Kim Dalton's picture
Crew Mom

Who's in the Crew? - Spotlight on Inga Ornelas

NAME: Inga Ornelas

WEBSITE: https://www.ingaornelas.com/
CREW PROFILE: https://headshotcrew.com/ingaornelas
INSTAGRAM: https://www.instagram.com/inga_ornelas/
FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/ingaiean/
LINKEDIN: https://www.linkedin.com/in/inga-ornelas-85b5176/

WHERE ARE YOU FROM AND WHERE DO YOU LIVE NOW?

I was born and raised in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. But I now live outside of Portland, Oregon after living in Los Angeles for 11 years, and before that Dallas.

HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN SHOOTING HEADSHOTS?

I have been shooting headshots for about 10 years, but only seriously since joining The Crew in 2018.

WHAT IS YOUR LIGHTING SETUP FOR HEADSHOTS?

I have Elinchrom strobes, with strip boxes. And I mix things up between a triangle, parallel, or single light depending on the mood and the face in front of me.

TELL US ABOUT YOUR STUDIO. DO YOU OWN IT? RENT IT? OR LIVE IN IT?

I moved to Oregon very soon before the Covid pandemic shut things down. With that uncertainty and a new market, I chose to open up a home studio in the 600 sqft bonus room over our garage. I also have two young kids who aren’t in school, so the home studio has made the most sense.

WHAT ELSE DO YOU LIKE TO SHOOT?

I get uncomfortable and super timid around groups of people, so that’s why I like the one-on-one direction of a headshot. Unless it’s my own family (who officially groan when I try to get photos now), I prefer to stick to individual portraits. For years in LA, I was working with local chefs and gardeners doing food photography, which was fun and creative, and I liked that the subject matter didn’t talk much. Oh, and I vow never to shoot another wedding again for the rest of my life, not even for friends.

WHEN DID YOU FIRST DISCOVER PH AND THE HSC?

This credit belongs to Ryan Parker. I have known Ryan since we were kids and had followed his work on Instagram. His photos have always been amazing, but years ago he started posting these Headshots with a triangle catchlight - so I asked him about the setup. He humbly gave all the accolades to Peter Hurley, faithfully shelling out praise for the HSC, and told me to look it up and join.

Funny story - I included the headshot that Ryan took of me a couple of years ago. Sometime right before this shot, or just after... I almost threw up and passed out in his studio. I was about 8 weeks pregnant at the time, and not really telling anyone yet. But that let the cat out of the bag. So you can say he took my maternity portraits too.

HOW LONG DID IT TAKE YOU TO JOIN THE CREW ONCE YOU FOUND IT?

I wavered on joining for a while - like, probably for a couple of years at least - until the first Headshot Mania was scheduled for Palm Springs in 2018. The timing of it was perfect, and I signed up (after procrastinating through all the early bird discounts, confirming whether Ryan was going to be there for further convincing, and still waiting until ultimately the last minute). I met a ton of great people and signed up before heading home. I came home and fully dedicated my time to headshots and HSC and met my personal goal of going associate within 6 months. And it’s just been fun ever since!

WHAT IS ONE THING PEOPLE WOULD NEVER GUESS ABOUT YOU?

Professionally? Some of my first clients were...well...dead. For almost 10 years, I was a forensic photographer and image analyst for the RCMP. I shot crime scenes, autopsies, and even aerial photography hanging out the side of a helicopter. Although it wasn't quite the creative outlet I was looking for, it certainly challenged me and I learned a ton about the technical side of image analysis, color correction, and photography mechanics.

Personally? I am the least athletic person you will ever meet. I have the coordination of Olive Oyl when I’m running, and the skill of Charlie Brown trying to kick a ball. And despite growing up in the snow, I hate hockey and I don’t understand the game.

WHAT IS ONE THING YOU WISH PEOPLE KNEW ABOUT YOU?

Hmm? Again, professionally? I guess that I've been a photographer all my life! I picked up my first camera at 5 and burned through way too many rolls of my parent's film shooting everything at eye level (mostly my cat). I was taking college credit, photography classes, while still in high school, using a darkroom in my basement. My first “real” job was working at Sears Portrait Studio when I was 17. I went to college for photography and started on a 4x5 camera which weighed more than all my equipment combined now. I love photography, even when it’s not making me money.

And personally? I am cripplingly introverted in social situations (it runs in the family... my uncle was a full-blown hermit). If we ever meet somewhere, I likely won’t introduce myself. Please know that I’m not being rude, I just would prefer to blend into the wall and go unnoticed. But if you strike up a conversation with me, I can actually be quite friendly and I really do like to talk!

17 Comments

Peter Istvan's picture
Protégé

Awesome!

Inga Ornelas's picture
Associate

Thanks, Peter!

Jim McAndrew's picture
Associate

I'm in the same boat with you about weddings!!

Inga Ornelas's picture
Associate

Amen!!

Menno Klaasse's picture
Associate

Love your work Inga especially the shot you took off the guy with the black glasses and grey hair.

Inga Ornelas's picture
Associate

I appreciate it. He didn’t take a bad photo!

Peter Hurley's picture
The Man

Amazing stuff!!!

Inga Ornelas's picture
Associate

Learned from the best 😉

John Rumball's picture
Protégé

Lovely work, and great story! But you’re Canadian and hate hockey!?!? C’mon! Lol Just kidding. Ontario boy here.

Inga Ornelas's picture
Associate

Why do you think I had to leave Canada? I accidentally mentioned that out load and was disowned by the country 😉

John Rumball's picture
Protégé

Hahaha well you’re welcome back any time! 😉

Tony Angel's picture
Protégé

Lovely work, Inga - real quality. I hear you with regard to weddings too - not something I'll be doing again any time soon

Oh, and I also like the fact that you're an introvert (maybe because I'm a Brit)... there are so many big personalities on here, but I can far more easily identify with someone who just quietly and professionally gets on with their work :)

Inga Ornelas's picture
Associate

I hear ya. It’s challenging when your job requires you to “be on” and social. Being introverted seems to be something that a lot more people are claiming….. and to them, I say: Hold my beer (while I quietly sneak out the back door and go home to hide out) 😬

Rainer Mueller's picture
Associate

Thanks for sharing your story, Inga!

Inga Ornelas's picture
Associate

Thanks, Rainer!

Erik Daems's picture
Protégé

Great story and great work Inga!

Inga Ornelas's picture
Associate

I appreciate it, Erik! Thanks.