The students of the CEO: Clients class at Las Fotos Project are true entrepreneurs who galvanize change. In an effort to combat the current male-dominated photo industry and support BIPOC owned businesses during the COVID-19 Pandemic, these students are recognized as professionals during photo assignments while continuing to receive on-the-job training and mentorship from their supervisors to further strengthen their talents.

The students received lessons in branding, lifestyle and product photography, advanced digital photography techniques, and portfolio building. Their final projects include portraits of individuals, still life object arrangements, landscapes, and curated environments. While taking photographs, the students remained engaged with their subjects and communities and continued to find inspiration from their cultures and lifestyles.

As the students learn more about industry standards and experience diverse interactions with real clients, they acknowledge their worth and place as professionals. They seek to make a positive impact and encourage others to use their artistic gifts to advocate for what they believe in. By continuing to grow and leverage their photography knowledge and skills, they are actively paving the way for more equality in the creative fields.

TEACHING ARTIST: Melinda Arredondo

MENTORS: Alexandra Korba, Carolina Salazar, Ceci Arana, Diego Torres-Casso, Makeda Flood


View our CEO Pitches!

Watch the video to hear our students’ fast pitches and learn more about their experiences and creative styles. The CEO Techniques student pitches begin at minute 05:53.

Adria Marin, 15

Adria Marin is an aspiring photographer based in Los Angeles, California. Currently a sophomore in high school, she first took up photography a year ago as a fun hobby. Since then, she has fallen in love with having the ability to preserve moments and express herself as an artist. Adria is inspired by her culture and the community around her, and she desires to portray her life without sugarcoating reality. With this medium, she looks forward to exploring her identity as a firstborn Mexican-Guatemalan American. Not only is she aware of the misrepresentation within the photography industry, but she hopes to make a positive impact and inspire other young Latina women like herself.

Andrea Popoca, 14

Andrea Popoca, a 14-year-old freshman at Maywood Center for Enriched Studies, has been with Las Fotos Project, an all-girls photography non-profit, for two years. Born in Bellflower, California, she is a Mexican-American photographer who was inspired by her Tio to pick up a camera. Though at one time a shy person, photography has helped her open up and tell stories through her pictures. Passionate for portraits and event photography, she shows her work through a different lens and what she sees as her calling. Photography has opened new doors for Andrea, from visiting New York to meeting new people and friends. She hopes to continue having fun and hopes to inspire others with her work.

Maria Evelyn Romero Gomez, 18

Ni de aquí, ni de allá. Maria vivió la mitad de su vida en México y lo demás lo ha vivido en el Este de Los Ángeles. She has looked for a place she can finally feel welcomed. El entorno en el que creció ha sido confuso, un lado de su cerebro le dice que pertenece en México porque nació y creció allí pero la otra mitad le dice que su nueva vida pertenece en un país que no la quiere por ser como es.

Maria Evelyn Romero Gomez is an artist currently attending East LA College. As a child, she never thought of photography as a job or career for a woman of color like herself because most photographers she met were men. It’s important for her to be someone people can look up to and see similar characteristics they possess themselves. Las Fotos Project a non-profit organization located in LA gave her an opportunity to hold a camera for the first time, this opened a door to her interest in film photography. Despite not having access to teachings on how to use or develop film, this did not stop her from teaching herself how to use a film camera. Later on, she finally decided to invest in a film developing kit and since then she has been shooting, developing, and scanning her own film.

In 2019 Maria received The Foto Award in the Self- Expression category. Self-portraiture became a healing process that she hopes others are able to relate to. Maria worked as a photographer and creative director for a launching campaign at Lander LA, this creative control gave her the opportunity to represent newbies who are trying to break free from the toxic dominated vibes that already exist in the skating culture. Maria had the opportunity to present “Flow, a Community’s Relationship to Water” to UN ambassadors. In collaboration with three other artists, they investigated the connections that exist between the global water crisis and Los Angeles using a combination of photography, storytelling, and field research.

Romina Estrada, 18

Romina Estrada is an 18 year old fashion and portrait photographer. In the future she plans on pursuing screenwriting and directing. Her biggest inspirations are Tonya Harding, Francesca Woodman, and River Phoenix. She makes art to bring reason to a world that doesn’t make sense to her yet. After she pursues her career in the film industry, she wants to open a visual arts high school in East Los Angeles. Her biggest accomplishment was being a part of the Girlfriend Collective summer launch. She wants to further her photography skills while she works with brands. She wants to learn how to make great photos that will please not only her clients, but herself. She is comfortable shooting in manual and confident in critiquing an image.

Xitlali Martinez, 17

Xitlali Martinez is a 17-year-old LA-based photographer and senior at Whittier High School. Her love for photography began about 5 years ago when she was first introduced to it by her uncle. Later she joined Las Fotos Project and has been committed for almost four years. She is passionate about documenting the lives and living situations of her family and friends. Focusing on skate culture, Xitlali portrays the lives of youth during this difficult time and captures their story. Together with her interest in fashion photography, she is able to create photographs that define a community in her perspective. She hopes to one day further her experience within these fields.

Thank you to our CEO: Clients Student, Celeste Umaña not pictured, for your dedication to photography and creativity this semester.

Special Thank you to our funding partners: The Ahmanson Foundation, The Goldhirsh Foundation, Hollywood Foreign Press Association,  California Arts Council, Dwight Stuart Youth Fund & Converse
And to our product partners: Pam + Mo, Vive Cosmetics, PF Candle Co, & Mixtina Hair Care Products