Q&A: How Celebrity Photographer Storm Santos Captures The Essence Of Hollywood

Q&A with celebrity photographer Storm Santos on how he captures the perfect moment.

Storm Santos was a touring musician with a band as a guitarist before graduating with a degree in Cinematography, TV/Film. Born and raised in Los Angeles, CA, Storm has been a creative his entire life.

Storm frequently shoots celebrity editorials for magazines such as Flaunt Magazine, Vulkan Magazine, Rogue Magazine and MOD magazine. His degree naturally transitioned into a passion for photography. Recent celebrities shot include: Tyler Posey, Bailee Madison, Tyson Ritter (All American Rejects), Ashley Tisdale, Tom Cavanagh, Carlos Valdez and Keiynan Lonsdale.

What is the story behind you wanting to switch from touring musician to celebrity photographer?

I wish it was that linear. Haha. I don’t think when I was playing music this is what my career was going to evolve into. I am glad that it did, but had no idea honestly. I was tired of the road and missed my bed a little bit and the band I was with was on its last leg. So after that, I noticed I always had a camera in my hand, so I thought I would try to dive into something in that world. I know I didn’t want a proper 9-5 that’s for sure haha. I ended up working on YouTube for a bit. Then after losing that job, it forced me into college to get a film degree because I loved movies and doing a lot of video at YouTube, made me think I wanted to be the next Roger Deakins or something. Haha. While in school, I would just shoot photos of anyone I could and realized that I loved photography more than making movies and that was kind of the natural flow of shooting still images. I started out doing mostly fashion and I had a couple of celebrities come through my studio and I always noticed that those images were so much more electric and exciting to me. So here we are, now 8 years later of me constantly figuring it out! Haha.

How do you capture a moment that can change in a blink of an eye?

Usually, it’s a publicist telling me I have 10 minutes left. Haha. Just kidding, just kidding. I am lucky because I shoot mostly in a controlled environment, so I can create the moment usually. But when I can’t, I just roll with the punches and try to make sure we get the shot.

What advice do you have for aspiring celebrity photographers?

Patience and be yourself. Nobody likes a try hard.

You have shot a lot of celebrities. Which shoot has been the most fun so far?

Oh man. That’s tough. I have a great time with everyone who comes through the studio. I can say one of my favorite moments is when I had my friend Tom Cavanagh from The Flash in the studio. He brings an energy that should be an industry standard. I am a huge comic book buff, so being able to talk all things of that fandom is always great while taking portraits.

Whom have you not had the opportunity to shoot, that you would love a chance to work with?

Alive? Seth MacFarlane hands down. That guy has so much talent flowing out of him it would be a no-brainer.

Dead? Brandon Lee. My favorite movie is The Crow and I feel like Brandon had some insane acting chops that never fully got explored.

Have you ever used your photography skills on yourself to capture the perfect selfie?

Can you spell that out for me? What is a selfie?! Candid is king.

Tell us about your celebrity Polaroid film book! When do you think it will be released?

Ah, the book! It’s kind of a secret but it’s being shot on a camera that was made for only 2 years in the 70’s on film that is discontinued. The premise is based on my love of puns and basically having tons of cool people all doing the exact face. Haha. I am really excited about it. It is a really long endeavor and I would say it is going to be another 4-5 years. It is a slow burn for sure.

What is your favorite thing about downtown LA?

I was born and raised here in Los Angeles. There has always been this kind of negative stigma about downtown. I have always loved it. There is something about this neighborhood that is so energizing. People are making moves down here. They are creating. They are living. I love what the people are doing to change the city and turn it around and make it a place that feels like the great metro area it is.

What made you grow out your beard?

Haha. I love this question. I think I was the only one of my friends at 18 that could grow a full beard and it just stayed. Also, I sunburn easily… so I thought I would protect my face ha! You know, SPF beard.

Standing at 6’2”, with a giant red beard, you will find Storm Santos at an electronics store or any local comic shop hunting down collectibles when not on set. He is also a passionate supporter of the International Child Art Foundation and the Animal Hope and Wellness Foundation. Married with an English Bulldog named Bronx, Storm was recently selected as a contributing partner for LA Original which is a pilot for the Mayor’s Fund for Los Angeles.

“It is one of Mayor Garcetti’s legacy campaigns staking LA’s claim as the creative capital of the world by supporting creative entrepreneurship.”

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