Meet the Artist:
Q&A with Photographer Cesar Hernandez

Crafting the perfect close-up shot of a pen can take time, and selecting the right color scheme to fit its design requires creativity. If you’re following us on social media you’ve probably seen some stunning shots in the last few weeks, and they are thanks to talented photographer Cesar Hernandez, or @CSFPhotoEdits on Instagram. In this Q&A we chat with him to learn about his passion behind visual art and pens. Check out his responses to gain inspiration for your own pen collections and shot compositions!

What kick started your love of fountain pens?

“My mom has lovely handwriting but rarely writes nowadays; when her birthday came around a few years ago I decided to get her a fountain pen to encourage her to continue writing. I knew nothing about fountain pens and began searching YouTube for reviews and tutorials. The more I watched and learned about fountain pens the more I wanted to try them myself. After a while I finally came across a review of the Monteverde Regatta Sport from @GouletPens and decided to get her that pen. When the pen finally arrived I cleaned it, inked it up, gift wrapped it and then ordered another one for myself. Since then my collection has grown beyond anything I imagined.”

How many pens and inks do you have?

“I just added my 35th pen to the collection, and have amassed nearly 80 bottles of ink.”

What ink colors do you prefer? Are there shades that you would never use?

“Purple would be my top choice seeing that I have about 14 different shades of it followed by shades of blue-green such as teal. However I have at least one bottle for every color in the spectrum. I have stayed away from shades that are too light such as yellow, mainly because they are difficult to see on paper. I do however have darker shades of yellow that shade wonderfully.”

If you were stuck on an island, which Yafa Brands pen and ink would you want to have with you to pass the time?

“It would definitely be my Monteverde Regatta Sport, it is also the first fountain pen I bought and the one I carry with me most of the time. Plus the magnetic cap would give me endless hours of entertainment. The ink would have to be Mulberry Noir, I find the color purple very soothing and calming.”

Which Yafa Brands pen and ink is next on your list?

“The next pen on my list is the Invincia Deluxe fountain pen, in Stealth Black, so it can be the perfect companion to my Full Carbon Fiber Regatta Sport. For the ink, the Rose Noir would be an excellent addition to the growing collection of Purple-Violet shades of ink I’ve collected so far.”

What made you decide to pursue photography/visual art overall?

“I majored in 3D Animation and as I began to learn more about the principles of animation I started to see the similarities it shares with photography. Soon after I began to use what I had learned in my own photos, trying to improve my skill and knowledge with each attempt. Once I became proficient enough with my equipment I began to explore photography more focusing on a variety of subjects from landscapes to animals, insects, flowers and eventually fountain pens.”

Any advice for getting a great setup with pen photography in terms of lighting, backdrops, and color schemes?

“Everyone has a unique style and what works for some may not work for others. In my case I prefer a light box where I can control the light around me. Naturally diffused light is also a great option but it is limited to certain times of the day and comes and goes in the blink of an eye. Since most of my pen photos are close-ups I know the backgrounds will be blurry creating a bokeh effect, so I try to add props in those out of focus regions that can contribute to the composition of the photo. When it comes to color I always keep a color wheel around for reference and try to use either complementary, triadic or split-complementary color schemes based on the dominant color of the pen to give the image a nice pop. Though at times I do like to go monochromatic if the other color schemes are clashing and overpowering one another. When the opportunity arises I also try to include an analogous color scheme to change things up a bit and give my eyes some rest from all the color contrast. This is what works for me and I am always happy with the results.”

What is your most essential piece of equipment when capturing amazing pen photos?

“I have used several different cameras, lenses and lighting rigs over the years and manage to get similar results regardless of the equipment I use. What I feel really makes a difference in my photos is the editing, therefore my most essential piece of “equipment” would have to be Photoshop. Though my photos look fine before editing the results after editing are much more appealing to the eye. When I am pressed for time or just need a quick fix I sometimes use something simpler like an app on my phone. So long as the image goes through some sort of editing tool it can make a tremendous difference in the end result.”

What life philosophy do you live by?

“I try to keep it simple, embrace change, adapt and learn, and make the best of each moment.”

Give us one unique fact the world should know about you!

“I enjoy all things horror and often design monsters and creatures using 3D software, which is how I ended up with such a bizarre profile photo on my Instagram account @CSFPhotoEdits

Thank you so much to Cesar for the amazing work! Be sure to follow him + Yafa Brands on Instagram to see more amazing work.





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