Joseph Roybal

Based in beautiful Denver, Colorado photographer Joseph Roybal is one to keep an eye on. His extensive portfolio of landscape images and travel portraits give viewers a rare glimpse into the wondrous and colorful cultures that he visits. Joseph’s images not only tell a gorgeous story of each place that he travels to, they also showcase the true heart of each location.

Joseph uses Zenfolio for his entire portfolio website as well as for client file delivery . Since he is always traveling for assignments, he loves that he can access and update his website from anywhere in the world. The secure backup of his extensive image archive also gives him valuable peace of mind.

Where were you born and raised? Where have you settled?

I was born in the remote village of Grand Junction, Colorado. I currently am based out of always-sunny Denver, Colorado.

What type of photography do you shoot most often? What type of photography are you most passionate about shooting?

Recently I have been splitting my time almost equally between landscape and portrait photography. I love photographing people and I love to travel to exotic and gorgeous locations. Seems like the two have come together in an organic fashion. When I photograph people in any setting, I want to capture them in a comfortable and natural state. I love the art and craft of photography so much that any excuse to pick up the camera is reason enough to get excited. I would have to say that an awesome blending of Travel and Landscape mixed with Portraiture is my jam.

How long have you been a shutter releaser? What led you to this profession?

I began my love affair about 17 years ago when I was in high school. I cannot count how many rolls of film bit the dust; however, all of the lawns I had to mow to earn these mistakes have helped make me a better shooter today. The passion and love to create the strongest images I can and the study of others’ work led me to being a professional photographer. When my friends were talking about being a doctor or lawyer, I remember thinking that I wanted to express myself in a different way. I have always looked at photographs and gained inspiration from them.

How has Zenfolio helped your business?

Zenfolio is such a powerful tool for my business as it allows me the peace of mind of knowing my images are safe while also allowing simple amendments and sales-management on the fly. Recently I was away on assignment right in the middle of a large commercial contract in Denver. The interior designer contacted me urgently needing an image file for a meeting with the board of directors that was scheduled immediately. I was able to log in and allow gallery specific downloads from my phone in a matter of seconds.

Tell us about your work flow, what editing program do you use?

Adobe Lightroom is with me every step along the way from import to export. I also use Adobe Photoshop in limited instances when fine detail work is a must.

Do you have brand loyalty for Canon, Nikon or something completely different?


What is the best part of being a professional photographer?

The realization when the alarm goes off every morning that I am able to put my energies into what I love and translate that into an income. It is a truly humbling feeling.

Are your photography skills self-taught or were you classically trained?

I suppose I would say self-taught though I have spent countless hours studying photographs from other photographers whom I admire and respect. This, in a way, is being taught by another.

What advice would you give a new photographer just starting out?

Find your photographic passion, what inspires you to pick up a camera, and follow your instincts. Push yourself harder than anyone you know in reading and work ethic and without a shred of a doubt — find a mentor. This last bit of advice is so critical to growth I cannot stress it enough. “To find a mentor is to stand on the shoulders of giants” — David DuChemin.

What was your first published work?

I had an image published in AFAR of some older men and women sitting on benches in Italy. I vividly recall the day I photographed them and the twinge of inspiration that made me press the shutter. I never knew it would get picked up, but it’s that instinct thing we always talk about.

What inspires you as a photographer? Or who?

What inspires me is the ability for me to create something for others. There are so many people that would love to see the furthest reaches of the earth and are unable to. Knowing I can bring to them a strong image gets me pretty pumped. I have so many photographers that I look to for style techniques and inspiration: Marc Adamus, Zach Arias, Guy Tal, to name a few.

Is there a trade secret you care to share with us?

Mayonnaise instead of mustard. Joking. Spend your money on education, not on new gear. Read, take workshops, dive with sharks — anything that will help you to push your own limits.

What is the very first camera you ever owned?

My first camera was a Nikon FM10. Padres gifted it to me when I was in high school. I took that guy with me to Scotland a couple of months afterward with the belief I was a pro from birth. Boy was I wrong and when I look at those images today, I get sharp pains.

Tell us something about yourself that we would never guess.

I’m a polyglot; I speak English, French and Spanish fluently.

What piece of equipment or doohickey do you have with you on every shoot?

I use my 17-35mm lens for nearly every kind of shooting situation from landscapes to portraits. I have found this lens to be my lifeline. I also keep several granola bars in the bag just in case I wander off-trail.

Do you have any final words of wisdom on being a first class shooter?

No photographer, from Ansel Adams to Steve McCurry, was ever born with any more talent than the next. Good photographs are the result of years of bad photographs. Keep working and never give up.