Meet Our Untitled 2019 Judge | Michele Romero

We welcome this year’s judge, Michele Romero.

Michele is a renown creative image consultant and former Photo Editor at Entertainment Weekly Magazine where she produced award winning magazine photography for 29 years for a National Magazine with a focus on Global Pop Culture. Romero is a concept artist who’s incredibly passionate about photography and is looking forward to curating this year’s Untitled Personal Work exhibition.

Michele will curate the show of the top 20 photographs
and prizes will be awarded for the top 3 images. Find full details and submission guidelines at


MEET. Michele Romero

Which photograph do you wish you owned if money was no object?
Andreas Gurskey, “Die Tote Hosen”, it’s a gajillion dollars and I think at The Broad but I saw it at MoMa and wept because I love his work and also rock and roll.
What is your process when selecting a photographer to work with?
It depends on the job, which seems like an obvious answer but it is not. For commercial magazine photography, actual lighting skills are a must or were a must. I like concept photography so veered towards photographers who could make narrative work well in one panel. I like a surprise too. One of my favorite assignments was shooting Marilyn Manson at his home in New Orleans. The photographer Max Aguilera-Hellweg had just put out a book called “The Sacred Heart” which was entirely beautifully haunting surgery photographs. I sent the book to Manson and he greenit the assignment. And the shot was perfect. This question always deserves a longer answer.
What is your preferred method for a photographer to reach out to you?
I like seeing great work, period.  And I think building a great instagram profile is paramount.  It is a turnoff for me to see a photographer take selfies with talent or to not keep their feed focused on great work. My colleagues and I discover great new photographers on this platform and I hired a great assistant because her Instagram photographs were fantastic
What makes a great photograph and what is your process when selecting images?
This question also deserves a long answer. A great photograph to me begs a question.  It means I look at it and wonder about it and question it but never solve it.  So I want to keep looking. The intrigue can be beautiful or weird or funny or smart or sublime or exciting. Or it could be iconic which means it happened for the first time. For example, Jimi Hendrix lighting his guitar on fire at Monterey Pop. First time anyone did that. Shot by Ed Caraeff.
A photograph should also ideally show us something new. In reportage it means take me where I cannot go. For portraits it is beauty and intimacy. I am nuts about composition. Many photographers pay no attention to background and think only the foreground is important. All of it is important. For magazine covers, we tried to go for images that would excite or ignite the reader.
As a photo editor at EW you must have faced issues or constraints when putting together the magazine. What were some production challenges and how did you overcome them?
My favorite challenges involved problem solving. Not knowing how to do something makes me want to figure it out always. You can learn to be fast by knowing when you have the picture. The key is pre-planning. Stand-ins or sketches but the image needs to be worked out before talent arrive. Lit and ready to go.  You really only need them for 10 minutes which they LOVE!  I’ll give you an example of a challenge that I overcame with Matthias Clamer. We photographed James Corden for an EW cover for Carpool Karaoke. I thought, “well, what if he is on a car in a pool”, quick pun, getter done.  Matthias is a brilliant problem solver and so it is super fun to give him a challenge to puzzle out. He shot Corden in a studio on an old Mercedes he bought for $1000 (we would later set this car on fire). Matthias put blue plastic beneath the car so he could get a water reflection in post later. Corden stood on top of the vehicle and sang. That was one part of the photograph. Then we had to shoot the car in a pool and comp it together. For days Matthias refused my calls asking how the pool hunting was going. No one would lend him their pool. And so I remembered this scene in a making of the Titanic movie where Cameron was in a pool on a soundstage and I clicked to “above ground pool”. So I bought one on the internet for 200 dollars and had it trucked down from Northern California and we drove the car onto the plastic liner and build the pool around the car, filled it with water and VOILA, SUCCESS.


Untitled 2019: Call for Entries Now Open!


