My name is Raymari Rodriguez and I am a portrait photographer. More than a job or career photography is my calling.
When I first moved to New York from Dominican Republic at the age of eleven, I felt out
of place, I did not speak the language and went from being in a small catholic school, where I was heavily involved in acting and crafts, to attending a public, city school with thousands of kids. In efforts to fit in I joined an after school program, it was there that I was first exposed to filmmaking. We learned to write, record and edit videos, ranging from interviews to small documentaries. I enjoyed putting together the stories and making sure every aspect from wardrobe to the set matched what we were trying to convey. It came natural to me, mind you we were using cardboard props but we made it work.
During my high school years I was heavily involved in TV Production as well as volunteer work. I was lucky enough to attend the Manhattan Film School. During my time there I learned different aspects of filmmaking. I was introduced to a film producer who shared his story, about the years he spent trying to get someone to produce his script, and the struggles he went thru. Hearing his success story put things in perspective and helped me go on a search to determine what my true passion really was.
When I graduated high school I was not certain of my career path, I decided to study Marketing and journalism. While studying Marketing I learned about the business world and was intrigued by branding and advertising. I became passionate about the subject; I took every assignment very seriously, when students showed up with posters, I had flyers, sample products and a heck of a presentation. Journalism, on the other hand, became my favorite, because telling stories, recognizing what people wanted to know and connecting with people is second nature to me.
For an elective I took photography, it fit my schedule. Little did I know photography was the medium I needed; the creative freedom, the ability to connect with people and tell a story it was all there, I wanted more! I began to find different outlets; I educated myself in the subject and practiced. I took photography courses from different schools as well as online. I learned about posing and connecting with clients. Having been part of TV production I was already knowledgeable in stage sets, I decided to take sewing lessons so I could make “photo shoot gowns” and props. I noticed that when I got the opportunity to work with a small business client to do headshots and some product photography, I didn’t just want to take her pictures, I wanted to help her, share my knowledge about, marketing and create videos that tell the story of her products. I realized I was still passionate about what I had learned. I feel so lucky that I get to use my crafting skills, something that I have always loved. I can connect with women, ease their insecurities, learn their story and reflect that with a photograph. Lastly I can use my filmmaking and marketing experience to help small businesses compete with big corporations who have all those experts at their disposal. I am able to serve people using skills that may seem randomly acquired but somehow fit exactly what I want to do and most importantly I truly enjoy what I do so it doesn’t feel like work, instead it feels like my calling.