To me, photography is all about that ‘captured moment’. I find this to be one of the most significant components of a spectacular image. I even prefer it at the expense of lighting and/or composition.
I actually remember the first time I took a picture of a model. My friend was a photographer and had set up a sheet in his back yard to take some nice pictures of his sister and himself. He wanted to get a shot of the two of them and asked me if I’d mind taking it. I ended up shooting both of them and a couple pics of her. I remember after he developed the film (this was back in 1987), that looking at the pics I was taken by how nice they looked, but not knowing anything about photography let that moment pass.
I finished school and spent 12 years working at a major bank believing that was what I was going to do for ever – Or so I thought.
In 2003 I left the bank to get into web design. Back then websites cost about $20,000.00 to get one built and I figured I could learn how to build them and do quite well for myself. It was during this time I realized a lot of images were needed to make the site (paulbuceta.com) more interesting. Back then I was journaling (Journal is French for daily) and this was before the word blogging or to blog existed. In fact, to bing it into perspective, this was before Facebook and MySpace, but I digress, the point I was getting to was that I needed regular images and to do this I bought my first digital camera.
I loved that camera. It was a Mustek and it was terrible but it opened the doors of possibilities to me.
I quickly moved on to a better camera and my abilities quickly began to reveal themselves. A friend knew I had a camera and asked if I would take pictures of his girlfriend as she had been accepted into a model agency and needed some new images. I was more than happy to oblige.
I remember that day clearly. I didn’t have any equipment other than the camera and just figured she could stand by a window, ‘click click’ and there you have it. When she arrived with a suitcase, I figured she was just over-prepared or wanted more than just a couple of headshots. She opened her luggage to reveal more lingerie than I had ever seen in one place. I remember nervously asking her in these exact words, “Are you going to pose in your underwear?”. I was such a rookie looking back at that moment now. It was literally the day I can say I became a photographer.
We spent the whole day shooting and got a lot of various looks. When it was all said and done, I asked her if I could create a galley of our shoot for my blog to which she accepted. To give her gallery the respect it deserved, I created a Photography section to showcase what we had accomplished. Little did I know how it would change my life forever.
I had mentioned websites cost a lot of money back then and couple that with the fact that there was no social media to speak of, basically all people did when getting online was cruise websites. Because of the prohibitively expensive option of having a site, there were no other local photographers with sites. My site quickly got picked up by the search engines and before I knew it, I was getting requests from models daily for shoots. I had no idea this was even a thing.
In less than two years, I was shooting for Playboy, by three years I was also shooting for Oxygen, MuscleMag, Summum, Umm, Clean Eating, REPS!, Maximum Fitness, and American Curves. I was booking almost every single day. With this much work on my schedule and the need for space, I bought a 25,000 sqft photography fascility – The Production Studio.
There was a large void in the fitness industry when Robert Kennedy Publishing (Namely Oxygen, MuscleMag and others) went bankrupt. It was at this point that I along with a team of the best in the industry started STRONG Fitness Magazine and ANDIVERO Magazine.
I am now the Chief Photographer for STRONG Fitness Magazine and founder of ANDIVERO Magazine. I was recently voted one of Toronto’s most influential people by Narcity and have shot over 230 Magazine covers over my career. To date I have had tens of thousands of images published.
Notably, I have shot a New York Times Best Seller, Playboy France’s 100th Anniversary Issue Cover and Playboy’s Special Edition Farewell Issue.
I have worked with most of the biggest names in and out of the fitness industry including but not limited to Arnold Schwarzenegger, Robert Kennedy, Nicole Arbour, Ronda Rousey, Holly Holm, Meisha Tate, and the list is to be continued….
All this from the guy that asked, “Are you going to pose in your underwear?”