• billboard

Beauty and Fashion Photography, Miami-Style



Antonio Martez captures a winner of America’s Top Model using Tamron’s SP 70-200mm VC G2 and 35-150mm VC lenses.


More Photo Tips | Video Gallery | Photo Gallery | Enewsletter sign-up


By Jenn Gidman
Images by Antonio Martez



Antonio Martez’s introduction to photography in 2010 was born not only out of a yearning to be creative, but also out of a need for a therapeutic outlet. “I was going through a divorce and had been laid off from my corporate America job,” he says. “After days filled with interviews trying to get back into that corporate world, I needed a way to decompress, so I bought my first camera to occupy my time and get out of my own head.”

Martez moved from Los Angeles to Miami, where one of his friends had a photography studio. “I started living in the studio’s back room, which was about the size of a janitor’s closet, so I could learn the ins and outs of photography from him,” he says. “I thought there was a possibility that this could be a career for me. Within six months, I got published in Vogue Paris. From there, I was hooked.”

Antonio’s foray into beauty and fashion photography went full steam from there, and today, based out of New York City, his work has been featured in Elle, Harper’s Bazaar, and L’Officiel, among other publications. Even though he’s now in the Northeast, it’s the eight years he spent in South Florida that continues to permeate his work. “When you look at my photos, you see the colors and sexiness of Miami,” he says. “I try to make my images bold, compelling, and vibrant, with intentional light and shadow play.”

Long a nighttime shooter who used native lenses for his camera, Antonio was reluctant to try out third-party lenses. Then, one day on a shoot, he test-drove Tamron’s SP 70-200mm VC G2 telephoto and the new 35-150mm VC zoom. “I stopped in my tracks when I saw the images I created with those lenses,” he says. “I was so impressed with the edge-to-edge sharpness—it’s almost surreal, the way you feel like you can reach out and touch the subjects in my images. The Vibration Compensation (VC) feature has also proved invaluable, especially when I’m shooting handheld during a long session.”

Antonio used these two lenses during a recent photo shoot for a personal project he calls “She Is Queen.” “It’s a spinoff of sorts of Beyoncé’s film Black Is King,” he explains. “I wanted to push forward the narrative of a powerful woman in front of the camera, where she not only embraces her femininity, but also a masculine side, so that it draws the viewer deep into the image to wonder about her many dimensions.”

The model was Naima Mora, one of the winners of America’s Next Top Model. Antonio had worked with Naima previously on a project for Cosmopolitan, right before the shutdowns began in early 2020. He used the same hair and makeup team they’d used for that shoot. “The entire session this time around took about 10 hours,” he says. “These are prestyled wigs she’s wearing, so to switch the wigs and set up for each new look took only about 30 minutes each time.”

© Antonio Martez
70-200mm (110mm), F/8, 1/160th sec., ISO 400
Click image to view larger

© Antonio Martez
70-200mm (122mm), F/8, 1/160th sec., ISO 400
Click image to view larger

Antonio crafts his images with a very intentional use of color, light, and shadow, paired with a careful composition. For this group of photos, he didn’t want a soft feel. “I purposely chose very contrasty lighting that would make the highlights prominent and the shadows defined. I was going for stark, and so I lit her based on that mission.”

© Antonio Martez
70-200mm (98mm), F/8, 1/160th sec., ISO 400
Click image to view larger

To achieve his vibrant, Miami-style look, Antonio relies on color theory, selecting backgrounds that complement the model’s wardrobe. “I often work off the triadic color scheme, using colors that are evenly spaced apart on the color wheel,” he says. “I want my color grading and the setup of the image to mimic the vision I have of color theory. That’s also why, even though I outsource my retouching, I do my own color grading—it can be a hard thing to convey to someone else the colors you want when they may see color differently than you do.”

© Antonio Martez
70-200mm (140mm), F/8, 1/160th sec., ISO 500
Click image to view larger

To find the most flattering angles of his model before he starts shooting, Antonio first walks her through a potential selfie. “In this day and age of social media, where selfies proliferate, most women know their best side when they’re taking pictures of themselves,” he says. “I’ll say, ‘Pretend my camera is your cellphone. Which way would you turn?’ After I take a picture from that angle, I’ll take an additional one from the other side, and 99% of the time, the side the model picked is indeed the most flattering one. Another general rule of thumb that works well: If a woman comes in with her hair parted to one side, the side it’s parted on is usually her most flattering side.”

© Antonio Martez
35-150mm (110mm), F/8, 1/160th sec., ISO 400
Click image to view larger

Antonio storyboards for every project and then discusses with his models what moods he wants to draw out of the outfits they’re wearing, and what narrative he’s trying to convey. “I may say something to my model like, ‘Imagine you’re the queen of a nation and you’ve just issued instructions for your citizens to do X-Y-Z. How does that make you feel?’ I place the model almost in an actor’s role, where they’re taking on a character.”

© Antonio Martez
70-200mm (86mm), F/8, 1/160th sec., ISO 500
Click image to view larger

© Antonio Martez
35-150mm (110mm), F/8, 1/160th sec., ISO 400
Click image to view larger

What Antonio is most proud of about this series, and his work in general, is that when people view his work, they can place themselves in the photo or otherwise find something to relate to. “I want my images to pull them in and make them wonder: What is the subject thinking? What emotions are they feeling?” he says. “My goal for every photo I shoot is to forge some kind of connection with the person viewing it.”

To see more of Antonio Martez’s work, go to https://antoniomartez.com.








More Photo Tips | Watch Videos | Learn More About Tamron Lenses | Photo Gallery