Check Out The Online Shop: NEW Designs Every Month

One thing that always bothered me as a photographer was knowing I had so many amazing pictures just sitting in my hard-drive collecting dust. Of course, I would share them on my social media platforms and maybe even write a blog post, but that's it. I wasn't satisfied with that process because I felt as if I wasn't using my images to their full potential. That's when I got the idea back in May to use my images to create merchandise: t-shirts, sweaters, tote bags, etc.

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T-shirts, Hoodies, Totes & More!

Great Quality + Unique Designs

I partnered up with a company in California to make great quality products using only images from my very own collections. This means every product comes with a story. Take a second to browse THE SHOP to see for yourself what I mean. Another cool fact is that every product is made to order. So yes, it's made just for you!

Place an order online and I'll take care of the rest. -FLAKO

Place an order online and I'll take care of the rest. -FLAKO

One big THANK YOU to everyone who has purchased merchandise. I will be updating the shop with new designs every month. My goal is to continue creating amazing products using my original work. Please make it a habit to stop by and see what's new in the shop AND on the blog. 

#ThinkAndCreate

Tips To Improve Your Documentary Photography

I'm constantly asked for tips on documentary/street photography. How do you approach people in the street? How do you manage to capture that decisive moment? How do you get the story out of people? I was inspired to put this post together with hopes that it will help you all improve your skills. Here are some of my tips and tricks.

Boston 2014

Be Friendly

My first words of advice are simple- be friendly. At the end of the day, no matter how you word it, you're literally approaching complete strangers in the street (or foreign environment). Imagine yourself walking to work, or anywhere in general, and being approached by a man (or woman) with a camera. Good energy, good manners and a good attitude should be a part of every photographer's equipment. You'll be surprised how powerful a smile can be.

Share Your Work

Exactly what the sub-title says- share your work! This isn't always a must, but I have been in situations where this has made the difference. If you ask me, it's understandable. I personally wouldn't go to a barber or a tattoo artist without seeing work they have already done. The same goes for us photographers. Some people don't feel comfortable allowing you to take a picture until they know they can trust you with their image. This is why I always try my best to carry my work with me. Whether it's a few pictures on my phone or a photobook of one of my collections. Also, don't just show them your work. Tell them about yourself and what your work represents. People relate to stories.

Betances Festival 2017

Ask Questions

This piece of advice is more for those interested in fishing for stories. I always say that a picture is worth a thousand words, but a picture with a thousand words is worth twice as much. This is why I enjoy sharing the stories behind my images. Try to get into the habit of asking lots of questions while out in the field. Where were you born? How long have you lived here? Do you have any brothers or sisters? What do you do for fun? What's your favorite color? Ask them anything and everything you can think of at the moment. There's no such thing as a stupid question. You never know which one will open the door to the story you are looking for. 

Build Relationships

This is possibly the most important one of all. I might even go as far as calling it my secret weapon. Whether I'm walking around Downtown Boston or exploring the alleys in Puerto Rico, I always make it a point to build a relationship with my subject before I take a picture. Of course, sometimes you don't have time on your side, but when you do, take advantage of it. I'll give you an example: when I went down to the Dominican Republic to work on a project, I didn't bring my Canon out until the third day of the trip. I invested the first two days into getting to know the locals and their culture. The benefit of this was that by the time I started taking pictures, everyone was comfortable with the idea of me being a photographer and weren't as intimated by my camera as they would have been if I started photographing on day one.

Don't forget to put these into practice next time you decide to go for a photowalk. Did this post help you? Please tell me how in the comments below!

#ThinkAndCreate

While Walking Around Old San Juan

When ever I'm in Puerto Rico I make sure to reserve time to wander around Old San Juan. It's one of my favorite places on the island. It's a city flooded with culture, history and adventures. There is always a picture waiting around the corner.

San Juan, PR (2017)

The image above is from my last trip there (June 2017). I was walking around the streets of this magical city when I came across this sign, on display. It translates to "I never quit". I instantly felt the need to document it and bring it back home with me; for many reasons. It made me think of all the powerful, influential Puerto Ricans I have met and read about. Individuals like Ramón Emeterio BetancesPedro Albizu Campos, Roberto Clemente and many more. We all have a unique story to tell. We all face challenges, one way or another. The important part is to remember that we will never quit. We will forever weather the storm.

#ThinkAndCReate

3 Photography Projects To Help Spark Your Creativity

I recently added The Photographer's Playbook to my book collection. It has 307 assignments and ideas for photographers of all skill levels. I know sometimes we all need something to spark our creativity so I wanted to share these projects with you all. Have fun!

Bad 'Ting (2016)

Bad 'Ting (2016)

1. Important People: Ask yourself who is really important to you and photograph that person. Ask that person to me two people who are really important to them, and photograph these people too. (Sebastian Hau)

2. Traveler: Pick a pedestrian and follow them. Don't photograph them. JJust go where they take you and photograph along the way. Consider yourself a passenger and make the most out of where you are taken. When you lose them, follow someone new. Repeat. (Gus Powell)

3. Flirtation: Photograph several people who you would like to sleep with, but who do not know you want to sleep with them. (Nicholas Nixon)

The best way to master something is to step outside of your comfort zone and push your creativity.

#ThinkAndCreate

Al Capone's Jail Cell (Eastern State Penitentiary)

I'm going to assume you already know who Al Capone is. After all, he is America's most legendary gangster, in my opinion. He started off as a bouncer and worked his way up to a mob boss. He was giving the nickname "Scarface" and was the mastermind behind the Saint Valentine's Day Massacre. Need I say more? This is why I was excited to visit the jail cell where he spent 9 months after being arrested by the FBI in Chicago during the year of 1929. 

Have you ever been to the Eastern State Penitentiary? If so, how was your visit? Did you stop by Al Capone's cell? If not, you should! It's almost like time traveling. 

#ThinkAndCreate