If you had to shoot with one lens for
the rest of your life, which would it
be and why?
If I had to choose one lens, I would have
to say the 200mm f/2.0 from Canon. Even
though it’s focal length will restrict me, I
can’t get enough of the creamy nature of
this lens. Not to mention how sharp it is at all
apertures. It’s pretty amazing!
What’s one thing you’d change
I wish I was less timid. In the public eye,
people only see the performer in me, but in
reality, I’m actually timid. I don’t know how to
change that or even if I should try.
3 If not a wedding photographer, what would you be doing?
I would probably be involved in something
artistic of some sort. Perhaps a chef. I think
food and photography are actually more
alike than meets the eye. I need to express
myself artistically or I die of boredom. It’s an
innate need to do something that sparks my
4 What bands did you listen to in
Music and I have a strange relationship.
I pretty much listened to classical music
throughout high school and I still do today.
I don’t know much about current pop
culture, and quite frankly, I don’t care. I
love listening to Bach, Chopin and classical
What’s your secret talent?
I don’t know if it’s much of a secret, but
I used to be a professional concert classical
and flamenco guitarist. I don’t play anymore,
but I can still doodle if I have to. One of these
days, I’ll get back into it seriously.
6 What’s your favorite WPPI moment? One of the reasons why I make it a
7 Looking back, what would you have done differently starting out as a
priority to attend WPPI every year is to get
some perspective on the unbelievable skill
that’s out there worldwide. I love how it
makes me feel like I’m back at the starting
line. Nothing fuels my passion more than
that! The WPPI 16x20 Print Competition is
always my favorite part of the show. Watching
the judges discuss an image is invaluable for
any photographer’s growth.
I would have loved to realize that to be
successful in this industry, it’s not equipment
that will get you there, but what’s engraved
in your brain. True education requires
100 percent commitment and focus—
You Tube videos do not qualify as “quality”
photography education. They are interesting
and provide food for thought, but to learn,
you must get under the hood and get your
hands dirty yourself. I would have invested in
private workshops from the very beginning.
8 What happened in the last dream you remember having?
I was teaching a class about Economic
Theory to a bunch of horses sitting in an
amphitheater. I have no idea what that
means. The horses would speak only in horse
language to each other, but they could all
understand my English.
9 What’s one photography trend you wish would stop?
I respect all kinds of photographic styles, but
if I had to stop one, I would choose “spot
coloring.” I believe photographers should
concentrate in taking great photographs
organically, and not rely on Photoshop tricks
to make something out of nothing.
If you could ask one person
(anyone) one thing, who would it be
and what would you ask?
I would have liked to ask Steve Jobs what it
was like for him to change the world.
Roberto Valenzuela, a Canon Explorer
of Light, is teaching his “Let the Light Do
the Talking” Platform Class at WPPI 2016,
Tuesday, March 8, 8: 30-10 a.m.
Wedding photographer, WPPI speaker, classical
music lover and spot color objector.
INTERVIEW BY LIBBY PETERSON
10 RANDOM QUESTIONS