After finding his passion and moving forward into the world of photography, fine art photographer Andrew Desiderio hasn’t looked back once. Andrew resides in San Diego, California, but actively pursues his focus of capturing and creating breathtaking images of landscape and wildlife around the world. Through his work, Andrew effectively captures moments of beauty and makes them timeless. As you browse through his photos below, I think you’ll agree that each image tells a story. Please take a moment and experience the beauty of Andrew’s exquisite pieces of art.
Andrew, thank you so much for sharing all of your thoughtful responses with us. I enjoy viewing your photographs and I can’t wait to see more exceptional photography from you in the future.
Where is home?
Home is San Diego, California. I grew up in San Diego and left for my undergraduate degree, came back, left for my masters and came back. I can only guess if I get a Ph.D. that I will again come back. haha.
After browsing through your website, I see that you have built up an extensive collection of wonderful photography. When did you first become interested in photography and how long have you been involved with it?
Photography had been dancing around me most of my life, the only problem was I little knew that it were. I had even taken a photography class as an elective in middle school. Yet, only in the last four years did it really envelop me.
In regard to marketing, how much of your time do you dedicate to social media? Do you use any special programs or services?
The instinct is to say too much, but the reality is if you are to make a commercial impact you must allot some time. I would say this, the social aspect for my family and friends is much less than I use it for the marketing impact of my photography. It probably amounts to upwards of 30-60 minutes a day honestly.
I don’t use any of the planning websites, but I subscribe to all their email lists to stay current on trends. I have considered using HootSuite or Later, but I do like the personalization I am able to impulsively apply each day.
What is your favorite part of being a photographer?
The childlike aspiration to see more beauty in our world, whether far or near.
What is the most challenging part of being a photographer?
Creative block is a real thing, even for photography. Sometimes being creative or motivated is a challenge. I don’t know the cure other than perseverance. This is especially challenging when you have a contract shoot and must deliver regardless of your current mood.
What type of session do you look forward to the most vs what type of session you most often do?
I love my wildlife sessions. There is a patience and calm necessary to be successful and it is so challenging to capture that brief amazing moment. It is a great victory. More typically, I specialize in my landscape photography which are the images I most often shoot.
What has been your most memorable session and why?
Probably the first time I saw Bald Eagles. It was a two-year search to find a bald eagle that I could photograph close enough for a high-quality image. Stumbling upon a nest with a mating pair I must have taken 2000 pictures that day. I had a grin ear to ear during each and every shot. Now I have been lucky to see Bald eagles in 8 states and have a keen nose for finding them. But those memories of being a novice and on the search made the victory sweet.
What’s the best part of being a photographer?
To everyone, they get to imagine a story with every photograph. To me, I love that each photograph is a memory. Those memories are special to me each time, I make sure of it. Remembering every moment I get to capture is almost unfair!
What is the most challenging part of being a photographer?
Photography has quickly become very saturated. With that, you have both the challenge of being creative and the professional challenge of fewer opportunities available. Making a creative field a competitive field seems daunting for certain.
What is your favorite part of heading out to a new location?
That sponge-like experience where you are just absorbing every nook and cranny. It is euphoric to be able to touch a new part of the earth that I have not seen yet. Knowing that while the earth is finite I won’t be able to experience every bit of it, so every new experience is bliss.
How do you keep yourself motivated and your photography fresh?
Knowing that my experiences are limited is the greatest motivator. Every opportunity is a bonus. When I lose motivation, sometimes just setting out without the intention to do a shoot can be reinvigorating.
What has been the biggest source of inspiration in your work?
I would say developing a network has been the biggest inspiration. Becoming peers with some amazing photographers just inspires me to continue to grow and create. It really is a driver.
What do you hope viewers take away from your images?
I want viewers to take pause when they see my image. To become a part of the image and have any effect that they may have. While it would be amazing to be a conservationist etc. I just want my viewers to create a story in the image that impacts them in any way.
Share with us your favorite image and why.
This is a common question and one of the most difficult to answer for some, including myself. While some images have a more special memory to me, the answer I’ve decided over time is that my favorite image I have taken is usually the last image I have taken. This is because I truly am excited every time I have an opportunity to create something and I think that fiery passion is hopefully what helps set me apart.
What type of camera(s) do you shoot with? What is your favorite lens?
I currently have all Nikon setups. I have the D850, D750 and D500 (I use solely for Wildlife). Lenses I have quite an assortment also. My favorite would be my 14-24mm 2.8. It is a landscape powerhouse!
What is in your camera bag?
This would be a long answer, I have what is called Gear Acquisition Syndrome or GAS. It is an ever growing bag. Well, actually 3 bags.
What is your favorite photography accessory?
I just partnered with Fotodiox to use their filter setup with the Nikon 14-24mm lens. It has a convex glass so screw in filters don’t work. This setup really opens doors for some amazing landscape images!
What piece of equipment would you most like to get but don’t have yet?
For my wildlife, I want the big boy telephotos. The 600 f4 or the 180-400 f4 with a built-in teleconverter. They cost about 10-15 thousand dollars. One day I see it happening. One day!
How important is Photoshop or other image editing software in your final images?
Photoshop and Lightroom are imperative to finish an image, but they should not be what makes an image. Nothing beats a well-executed shot, lightly finished in Lightroom and Photoshop. Many are extremely skilled visionaries with Photoshop, but I like to just make minor adjustments myself.
Was there a point in your journey when you started to feel really good about your work? If so, what did it feel like to get past that ‘tipping point’?
I think there was a point where I stopped being frustrated when the perfect scene didn’t show up. I started being able to see through what was given and know how to find a shot anyway. It felt liberating that I could just have a camera in hand and feel confident to make something I was proud of. It really helps open up the eyes to see nuance.
Do you have any projects that make you look back and shake your head? What made the experience so unpleasant?
My biggest issue is over-promising. I am so passionate about photography that sometimes I have the urge to bill low, or give more than really projected. I don’t want to give less than 100% effort, but that takes a lot of time and effort. So sometimes I tend to practically donate my efforts and time if I don’t project correctly. That is no one’s fault but my own, but I do shake my head at being shy to sincerely bill at times. Specifically, because I have an MBA, I should know quite a bit how to run the business side.
What do you think the future holds for you? Where do you see yourself in the next few years?
I have many doubts and struggles about how to sustain, I think it is natural. I take every victory as a boost to continue on. I currently am negotiating to partner with a really big fish, I was hoping it would be finalized by the time this article finished. The end game is to land with a Nikon, NatGeo etc. That is like making the All-Star team. Reality is, as long as I can have a camera in hand, then I see a smile on my face.