but this to me is just too accurate. How many of us starting out in photography just wanted to shoot artists, models, or anything else, but couldn’t?

@aceofla

It’s always comforting knowing someone ahead of you experienced the same difficulties in the beginning.

“You have to understand, I didn’t go to school for this. I learned as I experienced life. Which lead me to figure out the camera. But it’s not the camera that makes you capture great moments because it’s just a camera…”

“It’s what you experience and what you want the world to see when you press that button. The pain, the beauty… you name it.”

He makes the best point here. The greatest aspects can’t be taught, they’re acquired. Everybody’s photos generally look the same, mostly because of editing, but once you scratch that, what’s left? Each and every shooter’s outlook on life.

For most of us, we find ourselves living life through a lens – Once you take that step back, and actually live what you experience, you might see your perspective change.

“My biggest challenge was allowing myself to see what I am experiencing.”

@aceofla

The Mexican American lensman has made strides within his craft and not for one second did he let his ethnic background or racial identity stop him from accomplishing his photographic goals. That’s the type of focus I’m talking about.

As we talked, we got more in-depth about working and really making photography more than a hobby. A lot of us have the talent, but just haven’t yet found the right outlet to make it sustainable.

“People pay for what they want. But free work is still work. That’s the biggest misconception people who just started ‘creating’ don’t get. You have to give in order to receive… If you do good work, people will pay for your good work. You’re only as good as your last job.”

It’s true really. We’re so quick to get the bag, that we forget the process. Sometimes expanding horizontally is just as beneficial as vertically. Another big point Ace of LA made surrounded preparation for shoots, and just maintaining focus.

“If you don’t love the subject then there is really nothing to focus on. So you must love the subject. As corny or as stupid that may sound. But it’s the truth.”

@aceofla

Ace explained that “when you love something, there are no distractions.” As a direct result of diving headfirst into his craft, “he’s able to ignore the world.” These emotions help bring lighting and composition to the world each photographer is trying to create.

It happens too often for young shooters either taking on a task they have zero interest in or too much to handle. Nonetheless, if you love and appreciate what you’re shooting, there won’t be a failure. Allow your senses to kick in and shoot your experience.

Everything we talked about was so relevant especially to this new generation of shooters worldwide – Even extending to creators, everything was relatable. As far as any last bits of knowledge, he said it best.

“Attitude determines what you capture. What you capture is what you focus on. What you focus on develops who you are.”

Thanks, Ace, and remember, young photographers, stay the course.

@aceofla