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Conversations with David Orellana

Today we’d like to introduce you to David Orellana.

Hi David, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to today?
While I was growing up, movies were a big part of my life. Being able to capture and see the spectacle on the big screen was a dream I had since I was little. My drive to be a filmmaker was what motivated me to study it in school. I hit a lot of hurdles while pursuing that dream. Still, due to many restrictions with working 3 jobs, going to school full time, and the consistent walls I would hit, trying to find a career doing what I wanted to do became extremely discouraging overtime. I was at a point where I didn’t find it fun anymore. So at the time, I switched majors and decided to study business marketing and management.
I knew I would find a more steady job once I finished school, but the main reason was that I was still able to be the creative person I am. I took a few years away from the camera and decided to start my own DJ business at the time. Business was good, but I felt like I was missing something, so I decided to invest in myself and buy a camera. I started out taking family photos and photos of my pets, mainly doing it for fun. During this time, I worked in the restaurant industry as a DJ, and as most people know, people would go out to the bar to escape their troubles. I met a wide array of people who, to this day, are some of my closest friends and all-around amazing people. The most common thing I would hear from people is that they felt they weren’t good enough or pretty to find someone. We’ve all had thoughts like that, but I couldn’t stand the idea of my friends lacking that confidence in themselves. So I came up with an idea, why not take photos and make these people feel good about themselves? This is where my business focus started to shift. I worked with a few close friends and started to focus more on building up my portfolio and seeing what would come from it. Soon enough, people began reaching out to work with me, and the portfolio got bigger and bigger over time. A photographer friend of mine had caught wind of a few photographers in the area running photography workshops, so I decided to. I attended one, then another, then another, and this continued for quite some time. At these workshops, I learned more than I had in school, and slowly I started to reignite that passion I had behind the camera. At these workshops, I networked with people from around the country and learned so much. This, in turn, helped me fine-tune my style. As time went on, things began to snowball. My following here in the area grew, and with that, so did the opportunities presented to me. At this point in my life, I’ve worked with celebrity photographers and models from around the world, and as of this year, I’ve started traveling for photography. I can only imagine what the future holds, but I am beyond excited to see what’s next.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle-free, but so far would you say the journey has been a fairly smooth road?
Not at all. Owning a business is difficult, especially with all the things going on in the world. The pandemic brought my business to its knees, and I felt like I would never recover from it. Being a DJ was my primary source of income during the pandemic shutdown. So when the bar industry closed, that money disappeared. I had to focus on other things to make money. Luckily, I was able to do photoshoots here and there to help me keep my bills paid and food in the fridge, but it was not easy. Now the photography industry has its ups and downs as well. The most common thing I’ve found is that people, in general, aren’t reliable. I can’t even begin to tell you how frustrating it is to plan a day to shoot, rent out a location, hire a make-up artist, and provide a wardrobe just for the client to cancel 10 minutes before the scheduled start time. This would happen all the time, which discouraged me and made me question why I was subjecting myself to staying in the industry. But then I would think back to why I started doing this, and it would help me get through those tough times. My sister played a vital part in keeping me going as well. She doesn’t realize it, but she inspires me every day. I gave her my first camera when I upgraded my gear for the first time and showed her tips and tricks I’ve learned in my time behind the camera. I’ve seen her become a fantastic photographer and am in awe of how much she’s grown. As far as challenges go, everyone deals with roadblocks, but the way I see it is that they’re merely an opportunity to overcome said difficulties creatively and see things from a new perspective.

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
I’ve been a freelance DJ for about 13 years now and a freelance photographer for about 8. My time as a DJ has primarily been spent in bars, clubs, and private events around the DMV area. I’ve recently started to devote more time to photography, considering how much more creative freedom I have to do whatever I want to do. I’ve made a name for myself as a Glamour photographer. I am capturing each model’s natural beauty without over-editing the photos. I’m most proud of the photos coming from my first destination photoshoot in Las Vegas. I took this opportunity to push myself beyond my comfort level and try new styles and techniques that I had never applied to my work. In doing this, my work has achieved a new level of quality, and I want to continue providing a quality end product to share with the world. There are thousands upon thousands of photographers globally, and each of them will tell you that their work is the best. I don’t buy into that mentality, and I don’t do this for money or fame. I like making people feel good about themselves. That is what’s important to me above anything else, and that I think sets me apart from most other photographers.

So maybe we end by discussing what matters most to you and why?
As a DJ, my sole purpose has been to provide an atmosphere where people can escape their troubles. We go out to have fun, and it’s my job to provide that. There is no more incredible feeling than seeing clients’ faces when they see the final edits after a shoot when it comes to photography. That in itself is a reward that no amount of money will be able to compete with.


  • $200/HR – DJ Set
  • $150+ – Photo Session

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