Love Like You Never Been Hurt Before

Boston 2016

Boston 2016

Remember when you were a teenager and found love for the first time? Remember how magical it felt? As if you've discovered something you've only read about in books.

Remember how deep you use to love? Before you ever tasted the pain that comes with a broken promise. Before you've felt the coldness of a lonely night.

Remember that feeling you got in your bones while writing a love letter during science class? The way your mind use to marry words and give birth to phrases that would melt any young heart? Remember that?

I know it's easy to become cold after your heart has been played like an instrument. I know it's easy to remain in your comfort zone and not risk losing another piece of yourself to the wrong person. After all, how many pieces can we afford to lose before losing ourselves?

But the truth is that everything worth fighting for is on the other side of fear. Every experience, whether good or bad, is an opportunity for us to learn and grow as an individual. Start by learning to love yourself before you ever commit to someone else. Self-love is key!

Think about it: who knows you more than you? Make time to take yourself out to eat at your favorite local spot. Spend a day doing something you are passionate about or something you always wanted to do. Go to the mall and buy yourself a gift. This is important because how could you ever love someone else if you can't even love yourself?

Once you get into the habit of spoiling yourself with love, anyone that comes into your life has to meet those same standards. They must love you as much as you love yourself (and vise versa). Get it? 

With that said, I just want to ask who ever takes the time to read these words to not only be brave enough to love again, but to love like you never been hurt before.

#ThinkAndCreate

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