Our Favorite Student Photographers: Sammuel Lopez-Licea, Otay Ranch High School, Chula Vista, CA


Sammuel Lopez-Licea was recommended by Otay Ranch High School photography teacher Minako Oskay.

All Photos © Sammuel Lopez-Licea

“You can’t shoot the same thing all the time,” Sammuel Lopez-Licea says in response to our comment about the variety of subjects he chooses for his photos. The choosing is pretty much the easy part: many things catch his eye. What’s equally creative and most interesting to him is deciding how he wants to depict those interests—how he’ll use composition, framing, motion, light, and color, or how he’ll take color away in post-processing.

When we spoke, Lopez-Licea was in the advanced photo course and finishing up his junior year at the school. Two of the photos here, the Mustang and the bicycle, are class-assigned weekly photos—“Every week we take photos of what we like, what stands out to us, and share them with the class”—and the rest are personal work.

The class is Lopez-Licea’s first formal photography instruction, but he’s been taking informal classes with his uncle, a professional photographer. “Mostly it consisted of tips and ‘try this’ and ‘do that’ suggestions,” Lopez-Licea says. “The advanced photo course was an elective, and because of what I’d learned from my uncle it seemed like I’d be able to apply what I knew.”

Lopez-Licea’s photography in the future seems to be heading more toward serious hobby than profession, though he wouldn’t mind a job or two to help him get more photo gear. “I’ve already shot a wedding,” he says. “It was good experience, and it got me some money for equipment.”

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