Spotlight Interview … Fashion Photographer Chayo Mata

JRP: Fashion Photographer Chayo Mata’s life is one of success while over coming a life threatening disease. I am pleased to present Chayo to our viewers in this installment of JRP Blog.

Chayo where do you call home and how did you get your start in photography? Is there any formal training in your background?

Chayo Mata: I live and work in New York City. I have a BA in Commercial Photography from East Texas State University.

JRP: Every photographer has a moment where it clicks that this is what you should be doing. When was that for you and why fashion photography?

Chayo Mata: The moment I knew I was going to be a fashion and beauty photographer was when I took some eye-catching photos for my junior college portrait class. These images made an impression on me and just wanted to create more.

JRP: Name a photographer that has impacted your work and why?

Chayo Mata: I exclusively assisted the icon Steven Meisel for three years which was the most valuable education and experience for my career. The creative part of his work was as valuable as the technical end. I am grateful for having had the opportunity to work at the side of Steven Meisel.

JRP: Do you have a support staff and what areas do they handle?

Chayo Mata: When I shoot I hire one or two freelance photo assistants and a digital tech.

JRP: What would I find in your camera bag or studio for a typical shoot? What lighting equipment and modifiers do you favor and why?

Chayo Mata: I always rent a studio, camera system and lighting equipment when shooting. My choice of camera is H1 or H2 Hasselblad camera with a Phase One digital back. The detail this system captures is why I continue to shoot with it. In general I use a Profoto lighting system.

JRP: Could you describe your digital work-flow and the software you use?

Chayo Mata: I use Leaf capture when shooting with a Leaf back and Capture One when using a Phase One back and Canon DSLR. I heavily rely on Metro Digital ( who takes care of my files that go to my clients.

JRP: Do you print your images?

Chayo Mata: There have been a few times that the client has asked for a print but in general I just print for my portfolio.

JRP: With today’s economic conditions tell us how you keep productive and retain your creative edge.

Chayo Mata: Since I cannot afford the cost for background sets I rely on my creative photoshop.

JRP: You are a cancer survivor. How has that played a role in your life and your photography?

Chayo Mata: Being a cancer survivor and having time on my hands because I was too weak to work made me look for another creative outlet – blogging! I was able to express myself and create in a different media till I was healthy enough to get back to shooting. I really enjoying discovering inspiration, and meeting so many people around the world that my beauty blog ( is incorporated into my career.

JRP: Are there any memorable images or shoots you could share with us? What made that image or shoot special?

Chayo Mata: My latest eyewear editorial stands out for me at the moment. I have taken several courses on photoshop and I’m beaming when I see that my hard work is paying off.

JRP: What do you feel is one of the major mistakes new photographers make in pursuing a career in fashion?

Chayo Mata: A major mistake new photographers make is not knocking on enough doors. At least when I first started, I would keep calling the same potential clients because I had a great interview. This does not mean they will be calling soon. Move on and build a huge calling list. The more people see your work the better you have a chance at landing a job, and revisit people when you have enough new images.

JRP: What has been some of the best advice given to you by another photographer?

Chayo Mata: A photographer once told me that having the right attitude for every job and client is most important. I could not agree more.

JRP: What special advice would you like to share with other photographers?

Chayo Mata: When shooting your own editorial projects work with a vast crew. Everyone brings something different to the table and your work keeps evolving. At least that is what works for me.

JRP: Thank you Chayo for sharing your thoughts and images with us. It has been a real pleasure.

Chayo Mata: It is an honor to participate in your blog. Many thanks James! 🙂

JRP: Chayo Mata lost her battle with breast cancer November 27, 2012. Rest gently my friend. JRP:


2 thoughts on “Spotlight Interview … Fashion Photographer Chayo Mata

  1. Chayo Mata is a spectacular woman of exceptional talent and a heart to match. Thank you for showcasing this terrific photographer and her work.

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