Melody Gonzales for Webb Party Pop Candy Poster. Styled by Agosto Cuellar. Design by Sixto Zavala
Melody Gonzales for Webb Party Pop Candy Poster. Styled by Agosto Cuellar. Design by Sixto Zavala.

Rivard Report: First off – your work is stunning. But we’ll get to that soon. How about you introduce yourself to our readers? Are you a native San Antonian? Did you study photography/design locally?

Fabian Villa: Thank you! I’m from Waco, but I’ve been living in San Antonio most of my life. I took some photography/design courses at San Antonio College. I’m interested in combining photography and design in my work.

RR: Describe your team at Essentials Studio. Whom do you work with? Who are your clients?

Fabian Villa. Photo by Misa Yamamoto.
Fabian Villa. Photo by Misa Yamamoto.

FV: We’re a creative community interested in creating visual content. Steven Casanova is the videographer and lighting technician, Sixto Zavala does art direction and video projection. Misa Yamamoto does graphic design, Fabian Diaz does makeup and hair, and Johnathan Acosta is the fashion stylist. Our clients are usually artists, musicians, publications, and models building their portfolios.

RR: You’ve worked with both magazines and artists – what are some of your favorite projects that you’ve worked on?

FV: Fashion projects are my favorite, since I get to work with the whole team. Recently, we created some images for Runway en la Calle, a fashion show happening in September on the west side of San Antonio. Hopefully we’ll get more fashion-related projects in the San Antonio/Austin area.

RR: Do you have another job to supplement income from your art?

FV: I’m a freelance photographer, so my art is my job. It’s a competitive job, and it’s a challenge to balance it all, but it’s worth it. I appreciate any work that comes my way.

RR: What is the market for fashion photography/photography like in San Antonio? Gaining momentum?

FV: It’s a tough market, but there’s a small community supporting it. I do think it’ll continue to gain momentum, and I hope to be in the middle of it.

RR: Much of your work is set in a crisp, clean environment. Do you have a studio or do you find various locations around town to shoot?

FV: Yes, we have a studio in east downtown. We moved in last year, so I wanted to utilize the space for a while. Eventually I’d like to get more involved with set design, and work on exotic locations.

RR: What are your typical camera specs? Do you use photo editing software in post production?

FV: Everything is set on manual, and set to RAW so I get the largest file possible. I use Photoshop for post-production, but that’s just a tool. I’m always on the lookout for other techniques.

RR: Fotoseptiembre is just around the corner. Will this be your first year participating?

FV: Yes! My team and I are having our first photo exhibition during Fotoseptiembre. We’ll be showcasing at Silkworm Gallery on Sept. 13. Come out and see our recent fashion work.

RR: What, in your opinion, is the significance/purpose of having an all-photography art festival?

FV: A photo festival is a good opportunity to see lots of work being done with this traditional medium. Photography is a very democratic medium — anyone can do it, especially in this digital age. But my favorite photographers are the ones that go beyond photography.

RR: How can people contact you if they’re curious about your rates/purchasing work?

FV: Please check out our website,, and/or send us an email if you’re interested in collaborating:

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