Board of Directors: Ralph Romaguera, Sr.
Ralph Romaguera, Sr.
M.Photog.Cr., CPP, API, F-ASP
PPA Member since 1971
Location: Metairie, Louisiana
- Read his bio.
- Read his Board Spotlight interviews (October 2007, July 2006), featured in Professional Photographer magazine.
Ralph Romaguera began his photographic career at the age of 18 in the U.S. Naval Reserve. Following active duty at the Naval Photo School, he obtained a part-time position with United Press International and later became a full-time photojournalist for the Times Picayune Publishing Corporation in New Orleans, LA. In 1971, Romaguera opened his first portrait studio. Presently, the Romaguera family owns and operates three studios in the Greater New Orleans area. His exhibition prints have been accepted in the General, Loan, and Masters Loan Exhibits of Professional Photographers of America.
Romaguera has served as President of the Greater New Orleans Guild, the Professional Photographers of Louisiana, the Southwestern Photographers Association, and the American Society of Photographers. Romaguera has been honored with the coveted National Service Award and the International Service Award and the Directors Award from PPA. Romaguera has lectured throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, Germany, and Great Britain. Romaguera was chosen to represent portrait photographers on the NBC Today Show in a series celebrating the 150 Years of Professional Photography.
Photographers should not stay closeted in their own studios. To capture life in an image, one really should expand personal vision. Consider trying Ralph Romaguera’s methods: traveling; browsing the Internet; traveling; studying other photographers’ Web sites for uses of light, posing, and expression; and traveling some more.
As Ralph says, “The photographic community runs in cycles and trends.” These trends run throughout countries and across oceans just as ideas do. For instance, Ralph recently returned from a trip to Korea, where he helped judge the Professional Photographers of Korea (PPK) Print Competition. Very impressed with their work, he commented that there were “no words to describe the unique contrast, the sharpness of the images.” In fact, Ralph saw an example of trends changing in Korea, as compared to last year. There was a higher contrast, more relaxed look, and “a lot more fun in the posing and family grouping.” If he had not been able and willing to travel, how else could he have noticed that change so quickly?
And it’s not only important to notice changes around the world…you need to tweak your own style, too. “If you do the same thing you’ve always done,” says Ralph, “you can only expect the same result or less.” It’s what you do differently that adds sizzle and pizzazz to your photography. Traveling and studying helped Ralph do just that.
Traveling and studying photography styles would mean nothing if Ralph didn’t use it to enhance his own creativity and techniques. “As a judge, I get to see work from the United Kingdom to China and study how it was created. It’s great to leave…and it’s great to return because I can try to emulate what I’ve seen.” In fact, he seems to live by this phrase: “the man who stops studying, starts dying.”
Many say that photography is a universal language. Why don’t you—like Ralph Romaguera—find out just how universal it is? In doing so, you can only expand your creativity and vision.
Board Spotlight, July 2006
Ralph Romaguera not only sees the light, he studies it. Knowledge of the basics is something Romaguera says some photographers, new and old, don’t always possess. “Too many people are good at candid or journalistic photography, but it is important to understand light,” he explained.
His words are a reflection of the more than 30 years he has spent behind the lens. Interestingly, his career was chosen through a process of elimination. After a six month stint in the Navy, his career options were unappealing at best. ”I didn’t want to be a jet mechanic, so I started doing Navy photos,” he laughed, and went on to say he joined PPA in 1971.
“From day one, the education was one of the main reasons I joined,” Romaguera reflected. The secret to his success has been the friendships he has made over the years. “When I first started, people didn’t share as much [information] as they do now,” he said.
At the end of the day, Romaguera says photography is all about how you handle people and create their experience. With that in mind, his dream now would be to set up a mobile studio and spend time traveling and lecturing, further proof that he made the right choice years ago.