APA | San Diego is calling for photography that represents your best Personal Work; Images that show your unique vision, creative passion, and individualistic style, titled or untitled. 20 images will be selected for display at a one-night only auction Friday, November 8th, 2019 at You Belong Here to benefit the Museum of Photographic Arts.

We welcome this year’s judge, Michele Romero, former Entertainment Weekly photography editor and independent creative consultant. Michele will curate the show of the top 20 photographs and prizes will be awarded for the top 3 images. Find full details and submission guidelines at Deadline to enter is 9.27.19

APA | SD Personal Work Roundtable

© Weston Fuller

As photographers, our personal work helps define our voice, vision and work ethic; the very essence of what we are hired for professionally. If you’re not actively pursuing personal projects, you’re not fully realizing your creative potential.

Join APA | SD for a Personal Work Roundtable and share your latest and greatest project and learn how it can attract clients, generate commercial work and fuel your artistic passion. Send us a link to your project or bring it to the event to share. We will be reviewing work and discussing how the projects have shaped your approach to photography.

Space is limited so RSVP here today!

Wednesday, August 7th, 2019 | Doors open at 6:30 pm, Event begins at 7:00 pm

Riverdale Studios | 6314 Riverdale Street | San Diego, CA 92120

Free to APA Members
Non-members: $10

Sponsored by:



2019 APA Awards Call for Entries



2019 APA Awards Call for Entries

Our annual competition is open to all photographers at every level, worldwide.
All judges are solely responsible for selecting the images. There is no pre-edit. 


Architecture / Interiors
Beauty / Fashion
Celebrity / Musicians
Conceptual / Altered
Corporate / Industrial
Documentary / Photojournalism
Food / Still Life
Nature / Animals
Personal Projects
Sports / Adventure
Travel / Landscape

Include a CANON EOS 5DS and items from PhotoShelter, ImageRights, ARRI,
Think Tank, Blazing Editions, Adobe, and more.
All winning images appear in a printed book (printed by A&I Fine Arts)

APA members save on each entry. Pricing per entry based on your APA
membership level:

Leader: $25
Professional & Associate: $30
Supporter & Contributors: $35
Non-APA Member Entry Fee: $40

Final Deadline: Monday, July 8th 2019!

Cameron Barnum
Sr Producer, Art Buyer

Owen Bly
Sr Art Producer
Pereira & O’Dell

Jacqueline Bovaird
Photo Producer

Helaina Buzzeo
Art Buyer
Jane Smith Agency

Jessica Carroll
Major League Baseball Photos

Donna Cohen
Director of Photography
Bloomberg Markets

Ali Martín Filsoof
Design Director

Carol Henry
Gallery Director, Curator

Charlie Hess
Design Director, Photo Editor

Patricia Hom
Sr Art Producer

Jennifer Lamping
VP Director of Art Production
Rubin, Postaer and Associates (RPA)

Pilar Law
Gallery Director, Curator

Tania Pirozzi
Art Buyer, Photo Editor

Allyson Torrisi
Deputy Director of Photography
People Magazine


MEET. Jamey Stillings

© Jamey Stillings

Meet Photographer and APA | San Diego member, Jamey Stillings.

Who are your top 5 favorites that you’re following on Instagram?
@andyandersonphoto, @michaelclarkphoto, @raniamatar, @itsreuben, @danielbeltraphoto, @kathyryan

What is your camera of choice?
I work extensively with both Canon and Nikon systems, on the ground and in the air respectively. Also, I shoot Sony for some situations… I really love the little Sony RX100vi! But, I can imagine shooting with (at least thoroughly testing out) a FUJIFILM GFX 100 in the not-too-distant future. I want to take one up in the air and see how I like working with it from a helicopter!

