Brandon Oda is a photographer and software engineer in San Francisco. With his special interest in sunset and evening photography, Oda creates magical landscapes for his dedicated fans. Oda grew up in Los Angeles and received his first camera at the age of ten. He was a precocious child photographer who had his work featured in school galleries.
Oda was interested in both art and science while he was in high school. Though his teachers encouraged him to go into computer science, his parents were supportive of his desire to be a professional photographer. Oda attended the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence. He was also able to take computer science courses at Brown University. His experience at RISD helped him to develop his singular artistic vision and taught him the basics of turning his craft into a thriving business. He sold his first photographs while he was still a student.
During his time at RISD, Brandon Oda honed his craft and gained an interest in portrait photography. Upon graduation, Oda moved to San Francisco, where he opened a photography studio in his apartment. He took road trips around California, photographing the amazing array of landscapes. Oda and his wife enjoy outdoor activities like hiking and mountain biking. They are also world travelers. Wherever he goes, Oda captures the best views and most outstanding travel locations.
What do you do?
I am a photographer. I have also written my own photo editing software. I haven’t yet sold the software, but it has helped my work because I can control the entire creative process.
How long have you been in business?
I started my business while I was still in college, so it’s been about 20 years. Time goes by quickly when you are passionate about your work.
Are there any unique challenges in your industry?
The main challenge to our industry is that everyone has a camera in their pocket. As smartphone cameras have gotten better, people are more likely to take their own photographs than to pay for someone else’s views. This especially takes a bite out of the portrait business. Luckily, there are still many people who want to pay for art prints and photo shoots.
Do you have any particular challenges that you personally address?
The photo editing software world is very narrow, meaning that creative expression is stifled. My software has an all-new approach to enhancing raw photos. I hope that I will be able to sell the software in the next year and make my contribution to the photo editing business.
Is your industry growing, shrinking or remaining the same?
My industry is shrinking, sadly. As I said before, high-quality smartphone cameras have stifled the growth of my business. Professional photographers have to be more and more creative to make up for this problem. I prefer to let others fill the need for special event photography, but I’m open to the idea of shooting weddings and other events if I need to increase my customer base.
How does technology impact your company?
Technology has a huge impact on my business. I complain about the effect of smartphone cameras, but sharing photos online has enhanced my business. If people see my work on Instagram or on another platform, they’re more likely to purchase a print to hang on the wall. Digital cameras have gotten a lot better since I started my business. I still use the old-school technology of film cameras and darkroom development.
Have you ever been to Miami?
I have been to Miami. It’s a beautiful city.
What part of Miami?
I’ve mostly been to the beaches, but I’ve also spent time in Wynwood and Coconut Grove.
Did you visit any particular locations including restaurants?
My wife and I had a perfect romantic dinner at Cafe Roval. The outdoor area is gorgeous with a water feature. The food was excellent, too. We also had a wonderful time at Vista, which is a new Italian restaurant with special local Miami touches. The atmosphere is great and the food is delicious.
Would you come back?
I would love to go back to Miami. I was only there on a quick visit, but I would like to spend a week and use Miami as a base to explore the surrounding area. The beaches are wonderful.
Was it a business or pleasure trip?
It was a pleasure trip for us. I whisked my wife away for a romantic weekend. Miami was the perfect place to enjoy each other’s company.
Where do you see yourself or business in 5 years?
I hope to sell my editing software and to see it adopted by many other photographers. I also plan to travel to more destinations around the world and capture their different landscapes and architecture. I love my work. When your work is your passion, it’s easy to put in the level of effort required to be successful.