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Meeting with Miami Creatives, Joe Matos & Wellington Guzman

Rewind the clock to three years ago, and now business partners Joe Matos and Wellington Guzman were leading parallel, yet separate lives working in the IT and the biology labs, respectively, at the University of Miami.

On weekdays they would work in the same building, and on weekends they’d be working as photographers at the same fashion shows. However, while they had seen each other in passing, they had never actually met!

Thankfully, a mutual friend introduced them, and from their first lunch, they were natural collaborators. Joe and Wellington approach every photoshoot with contagious enthusiasm for capturing the beauty of their subjects, grounded in a technically sophisticated and methodical approach they attribute to their shared background in science and technology.

While Joe and Wellington employ a shared approach to photoshoots, their photography styles are distinct, allowing them to produce photos with a stylistically layered complexity. Depending on the client’s preference, each shoot is either led by one photographer, with the other acting as a photo assistant, or co-led by both photographers.

Joe specializes in runway, catalog, and influencer photoshoots. Getting his start in runway photography, Joe is an expert at capturing the details and natural movement of clothing.

Miss Universe Curaçao for Lila Nikole Swimwear at Miami Swim Week, shot by Joe
Miss Universe Curaçao for Lila Nikole Swimwear at Miami Swim Week

Not only is Joe a curious listener and enthusiastic collaborator, but he’s also a natural leader, an important quality when working with a team of production assistants, makeup artists, and the other individuals involved in a professional photoshoot.

“Let’s have fun, but not too much fun,” Joe chuckled, explaining how he walks into every photo shoot with a detailed plan to ensure he captures the shots the client needs.

Complementary to Joe’s detail-oriented approach, Wellington has a more atmospheric style, specializing in editorial, lifestyle, and portrait photography.

“I started with science, so I’m very technical…but I try to approach photography first as an artist. As Bruce Lee says, ‘be like water,’”

Wellington laughed.

Wellington’s photography is narrative and elegantly composed, favoring wide shots and a subtle approach to editing. His photos are consistently eye-catching due to his skillful command of contrast and composition.

For example, during a nude, fine art shoot, Wellington directed the model to perch atop jagged rocks, creating beautiful textural contrast between her soft skin and her jagged surroundings, accentuated by the muted palette he used to edit the photo in post-production.

Stella Tehani captured by Wellington
Stella Tehani captured by Wellington

Asking a model to pose nude on sharp rocks would put most model-photographer relationships on the rocks too, but Wellington and Joe have notably strong, respectful, and collaborative relationships with everyone they work with.

In fact, their emphasis on cultivating strong working relationships is what led them to embark upon their most recent quarantine project: Meeting with Miami Creatives.

“We’re always trying to advance the way we network with other creatives. The idea [behind MWMC] was to get to know them and create space for them to teach us something about their industry,”

explained Joe.

Joe and Wellington are interviewing all types of Miami creatives over Instagram Live, including models, hair & makeup artists, production crews, and of course, other photographers, to create a curated repository of creative industry insights.

From choosing the location, to recruiting the crew, to post-production, Joe and Wellington are committed to making sure that every photoshoot results not only in gorgeous images, but in a cost-efficient, streamlined, and stress-free experience for the client.

Meaningful networking within the industry through MWMC is not only a necessary aspect, but one of their favorite aspects, of providing clients with the best photography experience possible.

“We had a conversation about how during fashion week, it’s so hard to find someone who does makeup and hair, so if you find someone who does both, they’re like a unicorn,” said Joe, recounting a recent MWMC interview with makeup artist Eva Willet.

He is now seeking to connect with artists who do both so he can bring down production costs for his clients.

Joe and Wellington’s thoughtful approach to photoshoot logistics and working relationships sets them apart as not only talented photographers “shooting something worth hanging on a wall,” as Wellington said, but as true pleasures to work with.


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