I've been a photo editor for Latina.com for almost six years (that's a long time in this industry), and I love what I do. I primarily do the same thing everyday (search for photos, edit those photos and then upload them to the site), but it is never boring since the stories are never the same. (Well, most of the time. Looking at you, Selena and Justin!) Here's a small glimpse at the challenges, the bright spots and the um, interesting considerations of being the photo editor for this site.
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I get really excited when Jennifer Lopez and Shakira have a new movie or album out, but probably not for the same reason you do. When stars have something new coming out they promote it all over the place. Translation? New photos to choose from! For the celebs we cover the most often (like J.Lo and Shaki), not having new photos of them to use for months is excruciatingly painful and mind-numbing for this photo editor.
Stock photos of diverse people are hard to come by. We are frustrated by the lack of minorities represented in TV and movies, and we can add stock photo agencies to that list, too. (Stock photo agencies are sites that sell photos of normal-looking people doing normal things.) I have to get crafty because a search of "happy couple" will only give me image after image of blonde-haired, blue-eyed people.
I cannot always trust the internet or photo agencies. Mistaken identities in photos happen quite often and definitely keep me on my toes. Sometimes I have to double and triple-check photos to make sure the person featured is the correct one. Check out this photo labeled Adrienne Bailon from this weekend, looks a bit like Christina Milian, right?
The images you see on the site are not airbrushed or touched up. The images from red carpets are as-is. Every photo on the site does get “Photoshopped," but only for brightness and contrast adjustments and resizing the image size -- not removing blemishes or slimming their waists. So, Roselyn Sanchez really is that beautiful. Sigh.
My job sometimes feels like a wild goose chase. Contrary to popular belief, an image of anything imaginable isn't always available. Sometimes, the writers and editors will ask for something very specific ("Could I get an image of dancing plantains?") and I tell them "I’ll do my best" because I don’t know if the specific request even exists. Sometimes, I surprise myself with what I’m able to find and other times I resort to Plan B.
I can work from anywhere. After my first year working with Latina, my job was made remote, meaning I didn't have to come into the office. I found that I could get more done without the distractions of an office setting and I've been able to be with my family during important times. (I was working in my sister's hospital room the day she gave birth. Wifi is my best friend!) The majority of the time I’m in my living room with my two dogs, not on the beach as this picture suggests, but one can dream!
FYI: I don't take the pictures that are used on the site. (This is the thing I am asked about most when I tell people what I do.) I've only taken a handful of the images used on the site. It would be impossible for me to be at every event all over the world getting the latest shots of our celebs. It is much easier and cost-effective for me to buy images from the photo agencies that have photographers at all those events.
I love social media, but maybe not for the same reason you do. Having a view of celebs' private lives is fun for everyone, but for a photo editor it means getting candid and personal shots that you won't see on the red carpet.
My nickname is Latinapedia. My co-workers have realized that I’m like an elephant that never forgets (if that elephant has a penchant for Latina pop culture facts). Give me a topic, and I’ll rattle off a list of celebs that fit in that topic. It probably helps that as the photo editor for the site, I see most every piece of content that is published and file away every break-up, make-up, marriage and pregnancy in my brain.
Contrary to popular belief, I do use math. We must pay for the majority of the photos used on the site, and that means I have to keep a budget and not spend it all on the first day of the month on an exclusive photo of Jennifer Lopez skinny-dipping in Miami. (Sorry, I made that photo up. If it was real, we probably would pay whatever was asked to get it!) It can be a difficult task, staying within budget while giving you readers the stuff you want (and need) to see, but I’m usually up for the challenge.