What do you listen to when you’re shooting?
The sounds of the helicopter or airplane and the pilot’s voice…

Who were your biggest influencers?
OMG, there are so many! One thing about loving photography is being passionate about looking at, and being humbled by, the amazing work of others. However, looking at the imagery of others does not necessarily mean being influenced. For instance, I love the work of many other aerial photographers, both historical and contemporary – William Garnett, Emmet Gowin, Daniel Beltrá, David Maisel, Kasper Kowalski, Ed Burtynsky, for example… but when I am in the air, my vision is personal and intuitive.

As for other photographers being super human beings, I am blessed with great photographer friends around the world. Their vision, kindness and generosity always amaze me.

What were you doing before you became a Photographer?
I majored in art & art history in university, and then got an MFA in photography. My early steps, in the world of photojournalism, documentary and commercial work, grew out of these opportunities to learn new technical skills and develop a personal approach.

What 3 words describe your photography style?
Empathy, intuition, distillation

When were you first introduced to Photography?
I got a Brownie camera in Cub Scouts that I took on school field trips and family travels. In junior high, my friend and I built a darkroom using dad’s WW2 equipment. Guess it has been awhile…

What was the best piece of advice you were given starting out?
Knowing why you photograph and what to photograph is more important and challenging than learning the technical side of the medium.

If you weren’t a Photographer, what would you be doing?
Earlier in my life, I would have said an architect. At this point, I would seek other ways to focus on the important issues surrounding critical environmental issues, especially climate change. I love seeing great examples of “appropriate technology” – simple, low impact solutions to reduce our individual and collective impact on the planet.

What do you do when you get stuck?
I spend quality time with the family, and/or get on my road bike, go skiing or hiking. Getting out into the analog world is an amazing way to reset the psyche, soul and body!

Do you have a favorite podcast?
I have a lot, but a few include: Hidden Brain, How I Built This, Code Switch, This American Life, Latino USA, Revisionist History…

What is your best marketing advice for your peers?
Treat everyone you meet with respect and kindness. Always push to do you best and most creative work. Cross your T’s and dot your I’s.

What advice would you give to yourself if you could go back 10 years? 20 years?
For more than 25 years, my personal mantra has been:

Each moment of choice is both an opportunity and a sacrifice.

If I could go back ten or twenty years? I would push even harder on my personal projects, my personal creativity, and always trust my intuition.

Check out more work from Jamey Stillings.

Architecture Roundtable, May 23, 2019

© John Durant

Architectural Photographer.
It has a nice ring to it. Sounds sophisticated – a specialist. There’s travel to interesting locations. And mixing with brilliant people. Tell me more…
Join APA San Diego on May 23rd for an Architectural Roundtable hosted by veteran photographer, John Durant, who will share his 35 years of wisdom on business practices, photographic techniques, rights, usage and more.

This is event has limited space so reserve your seat early here.

Thursday, May 23, 2019  |  Doors open at 6:30 pm, Event begins at 7:00 pm

John Durant Studio | 3421 Tripp Court, Studio 4  |  San Diego, CA 92121

Free to APA Members
Non-members: $10


Sponsored by:



Portfolio Review Roundtable, April 11, 2019

Collection of photo portfolios by artist Bil Zelman© Bil Zelman

When was the last time you gave your portfolio a good long look? What about a ruthless edit? A portfolio has one purpose; to get you work. Every image that doesn’t show your vision dilutes it. Join APA | SD and your industry peers for a lively discussion about what makes a portfolio great.

The first six people to sign up will be eligible for a 10 minute review of their print or online portfolio. When registering, please indicate if you would like to be included for review.

We also encourage all attendees to bring their portfolios to share. Due to time restraints we cannot guarantee that all work will be reviewed.

All event attendees will receive a special gift from to print 25 business cards or postcards for free!

This is event has limited space so reserve your seat early here.

Thursday, April 11th, 2019  |  Doors open at 6:30 pm, Event begins at 7:00 pm

Riverdale Studios  |  6314 Riverdale Street  |  San Diego, CA 92120

Free to APA Members
Non-members: $10


Sponsored by: