We had the good fortune of connecting with David Armenta and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi David, what habits do you feel helped you succeed?
By definition “habit” a settled or regular tendency or practice, especially one that is hard to give up, strikes many cords with myself in my day to day business practice from client inquires, to the delivery of product. Being organized is my number one stress to anyone who wants to start a business, learn photography or videography. I overly stress organization of money for my accountant and book keeper, files from my photo and video shoots, gear and charging of the batteries we all so heavy rely on every day all the way down to keeping a clean workspace. Starting with the finance side of things I have multiple ways I accept payment (working towards streamlining to just a few) but remembering to every month generate reports from bank accounts, filing receipts from purchases, and staying on top of where the money is and isn’t going is huge for me not having to stress and having reports for when I wonder when I purchased and how much I spent on gear for resale, tax earning, and overall budgeting for the month and year doing it in small chunks is a lot easier to digest than being blindsided by tax season and your trying to remember how much you spent on that hotel from the business trip in February. When organizing my raw files I separate by if it was a photo or video shoot then create a new file with the client name, inside that file I create a folder for my RAW files from the SD card that will later be imported into Lightroom for editing. Once the bulk editing is done in Lightroom usually I export and create a folder and name it edited and dump those edited photos into there, in the rare case the photos need more attention from photoshop I create a final edit folder as well. Once the edited photo are in their folder I upload to my online gallery so I have a hard copy and a cloud copy of my clients edited photos. This method has saved me so much time when clients come back and inquire if I have a certain photo of a family member or lose the photos I can within seconds pull up their gallery and get them the photos right away. My gear organization is something I’m proud if you shoot weddings especially wedding videos you know how much gear you truly need and sometimes at a moments notice. I carry on 3 bodies 5 lenses a gimbal 2 external recorders, lapel mics for each along with on camera mics and wireless transmitters, 2 tripods and recently 2 content LED lights with modifiers for the speeches and first dances. That’s just the bulk of it not to mention ND filters, SD cards, batteries and cables for the DJ who always has the gear from the 80s I have to be prepared for the worst. I carry most of this list in one bag if I have to most of the time we split the load into a bag for my second shooter as well but knowing what goes where and always being sure to place that gear in that exact location every time is the difference from getting the shot or explaining to your bride why you missed her fathers speech ( I have been on both sides of that coin). Being organized has saved me so much sleep, money, and most importantly time because as we all know the less time spent on a project or shoot the more money we make, efficiency is key always.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I fell what sets me apart from others and part of my success has been my “look” my “style” In short the best way to explain what my photos look like is dark warm and moody film inspired with crispy sharp focus. I love my warm tones, the 85mm focal length really isolates moments the way they are intended to be along with adding beautiful background compression and bokeh it really is something magical when I apply my edit in Lightroom and reminds me daily this is exactly what I’m supposed to do. Trends change, technology advances but feel my look is something timeless much like your grandparents wedding photos.
Im most proud of the accomplishments and opportunity that has come to me in just a little over a years short time of being full time. I have shot quarter million dollar Mclarens in downtown Denver, I have flew to LA to shoot the 3rd biggest TikToker in the world Loren Gray along side another local videographer. I have had a full schedule of clients for over 90% of the year. I have doubled down In my niche of fitness photography and have shot 3 pro bodybuilders, and countless other national level competitors. I have done a lighting workshop with one of the best fitness photographers in the industry Brett Seeley. Life has been nothing but if I can dream it I can make it happen and I couldn’t be more thankful.
Nothing in life comes easy but I have had more successes than shortcomings and I’m so great full for that. I know they are coming but I do my best to ask questions and research every move I make in order to lessen the blow of those moments. I have learned that hard work, preparation, and determination will get you further than anything else in this world. Less than 2 years ago I was working in a federal prison hating life and now I have an opportunity to actually understand that saying “do what you love and you will never work a day in your life” it makes sense now this is what I was meant to do all along.
I want the world to know be you, be bold, be kind and most of all be happy. Don’t go though life too serious no one makes it out alive anyway.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Living in Pueblo Colorado I would and do take all of my out of town friends to a little Italian restaurant called La Forchetta they have the bread vinegar and oil the accents the homemade fettuccine noodles and pastas sauce maid daily absolutely a must visit. Then we would walk it off with a stroll around the riverwalk and down historic union ave to get desert from the Bite Me Cake Company and get a carrot cake cupcake! Head down to their basement and play some pinball on one of their many machines. Maybe finish out the night at the overlook at liberty point and watch the stars.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
A huge shout out to the other photographers in my area its not the biggest city but we are all so busy our styles are all different but our passion for photography and videography is beyond anything I could have imagined. Thank you to Vanessa Rosas Photography, for putting me on to my look using a specific preset pack I couldn’t be where I am today without you! Natasha Rose Photography for helping me with any question I have and putting faith into me from the very first time we worked together. Last but not least my girlfriend Jaime for pushing me to be the best version of myself and supporting me in every aspect of my career. The respect you show me and genuine love you have for the work I create helps means the world to me!
Instagram: @davidtookitco @tookitfitness @offinthenight